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The Falashas – Ethiopia’s Black Jews

Wolleka, a Falasha Village near Gonder, Ethiopia

Wolleka, a Falasha Village near Gonder, Ethiopia

Driving back to Gonder from the Siam Mountains, we passed through a former Falasha Village, a reminder of Ethiopia’s black Jews. Nowadays, only two of the Falashas live in the village. The old synagogue is mainly for the few tourists passing by, together with the many souvenir shops selling kitsch made from clay displaying King Solomon in love with the Queen of Sheba and the omnipresent Star of David. But these have to be covered by plastic sheets, otherwise they would become one with the dust carried from the nearby road.

Most of the Falashas were airlifted to Israel during the big famine in 1985 and towards the end of the civil war in 1991. Their acceptance as Jews in the Holy Land was difficult. Especially conservatives Jews went ballistic at the Falasha’s claim that they were direct descendants from Solomon…


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