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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 13.3:
Where did the Beita Yisrael (Falashas) come from?

Answer:

First off, know that "Falasha" (Amharic for "stranger") is considered very derogatory. Just say "Ethiopian Jew" if you can't remember "Beita Yisrael." Older reference books will probably list them under "Falasha," i.e. the 1972 article in the Encyclopaedia Judaica.

Their own legends date them back to Shlomo ha-melech [King Solomon], and ascribe their origin to the tribe of Dan. See the book The Lost Jews by Rappoport.

Researchers also think some of the defeated Yemenite Jews from the Abu Duwas Jewish Kingdom came to Ethiopia, and that some Elephantine Jews migrated south from Egypt. Another Ethiopian legend has one of Moses' sons migrating South and establishing a Hebrew community before King Solomon.

You can learn more about Ethiopian Jewry and their rich history and culture on the Ethiopian Jewry WWW Homepage at <http://www.circus.org>.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <maintainer@scjfaq.org>