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drobbah
05-13-2020, 03:38 PM
From a genetic standpoint they seem like generic Ethiopian highlanders and have less Semitic ancestry than the Amhara,Tigray and Eritreans. Did they historically practice Judaism and what is the Jewish(non-Ethiopian) perspective on their Jewishness?


Target: Ethiopian_Jew
Distance: 4.2550% / 0.04254956
36.2 Levant_Natufian
35.6 Dinka
18.8 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
9.4 ETH_4500BP

Target: Ethiopian_Amhara
Distance: 3.8261% / 0.03826138
35.2 Dinka
34.2 Levant_Natufian
22.0 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
8.6 ETH_4500BP


Target: Ethiopian_Tigray
Distance: 3.7284% / 0.03728431
35.6 Dinka
33.0 Levant_Natufian
25.0 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
6.2 ETH_4500BP
0.2 MAR_EN

Johane Derite
05-13-2020, 05:35 PM
Is it known what Y-lines they have?

drobbah
05-13-2020, 05:53 PM
40% carry A-Y23865 (probably brought from the Sudan) and 18% carry E-P2 (Omotic lineage). The rest of their paternal lineages are typical Cushitic or Semitic lineages (E-M35,E-M78 and J1)

Targum
05-13-2020, 10:36 PM
As an E-M5021 (E-M35 derivative)Ashkenazi Jew, they are Jews according to halakhah (Jewish Law); they had a long historical disconnect from mainstream (Mizrahhi, Sefaradi, and Ashkenazi) Jews; they started reconnecting in the 19th century, and today they are re-integrated religiously and culturally into world Jewry, while remaining a distinct sub-group the way that Ashkenazim Sefaradim, Mizrahhim, Teimanim, remain distinct. They live mostly in Israel and have entered the general Jewish marriage pool and marry outside their community in gradually increasing numbers.

passenger
05-14-2020, 12:52 AM
What matters is that they consider themselves Jewish and have been recognized as such by rabbinical authorities. In terms of history, it has been posited that the Beta Israel are descendants of Christian Ethiopians who converted in the 15th and 16th centuries, but I think that the bulk of evidence points to a much earlier origin of the community, whether or not their own communal origin story (descendants of Solomon and so on) is historically or scientifically verifiable.

Genetically speaking however, I haven't seen much compelling evidence that the Beta Israel are definitively linked to other diasporic groups in any measurable way. As far as I know, they have no Middle Eastern mtDNA lines - not that that matters so much, since they are traditionally patrilineal and, provided early origin stories are true, would have diverged from the common Levantine ancestors of other modern Jewish groups long before matrilineality was the norm. I think if there is a detectable link it would be among those Middle Eastern Y-DNA lines that they may share with other Jewish groups (but which are not unique to them). Commonly referenced studies like Behar et al. (2010) and Ostrer (2012) are pretty vague on the subject.

drobbah
05-14-2020, 10:10 AM
What matters is that they consider themselves Jewish and have been recognized as such by rabbinical authorities. In terms of history, it has been posited that the Beta Israel are descendants of Christian Ethiopians who converted in the 15th and 16th centuries, but I think that the bulk of evidence points to a much earlier origin of the community, whether or not their own communal origin story (descendants of Solomon and so on) is historically or scientifically verifiable.

Genetically speaking however, I haven't seen much compelling evidence that the Beta Israel are definitively linked to other diasporic groups in any measurable way. As far as I know, they have no Middle Eastern mtDNA lines - not that that matters so much, since they are traditionally patrilineal and, provided early origin stories are true, would have diverged from the common Levantine ancestors of other modern Jewish groups long before matrilineality was the norm. I think if there is a detectable link it would be among those Middle Eastern Y-DNA lines that they may share with other Jewish groups (but which are not unique to them). Commonly referenced studies like Behar et al. (2010) and Ostrer (2012) are pretty vague on the subject.

From a genetic standpoint their autosomal and uniparentals are pretty common in the Ethio/Eritrean highlands.It is clear they aren't descendants of ethnic Jews but rather converts to Judaism.

Now there's evidence now even in NW Somalia (Somaliland) that there might have been an ancient Jewish presence according to Somali archaeologist Sada Miire. Perhaps this can be a clue on who exactly brought Judaism to the Horn.My guess would be Yemenite Jews since Judaism is older in Yemen and there have been Yemeni influences on both the Eritrean/Northern Ethio region and the Northern Somali seaboard, it would make the most sense. Do any of you know of any specific ritual or rite that only the Beta Israel and Yemenite Jews practice in exclusion to the other Jewish diaspora groups?


Sada Mire's opinion pertaining to the possible Jewish presence in Northern Somalia (Somaliland) for those that are interested.

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Targum
05-14-2020, 10:44 AM
Teimanim, Yemenite Jews, are very Orthodox and preservationists , when it comes to customs described in the Mishnah. The Mishnah is the oldest layer in the Oral Torah, written down as a result of the Hadrianic persecutions which made life chaotic in Israel. The leader Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (Judah the Prince) oversaw and edited a massive compilation of the Oral Tradition so it wouldn’t get lost . That Mishnah gets learned and discussed in the Academies over the next 300+ years, first in Israel, then in Babylonia, (Iraq) resulting in the completed Gemara, or Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) . All Jews accepted it as the reference for Jewish Law decisions. Neither the Mishnah nor Gemara reached the Beta Israel, though their specific Oral Tradition contains fragments similar to that codified in the Talmud (See "From Sinai to Ethiopia" by Rabbi Sharon Shalom ) https://www.amazon.com/Sinai-Ethiopia-Rabbi-Sharon-Shalom/dp/9652296376 . Mainstream Adenite and Yemenite Jews lived in Eritrea and Ethiopia in modern times, but they ultimately emigrated and their descendants are part of UK and Israeli Jews. Ethiopian Jews therefore, were isolated from this standardization in the Jewish world whereas Yemenites were part of it and contributed to it ( Midrash HaGadol of Rabbi David Adani for example) . What is interesting though, is that many typical Yemenite Jewish foods with Hebrew derived names, like Maraq, hhilbeh, lahhoohh,malawahh, are also Somali foods.

passenger
05-14-2020, 09:29 PM
From a genetic standpoint their autosomal and uniparentals are pretty common in the Ethio/Eritrean highlands.It is clear they aren't descendants of ethnic Jews but rather converts to Judaism.

I don't think that similarity to neighboring peoples rules out a possible partial and remote Levantine connection for Ethiopian Jews, since it could be that those same connections are shared by Ethiopian/Eritrean highlanders in general. The historical relationship between Ethiopian Christianity and Ethiopian Judaism seems to be a very porous one. Depending on which origin story you follow, some Ethiopian Jews claim the same origin story as Ethiopian Christians, and Ethiopian Christianity has a long history of oscillation between "Old Testament" and New Testament rites, with a strong vein of Sabbatarianism.See, for example https://www.jstor.org/stable/722990?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents. I think if you're looking for connections between Ancient Israel and Ethiopian Jews, you have to look at Ethiopian highland populations in general, and not just at the Beta Israel vis--vis their neighbors.

drobbah
05-15-2020, 03:29 AM
I don't think that similarity to neighboring peoples rules out a possible partial and remote Levantine connection for Ethiopian Jews, since it could be that those same connections are shared by Ethiopian/Eritrean highlanders in general. The historical relationship between Ethiopian Christianity and Ethiopian Judaism seems to be a very porous one. Depending on which origin story you follow, some Ethiopian Jews claim the same origin story as Ethiopian Christians, and Ethiopian Christianity has a long history of oscillation between "Old Testament" and New Testament rites, with a strong vein of Sabbatarianism.See, for example https://www.jstor.org/stable/722990?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents. I think if you're looking for connections between Ancient Israel and Ethiopian Jews, you have to look at Ethiopian highland populations in general, and not just at the Beta Israel vis--vis their neighbors.

The people inhabiting Eritrea and the Northern regions of Ethiopia are mostly of Cushitic origin with around 15-25% Yemeni ancestry due to Ethio-Semitic speakers crossing the Bab El Mandeb.As a Horner myself and as someone very familiar with our population genetics, I can confidently say there is no direct genetic connection between Israelites and the Northern Highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea.This is why I'm now interested in learning who exactly brought Judaism and how did this religion penetrate deep into the highlands of Ethiopia and not for example the Eritrean coast?

passenger
05-15-2020, 04:10 AM
The people inhabiting Eritrea and the Northern regions of Ethiopia are mostly of Cushitic origin with around 15-25% Yemeni ancestry due to Ethio-Semitic speakers crossing the Bab El Mandeb.As a Horner myself and as someone very familiar with our population genetics, I can confidently say there is no direct genetic connection between Israelites and the Northern Highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea.This is why I'm now interested in learning who exactly brought Judaism and how did this religion penetrate deep into the highlands of Ethiopia and not for example the Eritrean coast?

Perhaps you're right. Like I said, I haven't seen any solid evidence of a connection. On the other hand, I'm suspicious of such absolute and categorical statements. Are you absolutely sure there's no possible Y-DNA connection? How much do we actually know about Beta Israel haplogroups and how they probably inherited their subclades? I don't mean to challenge you, as I'm sure you're far more knowledgeable about these things than I am, but I like to see sources so I can understand where these conclusions are coming from.

As for why they're not a coastal people, I'd imagine that has less to do with the point of entry of Judaism, and more to do with where they ended up over time. They seem to have lived in somewhat of a fragile symbiosis with Christian Ethiopians, which was sometimes marred by violence, periods of conversion in one direction or another, and the ultimate fragmentation and suppression of the Beta Israel community. This much is made clear in the article I posted above. Even though their coexistence with Christian Ethiopians wasn't always peaceful, it seems Jews and Christians were part of the same cultural and political landscape, so when Christian Ethiopia shrank away from the coast following the invasions of the Adal Sultanate, I imagine that would have limited any Jewish presence that might have existed in those coastal areas, though I'm not sure there was any at that point.

Erikl86
05-15-2020, 07:53 AM
The ethnogenesis of Beta Israel (aka Ethiopian Jews) is shrouded by a lot of mythology and legends.

While there were Jews as far south as the area bordering Egypt and Sudan (I'm talking about Elephantine island) during the 5th century BCE and we have a very well documented evidence for it including archaeological remains and written accounts of pre-Classical Judaism, and evidence of extensive intermarriage with local non-Jews, I doubt that the stories claiming this community sprang individuals which went further south and introduced Judaism into Ethiopia has any merit.

I'm also not buying into the whole Queen Sheba lore in terms of it being the origin of Ethiopian Jews.

On the other hand, I don't think Ethiopian Jews descend from Christians who discovered the truthfulness of the Old Testament / Tanakh all of the sudden.

IMO, there are too many coinciding events in the dating of the beginning of Jewish presence in Ethiopia - such as the Jewish Kingdom of Semien being formed around the 4th century CE, when Aksum ruled parts of the Arabian peninsula, or the myths about some of ancestors of Ethiopian Jews crossing over from the Arabian peninsula.

I think the links to the Himyarite Kingdom, which coincidentally enough, converted to Judaism in the 4th century CE, bordering Ethiopian Aksum which also ruled parts of the Arabian peninsula, should be where we should look. Considering Yemenite Jews seem to mostly descend from Yemenite converts to Judaism, there's a good chance that they descend from the inhabitants of Himyar. So we might want to check uniparental sharings between Yemenite Jews and Beta Israel, especially male uniparentals.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Kingdom_of_Aksum.png

simply
09-29-2020, 01:58 AM
The Enigma of Beta Esra'el Ethnogenesis. An Anthro-Historical Study. (https://www.persee.fr/doc/cea_0008-0055_1990_num_30_120_1592)

simply
09-29-2020, 02:30 PM
The ethnogenesis of Beta Israel (aka Ethiopian Jews) is shrouded by a lot of mythology and legends.

On the other hand, I don't think Ethiopian Jews descend from Christians who discovered the truthfulness of the Old Testament / Tanakh all of the sudden.

Not Christian converts but rather a class of iron-working Agaw pagans who sought to formulate counter-narratives in order to legitimize their resistance to Habesha-Solomonic domination. (the iron working is relevant because this class is looked down upon). The fact that all of their oral traditions seem to be wholly dependent on and in reaction to Ethiopian Christian sources seems to point to this. As the Abbink paper (https://www.persee.fr/doc/cea_0008-0055_1990_num_30_120_1592) I linked to puts it:


All these mytho-legendary episodes so often told by the Beta el can be considered as elements of their self-definition as non-Christian non-Amhara Judaic group in Ethiopia opposed to the mainstream. But it is obvious that in all these stories there is no evidence of an independent oral tradition not tied to the Christian tradition:23 i.e no strand of stories relating the period before ca 1400 which relate to another mythical discourse We might for instance have expected corpus of Agaw myths or even relics of Yemenite Himyarite Jewish tradition but no traces of this were found


IMO, there are too many coinciding events in the dating of the beginning of Jewish presence in Ethiopia - such as the Jewish Kingdom of Semien being formed around the 4th century CE, when Aksum ruled parts of the Arabian peninsula, or the myths about some of ancestors of Ethiopian Jews crossing over from the Arabian peninsula.
Outside of their oral history, is there any evidence of such a jewish kingdom going back to the 4th century? or any evidence of a beta israelite presence before the 14th century even? It seems to me that the Beta Israelites came about in the latter period. Using orthodox traditions as a source upon which they retroactively inserted themselves into being the historic enemies of the Solomonics / Aksumites (whom the Solomonics obviously claimed descent from) - for example, by identifying with Yodit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudit). Renegade monks such as Abba Sabra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba_Sabra) were probably their source of knowledge about Old Testament practices and played a vital part in their "Judaization". The Qemant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qemant_people)are probably a related group that was also partly influenced by this movement but didn't become fully "judaized" and thus retained some of their pagan elements.

All in all, the theory this paper puts forth is a pretty neat explanation in my opinion, especially given what the genetics seem to show.

Granary
09-30-2020, 02:39 PM
Outside of their oral history, is there any evidence of such a jewish kingdom going back to the 4th century? or any evidence of a beta israelite presence before the 14th century even? It seems to me that the Beta Israelites came about in the latter period. Using orthodox traditions as a source upon which they retroactively inserted themselves into being the historic enemies of the Solomonics / Aksumites (whom the Solomonics obviously claimed descent from) - for example, by identifying with Yodit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudit). Renegade monks such as Abba Sabra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abba_Sabra) were probably their source of knowledge about Old Testament practices and played a vital part in their "Judaization". The Qemant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qemant_people)are probably a related group that was also partly influenced by this movement but didn't become fully "judaized" and thus retained some of their pagan elements.

All in all, the theory this paper puts forth is a pretty neat explanation in my opinion, especially given what the genetics seem to show.

So in a way they were the OG Black Israelites? I think we have many examples from all throughout history people creating stories about themselves that try to fit the Biblical stories, Franks did that, I believe medieval English did it too among others, it's not crazy to think that somewhere those stories could have been incorporated permanently and integrated so thoroughly to basically convert a people to a new religion.

jkotl0327
10-31-2020, 06:39 PM
From a genetic standpoint they seem like generic Ethiopian highlanders and have less Semitic ancestry than the Amhara,Tigray and Eritreans. Did they historically practice Judaism and what is the Jewish(non-Ethiopian) perspective on their Jewishness?


Target: Ethiopian_Jew
Distance: 4.2550% / 0.04254956
36.2 Levant_Natufian
35.6 Dinka
18.8 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
9.4 ETH_4500BP

Target: Ethiopian_Amhara
Distance: 3.8261% / 0.03826138
35.2 Dinka
34.2 Levant_Natufian
22.0 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
8.6 ETH_4500BP


Target: Ethiopian_Tigray
Distance: 3.7284% / 0.03728431
35.6 Dinka
33.0 Levant_Natufian
25.0 Yemenite_Al_Jawf
6.2 ETH_4500BP
0.2 MAR_EN

I assume you are asking the question from an ethnic, not religious standpoint. I would not consider them Jews in that sense because their ancestry from the ancient Judeans is a few percent at most and that would be my criteria for determining whether a group is Jewish. Religiously of course is a completely different story.

If you are trying to prove or disprove additional Semitic ancestry for them, I don't think it's right to go back as far as you did since their Ethiopian ancestors and any Jewish ancestors they may have had would have shared at least the Natufian for sure. Since realistically the community was probably founded somewhere between 400 BC and 1000 CE the best bet would be populations from that time period.

I tried playing with modern pop avgs and removed any intermediary groups like southern Arabians or horn Africans. Doesn't take much to get this:
Target: Ethiopian_Jew
Distance: 0.8073% / 0.00807336
69.4 Ethiopian_Amhara
12.6 Ethiopian_Afar
10.8 Ethiopian_Agaw
7.2 Rendille

Doesn't look like great evidence of visible additional Jewish ancestry to me, at least autosomally, I don't know their haplogroups.

talombo
11-17-2020, 03:16 AM
23andme results of an Ethiopian Jew from reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/23andme/comments/jvhch6/ethiopian_jew_here_here_are_my_23_and_me_and/

CyrylBojarski
11-17-2020, 09:15 AM
23andme results of an Ethiopian Jew from reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/23andme/comments/jvhch6/ethiopian_jew_here_here_are_my_23_and_me_and/

I thought they have maybe a little Levantine genetic, it would be interesting to see results before update, this update could swallow everything in Ethiopian category

rober_tce
11-17-2020, 09:30 AM
As I can see through these models, we could say that levantine ancestry in Ethiopian Jewish is a less notorious compared with Western Jewish, so I think there were many jewish converted in the primary genesis of this community.

jkotl0327
11-17-2020, 01:47 PM
I thought they have maybe a little Levantine genetic, it would be interesting to see results before update, this update could swallow everything in Ethiopian category

Possible, but even small amounts of Levantine could be something regular Ethiopians get.

Azbuzz
06-01-2021, 02:56 AM
"In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Indian Jews (Bene Israel and Cochini) cluster with neighbouring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively, despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant. These results cast light on the variegated genetic architecture of the Middle East, and trace the origins of most Jewish Diaspora communities to the Levant."

https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010Natur.466..238B/abstract

A 2012 study on Ethiopian Jews showed that while they are primarily related to the indigenous populations of Ethiopia, they do have very distant genetic links to the Middle East from some 2,000 years in the past, and are likely descended from a few Jewish founders. It was speculated that the community began when a few itinerant Jews settled in Ethiopia in ancient times, converted locals to Judaism, and married into the local populations.

I can't find the study but I found the article. Sharon Begley wrote it and she writes about genetics.
https://www.reuters.com/article/science-genetics-jews-idAFL2E8J63VN20120806

https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30487-6?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com %2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0092867420304876%3Fshowall%3D true

This study appears to show traces of Middle Eastern ancestry in Jews Ethiopian. The study was done in 2021 I think so should be pretty up to date.

However, I've also seen studies that show they have no Middle Eastern ancestry at all so I'm confused. I think they have VERY distant/Minor MENA ancestry.

Seabass
06-01-2021, 03:15 AM
we could say that levantine ancestry in Ethiopian Jewish is a less notorious compared with Western Jewish.

What do you mean?

drobbah
06-01-2021, 05:32 AM
Ethiopian Jews aren't ethnically Israelite but it doesn't matter anyway considering they identify as Jews, practiced Judaism and have done so for more than a millennium and faced oppression in Northern Ethiopia for simply following their form of Judaism.I was reading about the religious wars in the Horn of Africa in the 16th century, written by a contemporary Yemeni chronicler and they were mentioned a few times when the muslim Adalite coalition army arrived in Semien.


Jewish Abyssinians (once) controlled the district of Samen.They are called, in their own language, Falasha, because they chant the praise of the one God and have faith in non other.They have no Prophet and no saint.For forty years the people of Bahr Amba (Orthodox Christians) had enslaved them and put them to work as servants.They tilled the fields for them.




After the Imam had won the victory over the patrician Sa'ul, all the Falasha came - from deep valleys and even from mountain caves - because they did not dwell in the lowlands, but in the mountains and in caves. They said to the Imam 'For forty years there has been hatred between us and the people of Bahr Amba.Let us kill them now, those who are left. And let us occupy their strongholds now that you have conquered them. We will be sufficient to do this to them. So, remain in your camp, and what we will do to them will astonish you'

rober_tce
06-01-2021, 03:54 PM
As I can see through these models, we could say that levantine ancestry in Ethiopian Jewish is a less notorious compared with Western Jewish, so I think there were many jewish converted in the primary genesis of this community.


What do you mean?

I didn’t remember this post of the last year, I have read it again… I have been a bit disconnected of the forum because of my job. I said that, according to some models or narratives (and studios about this matter), it seems, or it’s my impression al least, Ethiopian Jewish have fewer levantine markers that WJ, therefore, it could there were many ethiopians converted to Judaism. Of course they have levantine genetics, I didn’t deny it. If there are new studios that suggest a different theory, I haven’t knowledge about them. Of course nobody deny they are jewish., ad contrary.

Granary
06-02-2021, 10:26 AM
practiced Judaism and have done so for more than a millennium
The thing is this very point is still debated.

drobbah
06-02-2021, 02:45 PM
The thing is this very point is still debated.
It's not really up for debate that the Beta Israel saw themselves as Jews for at least a millennium and that the Christian kingdoms and even the Islamic ones as I mentioned earlier from a source in the 16th century treated them as Jews

Targum
06-02-2021, 11:30 PM
Yes and today's reality is that by collectively having rejoined, in Israel, the aggregation of the Jewish people; all trends and development going forward is that they are essentially, like Bene Israel and others in the previous century, mainstreamed as Rabbinic Jews, and are now an עדה 'edah, recognized Jewish community, equivalent to Ashkenazim, Yemenites, etc. Moreover, the process involved and involves "retooling" of the Beta Israel traditions and customs into the context of the Oral Torah, i.e. Jewish Law, or הלכה Halakhah (lit. "the Way to Go"). One major development over the last century is that the traditional religious leadership has been redirected to be trained as Rabbis, so there is a cadre of Beta-Israel rabbis who lead the way in translating Beta-Israel practice into the language of religious Jewry, already diverse and colorful. The young Ethio-Israeli kids being exposed to their tradition will see it as part of Rabbinic mainstream Judaism, and the community has little by little walked away from certain specific practices that had become obsolete in the wider Jewish world of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, of which they had been unaware in their isolation. There are YouTube Ethio-Israeli Rabbis, from which I will add a link to one of my personal favorites, Rabbi Baruch Gezahay, a Haredi YouTube Rabbi:

https://youtu.be/l3zp-_XbBpc
https://youtu.be/l3zp-_XbBpc

Granary
06-03-2021, 02:26 AM
It's not really up for debate that the Beta Israel saw themselves as Jews for at least a millennium and that the Christian kingdoms and even the Islamic ones as I mentioned earlier from a source in the 16th century treated them as Jews

You still have scholars on both sides, mostly because we have little direct evidence of the existence of those people before at least 1300.

passenger
06-03-2021, 03:11 AM
Ethiopian Jews aren't ethnically Israelite but it doesn't matter anyway considering they identify as Jews, practiced Judaism and have done so for more than a millennium and faced oppression in Northern Ethiopia for simply following their form of Judaism.I was reading about the religious wars in the Horn of Africa in the 16th century, written by a contemporary Yemeni chronicler and they were mentioned a few times when the muslim Adalite coalition army arrived in Semien.

That's an interesting account. What's the source?

drobbah
06-03-2021, 04:41 AM
That's an interesting account. What's the source?
Futuh Al Habasha (Conquest of Abysinnia)

Mirix
06-07-2021, 10:25 AM
Ethiopian Jews aren't ethnically Israelite but it doesn't matter anyway considering they identify as Jews, practiced Judaism and have done so for more than a millennium and faced oppression in Northern Ethiopia for simply following their form of Judaism.I was reading about the religious wars in the Horn of Africa in the 16th century, written by a contemporary Yemeni chronicler and they were mentioned a few times when the muslim Adalite coalition army arrived in Semien.

I don't think Ethiopian Jews had practiced Judaism at all. Infact i really doubt there is was any real Judaism in the Horn of Africa. And also the traditions relating to their supposed jewish identity don't go back before the 15th century.

There is a study that investigates into Beta Isreal. The Process of Caste Formation in Ethiopia: A Study of the Beta Israel (Felasha), 1270-1868 (https://www.jstor.org/stable/218834?origin=crossref&seq=1)

They had no history of using Hebrew as a liturgical language unlike Yemeni Jews, they instead used Ge'ez like any other Ethiopian Orthodox group and sometimes their own Agaw dialects written in Ge'ez. Recent genetic studies like you have in the OP shows they really have no link with other Jews in terms of auDNA or Y-DNA that doesn't appear in other Horners; in fact, their Christian Tigray and Amhara neighbors have slightly stronger affinities toward Jews and MENAs than them.

It also turns out they weren't really oppressed or octrasized for being Jews or following a form of Judaism. The term Falasha as it is used deragatorily has no connection to Judaism or them being Jews, it means 'landless', 'wanderers', and they more than likely fall into a pagan nomadic group that who in the middle ages resisted conversion, the term associates them with pagan Agaw and then later were just practicing their own, unique form of Ethiopian orthodoxy. They were subjugated into an occupational caste as blacksmiths and masons after the 16th century.

Negast is also a nonsensical fairytale filled with myths that would have us believe the Aksumite Kings were Jews prior to Christianity when we know they were pagans who literally styled themselves as the sons of a pagan God:

As the epigraphical and archeological evidences shows:

"The pre-Christian kings whose inscriptions have come down to us called themselves `son of the invincible god Mahrem', the royal tutelary deity, and thus asserted their own claim to divine honours; they may also have been high-priests of the state cult." - Aksum - An African Civilisation of Late Antiquity by Stuart Munro-Hay
(https://books.google.cd/books/about/Aksum.html?id=RlRzAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y&hl=no)

For this reason Rabbis in Isreal didn't even used to accept Beta Israels as real Jews. And for real good reasons. It is really strange how they even got into Isreal in the first place.

Targum
06-07-2021, 07:18 PM
They have been accepted as Jews since the point in the 19th century when Middle Eastern and European Jews became aware of them. This acceptance is underscored by some of the greatest contemporary decisors of Jewish Law, such as Rabbi Ben Zimra in Egypt and Rabbi Adler in Germany, just to throw out a few. And as I wrote above, since then, they have mainstreamed into normative Judaism, so their origins are mostly moot, from a religious perspective,albeit interesting ,from a genetic/anthropological perspective.

StillWater
06-07-2021, 08:47 PM
Yes and today's reality is that by collectively having rejoined, in Israel, the aggregation of the Jewish people; all trends and development going forward is that they are essentially, like Bene Israel

In case you implied that there is a parallel in ancestry, please see the Mizrachi thread. The "Mumbai Jew" samples are likely to be Bene Israel and show Israelite admixture/ancestry.

Mirix
06-07-2021, 09:23 PM
They have been accepted as Jews since the point in the 19th century when Middle Eastern and European Jews became aware of them. This acceptance is underscored by some of the greatest contemporary decisors of Jewish Law, such as Rabbi Ben Zimra in Egypt and Rabbi Adler in Germany, just to throw out a few. And as I wrote above, since then, they have mainstreamed into normative Judaism, so their origins are mostly moot, from a religious perspective,albeit interesting ,from a genetic/anthropological perspective.

I was not talking about them contemporarily practicing Judaism. I was referring to them historically and their origins. Those ones you refer to that immigrated to Isreal underwent conversion on arival and The Rabbi Yousuf that regarded them as Jews that paved they way for their migrations added the assumed story they only recently converted to christianity out of fear to legitimize it. Which is also not entirely historically accurate. Prior to this they were just practicing their own unique form of Ethiopian orthodoxy.

The last thing you said about them being accepted as Jews is not fully true either and many weren't considered real jews by Jewish Law of return, many are currently barred from entering Isreal for that reason and there is a big controversy around them and doubts about them as well.

As this news report details:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bLNKyCN7Gs

Ethiopian Jewry: The Falash Mura (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-falash-mura)

They derive from the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, however, the Falash Mura converted to Christianity and are not considered under the Israeli Law of Return. Some have made it to Israel but many still reside in camps in Gondar and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, waiting their status for Aliyah. Some Falash Mura have reverted to Judaism


But things have changed recently with the new ruling by Rabbi Yehuda Deri Top state rabbinical body reinforces ruling that Ethiopian Jews are Jewish (https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-state-rabbinical-body-reinforces-ruling-that-ethiopian-jews-are-jewish/) which was done to counter discrimination and doubts about their jewishness. A party founded by the previous Rabbi Yousuf. Despite it there is still doubts by the religious establishment of them being Jewish.

Targum
06-08-2021, 01:41 AM
I was not talking about them contemporarily practicing Judaism. I was referring to them historically and their origins. Those ones you refer to that immigrated to Isreal underwent conversion on arival and The Rabbi Yousuf that regarded them as Jews that paved they way for their migrations added the assumed story they only recently converted to christianity out of fear to legitimize it. Which is also not entirely historically accurate. Prior to this they were just practicing their own unique form of Ethiopian orthodoxy.

The last thing you said about them being accepted as Jews is not fully true either and many weren't considered real jews by Jewish Law of return, many are currently barred from entering Isreal for that reason and there is a big controversy around them and doubts about them as well.

As this news report details:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bLNKyCN7Gs

Ethiopian Jewry: The Falash Mura (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-falash-mura)


But things have changed recently with the new ruling by Rabbi Yehuda Deri Top state rabbinical body reinforces ruling that Ethiopian Jews are Jewish (https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-state-rabbinical-body-reinforces-ruling-that-ethiopian-jews-are-jewish/) which was done to counter discrimination and doubts about their jewishness. A party founded by the previous Rabbi Yousuf. Despite it there is still doubts by the religious establishment of them being Jewish.

With near-native Hebrew fluency, and years of personal interactions withIsraeli Beta Israel, it’s possible I have more personal knowledge of this wonderful Jewish community than anyone on the Forum. Therefore I stand on my prior answers and information, respectfully.

Mirix
06-08-2021, 01:56 PM
With near-native Hebrew fluency, and years of personal interactions withIsraeli Beta Israel, it’s possible I have more personal knowledge of this wonderful Jewish community than anyone on the Forum. Therefore I stand on my prior answers and information, respectfully.

Poor attempt to appeal to your own authority. I am talking about their debated jewish origins and history. Feel free to chime in on that.

Targum
06-08-2021, 02:06 PM
Already did; kindly reread answer above.

Mirix
06-08-2021, 03:18 PM
No concrete answers was given . Just your own appeal to authority "I know beta Isreal, i'm fluent in hebrew and spoken to them". That somehow proves they originated as jews or practiced real judaism back in their history?

Erikl86
06-08-2021, 07:39 PM
I don't think we can conclusively decide whether or not Beta Israel have minor or even any Judean ancestry, or any genetic connection to any other Jewish community, because genetically there doesn't seem to be any, nor did that small community get tested enough.

I assume that if anything, we should be able to perhaps find Yemenite Jewish uniparental lineages among Beta Israel should these two communities be tested; thing is, Yemenite Jews are also mostly of local converts descent (although there does seem to be some Levantine ancestry there, it hasn't been confirmed to be Judean or even shared with other Jewish communities to the best of my knowledge).

We can prophesize and hypotheses on the anthropological or historical aspects of this fascinating community, but at least on the genetic front, which this site is dedicated for, I think it's pretty certain we need deeper study.

On a different note, I will add that again and again I find the following fascinating: out of 14.5 million Jews today, only about ~600,000 Jews belong to communities which seem to descend entirely from converts, at least on the genetic level. That's less than 5%, and these communities were always small and not located in places where Judaism was much popular and was actually accepting converts. We have both Western Jews and Mizrahi Jews having anything from 30%-60% direct Levantine ancestry, most likely from actual Judeans, developing as ethnic groups in historical Mesopotamia and the Greaco-Roman world, where both known centuries-long periods of being popular and accepting converts, yet both seem to have retained such significant Judean ancestry. Just something to ponder about.

Targum
06-08-2021, 08:16 PM
No concrete answers was given . Just your own appeal to authority "I know beta Isreal, i'm fluent in hebrew and spoken to them". That somehow proves they originated as jews or practiced real judaism back in their history?

You seem to have missed the main point. From the POV of Halakhah, Jewish Law, the Beta Israel have mainstreamed their status. They now are treated as part of the genuine Jewish population. The genetic questions are interesting and the worth discussion, but irrelevant to their Halakhic status. Some Batey-Din (Jewish courts where marriages are approved) still do the giyur lehhumra ( symbolic conversion to remove doubt), but fact is they now marry into all sorts of Jewish families, Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Mizrahhi, and Yemenite. The attached clip, which is a few years old, supportively profiles 3 Israeli couples of this description:

https://youtu.be/AtId1gcT45k
https://youtu.be/AtId1gcT45k

Mirix
06-08-2021, 11:02 PM
You seem to have missed the main point. From the POV of Halakhah, Jewish Law, the Beta Israel have mainstreamed their status. They now are treated as part of the genuine Jewish population. The genetic questions are interesting and the worth discussion, but irrelevant to their Halakhic status. Some Batey-Din (Jewish courts where marriages are approved) still do the giyur lehhumra ( symbolic conversion to remove doubt), but fact is they now marry into all sorts of Jewish families, Ashkenazi, Sefaradi, Mizrahhi, and Yemenite. The attached clip, which is a few years old, supportively profiles 3 Israeli couples of this description:

https://youtu.be/AtId1gcT45k
https://youtu.be/AtId1gcT45k

What point is being missed?

It is entirely seperate from the discussion i was having. They can be considered Jews or regard themselves as Jews by the contemporary mainstream Jewish society if you wish but does that make them actually Jewish in origin or practiced Judaism back in history? for the evidence of that is lacking and what is points to the opposite.

Then there being doubts and controversy surrounding it. Which is true and i didn't make that up.

That was pretty much what i was answering to when i replied to Drobbah. Honestly it's all well and good if they are accepted into mainstream Jewish society and get treated with equality. I have nothing against that. I am not a Jewish gatekeeper or anything:lol:

Targum
06-08-2021, 11:32 PM
What point is being missed?

It is entirely seperate from the discussion i was having. They can be considered Jews or regard themselves as Jews by the contemporary mainstream Jewish society if you wish but does that make them actually Jewish in origin or practiced Judaism back in history? for the evidence of that is lacking and what is points to the opposite.

Then there being doubts and controversy surrounding it. Which is true and i didn't make that up.

That was pretty much what i was answering to when i replied to Drobbah. Honestly it's all well and good if they are accepted into mainstream Jewish society and get treated with equality. I have nothing against that. I am not a Jewish gatekeeper or anything:lol:

Again the question is of interest to genetecists and moot to Jewish Law, and contemporary Jewish and Israeli social poli cy. In the 20th century a whole Sicilian village converted and made 'Aliyah. In antiquity you had the conversions of חדייב Hhadayev "Adiabene" and Edom and the infamous/famous/intentionally weaponized Khazar Turkic conversion. Converts were and are always welcomed into Orthodox Jewish life, and in contemporary USA there are Orthodox conversions happening all the time. This list of group conversions is from Wiki:
Converted nations, groups or tribes
Converted nations, groups or tribes from Christianity
Abayudaya[2]
Bnei Menashe[3]
Bene Ephraim, claim to be Jews who converted to Christianity, then converted back to Judaism[4]
B'nai Moshe (Inca Jews)[5]
San Nicandro Jews[6]
Subbotniks
Veracruz Jews[7]
Other converted nations, groups or tribes
Idumeans, Edom, 2nd century BCE, conquered and converted by John Hyrcanus
Obadiah the prophet, from a Mideastern religion[8]
Ituraeans, Lebanon and Syria, 2nd century BCE, conquered and converted by John Hyrcanus
Adiabene, northern Iraq, 1st century
Helena, queen of Adiabene, from traditional Greek religion[9]
Izates bar Monobaz, king of Adiabene, from a Persian or Mideastern religion[9]
Symacho, wife of Izates bar Monobaz, from a Persian or Mideastern religion[10]
Monobaz II, king of Adiabene, from a Persian or Mideastern religion[9]
Nabataeans, many were forcefully converted by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus
Khazars, a semi-nomadic Turkic people from Central Asia (historical Khazaria), many of whom converted to Judaism en masse in the 8th and 9th centuries CE from a Khazar religion[11]
Bulan, king of the Khazars, from a traditional Khazar religion[12]
Samaw'al ibn 'Adiya and his clan
Himyarite Kingdom, Yemen, 6th century
Tub'a Abu Kariba As'ad, from Arabian religion, Himyarite king of Yemen; ruled Yemen 390–420 CE
Dhu Nuwas, king of Yemen, from a Mideastern religion[13]
Kingdom of Semien, Ethiopia, 4th century
Multiple Berber tribes noted by Ibn Khaldun, including the Jarawa, and possibly the warrior queen Kahina and her tribe. northwest Africa, 7th century, disputed
Banu Qurayza and Banu Nadir, Arab Tribes who converted to Judaism when Jews arrived in Hijaz after Second Jewish-Roman Wars, Arab tribes were interested in Judaism which was brought by Jews. Later, they adopted and claimed to be Israelites. They were Arabian origins still believed sons of god concept from indigenous polytheistic beliefs.

Mirix
06-09-2021, 06:31 AM
A copy and paste from wiki of different groups that converted. Now how does this apply to the Beta Isreal?

Do you have historical proof that the Beta Isreal was actually a Jewish group in year 1500? or before or if they even actually practiced any form of Judaism before the contemporary times?

Anyone can claim anything, it doesn't necessarily make it true now does it. We've seen how this plays out with British Israelism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Israelism) and Black Hebrew Israelites (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hebrew_Israelites)

Targum
06-09-2021, 04:01 PM
A copy and paste from wiki of different groups that converted. Now how does this apply to the Beta Isreal?

Do you have historical proof that the Beta Isreal was actually a Jewish group in year 1500? or before or if they even actually practiced any form of Judaism before the contemporary times?

Anyone can claim anything, it doesn't necessarily make it true now does it. We've seen how this plays out with British Israelism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Israelism) and Black Hebrew Israelites (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hebrew_Israelites)

It is not controversial that they joined in via a process. Why continuously question the possibility that they are gerey Tzadeq (converts) and not descendants of exiled Israelites? At this juncture, what difference does it make, being that as of now they are fully Jewish?

Mirix
06-09-2021, 10:21 PM
It is not controversial that they joined in via a process. Why continuously question the possibility that they are gerey Tzadeq (converts) and not descendants of exiled Israelites? At this juncture, what difference does it make, being that as of now they are fully Jewish?

I am talking about history and their origins. I was replying to Drobbah on this post (https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?20292-Are-the-Ethiopian-Beta-Israel-Jews&p=776416#post776416) where he stated they practiced judaism for over a millenium and faced oppression for practicing Judaism. I voiced my scepticisim about that , then i was cutt off by your post in the next page over and i felt compelled to reply.

And re-read the disclaimer in my reply above you , its not about excluding them:

That was pretty much what i was answering to when i replied to Drobbah. Honestly it's all well and good if they are accepted into mainstream Jewish society and get treated with equality. I have nothing against that. I am not a Jewish gatekeeper or anything

Targum
06-09-2021, 10:26 PM
Then we do not seem to have a problem going forward.

Mirix
06-10-2021, 12:57 AM
Then we do not seem to have a problem going forward.

The title to this thread is a question about the origins of the Ethiopian Jews. I am just simply partaking in that discussion.

I have been discussing these so called caste groups (https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?23810-Asia-in-the-Horn-The-Indian-Ocean-trade-in-Somaliland&p=771842#post771842)(Accurate word for them is actually Bondsmen and not caste) in a different thread and have been looking into them I then became curious about these different bondsmen groups in the horn of Afrca. Falasha being one of them

The Yibir clan for example makes similar claims to Jewish origin Ethiopian Jews in Somalia: Tracing remnants of the Yibir (https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/09/03/ethiopian-jews-in-somalia-tracing-remnants-of-the-yibir/) as the Falasha, but likewise is devoid of any practical, cultural or historical evidence for this. .. Where there is evidence is their association with pagan practices.

It fits into the general theme i have noticed in the Horn of Africa where different groups have fabricated holy origins to create to legitimacy for themselves, and the importance of being born with religion and spiritual power. (https://books.google.cd/books?id=J6nODwAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&dq=importance+of+being+born+with+religion+sada+mir e&hl=no&sa=X#v=onepage&q=importance%20of%20being%20born%20with%20religion %20sada%20mire&f=false) Wether it be the mythical fictitive Biblical Ethiopian Solomon and Queen of Sheba origins that ties them to their Christian Faith, or the Somalis Ifat/Awdal's Walashma and Ajuuran/Gareen fictitive Prophetic Qurayshi descent that ties them to the Islamic faith.

Likewise it's much more appealling to claim you were Jewish in a distant past and thats why you were being marginalized instead of it being because of association with paganism. Being ancestrally tied to a more percieved respectable Abrahimic faith, I believe it might be the same case here.

drobbah
06-10-2021, 11:59 AM
@Mirix The Yibir clan does not claim Jewish origins.It is something clans like mine accuse them of as a way to Islamically justify why we discriminate against them. Perhaps you are speaking about the Yibir of Somalia if they even exist there but that is simply not true in Somaliland nor Ethiopia.Your theory also makes little sense considering the Yibir are not blacksmiths or tanners.They were probably either a leftover from the Cushitic religion we practiced and were some sort of ancient priestly caste like the Qaalluu/Qaallitti among the Oromos.

As for Judaism in the Horn of Africa, it is possible that Jews did convert locals although the Beta Israel were converted very early and this interior population that was isolated by a sea of Christians that eventually developed their own unique form of Judaism or critics like those who follow Mirix's theory could also be true but I think now with the growing evidence of Judaism having a minor presence in Somaliland, probably by locals who were converted by their Himyarite Jewish trading partners.It might make the Beta Israel story more likely. Perhaps Somaliland was the only HOA region where there was Jews that followed Rabbinic Judaism (Yemenite way) or they could have followed their own Somali syncretic version considering some of these alleged Jewish burials were found in Aw-Barkhadle (an ancient Somali holy site) but the site was also settlement so who knows.


Oral records, for example, tell of a former Jewish presence at both Aw-Barkhadle and Lukuud, another sacred site, and the archeology might be able to support this account as permission has now been given to excavate during the coming year.There was certainly a local knowledge of Judaism


It is possible that there were Jewish communities living in areas of the Somali territory perhaps migrants from Arabia or offshoots of the Beta Israel and Falasha communities which reside in present-day Ethiopia.Despite these many echoes of Judaism, the distrubtion of Christian burials in Somaliland suggests that the Christian communities were bigger than the Jewish [community]

https://anthrogenica.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=37598&d=1589450582

Mirix
06-10-2021, 02:05 PM
@Mirix The Yibir clan does not claim Jewish origins.It is something clans like mine accuse them of as a way to Islamically justify why we discriminate against them. Perhaps you are speaking about the Yibir of Somalia if they even exist there but that is simply not true in Somaliland nor Ethiopia.Your theory also makes little sense considering the Yibir are not blacksmiths or tanners.They were probably either a leftover from the Cushitic religion we practiced and were some sort of ancient priestly caste like the Qaalluu/Qaallitti among the Oromos.

Incorrect. Other clans accuse them of descending from a pagan magician Bucur Bayr. They are accussed not of being Jewish in origins, but of not being proper Muslims and practicing witchcraft To me it seems to be a refrence for them resisting the early conversion to Islam and to the toppling of their status as pillars of the old religious cult.

It's the traditional leaders of the Yibir clan themselves who recently began to claim Jewish origins Beesha Mohamed Hanifa Interview (https://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/15/world/djibouti-journal-somalia-s-hebrews-see-a-better-day.html)


In 2000, New York Times journalist Ian Fisher conducted a breakthrough interview with the Yibir community leader Sultan Ahmed Jama. The Sultan was not secretive about his Hebraic heritage and indicated that the prejudice his people experience in Somalia essentially goes back to their Israelite heritage. He also pointed out that members of the community –particularly the youth– are often ashamed of their Yibir identity as a low caste. Accordingly, they often identify with other clans of higher castes.

Yibir however trace their descent to Mohamed Hanif who they say was a Jew and they say they come from to Darood clans if i'm not mistaken. One thing is for certain they are neither remnant group or whatever nonsense theories orientalist writers made up about them and they do not claim to be either. The clue to their original status which i have reiterated back to you before can be found in the Pagan Rendille and not in the Oromo. Who have a Ibir priest class.

The Yibir are masons and leatherworkers aside from their traditional religious work of giving charms[Samaayo). They were subjugated into taking the role of artisan bondsmen and grouped together as Gabooye along with Madhiban and Tumaal. Yibir are percieved in a worse light than both of them though. But they are aknowledge by other clans for their specialist trade skills


Even though the bigger Somali clans acknowledge that the Yibir are good tanners and skilled in masonry,they are generally looked down upon in Somali society.

Source: Divine Fertility: The Continuity in Transformation of an Ideology of Sacred (https://books.google.cd/books?id=J6nODwAAQBAJ&pg=PP49&dq=Yibir+masons+Sada+Mire&hl=no&sa=X#v=onepage&q=Yibir%20masons%20Sada%20Mire&f=false)


As for Judaism in the Horn of Africa, it is possible that Jews did convert locals although the Beta Israel were converted very early and this interior population that was isolated by a sea of Christians that eventually developed their own unique form of Judaism or critics like those who follow Mirix's theory could also be true but I think now with the growing evidence of Judaism having a minor presence in Somaliland, probably by locals who were converted by their Himyarite Jewish trading partners.It might make the Beta Israel story more likely. Perhaps Somaliland was the only HOA region where there was Jews that followed Rabbinic Judaism (Yemenite way) or they could have followed their own Somali syncretic version considering some of these alleged Jewish burials were found in Aw-Barkhadle (an ancient Somali holy site) but the site was also settlement so who knows.





https://anthrogenica.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=37598&d=1589450582

I believe from the archeological evidences and some sources that there was a prescence of Christian converts in Northern Somalia but Jewish Somali prescence however seems rather unlikely. Perhaps.

As Sada Mire says this : ''Somalis in the north have memories of a cross wether the star of David or a Christian cross or something else altogether is unclear.'' ''It is uncertain wether these symbols confirm the existence of judaism in Somali regions''

To what extent they practiced Christianity i am not sure of either.

But one thing that is less doubtful to me is that neither Yibir or the Beta Isreal seem to have Jewish origins or practiced Judaism back in History . For example you mentioned earlier how Falasha was supporting Adalites based on Futah. I mentioned how the term Falasha associates them with Pagan agaw and they speak an Agaw language. Did you also know that the Pagan Agaw was recorded to have supported the Muslims against the Christian Abyssinians in the war ?


A contemporary writer during the invasion of Ahmed Gragn(d.1543] complains that the still predominantly pagan Agaw were helping the Muslim forces, molesting Christian refugees, taking their possessions and killing them.


You should give this a read:Process of Ethnic Interaction and Integration in Ethiopian History: The Case of the Agaw (https://www.jstor.org/stable/182235?seq=1) agaw was subjected to their vast inhabited area being annexed by the Amhara and them becoming forcefully Amharanized, onslaught on their institutions, culture etc being forcefully converted to Christianity during the middle ages