For many years, Beth Hin, a powerful mystic, and her group of dedicated members of the White Rose Foundation in the USA, have travelled the world carrying out Planetary Healing work as guided by Spirit. Working on a North/South fault line, along which most of the world’s major wars have occurred, Beth has been guided to carry out her healing rituals. We have been honoured to work with Beth on her visits to southern Africa.
Our first tour with Beth began with an unusual request. Beth asked if we knew of the whereabouts of a group of Falasha people in Zimbabwe. (The Falasha are Black Jewish descendents dating back to the times of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba). Beth’s Spirit Guidance indicated that a specific group were somewhere in Zimbabwe but she did not know where.
At the height of the Ethiopian conflict, some 33000 Falasha were airlifted to Israel in the largest evacuation of its kind ever recorded. Over the years some of these Semitic Black people (DNA testing has proved their claims to being jews), had migrated south and settled in various places including Zimbabwe and Venda, the home of many of the present Lemba tribe – also of jewish blood.
When Beth’s request came through to us we had no idea of the whereabouts of any Black Jewish people in Zimbabwe. We asked our friend Clare, who had recently moved from Harare to the Cape, but she did not know either. Clare did undertake to see what she could find out from her ex neighbours, one of whom was a Film producer. So began our search.
One week prior to the arrival of Beth and her group we still had no idea where they were but were committed to visit Zimbabwe anyway. Then a strange coincidence occurred. Clare’s neighbour in Harare was on a film shoot and needed a bible as a prop for a particular scene. She asked if anyone on the set had a bible. A young Black man stepped forward and handed her his bible. The scene was filmed but by the end of shooting, the young man had left the set. The Director took the bible home and next morning happened to glance through it only to find that it was written in Hebrew. Later that day the young man returned to the set for his bible and, when asked about it, confirmed he was Jewish.
We subsequently learned that his grandfather, Rabbi Ambros Makuwaza, was the patriarch of a dedicated group of Black Jewish people situated about 3 hours outside of Harare in Zimbabwe. Our search had ended – in the nick of time.
After some hasty telephone calls, arrangements were made for our visit following some healing ceremonies in Cape Town. Clare joined our small group and we set off for Zimbabwe.
On arrival at the enclave of Rabbi Makuwaza, a smallholding in a beautiful rural setting with huge granite rocks rising out of a lake, we were billeted in the homes of some of the elders. Cedric Gardner, Blaine Glass, Richard Holton and I were honoured to stay with Solomon Makuwaza, nephew of the Rabbi, while the others were housed with other elders. That Friday evening, we joined a two hour ceremony in the sparse synagogue on the Rabbi’s smallholding. It was attended by over 70 people including our group of 10. As guests of honour we were given the wooden school type benches at the front, while most of the congregation sat on the floor – men on the left, women on the right.
Beth was directed to a place next to The Holy Ark an unusual occurrence as women are not normally given such recognition in the Jewish faith. Our presence was greatly appreciated and the welcome we received was very moving, something we have since come to expect from our indigenous brothers and sisters. However, nothing could have prepared us for the incredibly beautiful singing of the 30 strong choir, half men – half women. It was the most beautiful singing I have ever heard.
The evening ceremony over we returned with Solomon for an early night in readiness for the main Sabbath Ceremony the next day.
Breakfast the next morning will remain indellibly etched in my mind. Cedric, Blain, Richard and I joined Solomon and his family around a table in the lounge. Solomon read a passage from his bible and we all joined hands in prayer. Our breakfast from this poor rural family, who had so graciously welcomed us into their home, consisted of a very thick slice of white bread, on which lay a tiny piece of bacon, – and a large enamel mug of tea. It was the most meagre yet magnificent breakfast that I have ever eaten. The joy and love that accompanied that meal was overwhelming and touched me deeply.
Before setting off for the Sabbath service, we sat in the garden and Solomon sang some songs and played his guitar.
Rabbi Makuwaza had put the word around for his flock to make a special effort to attend this ceremony and over 150 people crammed into the synagogue. At 11 am prompt the service started and continued until 4 pm, with a 20 minute break mid way through – yet it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
The choir had increased in size to about 50. The women resplendent in long black skirts and the men in full black tie. Never before or since have I heard singing to match the incredible harmonic sound that this choir produced – it was electrifying and we all had goose bumps. It wasn’t just the sound but the way the choir performed – marching on the spot and swinging their arms in tune with the songs, each person totally focussed and putting 100% into every note and movement. There is something so evocative about an African choir singing in their native dialect and this was simply the best – it touched my soul.
At various times throughout the service, interspersed by readings from the Rabbi or one of the Elders, any one of a dozen men or women would suddenly step forward to lead the choir into the next song and we would once again be carried away in a harmonious wave of pure joy.
The most moving and unforgettable moment arrived when the choir enacted the Crossing of the River Jordan in song. It began with the 80 year old Rabbi, sounding a single note from a horn. One of the men stepped forward and led the rest into song. Waving a flag at the front of the group he set off and the whole choir marched in file, singing as they went, along the inside perimeter of the wall and down the centre aisle. Twice around they went – then out through a side door of the synagogue. The stirring sound gradually diminishing to a whisper as the last person went through the doorway.
For a few moments there was silence and then Rabbi Makuwaza blew another single note from the horn, signifying the triumphant emergence of them reaching the other side of the River Jordan and into the promised land. Then the choir burst through the side door in full voice to march in victory around the synagogue again. I was again totally overcome with emotion and most of our group were in tears.
Towards the end of the service, Rabbie Makuwaza gave Beth the opportunity to address the congregation. She shared her vision and the purpose of our visit and explained the import of us uniting as one. The Falasha people represented the Lost Tribe of Dan and our unification was symbolic of the Lost Tribe returning to join the 12 great tribes as a prerequisite for peace on earth to unfold.
Beth then called Cedric forward, the only black member of our group, to make a presentation to Rabbi Makuwaza of a beautiful Hopi Indian blanket. Something quite strange occured when we first entered the synagogue. Our group were handed a Kipay (skullcap) to wear from a large cardboard box. For some inexplicable reason, Cedric was handed, quite by accident – it just happend that way- a white one, the only one in the synagogue.
Cedric gave a moving speech and draped the multi coloured Hopi blanket around the shoulders of the Rabbi. It was then that the eldest of the Elders spoke to the Rabbi, who interpreted for us the vivid dream the Elder had had 25 years before, of a black man from far away wearing a white hat and presenting a ‘coat of many colours’ to the Rabbi. More goose bumps!
Before responding the Rabbi excused himself from the synagogue for a while and returned with a a small and delicate looking axe. He then proceeded to tell us in Africa storytelling style, about how much our visit meant to him and his people.
He held up the axe and said “As the axe is used to cut down the tree, so the tree forgets everything – but the axe cannot forget.” He then withdrew a long bladed knife from the handle of the axe and said “As the knife is used to trim the leaves of the tree, the leaves soon forget but the knife can never forget! – So it is with your visit, like the axe and the knife, we will never forget you and this day you have come to share with us.”
Beth later told our group of one of the Hopi prophecies that told of the offering of the axe and the knife marking a new era of peace.
At the culmination of the service, Rabbi Makuwaza said “We are blessed with your visit and for the unification of the tribes – but I need to say this – It was not we who were lost, we were never lost – it was the other tribes who got lost.” Having spent a few days among this happy, homogenous and dedicated community, I could see much truth in his words.
After the ceremony we had a real African feast from huge metal pots over an open fire. (The previous day we had gathered about US$1000 among our group to take some of the women of the community on a shopping spree for food and provisions – it was a joyous occasion and great fun to pile up trollies of goods from the supermarket in Rusape.
It was an emotional farewell that started us on our return journey to South Africa with such fond memories of a special group of Zimbabwean friends.