The Ethiopian Jews lived primarily in villages in the north and Northwest of the country, far from their Christian neighbors, with separate social and economic institutions and conditions. Their story is a fascinating example of Jewish perseverance and survival despite time, trial and tribulation.It is a story of people long isolated from the rest of the Jewish world. That separation was so complete, that at one point, the Ethiopian Jews thought themselves the only remaining Jewish community in the world - the last guardians of Jewish knowledge, tradition and the "Torah of Moses." The Ethiopian Jews struggled mightily to retain that tradition and guard it from outside forces that would see it assimilated, conquered and destroyed. As a result, throughout Ethiopian history, they often fell sacrifice to Christian kings, wars and oppression.
That struggle continued in different forms even after the arrival of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Their homecoming, joyous as it was, was marked by a lack of acceptance, as state religious institutions did not officially recognize their status as Jews. These institutions made life hard for Ethiopian immigrants, and in some ways still do.