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Posts tagged "judaism"

The ancient El Ghriba Synagogue, also known as the Djerba Synagogue, is located on the Tunisian island of Djerba. It is situated in the Jewish village of Hara Seghira, several kilometres southwest of Houmt Souk, the capital of Djerba.

Built in the Moorish architectural style, it is also Africa’s oldest synagogue. The name “El Ghriba” means “the marvelous”, or “the strange”, in Arabic.

Ethiopia once had a sizable Jewish population known as the Beta Israel, or House of Israel. Theories about the Jews’ origins range from the legendary belief that they are descendants of Menelik I, said to be the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, to speculation that they are related to the lost tribe of Dan, Samson’s tribe. Scholars believe that Judaism had arrived in Ethiopia by the fourth century A.D., probably introduced by Jews from Egypt or the Arabian Peninsula. The Beta Israel likely didn’t emerge as a separate community until the 14th or 15th century. Denied land, they became weavers and ironsmiths—skills that helped them survive but branded them as dangerous sorcerers, further isolating them from Ethiopian Christians and Muslims. In the mid-1980s 7,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted via Sudan to Israel in an effort named Operation Moses. In 1991 thousands more fled to Israel during the final days of communist strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam. Today only a few practicing Beta Israel remain in Ethiopia.

400 Miles to Freedom

Our newest film, about the long, dangerous, and secret escape from dictatorial oppression of Avishai Yeganyahu and the Beta Israel, a 2,500-year-old Jewish community from the Ethiopian mountains.

Avishai, with the help of co-director Shari Rothfarb Mekonen, breaks his 20-year silence about his brutal kidnapping as a child in Sudan during his community’s exodus from Africa and subsequent quest to understand Jewish identity spanning the globe. 

(via 7thartreleasing)