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Notable Black Jews


-Rabbi Natan Nkosinathi Gamedze was born an African prince to the -Royal Gamedze clan of the Kingdom of Swaziland in 1963. As a youth, Rabbi Gamedze was educated in private schools in both Swaziland and London, where his father held the position of Swaziland Ambassador to the United Kingdom and EEC countries.
-Makeda (10th century BCE), the Queen of Sheba, had a son, Menilek I, by king Solomon of Jerusalem, thus establishing the "Solomonic" dynasty of Ethiopia that ruled, with a few interruptions, until the deposition of Emperor Haile Selassie (q.v.) in 1974.
-Menelik I (Ibn El-Hakim) El-Hakim da Ethiopia, Beit Shlomo originally named Ebna la-Hakim, "Son of the Wise"), first Jewish Emperor of Ethiopia, is traditionally believed to be the son of King Solomon of ancient Israel and Makeda, Queen of Sheba and ruled around 950 BC, according to traditional sources. Tradition credits him with bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, following a visit to Jerusalem to meet his father upon reaching adulthood.
-Benjamin of Tudela (from northern Spain), set out to catalog Jewish communities along a circuitous route to the holy land.
Al-Idrisi, the famous geographer born in Ceuta, Spain in the 12th century wrote about Jewish Negroes in the western Sudan.
-Al-Kahina bint D̲j̲arāwa al-Zanāt a female Berber warlord who led the resistance against the Arab invaders of North Africa in the 680’s and 690’s, was a Jew of the Jarawa tribe.
-Rabbi Joseph HaLevy, a competent linguist, was sent by the French Jewish community sent to investigate reports of Black Jews in Ethiopia, setting in motion a historic aliyah (immigration) that continues to this day.
-Maimonides, Moshe Ben Maimon, (Rambam), 12th century Spanish-North African Talmudist, philosopher, and law codifier left Spain to Morocco, and settled in Fostat (Cairo) Egypt.
-Abraham ibn Ezra, (Even Ezra) was a 12th century Spanish-North African Biblical commentator.
-Rabbi Mordoche Aby Serour in the late 19th century traveled to Timbuktu several times as a not-too-successful trader in ostrich feathers and ivory according to Prof. Michel Abitbol at the Center for the Research of Moroccan Jewry in Israel.
-Ismael Diadie Haidara, a historian from Timbuktu, has found old Hebrew texts among the city’s historical records. He has also researched his own past and discovered that he is descended from the Moroccan Jewish traders of the Abana family. As he interviewed elders in the villages of his relatives, he has discovered that knowledge of the family’s Jewish identity has been preserved, in secret, out of fear of persecution.


-Ephraim Isaac (born May 29, 1936) is a scholar of ancient Semitic Languages & Civilization, and African/Ethiopian Languages and Religion. He is of Ethiopian and Yemenite ancestry. He is the Director of the Institute of Semitic Studies (Princeton, New Jersey) and the Chair of the Ethiopian Peace and Development Center.


-Nduwa Guershon is a social worker working today for the french humanitarian organization Médecins sans frontières. Born in Congo in a family of seven children, he was a civil servant in the ministry for social affairs in Kinshasa. In 1988, he went to Israel to study Hebraic civilization. There, he discovered the friendship among the Israelis and undertook a long spiritual path through Judaism. Jew and black, Guershon aims today to develop, in the French Republic, the values carried by humanism, the spirit of tolerance and peace.

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