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Photographer's Note

No firm theory has explained the origin of the Ethiopian Jews, but their presence there goes back thousands of years, including various references in the Bible too.

The languages of Ethiopia suggest an antiquity of Judaism in Ethiopia. A large number of words are of Hebrew origin.

After being "lost" for centuries, European visitors "discovered" them in the 17th century. According to their reports, there were about a million Ethiopian Jews in the Gondar area. Portuguese visitor Manoel de Almeida, for example, wrote that "they speak corrupt Hebrew, they have their Hebrew Bibles and sing the psalms in their synagogues."

Their current population is about 130,000, most of them living in Israel after being brought in two large emergency airlifts, when famine struck in Ethiopia in 1984, and during the civil war there in 1991.

But some remained there, probably about 20,000. They live in small enclaves.

This is one of those enclaves, called Wolleka, located indeed in the Gondar area.

Rather than a "town", it's an agglomeration of scattered huts.

This is one of them.

(Scanned)

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Additional Photos by daniel yoffe (pastadog) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1670 W: 288 N: 2600] (13111)
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