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Historical Reference

After King David’s son Solomon died, the Israelites divided the one kingdom into two. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel and included ten of the twelve tribes. Living in the north were the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, and Gad. The Southern Kingdom was called Judah and included the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Immersed throughout both kingdoms were members of the priestly family of Levi.

In 722 BC, Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, taking captive and deporting the members of the ten tribes. In approximately 586 BC, the Southern Kingdom was conquered by Babylon, the Temple destroyed, and the people taken captive. Around 445 BC, Nehemiah led a remnant of the Jewish People back to Jerusalem and rebuilt its walls and gates. Over 500 years later, in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and, again, Jewish People dispersed through persecution into the world at large. By all these means, Jewish People have come to reside all over the world.

Lemba of Zimbabwe

The Lemba are believed to have fled Jerusalem after the Temple was destroyed around 586 BC. Though not among the traditionally described Ten “Lost Tribes of Israel”, these Jewish People were scattered when the Southern Kingdom of Judah fell to Babylonia. It is believed they fled Judea and ended up in Yemen. From Yemen they migrated to Africa, eventually settling in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Many left Ethiopia and moved south to Zimbabwe and became known as the Lemba. Seventy percent of the Lemba have tested to possess Cohanim DNA showing that they clearly have ties to the Levites.

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