(April 2014) If you enjoy world-Jewish music, check out the new CD, Temesgen ("Thanks to God" in Amharic)! This is the first-time-ever recording of ten worship songs from the Beta Avraham Jews of North Shewa, Ethiopia and their descendents in the Kechene neighborhood of Addis Ababa.
For generations, many of these songs were sung only in “secret synagogues” by members of this group who broke away from the Gondar-based Jews (known as “Beta Israel” -- now largely in Israel) about 300 years ago. Forced to live as hidden Jews like the Anusim of medieval Spain and Portugal, for generations they practiced Christianity on the outside but preserved as many traditions as they could — especially their music — in secret. Now, for the first time, these songs are available on a recording for the general public. Led by Demeke ben Engda, all the singers are members of the community’s only open synagogue, which was started seven years ago.
Many of the songs are hauntingly beautiful — try Senbet L’yuna (“Unique Sabbath”) and you can’t help but feel moved! You can get this album on amazon.com, iTunes, or Spotify. If you click here, you can read the album insert which has more information about the recording.
- Click here to check out these beautifully-performed worship songs on Amazon, or
- Click here for iTunes.
- Spotify users, click here!
We hope you enjoy it! Share your thoughts on the album at www.facebook.com/kulanu - the singers and community members would love to know what you think!
Thanks to Lucy Steinitz for notifying us of this recording and sharing the album cover, insert, and links.
- The Journey of One Man From the Sources of the Nile to Zion: The Story of Yeshayahu Chane by Yeshayahu Chane and Dalit Avrahamoff (2012) - Follow the link to purchase this Kulanu e-book for your Kindle!
- Ethiopian Remembrance — Kabbalat Shabbat Sam Tadesse (2011)
- Ethiopian-American Tourists in Israel Kassahun Teffera (2008)
- Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia? Brian King (1999)
- Return of a Lost Tribe: The Unfinished Exodus of the Ethiopian Jews Marc Shapiro (2003)
- A Day with the Jews in Ethiopia Karen Primack (2002)
- Ethiopians Protest Slow Pace of Immigration Tovah Lazaroff (2002)
- Yerga Finds the Promised Land Avihai Becker (2001)
- Ingathering of the Exiles: Ethiopian Update Eetta Prince-Gibson (2001)
- Book Review — The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews Jack Zeller (1996)
- North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) (website link)
- Preserving & Enjoying Ethiopian Jewish Music Lucy Y. Steinitz (2014)
- ENSZO - Ethiopian North Shewa Zionist Organization's web site (external link)
- Ethiopia’s Kechene Jewish Community Judy Manelis (2010)
- The Kechene Jews of Ethiopia Sahle Mengistu, Abraham Wondirad, Alemeshet Bayou and Rahel Alemu (2009)
- Balej Jewish Community - Ethiopia photo album by Dana Eitches (2009)
- The Long Road Home: the Beit Avraham Amy J. Cowen (2005)