Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
First of all, I am not aware of anyone from a geographical place called "Geniza" ( Ibrahiim's first post).
Geniza is a Hebrew word for a ritual place dedicated to the " burial" of sacred texts and any objects containing G-d's name. By law, they cannot be destroyed, so they are deposited in a specially-assigned place.
They are a treasure trove for the historians: written documents dating to ancient times, fragments of Torah scrolls etc.
The most famous one was Cairo Geniza.
The story of Christian Jews is strange. As mentioned, converted Jews cease their affiliation with Judaism, unless forced to do so and do not re-affirm their old adherence when the fear of death is removed. Jews in Holland/England are the classic example. Bnei Israel mostly emigrated to Israel in the 1950-60s, and had always been viewed as impeccably Jewish by the Israeli religious authorities.
And it is not Ala: it is Alia, ascent. Returning from another country to Israel is viewed as ascent, elevation. Those who emigrate from Israel are called Yordim, descending, coming down. Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular are viewed by Judaism as the highest spiritual place in the world.
The contribution of Jews to North African trades and crafts both before and after 1492 ( when Jews were evicted from Spain) is well established. But there were significant Jewish communities all over N. Africa dating back to Greek and Roman occupation of Judea. As a matter of fact, one of the recurring motives of the current Berber Independence community ( they call themselves Amazig) is their purportedly Jewish origin and forcible islamization. They claim that their Queen Kahina ( from Cohen?) who resisted invading Arab armies for 3 years was Jewish.