Lost tribe of Israel...

A

Anonymous

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#1
Hello,

Anyone ever heard of one of the lost tribes of Israel called the SENA? Supposedly they came from a land they called SENA or HEAVEN, and they settled in Africa, and now Archeologists are trying to uncover the actually place.

WW
 

Inhabitant

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#2
Are they the same as the Ethiopian Falashas? They practice a form of Judaism and are meant to be descendents of one of the lost tribes. I beleive they're recognised by the state of Isreal as Jews and are entitled to Isreali passports (should they want them!)
 
S

Sifaka317

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#3
I understood that, during the mid 1980s famine, most of the Falashas were airlifted out of Ethiopia by the Israeli government.
 

naitaka

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#5
These people are called the Lemba. The PBS show 'Nova' filmed an investigation of them by anthropologist Tudor Parfitt. DNA tests showed that they do indeed have Jewish roots.

A very comprehensive website about the research, the search for the actual location of Sena, and the Lemba connection to Great Zimbabwe:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/
 

Bosbaba

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#6
The tribe located in Ethiopa was designated as the remnants of the tribe of Dan.

Even though they live in Israel now, they are not accorded entirely the same status as Ashkenazi Jews and their descendants. For instance, they are not permitted to donate blood - this caused quite an uproar when it was announced a few years (I think) ago.

There is rumoured to be Israelites/Jews settled along India's coastlines, at least they claim to be of Jewish descent. I have not looked into this much so cannot comment.

There has long been a rumour that the Danes themselves are in part descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel, though again this is a line I have not followed up.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#7
An issue of Fortean Times about 2 years ago had an article on the Lemba people. Their tradition is that they originated in the Yemen area of the Arabian peninsula and genetic research showed there could be a link. Sorry I can't remember what issue of FT it was in....
 

TheQuixote

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#9
Thought this might be of interest, I hadn't heard of this Lost Tribe before:

India's 'lost Jews' wait in hope

By Geeta Pandey
BBC correspondent in Imphal, Manipur

A team of senior Israeli rabbis is due to rule soon on whether thousands of Indians who say they are members of one of the lost tribes of Israel can settle there.

Shlomo Amar recently led a delegation of rabbis to the north-eastern Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram where members of the Benei Menashe tribe live and practise Judaism.
At the Beith-el Synagogue in the Manipur capital, Imphal, nine men wearing knitted skull caps read silently from the Old Testament.

Four others stand on a wooden platform in the centre of the room as a young man reads from the holy book under the supervision of an elderly priest.

These people claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.

Recent discovery

Tongkhohao Aviel Hangshing is the leader of the Benei Menashes in Imphal.

We found that the stories, the customs and practices of the Israeli people were very similar to ours
Tongkhohao Aviel Hangshing
"We are Benei Menashe, because we belong to the Menashe tribe," he says.

"Menashe is the son of Joseph, who was one of the 12 sons of Jacob. So we are the lost tribe of Israel."

Mr Hangshing says for thousands of years they did not know they were lost.

"We found out only 27 years ago," he says.


"When the Bible was translated into our language, in 1970s, we studied it.

"And we found that the stories, the customs and practices of the Israeli people were very similar to ours. So we thought that we must be one of the lost tribes."

Saturdays are observed by Jews the world over as the Sabbath, the day of rest, and the members of the Benei Menashe community meet for morning prayers at the synagogue in Imphal.

A lamb-skin scroll of the Torah, is unrolled and then rolled up again as each reader finishes his part.

Hope

There are more than 300,000 Benei Menashes in Manipur but most of them follow Christianity.

Only about 5,000 have converted to Judaism, most of them during the 1970s.

Mr Hangshing says although India has treated them quite well, they do not consider it their home.

The recent visit by a delegation of rabbis from Israel has given new hope to the members of this community.

Caleb, a 24-year-old college student, wants to go to Israel because he says it is the land of his forefathers.

Amram is studying to be a lawyer. He says Israel is the promised land, for him and the others too.

"In Israel it will be easier for us to practise our religion."

In a chamber partitioned from the main prayer hall, about a dozen women join in the Sabbath prayers.

Lucy Vaiphei is the caretaker of the synagogue.

Her parents and six siblings have emigrated to Israel in the last few years and she is now looking forward to making the move herself.

Michael Freund, director of Amishav - an organisation that helps Jews move to Israel - says he firmly believes that Menashe is one of the lost tribes of Israel.

"We have brought over 800 of them to Israel," he says, "and the remaining people also want to emigrate".

Mr Freund says that last year the new Israeli interior minister, Avraham Poraz, suddenly declared his opposition to bringing the Benei Menashes into Israel.

"But I'm confident that if the chief rabbi issues a ruling saying that the Benei Menashes are indeed descendents of the Jewish people and should be allowed back home, then he will have no choice but to let them in."

So while the rabbis in Israel take a decision on whether or not to grant the right to emigrate to Israel to the Benei Menashes, this community here is waiting with bated breath - and praying.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/south_asia/3575716.stm

Published: 2004/08/18 10:19:44 GMT

© BBC MMIV
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#10
Inhabitant said:
And I believe there are also practising Chinese Jews?
Being Jewish is a different concept to being, say, a practising Catholic.

The Chinese Christians I've met are Christians by virtue of having been raised by parents who practised Christianity. They also happened to be Chinese.

The Jews I've met are Jews by virtue of their mothers having been Jewish. They vary in their practise of Judaic ritual and tradition. They also vary in their definition of themselves as either Australian Jews or Jewish Australians.

If you had been born in China, or had a Chinese father, and had a mother who identified as Jewish, even if her own father was Chinese, then you would qualify as a Chinese Jew. Or Jewish Chinese. What rituals and traditions you practised, and how rigorously, would be your own business.
 

stu neville

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#11
Dr X said:
If you had been born in China, or had a Chinese father, and had a mother who identified as Jewish, even if her own father was Chinese, then you would qualify as a Chinese Jew. Or Jewish Chinese. What rituals and traditions you practised, and how rigorously, would be your own business.
In fact, and this is perfectly true, there is (or was) a kosher Chinese restaurant in Manhattan called.... Genghis Cohen's.

Genius!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#12
I had heard before about Jewishness being passed on through the maternal line - it makes sense because you can always be pretty sure who the mother of a child is, proving who the father was has been difficult until recently.

However I have also read articles that 'prove' Jewishness on the basis of a gene component that is unique to men of 'Cohen' ancestry, apparently they descend from a Jewish priestly caste. This test is used in cases where people far removed from the Middle East, and who do not appear racially to be Semites, claim that they are Jews.

So which is it, what proves you are a Jew?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#13
Hello,

What proves who you are in general? I have been thinking about having one of those tests that trace back your genealogy from your DNA. I think I have Jewish Ancestry, but I'm not 100% sure. It's just that my family is HUGE and mixed like a bowl of leftovers and there are stories, handed down through the generations, of various exploits of various ancestors, so I am confused. What am I? Who am I? Who exactly were my ancestors? It's so hard being me. lol

WW
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#14
It's funny you should mention that, Scarlett. I raised a similar point with my wife and her brother last night. (They're Jewish.) I asked them, since Jewishness is passed through the mother, why do Jewish youths, at their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah, take a Hebrew name which means "son/daughter of [father's name]"? (They shrugged.)

Your question mingles two different aspects: claiming an ethnic identity for oneself, and ascribing a racial identity to others. Jews say "I am Jewish because my mother was Jewish" - they claim an ethnic identity for themselves based on a particular criterion. Molecular biologists, however, studying the Cohen line, say "They are Cohenite Jews because their DNA contains these markers which they inherited from their fathers." They ascribe a racial identity based on a different criterion than Jews use to claim their ethnic identity. The ethnic identity combines a family heritage with a cultural tradition. The racial identity is simply another way of saying "They have these particular genes."

Clear as mud, I hope. ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#15
Well, a bit clearer I think. Still confused though, which one is the religious identity then? Racially not all semites are Jews of course. Maybe it is via the mother that the religious heritage is passed on? (I know it is all up to the individual whether they practise or not, but I mean in terms of what the Jewish religion would regard as the passing on of Jewishness). I am beginning to confuse myself here!

I heard of those tests to determine ancestral origin, seen ads for them in which the organisers specifically sought MEN of a certain surname for testing. This is quite offensive, I am as much genetically a member of my family as the men. I realise the DNA they study must be from the 'Y'. But anyway, isn't the maternal mitrocondrial DNA the most reliable source of information?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#16
Scarlett said:
Still confused though, which one is the religious identity then?
It is confusing, isn't it? Took me years to get my head around it. The best explanation I've heard is this:

The signs of Jewishness (the nation) and the signs of Judaism (the religion) are combined. The Star of David is a sign of Judaism the religion, but it's also a sign of the Jewish nation. A Catholic can be of any race, nation or people, but that separation between signs of religious identity and national identity does not exist for Jews.

The two identities, the religious and the national, combine in the concept of "ethnicity" in the same way that my ethnicity is that I was raised as a white Australian Catholic of Irish descent - not just Catholic, which is solely a religious identification. The concept of ethnicity subsumes both race and religion. Jewishness/Judaism is, properly, an ethnicity.

Probably muddier still. ;) It's one of those concepts that doesn't translate easily between cultures. The problem is compounded by the fact that we're standing outside the culture, trying to sort it by our own labels, distinct from the people born into the culture who know implicitly who they are.

I sympathise completely about the male focus in genetic studies. I used to refer to the Human Genome Project as the Rich White Anglo-Saxon Male Genome Project. :mad:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#17
Oh, I was working from the premise that 'Jewish' meant strictly the religion, not the actual nation (either the state of Israel or the persons of Jewish ancestry not resident in Israel). A friend of mine is a non-practising Jew, but describes himself as an Irish Jew. His allegiance is to Ireland but being a Jew is part of his ethnicity (origin). I define a 'nation' in the way many Irish people do, that if you are of Irish origin (by birth or ancestry) you are Irish, whether or not you live in Ireland or hold an Irish passport. The modern trendy term is 'Irish Diaspora'. But religion would not come into it, though it could be part of an individual's definition of their personal identity, rather than ethnicity. I am from a Catholic background myself, but go nuts when people use the term 'Roman Catholic' - I'm not Roman, I'm Irish!
 

TheQuixote

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#18
Scientists Back Inheritance of Jewish Priesthood Designation - a link to a report on the Cohens or rather, Cohanim. (scroll down)



One thing that has really confused me (and royally done my head in) recently is UK Law and Race & Religion. I had to attend a workshop recently that dealt with primarily, The Race Relations Act but touched on Diversity and other issues.

So we were told that Anti-Semitism is dealt with under the RRA 1976 & its amendment in 2000.

I was also informed during this course that after WWII (in order to offer some form of protection and prevent another Holocaust from occuring), Jewish Semites were considered under UK law to be a racial group and have racial identity.

Any discriminatory practice against the other major (or even minority) religions in this country such as Christianity and Islam are dealt with under the EU Human Rights Act.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
Scarlett, we seem to be using "nation" in the same sense - a body of people united by a common sense of identity, regardless of what country they live in or under what government. - Though to complicate matters, the symbols of the Jewish nation, which are also symbols of the religion of Judaism, also happen to be symbols of the state of Israel. ;)

Quixote, the legal distinctions are another layer of complexity again. How a government defines a group within its power and how that group defines itself are often quite different.
 

GNC

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#21
I thought Battlestar Galactica had something to do with the Mormons?
 

rynner2

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#22
Quixote said:
...Jewish Semites were considered under UK law to be a racial group and have racial identity.
That seems a bit arse-about-face. Jews are a sub-group of Semites, as are Arabs, etc.

I believe the 'Semitic' name refers to the descendents of Shem, Noah's eldest son.

So you can't be a Jewish non-Semite!
 

Anome

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#23
GNC said:
I thought Battlestar Galactica had something to do with the Mormons?
Indeed, Glenn A Larson is/was a practising Mormon. Which is why there were 12 colonies, 12 Battlestars, and a lost colony (Earth). Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from the Jewish tradition in that regard, and it all made it through into the TV show. Even the current version.
 
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#24
Indians start new life in Israel

A Bnei Menashe synagogue in Manipur, India
About 50 Indians who were recognised as Jewish last year have arrived in Israel to start new lives there.
The immigrants are among some 6,000 Bnei Menashe tribes people from the north-eastern India states of Manipur and Mizoram who claim Jewish ancestry.

At least 150 more members of the tribe are expected in Israel later this week after receiving help in special educational centres on life in Israel.

The great majority of Bnei Menashe tribes people follow Christianity.

Some 800 Menashe Jews had moved to Israel some years ago, but emigration was then complicated after Israeli government officials said in 2003 that they did not regard the Menashe as being genuinely Jewish.

That led to the Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Jews, Shlomo Amar visiting north-eastern India to meet the Menashe who say they are descendents of one of the 10 tribes that was exiled when Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th Century BC.

The chief rabbi ruled last year that they were indeed Jewish, thus clearing the way for them to emigrate to Israel.

The new arriving members were handed immigration cards at Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday and taken to an absorption centre in northern Israel, the AFP news agency reports.

An Israeli organisation, Shavei Israel, has been running educational centres in India to prepare the community for life in Israel, teaching them Hebrew, Jewish rituals and traditions.

The organisation also lobbied the Israeli government to treat their immigration as a priority, AFP says.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6168350.stm
 
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#26
'Lost Tribe' returns to Israel
By Martin Patience
BBC News, Upper Nazareth Absorption Centre



Avior Kholhring in his new home

When Avior Kholhring stepped off a plane two weeks ago at Ben Gurion airport - close to Tel Aviv - he says that he finally came home.

Despite being the first time he has left his native India, the 35-year-old along with his wife and their three children always longed to live in Israel.

"This is the promised land," says Mr Kholhring. "And my heart is happy. I have finally fulfilled my dream."

Mr Kholhring and his family are members of Bnei Menashe, descendants of the tribe of Menashe - one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.

The tribe are believed to have been expelled from Israel when the Assyrians invaded the country's northern kingdom in the 8th Century BC.

The community's oral tradition says that the tribe travelled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China, before settling in north-east India.

Obstacles

In the last decade, over 1,000 members of the community came to Israel. But in 2003, the Israeli authorities froze the process after questioning the authenticity of the Bnei Menashe's Jewish claims.

I'm looking forward to spending the Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) as it should be observed

Dana Kholhring


Last month, however, four planeloads of 218 members of the 7,200-strong community still in India arrived in Israel. The youngest was a two-week-old baby and the oldest an 84-year-old woman.

"After facing so many obstacles and headaches along the way it was very moving to see the resumption of this blessed Aliyah (Jews immigrating to Israel)" says Michael Freund, chairman of the Shavei Israel organisation, which fought to bring the community to Israel.

Now, Mr Kholhring and his family, along with other members of the community, are living in the Upper Nazareth absorption centre - one of 33 Jewish Agency centres dotted round the country preparing new immigrants for life in Israel.

The concrete two-storey centre, set on a hill-side, houses 360 Jews from India, Ethiopia, Russia and Norway. It has views overlooking the historic city of Nazareth.

In Mr Kholhring's three-roomed apartment, the conditions are basic - a kitchen, iron beds, plastic seats, and glaring white walls with only a map of Israel and two drawings by his children for decoration.

Hebrew Lessons

But in spite of the sparseness, Mr Kholhring says he's very happy.


A Bnei Menashe synagogue back in Manipur, India

"It's like being a dorm student again," he says. "We've all got so much to learn."

The first two weeks have been spent opening bank accounts, preparing health insurance, and filling out forms to obtain an Israeli passport.

The community is also starting intensive Hebrew language lessons, something they realise is the key to their future success in Israel.

Children and young adults often assimilate quicker than their parents.

Arbi Khiangte, 21, for example, already speaks good Hebrew after language studies in India and is keen to study nursing at university.

Hot Food

She describes coming to Israel as "more than she expected" and showers praise on the authorities for making her journey possible.


Jewish children studying in Mizoram

But like all of the immigrants there is a lot to get use to.

"I don't like the cold winds," she says, as she shuts a window. "But I think the food is healthier here than in India: because it's kosher."

For all of the immigrants, Israel is their new home. Most have sold all their belongings in India - houses, furniture, lands - and they say it's unlikely they will ever return home.

Many like, Mr Kholhring say Israel offers them the opportunity to live like Jews and not be mocked for their faith as sometimes happened in India.

"I'm looking forward to spending the Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) as it should be observed," says Mr Kholhring's wife, Dana.

Mr Kholhring agrees adding that the absorption centre has given all the families an electrical hob that works on a timer.

It is forbidden for Jews to turn on electrical appliances during the Jewish Sabbath.

"Now I'll be able to eat hot food on the Shabbat," he says. "In India, it was always cold."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6218168.stm
 

synchronicity

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#27
Fascinating thread!

I've always wondered why a person's "Jewishness" depends solely on the mother being Jewish. I mean, yes, I understand that before DNA tests came along, it was a whole lot easier to be certain of a child's maternal descent than of the father's identity.

I wonder if things will change now that we do have DNA that can prove whether or not a man is the father of any given child??

And frankly it makes me wonder if this doesn't imply that Jewish men (or at least the ones who decide these kinds of things) aren't kind of insulting their own women? It sounds like they don't trust their women to be faithful wives, therefore they won't accept as Jewish a child who has a Jewish father but a Gentile mother. In most cultures it's generally assumed (I admit, sometimes wrongly!) that the husband of a woman who gives birth is the father of her child. I wonder why that isn't the case in Judaism??

I'm not trying to criticize Jewish people or their customs here, it's just that this question has always stumped me!!

I have a friend who was born to a Jewish father and a Christian (Gentile) mother. My friend (Kate) and her sister were raised in both traditions: i.e. they attended temple with their dad on the Jewish Sabbath, and the next day went to church with their mom. They celebrated both Christmas and Hannukah, etc.

When Kate became an adult she chose to become a Christian. Still, she is rightly very proud of her Jewish heritage. Before his death her dad gave her the family menorah, which she cherishes. And yes, she plans (as always!) to celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah this month (she even decorates her Christmas tree in blue and white LOL! Or is it blue and silver??? :oops: Anyway, clearly I'm showing my ignorance here, but as you can see, Kate considers herself as much a Jew as a Christian.)

Yet apparently the state of Israel (and Jewish law) would say that Kate is not Jewish because it was her father who was Jewish, not her mom.

I honestly can't see what difference that makes!? :confused:
 

infinitysymbol

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#28
I think the idea of what constitutes 'Jewishness' is very muddled because you can be ethnically and culturally very Jewish without being religious or you can be a gentile convert to the religion of Judaism. At the end of the day the Nazis killed many German Jews who were fully assimilated and had no link to Judaism other than being Jews according to what aryan philosophy dictated was physically 'Jewish'.

Judaism is not like other religions or ethnicities because, as an earlier poster said, it crosses both of these categories. You can claim you aren't Jewish (if you define this as being religiously Jewish) but if a racist or Ku Klux Klan member wants to see you as Jewish they will find a way of doing this and more often than not, it is non-Jews who resort to highlighting the ethnic aspect of whether a person is Jewish so that they can conclude that an individuals (bad) behaviour must be because they are (ethnically) Jewish, even if said individual has no experience of the religious aspects of Judaism which may dictate (seemingly 'negative') behaviour (such as being choosy about what foods you eat, being antisocial on the Sabbath etc).

With regard to the question posed by another poster, I think it makes total sense to judge Jewishness according to the maternal line. You can't always be sure of who the father of a child is, but you can almost always (and especially in ancient times) be sure of who the mother is. This is the way in which Judaism and the Jewish lineage has managed to keep itself intact throughout years of persecution (where many Jewish women were raped by non-Jews) and keep the gene pool fairly homogenous although this does create disadvantages such as maintaining diseases that are very common within ethnically Jewish populations such as Tay Sachs and diabetes.
 
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#29
Eritrea's last Jew nostalgic for past community by Peter Martell
Fri Jul 13, 12:11 PM ET



The old wooden benches in Asmara's only synagogue have long been vacant, but Samy Cohen still remembers where every person sat.

"My father Menahem Cohen was sitting here, and here, another uncle, the brother of my mother," he says, pointing to the empty seats, his footsteps echoing in the candlelit building.

When 60-year-old Cohen was growing up in the 1950s in this small Horn of Africa nation, Asmara boasted a vibrant resident Jewish community of about 500 people.

Today, he is the last Jew native to Eritrea left here.

Most came as traders from across Europe and the Middle East, who then emigrated from Yemen at the turn of the last century, hoping to cash in on the opportunity offered by Italy's colonisation of this nation bordering the Red Sea.

"In almost all periods there is a fair amount of migration of Jewish communities to places where there are opportunities," said Menahem Kanafi, Israel's ambassador to Eritrea.

"In lots of cases, Jews in Arab countries saw a possibility of living here, not under oppressive conditions, and of making a life for themselves."

But the community -- unrelated to the much older native Jewish population in neighbouring Ethiopia, where thousands still remain despite mass relocations to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s -- has faded away.

Though many Eritrean Jews left for Israel when it gained independence in 1948, a 30-year independence war against arch-foe Ethiopia beginning in the 1960s and the decline of the economy pushed even more of the community to leave for greener pastures in Europe or Israel.

Cohen now rarely manages to gather the 10 people required to perform many Jewish ceremonies, and must care for the 100-year old synagogue alone. The last bar mitzvahs and weddings were celebrated there in the 1970s.

"There are business people who come and go, and the staff at the Israeli embassy, but a continuing Jewish community here is not really a hope for the future," Kanafi added.

Officially, Eritrea's 4.2 million population is equally divided between Christians and Muslims, and Jews were always a small minority here.

Although human rights groups now regularly accuse the government of persecution of minority religious groups, Eritrean Jews say their community has always lived in harmony with the local population and its government.

Residents now living around the synagogue in houses once occupied by the Jewish community, close to both the city's main mosque as well as several churches, stress that Eritreans of different beliefs have long lived peacefully side-by-side -- as compared to Ethiopia where Jews say politics fanned anti-Semitiism in a country with a proud Christian Orthodox tradition and where Jews had long been a target of missionaries.

"There is no problem between the religions in Asmara," said one old man, dressed in a neat white skull cap and drinking coffee on a shady side street beside the synagogue.

"As people, we Eritreans tolerate each other, be they Muslim like me, Christian or Jewish."

Cohen has nothing but happy memories of growing up in Asmara, busy with weddings, bar mitzvahs and other ceremonies.

"That was a very enthusiastic life and many children, many parties, all of us going to the Italian schools in the morning, all together in one car," Cohen said.

"All the people would come here, and during holy days, it was sometimes even hard to find a place to sit," he added.

The old schoolhouse beside the synagogue, once the hub of a busy Jewish community, is now a small museum full of old photographs.

"There are so many memories here for me," Cohen said. "Now it is very different, but I remember the good times with my friends here of the past."

Walking slowly among the graves covered in purple flowers in the Jewish cemetery on a hilltop overlooking the city, Cohen's affection for Eritrea is clear, but he finds his reason for staying harder to put into words.

"I am tied to this place, it is not simple to explain," Cohen added, whose wife and daughters left for Italy in 1998 when fighting broke out with Ethiopia in a bloody two-year border war.

"But we should be always optimists: if there are not enough to pray here, then we can pray in other places -- Tel Aviv, London or Rome -- where other members of the Asmara community live now."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070713/wl ... 0713141517
 

hucktunes

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#30
The Biblical Tribe of Dan was most likely one of the invading Sea Peoples that caused so much destruction to the area around 1200 BC. The Mycenaean and Minoan cultures were destroyed, the Trojan War was probably a story of the invasion, and the Philistines were probably the refugees of Crete. In the Song Of Deborah the Judge asks 'Dan, why did you remain in your ships?' So it is possible that the Danes could be related to the tribe of Dan. The name Dan is used throughout Europe, the rivers Danube, Dnister, Dneiper, the Tuatha De Danann of Ireland, Achilles' tribe in the Illiad. It seems to be a sacred name in ancient Europe. So I doubt very much if the Ethiopians could be related to ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem from the tribe of Dan. Although around 700 BC Ethiopians did invade Egypt and traded with Jerusalem.

Around 300 BC Alexander invaded Canaan and destroyed many Phoenician cities, scattering the people and toppling their gods. Because of their history with the Persians he felt that he could not trust them to remain loyal to him while he marched eastward. He was concerned about his supply lines. Many of these folks converted to Judaism. Then about 100 years later Rome destroyed the Phoenician city of Carthage, once again scattering the people and causing them, as well as their cities in Spain to convert to Judaism. Judaism was the last remaining cultural tie of these Semitic people. Although the Jews in Spain and North Africa in classical times were Semites they don't seem to be the offspring of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. It really doesn't seem so mysterious to me. But it's a great story and a wonderful work of literature.
 
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