Foto Friday – Ethiopia – Land of Wonders
The ties between the Land of Israel and Ethiopia are as old as the Bible itself from the marriage of Moses to a woman from the land of Cush (Numbers 12:1) to the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-13).
Whether or not that visit resulted in a son named Menelik, as is the tradition of Ethiopian Jews, or whether Judaism arrived in Ethiopia later, what is certain is that this is the oldest Diaspora community practicing a Torah Judaism that pre-dates Rabbinic Judaism.
A new exhibit opening February 15, 2013at the Eretz Israel Museum, presents the story of the Beta Israel community – the Jews of Ethiopia – concentrating of their ties with Jerusalem up until the point at which the community emigrated to the modern State of Israel.
Curator Sara Turel writes, “For over two thousand years Ethiopia was ruled by dynasties and it is rare both in Africa and the world for there to be three monotheistic religions living side by side with mutual influences… the first Muslims in Ethiopia were refugees from Mecca, persecuted by the pagan Arabs… According to Ethiopian tradition, about half the population of [the norther city of Axum], before the arrival of Christianity, was Jewish.”
The exhibition comprises selected work of art, ritualistic artifacts and costumes, illustrated manuscripts, music, musical instruments, cartography, photographs, ethnography, documentaries, etc.
Also featured are contemporary photographs by Aida Muluneh, chief curator of the Contemporary Art Museum in Addis Ababa.