Judiasm & Rastafarianism: A study of the Falashas

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Judiasm & Rastafarianism: A study of the Falashas

In this research paper I will discuss the ethnic groups of Africans in the Caribbean and Jews in Ethiopia. Jews in Ethiopia call themselves Beta Israel which means `house of Israel.' They are also known as the Falashas. Falasha means `stranger' or `immigrant' in the classical language of Ethiopia (the Ge'ez tongue). I will also describe the culture of the African people displaced into the Caribbean who identify themselves as the Rastafarians and the connections I have made between them and Judaism. I believe that these connections between Judaism and Rastafarianism are more than just similarities that can be found between any two Bible- following religions. I choose the Falashas as the topic for personal, religious and spiritual reasons. I was born into a Jewish household, rich in the traditions and customs of my Hebrew ancestors. I grew up however in the Caribbean, home of the unique culture known as the Rastafari. Throughout my life I have felt a deep connection between Judaism and Rastafarianism. In this paper I seek the origins and history of the connection that I feel in my heart. I believe that the Falashas are the bridge between these two cultures.

The connection of the Rastas to Ethiopia is a deep and mystical one. It would take hundreds of pages to illustrate the connections of this culture to Israel. In briefly describing their culture I attempt to illustrate what sparked my attention about the similarities between Jews, Falashas, and Rastas. The Rastas believe that they are originally and ancestrally Ethiopians. They were stolen from their homeland in times of slavery and brought to the `New World'. To say the least, the Rastafarians believe in many of the similar ...

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