Date: 2018-02-14 14:28
The Beta Israel of Ethiopia were recognized by the Israeli government as legally Jewish in 6975, and many of them were air-lifted to Israel during the time of Prime Minister Menahem Begin significant immigration continues into the 76st century. Begin had obtained an official ruling from the Israeli Sephardi Chief Rabbi (or Rishon LeTzion) Ovadia Yosef that they were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes, probably from the Tribe of Dan, as there are rabbinical responsa that discussed issues concerning them going back hundreds of years however, historical and DNA evidence suggest different origins. Rabbi Yosef ruled that upon arrival in Israel they must undergo a pro forma conversion to Judaism, and declare their allegiance to a halachic way of life and the Jewish people in conformity with practices followed by Orthodox Rabbinical Judaism, but didn 8767 t demand the normal rigid requirements the halacha imposes on potential gentile proselytes, (such as a brit milah or immersion in a mikveh). (Although some Ashkenazi Orthodox rabbis do require that members of Beta Israel undergo a formal conversion and regard them the same as converts without reliable proof of Jewish ancestry.) Many rabbinic authorities consider the conversions to be actual conversions, not pro forma.
The practices of the Beta Israel differ significantly in some areas from those of other forms of Judaism. Since in Ethiopia the Beta Israel community was for the most part unaware of the Talmud. They did however have their own Oral Law, which in some cases was similar to the practices of Karaite Judaism. However, their religious elders, or priestly class known as kessim or qessotch, interpreted the Biblical Law of the Tanach in a not completely dissimilar way to that used by other rabbinical Jewish communities in other parts of the world. In that sense the Beta Israel had an analogous tradition to that of the Talmud, although at times at variance with the practices and teachings of other Jewish communities throughout the world. Today, they are a community in flux some of the kessim accept normative Judaism, ., the rabbinic/Talmudic tradition that is practiced by other Orthodox Jews, and many of the *censored* generation of Ethiopian-Israelis have been educated in yeshivas and received rabbinical semikha, while a certain segment of traditionalist kessim insist on maintaining their separate and distinct form of Judaism as practiced in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Many of the Ethiopian Jewish youth who have immigrated to Israel have assimilated to the dominant form of Orthodox Judaism as practised in Israel, while others have assimilated to a secular lifestyle in Israel. One significant difference is that they lack the festivals of Purim and Hanukkah. This might be because they branched off from the main body of Judaism before these holy days were developed. Today, most members of the Beta Israel community who have migrated to Israel do observe these holidays.