The Falashas

By Jacques Faitlovitch

American Jewish Committee (AJC), Jewish Publication Society (JPS), 1921

The author discusses the "Falashas," or the "Beta-Israel" who live in Abyssinia. Faitlovitch delves into great detail about this sect of Africans who claim to be descended from the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As such, the author describes their belief system, explains how they were able to hold on to their traditions despite being separated from their co-religionists, discusses their housing (shacks, huts, or cabins that are separated from the Abyssinian people), their furniture (few objects in each house), their prayer house called Mesgid ("the place of prayer") or Beta-Egzia-beher ("the house of God"), their way of carrying out the Jewish ritual system, their Sabbath observance, annual festivals, fast days, circumcision, their occupations, Falasha women (according to the author, they are superior to their Abyssinian neighbors), and their wedding ceremonies, among other topics covered. Finally, the author ends with an attempt at a general account of their history, though according to the him, much of that history is "still veiled in obscurity."

Topic: Halakha, History, Beta Israel, Ritual, Jewish Law, Culture, Ethiopian Jews

Name of Publication: American Jewish Year Book

Volume/Issue: Vol. 22

Page Number(s): 80-100

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Genre: Article

Coverage: Ethiopia

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Faitlovitch, Jacques. The Falashas. American Jewish Year Book. American Jewish Committee (AJC),Jewish Publication Society (JPS). 1921: 80-100.


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