The word Cushi, also spelled Kushi (Hebrew: כושי) is a Hebrew term generally used to refer to a dark-skinned person usually of African descent. Initially the word was used by Hebrew-speaking Jews to refer to individuals of Ethiopian origin, derived from the Biblical land of Cush.
Cush or Kush is the name of an ancient ethnic group who came from the land of Cush, centered on the Upper Nile and Nubia (modern-day Sudan). Mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, they are considered descendants of Noah's grandson, Cush the son of Ham.
According to Ethiopian historians, the Kushite Empire also controlled the mountainous regions around the source of the Blue Nile at first, and the Cushitic and Agaw peoples of Ethiopia (including the Bete Israel or Ethiopian Jews, who have largely migrated to Israel) still maintain traditions of descent from Cush.
Modern Hebrew usage
|Look up כושי in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
In Modern Israeli Hebrew usage, the term Cushi was not initially used as a pejorative term. At times, it was even used to refer fondly to a person of dark skin or a red haired person. It is used as a term of endearment in the case of the renowned Israeli commando of Yemenite extraction, Shimon "Kushi" Rimon (1939–present).
It is generally understood as a derogatory word when referring to Ethiopian Jews today, but is still used to refer to Africans in general. While some translators associate it with the English slur "nigger", the terms are not equivalent.
- Goulbourne, Harry (2001). "Who is a Cushi?". Race and Ethnicity: Solidarities and communities. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22501-9.
- Jerusalem Post Staff. "Rabbi Lior compares Obama to villain Haman". http://www.jpost.com/. Jerusalem Post. External link in