Judaism in ancient Africa


I watched a documentary about the Nile river , it mentioned Judaism in Ethiopia,I struggle to find information about it. How widespread was it in eastern africa? , what we’re the connections to Israel?. What evidence remains ?(ancient synagogue ect)


Try researching the Beta Israel (as Ethiopian Jews are known).


Supposedly there is a place in Africa also that is guarding the Ark of the Covenant. I know they have flown some ethiopian jews to Israel to live.


Judaism in Ethiopia was extremely prevalent, to the point where there was a temple there that rivaled the Temple of Solomon in size. Some of the rites that Ethiopian Christians use today are closer to ancient Jewish rituals that anything else that exists today, including in Judaism. It’s a fascinating subject.


The temple was actually on Elephantine in Egypt (built somewhere in the 6th century BC) and served the Jewish community there. Yes, it became a rival of sorts to the one in Jerusalem, especially when the exiles returned - the priests in Jerusalem were not too happy with it.


I did not realize there was another temple that rivaled the one in Jerusalem. Very interesting!


There were actually two Jewish temples in Egypt: the smaller, earlier one was in Elephantine, the other, larger one was in Leontopolis. If you count the Samaritan sanctuary on Mt. Gerizim, then that’s three rivals. :smiley:



Thank you! It is interesting that Christians and Jews have a history in Egypt.


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