(Ethiopic for immigrant). Jews of Abyssinia. Group of people in Ethiopia (Abyssinia) whose religion bears marks of Jewish influence. Theories of their hist. include that they descended from Menelek, alleged son of Solomon by the Queen of Sheba; that their ancestors came from Judaea with the Queen of Sheba; that they descended from the ten* lost tribes of Israel; that they came to Abyssinia in the 1st c. AD Their religious life centers in synagogue worship (reading of Torah; prayers); strict Sabbath observance; chief Jewish festivals observed (but not Purim or dedication of temple); have OT and other sacred books in Geez (Semitic language formerly used in Ethiopia); priests and deacons appointed by community; avoid contact with Christians; monastic system. Est. number ranges from ca. 50,000 to ca. 200,000. Sometimes called Black Jews. See also Judaism.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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