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Latest aliya wave leaves thousands of Ethiopian Jews behind …

The last 119 Ethiopian Jews approved to make aliya were set to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, completing the immigration of the 1,300 persons whom the government had promised to bring to Israel by the end of the year.

The families of the thousands still waiting to make aliya were left wondering when their family members would also be approved to make the move.

According to the two latest cabinet decisions on the issue, held in November 2015 and in August 2016, some 9,000 Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity, may be brought to Israel by the end of 2020, starting with the 1,300 in 2017.

Sabine Hadad, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministrys Population and Immigration Authority, has stressed in the past that 9,000 is only the potential number, and that of those 9,000 people, the government will accept only those who meet the ministrys criteria.

Alisa Bodner, spokeswoman to foreign media of the advocacy group Struggle for Ethiopian Aliya, has accused the ministry of not having upheld all of its commitments, specifically referring to Clause 5 of cabinet decision 1911, passed in 2016.

The clause states that as long as the Population and Immigration Authority understands that the number of those eligible to enter the country according to this decision is significantly higher or lower than 1,300, it will be brought again before the cabinet for approval. Despite this requirement, This never happened, Bodner told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The budget [for immigration] is going to be decided on in the next few days, and if those names [of those awaiting aliya] are not at the Prime Ministers Office, then they wont be included in the budget, she said. So theres a lot of concern that immigration will not continue in the coming year.

She added that government representatives are being unresponsive to queries by activists.

In response to a query by the Post, the interior ministers spokesman Barak Serry said: The Population and Immigration Authority completed its activities in accordance with the cabinets decision to absorb 1,300 immigrants from Ethiopia according to the criteria that were set. The data were transferred to the Prime Ministers Office.

The decision regarding an additional quota should be made by the cabinet in a special resolution. To date, to the best of our knowledge, no proposal has been formulated for this matter and we have not been asked to address it.

The Post sought to verify Bodners assertions regarding the Population and Immigration Authority, but Hadad did not respond to a query as to whether the authority had stated that there were more Ethiopians eligible for aliya.

Ethiopian-Israeli MK Avraham Neguise, who has spearheaded efforts to bring Ethiopians eligible for aliya to Israel, told the Post on Wednesday that there is a positive approach toward the need to continue the aliya in 2018, but there is no final decision.

We know that the Interior Ministry has identified that there are more people eligible under the cabinet decision and current criteria…, but the aliya cannot continue unless the cabinet has approved another budget for 2018, Neguise added.

The MK expressed hope that a new resolution would be approved on the issue, noting that nobody has said no, but they say it is in the process of receiving the necessary approval.

The interior minister has not brought it to the cabinet, he added, saying the responsibility lies with Interior Minister Arye Deri, in order to bring about a new cabinet decision and for the Finance Ministry to subsequently allocate the necessary funds for the aliya. But if the interior minister does not demand it, they wont do it voluntarily, Neguise asserted.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem said on Wednesday that once additional olim from Ethiopia are approved by the cabinet, it stands ready to raise the money needed to sponsor this second year of renewed Ethiopian aliya.

The ICEJ invested $1.2 million in Ethiopian aliya this past year, including additional monies to assist with the critical absorption phase, as these Jewish communities adjust to the new language and culture of Israel. Christians from all over the world have been contributing to this humanitarian cause, including generous donations from African Christians, the organization noted.

The great ingathering of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel is still continuing, and it is a real privilege and joy for our organization to play such a central role in this historic return to Zion, said Dr. Jrgen Bhler, president of the ICEJ.

We know that these latest arrivals from the Ethiopia community will never be the same as they rejoin their families and become fully part of the modern miracle of Israel. Some of these families have been separated now for over two decades, and so it is a special honor for us to help bring them back together here in the Jewish homeland.

Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who under compulsion and pressure from missionaries converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Since their ancestors converted to another religion, the Falash Mura are not covered by the Law of Return, which grants the right to immigrate and gain citizenship to anyone with a Jewish grandparent.

The Falash Mura are brought to Israel under the Law of Entry and are required to convert to Judaism once in Israel. They receive the same absorption benefits granted to immigrants who come under the Law of Return.

Abere Endeshaw, a leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia, is waiting in Addis Ababa for his own chance to make aliya.

This week is the last aliya of the year, he said. Today I witnessed some of the community members leaving Ethiopia and heading toward the Promised Land. Today I saw two sisters one heading home to Israel and one back to the community. I saw two brothers one heading home to Israel and one going back to the community, and many more. I wonder when the separation will stop. I wonder when the cries of a mother and father, sister and brother, aunt and uncle will stop and be united with happiness.

I wish a very successful journey for the Jews all over the world who made aliya during this year, and I wish strength and hope for the remaining Jews who are waiting to go back home, Endeshaw said.

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January 23, 2018   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Ethiopian Jews in Israel – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry

You must tell them the truth, the reality of the situation, said my Ethiopian friend, when I asked her what she wanted the world to know about Ethiopian Jews in Israel. And its a tough reality, but not one without hope.

God is at work in every part of Israeli society, and the gospel is reaching Ethiopian Jews in all sorts of ways especially the younger generation.

There have been communities of Jewish Ethiopians following the the Torah for centuries. Even back in Acts 8 we see an Ethiopian Eunuch, the treasurer to Queen Candace of Ethiopia, no less, trying to understand Isaiah 53, when God suddenly brings Philip along to explain it to him, as he traveled back home from Jerusalem by chariot. Other Ethiopians include the wife of Moses, Zipporah, and the Ethiopian who rescued Jeremiah from the pit he had been thrown into, and of course, the Queen of Sheba.

There are several theories about the origins of the Ethiopian Jewish community; most Ethiopian Jews themselves believe that when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, they conceived a son named Menelik, and his descendants were raised in the ways of the God of Israel. Another theory holds that they are the descendants of Jews who fled when the Babylonians conquered Judah in 586 BCE, traveling through Egypt, down the Nile, settling in Ethiopia. Another is that some of the Jewish diaspora traveled from the Arabian peninsula (near Yemen) to the Horn of Africa established new Jewish communities, perhaps intermarrying with local tribes.

Approximately 140,000 Ethiopian Jewish people live in Israel today, about a third of whom were born in Israel. The majority came in the massive airlifting operations of 1985 and 1991 Operation Moses and Operation Solomon helping them to Make Aliyah (return to Israel) collectively in the thousands. However, the culture shock and transition has proved extremely challenging, exacerbated by the racism they have been subjected to when they finally made to Israel. There have been some significant problems such as poverty and unemployment among many Ethiopian families and communities as a result.The truth is that the blight of racism is an inescapable fact for the Africans who make it to Israel, whether they are Jewish or not. It affects Jews and non-Jews, asylum seekers and Israeli citizens, Messianics and atheists alike.

On arrival to Israel many have found the rabbinic Judaism that most follow in Israel today rather alien to their practices. Not only is the expression of Judaism different, but the whole way of life in Israel is different, the culture is different, the language is different, and the values of the society are different. The landing can be rough, and many have come with nothing at all, some even making the journey by foot. Yet it should be a source of pride that against all the odds, and despite multiple hurdles, barriers and obstacles, Ethiopian Jews are now finding places of significance in Israeli society lawyers, teachers, police officers, doctors and recently a pilot. Those who experience racism know that these achievements are hard fought for, and worthy of celebration.

Throughout the generations, Ethiopian Jews have longed to return to Jerusalem. Each year, fifty days after Yom Kippur, the Jewish community in Ethiopia celebrates the festival of Sigd, which means worship. They climb a mountain and celebrate the giving of the Torah to Moses at Sinai, and also the rediscovery of the Torah in the times of Ezra and the revival after the Babylonian exile. In Ezras time, the people were called as a nation to celebrate Passover in response to hearing Gods law again, even though it wasnt Passover time, and in reference to that event, the community also then celebrates a Passover together. There is traditional food and dancing, and heartfelt love and longing for Jerusalem and the Promised Land.

For those who have now returned to Israel, Sigd is a time of great rejoicing that the dream of return has been realized. I attended such a celebration in an absorption center for new immigrants, and enjoyed the fabulous Ethiopian food, the unique dancing, and the contagious joy of a dream fulfilled. This particular feast is not emphasized so much in the Messianic community, who have found the One toward whom the entire Torah points Yeshua the Messiah.

More and more Ethiopian young people are coming to faith in Yeshua.

There are many Ethiopian Jews who believe in Yeshua here in Israel. We have Messianic Ethiopian staff and students here at Israel College of the Bible, and there are MessianicEthiopianministries and congregations operating in the Amharic language, running somegreat outreach programs and initiatives designed to meet the specific needs of the community.

Additionally, younger Ethiopian Israelis who do not know about Yeshua are hearing the gospel from Messianic believers around them in society especially in the army. Many younger believers in Israel are emboldened now to share their faith without shame, wherever they may be in the army, at work, school, or wherever. And people are responding, including some in the Ethiopian community. Like the journey from Ethiopia to Israel, the journey to integrate into Israeli society has been long and hard. However, the younger generation are seeming to navigate their way more successfully than the older generations who came such a distance both physically and culturally. A great emphasis is being placed on education for the younger generation, as a key to succeed and find their place in Israel. We are glad to be contributing towards that important goal as the Ethiopian students at Israel College of the Bible become proficient in their study of the Bible, and equipped to lead and teach others.

We are an Israeli ministry composed of Jewish & Arab followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who are all about blessing Israel through sharing the gospel online, educating the new generation of born-again believers through our one and only Hebrew-speaking Bible College in Israel, and helping holocaust survivors by supplying humanitarian aid.

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Ethiopian Jews in Israel – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry

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January 23, 2018   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Boston-Haifa Connection: Ethiopian Jews | Combined Jewish …

Ethiopian Jews

Since 1948 more than 90,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel in search of religious freedom. Language, cultural and educational barriers are just some of the challenges they face. To prevent a permanent underclass from forming, we worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to create Shiluvim (integration) an innovative, multi-year program that is changing the fate of Ethiopian Israelis in Haifa.

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Boston-Haifa Connection: Ethiopian Jews | Combined Jewish …

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Saving The Forgotten Jews – BBC News – YouTube

30 years ago 2 remarkable mass movements transported this community to the modern State of Israel and now the festival has once again become recognised, much like the Ethiopian Jews themselves, as an authentic part of the wider Jewish tradition. This year as Sigd approaches we explore how this community came to arrive in the state of Israel. It is an incredible story of espionage, heroism and unyielding faith that led to tens of thousands of people leaving their homes and risking their lives. We join both those who were instrumental in the operations themselves and members of the Ethiopian Jewish community to explore how these so-called miraculous events happened and what they mean today.

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Like bits of colored glass, we’re all unique and beautiful – ISRAEL21c

The colorful bits in a kaleidoscope whirl into ever-changing patterns, each one distinct as it complements the others.

Schoolchildren participating in the Kaleidoscope program in Israeli classrooms are encouraged to consider how the pieces they see in the kaleidoscope reflect internal and interpersonal diversities in identities, emotions and cultures.

Sometimes they live in harmony and create beautiful shapes and sometimes they dont, says Kaleidoscope founding director Chana Reifman Zweiter.

The classroom-based program teaches problem-solving, collaboration, self-awareness and other social and emotional skills proven by research to form the foundation of respect between people of different backgrounds, Zweiter tells ISRAEL21c.

We work in city-wide initiatives, implementing the approach in early childhood and continuing through junior high school just like other subject areas, Zweiter says.

While most other organizations focus on relationships between specific cultures, Kaleidoscope is adapted to address acceptance between Ethiopian and native Israelis, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, students of the special and general education tracks, Christians and Jews, she explains.

Since 1991, Kaleidoscope has touched approximately 40,000 students, educators and parents throughout Israel. This year, about 1,200 students from early childhood through junior high school participated, and 45 educators in Jerusalem, Lod, Ramla and Acre (Akko) were trained to facilitate Kaleidoscope in their classrooms.

Kaleidoscope in action

The phased program starts with that first look into a kaleidoscope to foster an appreciation of the beauty of differences. The children have four or five workshops in their own schools to develop the self-awareness, empathy, and reflection critical to accepting others.

They then meet children from other schools and cultures about five times over the course of the year, where they apply these social skills in interactive programming that helps them feel comfortable with one another.

At one meeting of seventh-graders from Arab and Jewish schools in Acre, participants were paired and assigned a task to complete while tied together with rope in order to experience interdependency. During another paired activity, they got a piece of paper to draw on separately. By the second or third time, their pictures are no longer separate but cooperative.

One pair drew a picture of Akko with writing in Hebrew and Arabic saying This is our city, Zweiter relates.

Wafeed Mansur, principal of the 640-student Hilmi Shaafi junior high school in Acre, believes Kaleidoscope is responsible for halting afterschool hostilities that used to arise between his mostly Muslim Arab pupils and Jewish kids in the mixed northern city.

Weve been doing Kaleidoscope almost 10 years. We started with small meetings between teachers and principals and eventually added two or three classes, Mansur tells ISRAEL21c.

To tell you the truth, it was a little tough at the beginning because many [participants] couldnt manage to see a Jew or an Arab as someone they could talk to. We kept insisting the meetings should go on and they started to express their ideas and their fears, too. Since they discovered the qualities of the other side, the humanity of the other side, and personalities that could hear and deal with their opinions, it has been very beneficial, says Mansur. I havent heard of any problems in the last six or seven years.

Children learn to appreciate the beauty of differences by looking in kaleidoscopes. Photo courtesy of Kaleidoscope

Zweiter says that outside evaluations have shown Kaleidoscope participants to be more open to meeting individuals of cultures they dont know than are their peers who do not participate.

Kaleidoscopes documented success in changing attitudes has won it support from private and public agencies including USAID and the Israeli ministries of education and absorption.

Zweiter shares Kaleidoscope curricula in workshops and lectures internationally, and received the Bonei Zion Award at the Knesset in 2015 for her contribution to diversity education in Israel.

Social inclusion

Before moving to Israel from New York in 1991, Zweiter founded and directed the Yachad program, integrating Jewish youth with special needs into the greater Jewish community.

My dream was to apply my experience in social inclusion into the community here in Israel, she says.

In February 1992 she founded an organization that established afterschool art, music and sports clubs for special-needs and mainstream kids in Ramla, Lod and Jerusalem. The following year, one school asked if the program could address the influx of Ethiopian immigrants who were feeling socially isolated.

I did not take for granted that the program would work with the inclusion of a different population, so I really studied the Ethiopian culture before establishing in-class social activities to foster togetherness of different populations, says Zweiter.

From there, her approach was adapted to help integrate Jews and Arabs, and religious and secular Jewish children in different parts of Israel, during the regular school day.

Around 1998 we adopted the idea of the kaleidoscope because it was symbolic of the different cultures and the positive aspects, she says.

Kaleidoscope rents an office at the Ministry of Educations Center for Professional Development in Lod. About a dozen facilitators train educators from participating schools.

We learned that teachers need a lot of professional development. One of the main findings in our yearly evaluations is that the teachers increased their willingness to participate and to continue with the programming in subsequent years, says Zweiter.

This year we had early-childhood teachers from east and west Jerusalem who said Kaleidoscope helped break stigmas and stereotypes. At first they didnt think it would work but gradually they established relationships.

Mansur, the principal in Acre, says attitudes and beliefs often are far apart. Unless we can bridge these differences we will never be as equal as we can be. Kaleidoscope provides the tools and the leadership to do this.

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A look into Haredi textbooks shows hatred and racism – Ynetnews

Textbooks used to teach students at ultra-Orthodox schools in Israel portray Reform Jews as the enemy, while seculars, Zionists and leftists also receive hostile treatment, a comprehensive study published last month by the research center IMPACTSE found.

The study found scathing criticism of Zionism in ultra-Orthodox textbooks: “Late nineteenth century anti-Semitism led to cohesion within the ranks of the assimilators, who created their own organizations. These organizations gave great power to assimilated Jewry, which no one could withstand,” according to History of Recent Generations, a textbook for middle school.

Photo: Alex Kolonoisky

Secular people, according to Haredi textbooks, applied any means necessary to secularize the new immigrants arriving in Israel. “They cut off the payot (side locks) of Yemenite children, claiming that they harbored lice; they withheld work arrangements from parents if they refused to send their children to secular schools; and deprived them of all other necessities, such as food, housing, and sanitary conditions,” according to the History of Recent Generations textbook.

“At the center of every immigrant settlement they built a new and handsome building for secular cultural activity, while synagogues were set up in wretched sheds at the outskirts of the camps, so that only the old and sick would go there. In this way the children were cut off from their parents and from their parents’ faith.”

The Haredi sheep is surrounded by enemies, with those from withinleftists, the High Court, the media and Reforms among otherspresented as other sheep, while those from withoutHamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and even the Amalekare presented as wolves.

On secular education, the textbook’s authors explain that, “During this period of fierce struggle over the Jewish character of every sphere of activity and every institution in Israel, the hollowness of secular education became obvious. The Ministry of Education director frankly admitted the failure of secular education, whose outcomes could be seen clearly in our generation, stripped bare of ideals and sunk in the depths of materialism… The academically educated also demonstrated the failure of secular education; many who did not manage to attain the ‘affluent society’ lifestyle, left the country.”

One of the ultra-Orthodox’s biggest adversaries, as the books portray him, is Moses Mendelssohn, a German Jewish philosopher and one of the forefathers of the Jewish Enlightenment Movement in the 18th century. “The Haskalah as instituted by Moshe Mendelssohn branched out in two ways: conversion from Judaism, and Reform Judaism. Those who took the first path were cut off from the Jewish nation’s Tree of Life: they converted. Those who followed the second route tried to damage the tree itself, to corrupt and deform it through changes aimed at turning Judaism into a version of Christianity. These were the Reform Jews,” the History of Recent Generations textbook states.

Later, the textbook refers to the Reform movement as “treacherous,” “nasty,” and “despicable.”

Haredi students learn that Jews have absolute right over the entire Land of Israel, as God promised Abraham. Textbooks in civicsa subject taught mostly to girlsshow the ultra-Orthodox don’t consider occupation to be unjust, but do believe the Palestinians, along with other non-Jewish residents of Israel, should be treated fairly and with caution.

“The liberation of the homeland is promised by the Creator of the Universe; it is not considered to be an ‘occupation.’ The only issue about which care must be taken is that of allowing the inhabitants to choose whether to remain in the land as foreign subjects, accepting the behavioral restrictions that would be imposed upon them, or to leave the land,” according to the civics textbook As a New Citizen.

A map of Israel in Haredi text books, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of Israel.

The Haredi textbooks almost entirely ignore the Israeli-Palestinians conflict and the question of the Palestinian national identity. According to the textbook’s writers, Israeli Arabs are citizens with equal rights, “but they have not been content with this, and have insisted that they also have the right to identify with the Arabs of the Territories, those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’though the latter are enemies of the state,” according to History of Recent Generations.

The textbook compares the dangers posed by these Arabs to “what happened in Germany when the Nazis came to power. The Nazis used democratic means, including general elections, to take control of Germany.”

The Palestinian issue is mostly addressed in chapters dealing with what Haredi history textbooks describe as the greatest catastrophe to befall the State of Israelthe Oslo Accords.

History of Recent Generations describes the results of the accords, “The Israeli government gave them authority and political, economic and military power without concern for the destructive consequences that might result from placing such might in the hands of the monstrous PLO terrorists and the PLO’s military arm, Fatah.”

Later in the book, an article from the Haredi newspaper Hamodia is quoted: “They were given almost everything. They (the Palestinians) never were a distinct people and they never had a country of their own. We declared them a people and gave them a land. But the more we gave them, the more intensely hostile they became, and the more acts of murder they committed.”

At fault for the Oslo disaster, according to Haredi textbooks, are the Israeli left-wing parties, who aided Yasser Arafat realize his evil plan and agreed to sign the agreement in September 1993 on the lawns of the White House.

“Arafat was in the worst possible situation, from every perspective. But at that very point the Israeli leftist political parties came to his aid. They assumed that the head of the PLO terrorist organization would prove to be a peace partner,” History of Recent Generations accuses.

In two other areas there were no surprises: the attitude towards women and science and scientific discoveries. Haredi textbooks on nature and science make no mention of Darwin’s theory of evolution, but there is limited reference to important scientific discoveries, with an emphasis put on the religious and miraculous aspects. Behind every discovery stands the Creator, and clues can be found in the Bible for every invention.

Women, meanwhile, have seen a change in their status in recent years as they became the main providers in the Haredi home while the men went to study at the yeshiva. This is also how women are portrayed in ultra-Orthodox textbooks.

A poem in the textbook In Good Time for first graders describes “Mother” as one who “leads the home with wisdom and insight,” but also one whose role is “To wash the dishes and listen to stories / To hang the laundry and sing us songs.” Furthermore, the mother “respect(s) Father and serve(s) his plate first.”

The father, meanwhile, is described as one who “understands many things / And many people consult with him.”

However, the most prominent aspect in Haredi society’s treatment of women is their exclusion from the public eye. The ultra-Orthodox attitude toward women is succinctly described in the saying “All glorious is the King’s daughter within.” And so, there are no photos of women in textbooks, though there are drawings depicting women.

One absurd example of this exclusion appears in an English textbook for the second grade, where students are asked to answer questions about family relations. The book features two photosone of the male members of the family, and the other of the female members of the family. But instead of the women, the photo presents empty chairs.

Meanwhile, textbooks from the state education system or the state-religious education system, which come out in special editions for the ultra-Orthodox sector, mostly censor drawings and photos, and exclude any mention of boys and girls coming into contact.

Also almost entirely absent from Haredi textbooks are Ethiopian Jews. And while the ultra-Orthodox textbooks harshly criticize slavery in the US, they are most likely the only textbooks in Israel to still use the word “kushim,” a Biblical word that was common and non-pejorative in the 1950s and 60s, but is no longer acceptable since it is now translated as “Negro.”

Discussion of ‘Negro’ slaves

None of the textbooks examined in this study make any mention of Mizrahi rabbis or the historical events and the rich Jewish culture in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

Sephardic rabbis of the older generation, such as Solomon ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi among others, are covered extensively in Haredi textbooks. But from the end of the Sephardic Golden Age to this very day, Haredi history textbooks focus almost exclusively on the Ashkenazi community.

If this was the case only in the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox education system, which is known for its racist tendencies, that would be one thing. But it appears even at schools belonging to the Shas Movementwhich claims to represent the Sephardic Haredi Jewstextbooks appear to ignore Mizrahi culture.

The study found that teachers at Shas’s independent El Hama’ayan (“Towards the Fountain”) educational network use textbooks written by Ashkenazi Jews, which deal only in the Ashkenazi cultural world. And when Mizrahi Jews are mentioned in the textbooks examined in the study, it is done in a condescending manner.

Haredi textbooks (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

For example, “Bracha with Bracha,” which appears in the fourth grade textbook Our Childhood, tells the story of a father from an Ashkenazi family who starts working as a teacher at a refugee camp and tries to help the parents of his students find work. Bracha, an emigrant from Yemen, comes to work at the Ashkenazi family’s home as a laundress.

While Bracha is industrious and thorough, she also quite chatty. “When I was 23, I already had five children, may the evil eye not affect them, because in Yemen women were married off very young, practically girls. And that was so the gentile neighbors won’t want, God forbid, to marry them. I was also married when I was about 14, and now I have 10 children,” she tells one of the family’s daughters.

Later, Bracha tells an Ashkenazi girl with “gaping eyes” that, “We Yemenites are very quick and we aren’t afraid of any work.”

Other than briefly mentioning the absorption problems experienced by emigrants from Muslim countries in the State of Israel’s early days, the Ashkenazi education systemboth Lithuanian and Hassidic alikehardly touches upon the discrimination of Mizrahi Jews in Israel, and significant events like the Wadi Salib riots or the Israeli Black Panthers Movement are not mentioned at all.

Furthermore, while the textbooks are filled with stories about the foundation of Haredi yeshivot in Israel, there isn’t a single mention of a Mizrahi yeshiva, not even the Porat Yosef Yeshiva, which is the leading yeshiva in the Sephardic Haredi sector.

Even Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the most prominent religious leader and ruler among Sephardic Jews, is missing from Haredi textbooks. While the textbooks examined in the study deal with many influential rabbis, they are all Ashkenazi. Rabbi Yosef’s photo only appears in one textbook, and even then it appears as part of a story about another, Ashkenazi rabbi.

The report about the Haredi text books, meanwhile, is the first of its kind. The study, which examined 93 textbooks used in all grades over the last year, took months, mostly due to difficulty in figuring out which of the books were actually taught in the ultra-Orthodox education system. Furthermore, ultra-Orthodox education differs in the Lithuanian, Hassidic and Mizrahi sectors, making the study even more challenging.

“The problem with Haredi education is that it’s different to any other sector,” said IMPACTSE CEO Marcus Sheff. “In the Israeli education system, like the one in Iran, Saudi Arabia or any other country we study, everything is organized and available online. With the Haredim, there’s a gray area. There are many different types of education: Recognized official education, recognized unofficial education, unrecognized…

“There is a list of textbook available in the Education Ministry’s records, but it’s hard to tell which of them were actually taught at the schools. That is why we focused on textbooks that were definitely taught in the great majority of the educational institutions we’re familiar with. Of course, in many of the institutions meant to boys over 13, most if not all of the studies are religious.”

Sheff noted that while the study examined textbooks from the last year, “most of them have barely changed since the 1950s. This is not surprising, considering the fact that ‘the new is forbidden by the Torah,’ as Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz) said. Modernity is an enemy. Because of that, the Haredim view the Reform Movement as the biggest threat they face. They fight with everything they’ve got against Moses Mendelssohn, a man who died 230 years ago. When looking at the Western Wall and conversion crises, you can find the root of the problem in this study.”

“This is exactly what we’ve been seeing recently with the Reform Movement and the Western Wall crisis, or the conversion crisis. The ultra-Orthodox are confident that anyone who thinks differently does so out of malice, stupidity, or indifference toward the Torah, piety, and the people of Israel. And that is a problem,” he continues.

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Israel’s Ethiopian Jews keep ancient language alive in prayer – Al-Monitor

New Jewish immigrants are seen during a welcoming ceremony after arriving on a flight from Ethiopia at Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 29, 2012.(photo byUriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Author:Mordechai Goldman Posted June 29, 2017

On June 7, another group of about 70 Falash Mura (peopleof Jewish origin) immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia. Their arrival revived discussions ofthe preservation of Ethiopian Jewry’s ancient traditions, particularlytheir language,Ge’ez.

Ge’ez is an ancient Semitic language with its own unique alphabet. Itserved as the national language of the Ethiopian Empire until about one thousand years ago. It is survived by its close relatives,the contemporary Semitic languages of Ethiopia:Tigre, Tigrinyaand Amharic. With the penetration and growth of Amharic, Ge’ez was increasingly marginalized. Now, it is only usedas the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Church, the Eritrean Churchand the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Samai Elias, therabbi or “kes”of the Ethiopian community of Rishon LeTzion and chairman of the Spiritual Council of Kessim (Rabbis), told Al-Monitor,”Ge’ez is not a spoken language at all today. It is the language of our prayers and our Torah scrolls. Kessimlearn the language, but as a spoken tongue, it is in danger of immediate extinction. What gives it a longer shelf life is that our prayers are still recited in it. These prayers preserve the language, if only on a low flame.”

“You could say that the relative survival of theGe’ez language could be credited mainly to the Jews of Ethiopia,” addedAbeje Medhani, the documentation coordinator at the Israeli State Center for Ethiopian Jewish Heritage. He is responsible for various projects working onthe preservation, documentation and recognition of the culture and heritage of Ethiopian Jewry. “Although it is a sacred language for the church as well, only we have continued to use it in our prayers for the past thousand years. Knowing Ge’ez is, in effect, the threshold that anyone who wants to become a kes must pass. A kes must know the prayers and the Torah in the Ge’ez language. Modern researchers make frequent use of Jewish materials to study the Ge’ez language. Jewish monks in the 15th century composed the prayers and religious law books of the Jewish community in Ge’ez.”

While Ge’ez is being preserved in some way, the Qwara language, which originated in the Qwara province of Ethiopia, has almost completely disappeared, though it was once considered the “Yiddish” (a colloquial and colorful language mixof Hebrew and German) of the Ethiopian Jewish community. “Until a few years ago, elders of the community who arrived from the Qwara region still knew the language, which was once in general use among the Jews of Ethiopia. Missionaries and researchers who visited the region in the 18th and 19th centuries testifiedthat it was used by most Ethiopian Jews,” saidMedhani. “Today, however, you could say that the language is completely extinct.”

Elias added, “The Qwara language is unique to the Jews of Ethiopia. As far as I know, there is no one in the world today who speaks Qwara or even knows Qwara. I am envious of Yiddish, which has enjoyed something of a renaissance and revival recently. I think that in contrast, the fate of Qwara is sealed.”

Medhani, who speaks Ge’ez, recently published a Ge’ez prayer book, though according to Ethiopian tradition, prayers are recited by heart and not read. “I reached the conclusion that preserving the language will occur through the liturgy,” he said, “if Ge’ez isn’tbrought back to use.” Medhani is now working on an Amharic-Ge’ez dictionary. His dream is to see the first nonreligious text published in Ge’ez.

When asked about why it is so important to preserve the heritage of the Ethiopian exilesonce the community immigratesto Israel, Elias stressed,”It is an ancient Jewish heritage that cannot be dismissed.”

“We are talking about prayers that were recited by Jews for hundreds of years. Their forms and melodies are unique. They were not copied from other communities or religions. We have a variety of original material. That obligates us to preserve the language. Similarly, the Kaddish prayer is recited in Aramaic, and that has not been changed over the years. We are preserving a heritage,” he added.

This desire to preserve Ethiopian culture, especiallythe Ge’ez language, has intensified in recent years, oncethe Ethiopian immigrant community became establishedand startedintegrating into Israeli society. “With the first waves of immigration, there was a very strong tendency to sever ties with our roots and to distance ourselves from our language and traditions. There were concerns that people would stop praying in that language. Over the last decade, however, there has been something of a return to itand a larger quest for Ethiopian identity,” saidMedhani.

Elias is convinced that the reasonmany young Ethiopians are returning to their traditional practices, such as using Ethiopian names and embracing Ge’ez cultural activities,has to do with the discriminationthe communityfaces. “What changed thingswas the attitude of the government, which refused to recognize the spiritual leadership of the Ethiopian Jewish community. This had a boomerang effect,” he explained. “Israel’s Chief Rabbinate revoked the authority of the kessim. They are not allowed to perform marriage ceremonies for young members of the community or to grant kosher certification, based on the community’s customs and norms. Young people today want to show that the community has not abandoned the kessim. That is the source of the revival of tradition.”

Elias added, “We’ve been in Israel for 30 years now. During the first 15 years, not a single kes was ordained in Israel. In the last 15 years, 30 new kessim, some born in Israel, were ordained. In 2010, the government decided to recognize the 15 kessimwho were ordained in Israeland granted them the authority to serve their communities. We are now facing a much bigger struggle, not only to obtain government salaries for them, but also to recognize kessim as Jewish spiritual leaders with authority over matters of marriage and kashrut. Much to our surprise, there was a certain readiness in the government to consider the issue seriously and to give it a voice. They see that the younger generation has no plans to give up.”

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/geez-language-only-left-in-lithurgy.html

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Israel’s Ethiopian Jews keep ancient language alive in prayer – Al-Monitor

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A Legendary Photographer Visits an Isolated Christian Community in Ethiopia – Smithsonian

We were very tired, Sebastio Salgado recalls. He was on a 500-mile, 55-day hike though some of the most inaccessible passages in the Ethiopian highlands, a region known as the roof of Africa, where the elevations range from a few thousand feet to almost 15,000. We had to climb, to climb, to climb, he says in his Portuguese-accented English. Finally he and his porters and guides reached a village. It was about 2 p.m., very hot. Very few people.

But slowly, slowly people start to come out, says Salgado, one of the worlds premier photographers. Among the villagers were two ladies with a kind of basin, wood basin, and with water. They came beside my feet, they took off my boots, my socks, and they washed my feet. Oh boy, I felt the humility of the beginning of the Christians.

This sacred encounter, reminiscent of the biblical scene in which Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, was a highlight of the extraordinary journey that led Salgado to create the pictures on these pages. They commemorate a peoples profound connection to both the heavens and the earth.

It was 2008, and Salgado, a native of Brazil, was 64 years old. His monumental projects Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000) had established his pre-eminence as a chronicler of conflict, dislocation and environmental degradation. Then, as an antidote to despair, he embarked on an eight-year quest involving some 30 trips all over the globe to seek out places and peoples untouched by modernity, including the highlanders of Ethiopia.

Why would a man risk his 64-year-old knees on terrain so difficult that it killed five of his expeditions rented donkeys? In every step we discovered new things, Salgado explains. You feel the power there.

The highlands hold traces of ancient Jewish communities, though most of Ethiopias Jews emigrated to Israel in the 1980s and 90s to escape famine, persecution and civil war. Some of the worlds oldest Christian communities persist there, populated by the spiritual descendants of an Ethiopian court official who, according to the New Testament, was converted to the faith a few years after the death of Christ. Today, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians make up 44 percent of the countrys population; Sunni Muslims, who are concentrated in the east, make up 34 percent.

Sectarian and civil conflict still wrack other parts of Ethiopia, but not this one. Setting out from Lalibela, with its 11 renowned monolithic medieval churches, Salgado headed southeast and then turned northwest, to Simien Mountains National Park. Some people he had consulted before his trip advised him to hire armed guards, so he did. Two guys with Kalashnikovs, he says. After one week we sent them back, because we felt that the people would take this as an offense. When you come to a place, everyone brings a gift to you, they are so kind.

He, too, brought giftsknives and tools to trade for lamb meat to supplement the food he packed in for himself and his retinue of 17 guides, porters and donkey-tenders. So few people tread the path they took that we had no guide capable to come with us from the beginning to the end, he says. When one guides knowledge of the way ahead ran out, Salgado hired someone who could pick up the trail. With local expertise, plus a GPS-equipped satellite telephone, they stayed on track. With solar panels, he kept his phone and camera batteries charged. But above all else, he says, he valued his hiking shoes.

The highland villages are so far removed from the rest of the world, Salgado says, that in most of them he was the first outsider to visit in memory. And theyre so cut off from one another that they speak different dialects. But they are linked by the same God, he says. These communities are Christians from the beginning of time. In these communities, he saw churches fashioned from caves, Bibles written on animal skins and traditions that reflect Christianitys Judaic roots, such as forgoing milk and meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. He was especially taken with the highlanders terraced farms: I looked at all this incredible, sophisticated agriculture, I said, We had these 10,000 years ago.

For him, the villages bespeak a continuity over millennia, and the landscapewith its blazing shafts of sunlight and a river-carved canyon deeper, at points, than the Grand Canyoninspires a connection to eons past.

That river, the Tekez, ultimately nourished the Blue Nile Delta, hundreds of miles away. All that fertile land energy came from there, eroded from there, Salgado says, and boy, me walking there, seeing this, doing my task inside the beginning of our history, was something amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.

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Opinion Natan Sharansky: Aliyah List is a partnership for the future – Jewish News

Were experiencing a renaissance in aliyah, an action that for years was associated with images of Jews fleeing persecution and adversity in their countries of origin.

The numbers were made up of Holocaust survivors, Jews from Arab countries, Ethiopian Jews and Jews from the former Soviet Union. They all came to Israel seeking refuge from the hardships they left behind.

In recent years, however, we have witnessed a dramatic shift: aliyah from Western, democratic countries now accounts for greater numbers than immigration from the rest of the world.

A high-tech superpower with a booming economy and low unemployment, Israel has come to be viewed as an attractive destination for Western Jews seeking a brighter future for their families.

And as increasing numbers of young people experience life in Israel through Jewish Agency programmes like Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel, they come to understand that Israel is both an integral part of their Jewish identity and a place in which they can celebrate that identity comfortably and fully. If in the past the bulk of Jewish immigration to Israel was aliyah of rescue, today it is very much aliyah of choice. It is the product of an affirmative decision to lead a fully Jewish life in the Jewish state.

British Jewry has long been a leading force within British society. From the earliest days of Jewish settlement in Britain until the present day, British Jews have risen to the highest echelons of British culture, journalism, business, politics, and arts. Indeed, this year we will celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, one of British Jewrys proudest achievements.

I personally remember British Jews extraordinary contributions to our struggle for freedom in the Soviet Union, including the invaluable role played by the London-based Womens Campaign for Soviet Jewry, known as the 35s.

Similarly, there was the work of Royal Navy veteran Michael Sherbourne, who coined the term refusenik and served as our primary channel of communication with the outside world.

And yet, despite the British Jewish communitys full integration into British society and its significant involvement in both national and international affairs, thousands of British Jews have chosen to realise their Zionist dreams by making aliyah, tying their personal fates to that of the Jewish state.

In recent years, in fact, we have seen the number of British immigrants to Israel grow by more than 30 percent.

From diplomats to artists, journalists to lawyers, immigrants from Britain have contributed richly to Israeli society and they continue to do so today, serving as a bridge between the UK and Israel and bringing the dynamic energy of British Jewry with them.

Perhaps one of the most notable contributions of British immigrants in recent years has been the introduction of that most cherished British Jewish institution, Limmud, to Israeli audiences.

Earlier this month. I was pleased to join president Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in celebrating Limmuds unique impact on Israel and world Jewry with the 2017 Jerusalem Unity Prize.

As we honour the contributions of British immigrants to the Jewish state, I encourage you to nominate outstanding British olim for inclusion in the Aliyah List, a partnership between the Jewish Agency and Jewish News.

And as we look forward to celebrating Israels 70th birthday, I invite you to learn about the Jewish Agencys programmes and about all that life in Israel has to offer and I look forward to seeing you next year in Jerusalem.

Article by Natan Sharansky, Chairman, The Jewish Agency

NOMINATE HERE:

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Opinion Natan Sharansky: Aliyah List is a partnership for the future – Jewish News

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Latest aliya wave leaves thousands of Ethiopian Jews behind …

The last 119 Ethiopian Jews approved to make aliya were set to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, completing the immigration of the 1,300 persons whom the government had promised to bring to Israel by the end of the year. The families of the thousands still waiting to make aliya were left wondering when their family members would also be approved to make the move. According to the two latest cabinet decisions on the issue, held in November 2015 and in August 2016, some 9,000 Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity, may be brought to Israel by the end of 2020, starting with the 1,300 in 2017. Sabine Hadad, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministrys Population and Immigration Authority, has stressed in the past that 9,000 is only the potential number, and that of those 9,000 people, the government will accept only those who meet the ministrys criteria. Alisa Bodner, spokeswoman to foreign media of the advocacy group Struggle for Ethiopian Aliya, has accused the ministry of not having upheld all of its commitments, specifically referring to Clause 5 of cabinet decision 1911, passed in 2016. The clause states that as long as the Population and Immigration Authority understands that the number of those eligible to enter the country according to this decision is significantly higher or lower than 1,300, it will be brought again before the cabinet for approval. Despite this requirement, This never happened, Bodner told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. The budget [for immigration] is going to be decided on in the next few days, and if those names [of those awaiting aliya] are not at the Prime Ministers Office, then they wont be included in the budget, she said. So theres a lot of concern that immigration will not continue in the coming year. She added that government representatives are being unresponsive to queries by activists. In response to a query by the Post, the interior ministers spokesman Barak Serry said: The Population and Immigration Authority completed its activities in accordance with the cabinets decision to absorb 1,300 immigrants from Ethiopia according to the criteria that were set. The data were transferred to the Prime Ministers Office. The decision regarding an additional quota should be made by the cabinet in a special resolution. To date, to the best of our knowledge, no proposal has been formulated for this matter and we have not been asked to address it. The Post sought to verify Bodners assertions regarding the Population and Immigration Authority, but Hadad did not respond to a query as to whether the authority had stated that there were more Ethiopians eligible for aliya. Ethiopian-Israeli MK Avraham Neguise, who has spearheaded efforts to bring Ethiopians eligible for aliya to Israel, told the Post on Wednesday that there is a positive approach toward the need to continue the aliya in 2018, but there is no final decision. We know that the Interior Ministry has identified that there are more people eligible under the cabinet decision and current criteria…, but the aliya cannot continue unless the cabinet has approved another budget for 2018, Neguise added. The MK expressed hope that a new resolution would be approved on the issue, noting that nobody has said no, but they say it is in the process of receiving the necessary approval. The interior minister has not brought it to the cabinet, he added, saying the responsibility lies with Interior Minister Arye Deri, in order to bring about a new cabinet decision and for the Finance Ministry to subsequently allocate the necessary funds for the aliya. But if the interior minister does not demand it, they wont do it voluntarily, Neguise asserted. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem said on Wednesday that once additional olim from Ethiopia are approved by the cabinet, it stands ready to raise the money needed to sponsor this second year of renewed Ethiopian aliya. The ICEJ invested $1.2 million in Ethiopian aliya this past year, including additional monies to assist with the critical absorption phase, as these Jewish communities adjust to the new language and culture of Israel. Christians from all over the world have been contributing to this humanitarian cause, including generous donations from African Christians, the organization noted. The great ingathering of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel is still continuing, and it is a real privilege and joy for our organization to play such a central role in this historic return to Zion, said Dr. Jrgen Bhler, president of the ICEJ. We know that these latest arrivals from the Ethiopia community will never be the same as they rejoin their families and become fully part of the modern miracle of Israel. Some of these families have been separated now for over two decades, and so it is a special honor for us to help bring them back together here in the Jewish homeland. Falash Mura is the name given to those of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia and Eritrea who under compulsion and pressure from missionaries converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries. Since their ancestors converted to another religion, the Falash Mura are not covered by the Law of Return, which grants the right to immigrate and gain citizenship to anyone with a Jewish grandparent. The Falash Mura are brought to Israel under the Law of Entry and are required to convert to Judaism once in Israel. They receive the same absorption benefits granted to immigrants who come under the Law of Return. Abere Endeshaw, a leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia, is waiting in Addis Ababa for his own chance to make aliya. This week is the last aliya of the year, he said. Today I witnessed some of the community members leaving Ethiopia and heading toward the Promised Land. Today I saw two sisters one heading home to Israel and one back to the community. I saw two brothers one heading home to Israel and one going back to the community, and many more. I wonder when the separation will stop. I wonder when the cries of a mother and father, sister and brother, aunt and uncle will stop and be united with happiness. I wish a very successful journey for the Jews all over the world who made aliya during this year, and I wish strength and hope for the remaining Jews who are waiting to go back home, Endeshaw said. Share on facebook

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Ethiopian Jews in Israel – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry

You must tell them the truth, the reality of the situation, said my Ethiopian friend, when I asked her what she wanted the world to know about Ethiopian Jews in Israel. And its a tough reality, but not one without hope. God is at work in every part of Israeli society, and the gospel is reaching Ethiopian Jews in all sorts of ways especially the younger generation. There have been communities of Jewish Ethiopians following the the Torah for centuries. Even back in Acts 8 we see an Ethiopian Eunuch, the treasurer to Queen Candace of Ethiopia, no less, trying to understand Isaiah 53, when God suddenly brings Philip along to explain it to him, as he traveled back home from Jerusalem by chariot. Other Ethiopians include the wife of Moses, Zipporah, and the Ethiopian who rescued Jeremiah from the pit he had been thrown into, and of course, the Queen of Sheba. There are several theories about the origins of the Ethiopian Jewish community; most Ethiopian Jews themselves believe that when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, they conceived a son named Menelik, and his descendants were raised in the ways of the God of Israel. Another theory holds that they are the descendants of Jews who fled when the Babylonians conquered Judah in 586 BCE, traveling through Egypt, down the Nile, settling in Ethiopia. Another is that some of the Jewish diaspora traveled from the Arabian peninsula (near Yemen) to the Horn of Africa established new Jewish communities, perhaps intermarrying with local tribes. Approximately 140,000 Ethiopian Jewish people live in Israel today, about a third of whom were born in Israel. The majority came in the massive airlifting operations of 1985 and 1991 Operation Moses and Operation Solomon helping them to Make Aliyah (return to Israel) collectively in the thousands. However, the culture shock and transition has proved extremely challenging, exacerbated by the racism they have been subjected to when they finally made to Israel. There have been some significant problems such as poverty and unemployment among many Ethiopian families and communities as a result.The truth is that the blight of racism is an inescapable fact for the Africans who make it to Israel, whether they are Jewish or not. It affects Jews and non-Jews, asylum seekers and Israeli citizens, Messianics and atheists alike. On arrival to Israel many have found the rabbinic Judaism that most follow in Israel today rather alien to their practices. Not only is the expression of Judaism different, but the whole way of life in Israel is different, the culture is different, the language is different, and the values of the society are different. The landing can be rough, and many have come with nothing at all, some even making the journey by foot. Yet it should be a source of pride that against all the odds, and despite multiple hurdles, barriers and obstacles, Ethiopian Jews are now finding places of significance in Israeli society lawyers, teachers, police officers, doctors and recently a pilot. Those who experience racism know that these achievements are hard fought for, and worthy of celebration. Throughout the generations, Ethiopian Jews have longed to return to Jerusalem. Each year, fifty days after Yom Kippur, the Jewish community in Ethiopia celebrates the festival of Sigd, which means worship. They climb a mountain and celebrate the giving of the Torah to Moses at Sinai, and also the rediscovery of the Torah in the times of Ezra and the revival after the Babylonian exile. In Ezras time, the people were called as a nation to celebrate Passover in response to hearing Gods law again, even though it wasnt Passover time, and in reference to that event, the community also then celebrates a Passover together. There is traditional food and dancing, and heartfelt love and longing for Jerusalem and the Promised Land. For those who have now returned to Israel, Sigd is a time of great rejoicing that the dream of return has been realized. I attended such a celebration in an absorption center for new immigrants, and enjoyed the fabulous Ethiopian food, the unique dancing, and the contagious joy of a dream fulfilled. This particular feast is not emphasized so much in the Messianic community, who have found the One toward whom the entire Torah points Yeshua the Messiah. More and more Ethiopian young people are coming to faith in Yeshua. There are many Ethiopian Jews who believe in Yeshua here in Israel. We have Messianic Ethiopian staff and students here at Israel College of the Bible, and there are MessianicEthiopianministries and congregations operating in the Amharic language, running somegreat outreach programs and initiatives designed to meet the specific needs of the community. Additionally, younger Ethiopian Israelis who do not know about Yeshua are hearing the gospel from Messianic believers around them in society especially in the army. Many younger believers in Israel are emboldened now to share their faith without shame, wherever they may be in the army, at work, school, or wherever. And people are responding, including some in the Ethiopian community. Like the journey from Ethiopia to Israel, the journey to integrate into Israeli society has been long and hard. However, the younger generation are seeming to navigate their way more successfully than the older generations who came such a distance both physically and culturally. A great emphasis is being placed on education for the younger generation, as a key to succeed and find their place in Israel. We are glad to be contributing towards that important goal as the Ethiopian students at Israel College of the Bible become proficient in their study of the Bible, and equipped to lead and teach others. We are an Israeli ministry composed of Jewish & Arab followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who are all about blessing Israel through sharing the gospel online, educating the new generation of born-again believers through our one and only Hebrew-speaking Bible College in Israel, and helping holocaust survivors by supplying humanitarian aid.

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Boston-Haifa Connection: Ethiopian Jews | Combined Jewish …

Ethiopian Jews Since 1948 more than 90,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel in search of religious freedom. Language, cultural and educational barriers are just some of the challenges they face. To prevent a permanent underclass from forming, we worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to create Shiluvim (integration) an innovative, multi-year program that is changing the fate of Ethiopian Israelis in Haifa.

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Saving The Forgotten Jews – BBC News – YouTube

30 years ago 2 remarkable mass movements transported this community to the modern State of Israel and now the festival has once again become recognised, much like the Ethiopian Jews themselves, as an authentic part of the wider Jewish tradition. This year as Sigd approaches we explore how this community came to arrive in the state of Israel. It is an incredible story of espionage, heroism and unyielding faith that led to tens of thousands of people leaving their homes and risking their lives. We join both those who were instrumental in the operations themselves and members of the Ethiopian Jewish community to explore how these so-called miraculous events happened and what they mean today. Subscribe to BBC News HERE http://bit.ly/1rbfUogCheck out our website: http://www.bbc.com/news Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bbcworldnews Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bbcworldInstagram: http://instagram.com/bbcnews

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Like bits of colored glass, we’re all unique and beautiful – ISRAEL21c

The colorful bits in a kaleidoscope whirl into ever-changing patterns, each one distinct as it complements the others. Schoolchildren participating in the Kaleidoscope program in Israeli classrooms are encouraged to consider how the pieces they see in the kaleidoscope reflect internal and interpersonal diversities in identities, emotions and cultures. Sometimes they live in harmony and create beautiful shapes and sometimes they dont, says Kaleidoscope founding director Chana Reifman Zweiter. The classroom-based program teaches problem-solving, collaboration, self-awareness and other social and emotional skills proven by research to form the foundation of respect between people of different backgrounds, Zweiter tells ISRAEL21c. We work in city-wide initiatives, implementing the approach in early childhood and continuing through junior high school just like other subject areas, Zweiter says. While most other organizations focus on relationships between specific cultures, Kaleidoscope is adapted to address acceptance between Ethiopian and native Israelis, Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, students of the special and general education tracks, Christians and Jews, she explains. Since 1991, Kaleidoscope has touched approximately 40,000 students, educators and parents throughout Israel. This year, about 1,200 students from early childhood through junior high school participated, and 45 educators in Jerusalem, Lod, Ramla and Acre (Akko) were trained to facilitate Kaleidoscope in their classrooms. Kaleidoscope in action The phased program starts with that first look into a kaleidoscope to foster an appreciation of the beauty of differences. The children have four or five workshops in their own schools to develop the self-awareness, empathy, and reflection critical to accepting others. They then meet children from other schools and cultures about five times over the course of the year, where they apply these social skills in interactive programming that helps them feel comfortable with one another. At one meeting of seventh-graders from Arab and Jewish schools in Acre, participants were paired and assigned a task to complete while tied together with rope in order to experience interdependency. During another paired activity, they got a piece of paper to draw on separately. By the second or third time, their pictures are no longer separate but cooperative. One pair drew a picture of Akko with writing in Hebrew and Arabic saying This is our city, Zweiter relates. Wafeed Mansur, principal of the 640-student Hilmi Shaafi junior high school in Acre, believes Kaleidoscope is responsible for halting afterschool hostilities that used to arise between his mostly Muslim Arab pupils and Jewish kids in the mixed northern city. Weve been doing Kaleidoscope almost 10 years. We started with small meetings between teachers and principals and eventually added two or three classes, Mansur tells ISRAEL21c. To tell you the truth, it was a little tough at the beginning because many [participants] couldnt manage to see a Jew or an Arab as someone they could talk to. We kept insisting the meetings should go on and they started to express their ideas and their fears, too. Since they discovered the qualities of the other side, the humanity of the other side, and personalities that could hear and deal with their opinions, it has been very beneficial, says Mansur. I havent heard of any problems in the last six or seven years. Children learn to appreciate the beauty of differences by looking in kaleidoscopes. Photo courtesy of Kaleidoscope Zweiter says that outside evaluations have shown Kaleidoscope participants to be more open to meeting individuals of cultures they dont know than are their peers who do not participate. Kaleidoscopes documented success in changing attitudes has won it support from private and public agencies including USAID and the Israeli ministries of education and absorption. Zweiter shares Kaleidoscope curricula in workshops and lectures internationally, and received the Bonei Zion Award at the Knesset in 2015 for her contribution to diversity education in Israel. Social inclusion Before moving to Israel from New York in 1991, Zweiter founded and directed the Yachad program, integrating Jewish youth with special needs into the greater Jewish community. My dream was to apply my experience in social inclusion into the community here in Israel, she says. In February 1992 she founded an organization that established afterschool art, music and sports clubs for special-needs and mainstream kids in Ramla, Lod and Jerusalem. The following year, one school asked if the program could address the influx of Ethiopian immigrants who were feeling socially isolated. I did not take for granted that the program would work with the inclusion of a different population, so I really studied the Ethiopian culture before establishing in-class social activities to foster togetherness of different populations, says Zweiter. From there, her approach was adapted to help integrate Jews and Arabs, and religious and secular Jewish children in different parts of Israel, during the regular school day. Around 1998 we adopted the idea of the kaleidoscope because it was symbolic of the different cultures and the positive aspects, she says. Kaleidoscope rents an office at the Ministry of Educations Center for Professional Development in Lod. About a dozen facilitators train educators from participating schools. We learned that teachers need a lot of professional development. One of the main findings in our yearly evaluations is that the teachers increased their willingness to participate and to continue with the programming in subsequent years, says Zweiter. This year we had early-childhood teachers from east and west Jerusalem who said Kaleidoscope helped break stigmas and stereotypes. At first they didnt think it would work but gradually they established relationships. Mansur, the principal in Acre, says attitudes and beliefs often are far apart. Unless we can bridge these differences we will never be as equal as we can be. Kaleidoscope provides the tools and the leadership to do this. For more information, click here.

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A look into Haredi textbooks shows hatred and racism – Ynetnews

Textbooks used to teach students at ultra-Orthodox schools in Israel portray Reform Jews as the enemy, while seculars, Zionists and leftists also receive hostile treatment, a comprehensive study published last month by the research center IMPACTSE found. The study found scathing criticism of Zionism in ultra-Orthodox textbooks: “Late nineteenth century anti-Semitism led to cohesion within the ranks of the assimilators, who created their own organizations. These organizations gave great power to assimilated Jewry, which no one could withstand,” according to History of Recent Generations, a textbook for middle school. Photo: Alex Kolonoisky Secular people, according to Haredi textbooks, applied any means necessary to secularize the new immigrants arriving in Israel. “They cut off the payot (side locks) of Yemenite children, claiming that they harbored lice; they withheld work arrangements from parents if they refused to send their children to secular schools; and deprived them of all other necessities, such as food, housing, and sanitary conditions,” according to the History of Recent Generations textbook. “At the center of every immigrant settlement they built a new and handsome building for secular cultural activity, while synagogues were set up in wretched sheds at the outskirts of the camps, so that only the old and sick would go there. In this way the children were cut off from their parents and from their parents’ faith.” The Haredi sheep is surrounded by enemies, with those from withinleftists, the High Court, the media and Reforms among otherspresented as other sheep, while those from withoutHamas, Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and even the Amalekare presented as wolves. On secular education, the textbook’s authors explain that, “During this period of fierce struggle over the Jewish character of every sphere of activity and every institution in Israel, the hollowness of secular education became obvious. The Ministry of Education director frankly admitted the failure of secular education, whose outcomes could be seen clearly in our generation, stripped bare of ideals and sunk in the depths of materialism… The academically educated also demonstrated the failure of secular education; many who did not manage to attain the ‘affluent society’ lifestyle, left the country.” One of the ultra-Orthodox’s biggest adversaries, as the books portray him, is Moses Mendelssohn, a German Jewish philosopher and one of the forefathers of the Jewish Enlightenment Movement in the 18th century. “The Haskalah as instituted by Moshe Mendelssohn branched out in two ways: conversion from Judaism, and Reform Judaism. Those who took the first path were cut off from the Jewish nation’s Tree of Life: they converted. Those who followed the second route tried to damage the tree itself, to corrupt and deform it through changes aimed at turning Judaism into a version of Christianity. These were the Reform Jews,” the History of Recent Generations textbook states. Later, the textbook refers to the Reform movement as “treacherous,” “nasty,” and “despicable.” Haredi students learn that Jews have absolute right over the entire Land of Israel, as God promised Abraham. Textbooks in civicsa subject taught mostly to girlsshow the ultra-Orthodox don’t consider occupation to be unjust, but do believe the Palestinians, along with other non-Jewish residents of Israel, should be treated fairly and with caution. “The liberation of the homeland is promised by the Creator of the Universe; it is not considered to be an ‘occupation.’ The only issue about which care must be taken is that of allowing the inhabitants to choose whether to remain in the land as foreign subjects, accepting the behavioral restrictions that would be imposed upon them, or to leave the land,” according to the civics textbook As a New Citizen. A map of Israel in Haredi text books, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip as part of Israel. The Haredi textbooks almost entirely ignore the Israeli-Palestinians conflict and the question of the Palestinian national identity. According to the textbook’s writers, Israeli Arabs are citizens with equal rights, “but they have not been content with this, and have insisted that they also have the right to identify with the Arabs of the Territories, those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’though the latter are enemies of the state,” according to History of Recent Generations. The textbook compares the dangers posed by these Arabs to “what happened in Germany when the Nazis came to power. The Nazis used democratic means, including general elections, to take control of Germany.” The Palestinian issue is mostly addressed in chapters dealing with what Haredi history textbooks describe as the greatest catastrophe to befall the State of Israelthe Oslo Accords. History of Recent Generations describes the results of the accords, “The Israeli government gave them authority and political, economic and military power without concern for the destructive consequences that might result from placing such might in the hands of the monstrous PLO terrorists and the PLO’s military arm, Fatah.” Later in the book, an article from the Haredi newspaper Hamodia is quoted: “They were given almost everything. They (the Palestinians) never were a distinct people and they never had a country of their own. We declared them a people and gave them a land. But the more we gave them, the more intensely hostile they became, and the more acts of murder they committed.” At fault for the Oslo disaster, according to Haredi textbooks, are the Israeli left-wing parties, who aided Yasser Arafat realize his evil plan and agreed to sign the agreement in September 1993 on the lawns of the White House. “Arafat was in the worst possible situation, from every perspective. But at that very point the Israeli leftist political parties came to his aid. They assumed that the head of the PLO terrorist organization would prove to be a peace partner,” History of Recent Generations accuses. In two other areas there were no surprises: the attitude towards women and science and scientific discoveries. Haredi textbooks on nature and science make no mention of Darwin’s theory of evolution, but there is limited reference to important scientific discoveries, with an emphasis put on the religious and miraculous aspects. Behind every discovery stands the Creator, and clues can be found in the Bible for every invention. Women, meanwhile, have seen a change in their status in recent years as they became the main providers in the Haredi home while the men went to study at the yeshiva. This is also how women are portrayed in ultra-Orthodox textbooks. A poem in the textbook In Good Time for first graders describes “Mother” as one who “leads the home with wisdom and insight,” but also one whose role is “To wash the dishes and listen to stories / To hang the laundry and sing us songs.” Furthermore, the mother “respect(s) Father and serve(s) his plate first.” The father, meanwhile, is described as one who “understands many things / And many people consult with him.” However, the most prominent aspect in Haredi society’s treatment of women is their exclusion from the public eye. The ultra-Orthodox attitude toward women is succinctly described in the saying “All glorious is the King’s daughter within.” And so, there are no photos of women in textbooks, though there are drawings depicting women. One absurd example of this exclusion appears in an English textbook for the second grade, where students are asked to answer questions about family relations. The book features two photosone of the male members of the family, and the other of the female members of the family. But instead of the women, the photo presents empty chairs. Meanwhile, textbooks from the state education system or the state-religious education system, which come out in special editions for the ultra-Orthodox sector, mostly censor drawings and photos, and exclude any mention of boys and girls coming into contact. Also almost entirely absent from Haredi textbooks are Ethiopian Jews. And while the ultra-Orthodox textbooks harshly criticize slavery in the US, they are most likely the only textbooks in Israel to still use the word “kushim,” a Biblical word that was common and non-pejorative in the 1950s and 60s, but is no longer acceptable since it is now translated as “Negro.” Discussion of ‘Negro’ slaves None of the textbooks examined in this study make any mention of Mizrahi rabbis or the historical events and the rich Jewish culture in the countries of the Mediterranean basin. Sephardic rabbis of the older generation, such as Solomon ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi among others, are covered extensively in Haredi textbooks. But from the end of the Sephardic Golden Age to this very day, Haredi history textbooks focus almost exclusively on the Ashkenazi community. If this was the case only in the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox education system, which is known for its racist tendencies, that would be one thing. But it appears even at schools belonging to the Shas Movementwhich claims to represent the Sephardic Haredi Jewstextbooks appear to ignore Mizrahi culture. The study found that teachers at Shas’s independent El Hama’ayan (“Towards the Fountain”) educational network use textbooks written by Ashkenazi Jews, which deal only in the Ashkenazi cultural world. And when Mizrahi Jews are mentioned in the textbooks examined in the study, it is done in a condescending manner. Haredi textbooks (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky) For example, “Bracha with Bracha,” which appears in the fourth grade textbook Our Childhood, tells the story of a father from an Ashkenazi family who starts working as a teacher at a refugee camp and tries to help the parents of his students find work. Bracha, an emigrant from Yemen, comes to work at the Ashkenazi family’s home as a laundress. While Bracha is industrious and thorough, she also quite chatty. “When I was 23, I already had five children, may the evil eye not affect them, because in Yemen women were married off very young, practically girls. And that was so the gentile neighbors won’t want, God forbid, to marry them. I was also married when I was about 14, and now I have 10 children,” she tells one of the family’s daughters. Later, Bracha tells an Ashkenazi girl with “gaping eyes” that, “We Yemenites are very quick and we aren’t afraid of any work.” Other than briefly mentioning the absorption problems experienced by emigrants from Muslim countries in the State of Israel’s early days, the Ashkenazi education systemboth Lithuanian and Hassidic alikehardly touches upon the discrimination of Mizrahi Jews in Israel, and significant events like the Wadi Salib riots or the Israeli Black Panthers Movement are not mentioned at all. Furthermore, while the textbooks are filled with stories about the foundation of Haredi yeshivot in Israel, there isn’t a single mention of a Mizrahi yeshiva, not even the Porat Yosef Yeshiva, which is the leading yeshiva in the Sephardic Haredi sector. Even Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the most prominent religious leader and ruler among Sephardic Jews, is missing from Haredi textbooks. While the textbooks examined in the study deal with many influential rabbis, they are all Ashkenazi. Rabbi Yosef’s photo only appears in one textbook, and even then it appears as part of a story about another, Ashkenazi rabbi. The report about the Haredi text books, meanwhile, is the first of its kind. The study, which examined 93 textbooks used in all grades over the last year, took months, mostly due to difficulty in figuring out which of the books were actually taught in the ultra-Orthodox education system. Furthermore, ultra-Orthodox education differs in the Lithuanian, Hassidic and Mizrahi sectors, making the study even more challenging. “The problem with Haredi education is that it’s different to any other sector,” said IMPACTSE CEO Marcus Sheff. “In the Israeli education system, like the one in Iran, Saudi Arabia or any other country we study, everything is organized and available online. With the Haredim, there’s a gray area. There are many different types of education: Recognized official education, recognized unofficial education, unrecognized… “There is a list of textbook available in the Education Ministry’s records, but it’s hard to tell which of them were actually taught at the schools. That is why we focused on textbooks that were definitely taught in the great majority of the educational institutions we’re familiar with. Of course, in many of the institutions meant to boys over 13, most if not all of the studies are religious.” Sheff noted that while the study examined textbooks from the last year, “most of them have barely changed since the 1950s. This is not surprising, considering the fact that ‘the new is forbidden by the Torah,’ as Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz) said. Modernity is an enemy. Because of that, the Haredim view the Reform Movement as the biggest threat they face. They fight with everything they’ve got against Moses Mendelssohn, a man who died 230 years ago. When looking at the Western Wall and conversion crises, you can find the root of the problem in this study.” “This is exactly what we’ve been seeing recently with the Reform Movement and the Western Wall crisis, or the conversion crisis. The ultra-Orthodox are confident that anyone who thinks differently does so out of malice, stupidity, or indifference toward the Torah, piety, and the people of Israel. And that is a problem,” he continues.

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July 2, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Israel’s Ethiopian Jews keep ancient language alive in prayer – Al-Monitor

New Jewish immigrants are seen during a welcoming ceremony after arriving on a flight from Ethiopia at Ben-Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 29, 2012.(photo byUriel Sinai/Getty Images) Author:Mordechai Goldman Posted June 29, 2017 On June 7, another group of about 70 Falash Mura (peopleof Jewish origin) immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia. Their arrival revived discussions ofthe preservation of Ethiopian Jewry’s ancient traditions, particularlytheir language,Ge’ez. Ge’ez is an ancient Semitic language with its own unique alphabet. Itserved as the national language of the Ethiopian Empire until about one thousand years ago. It is survived by its close relatives,the contemporary Semitic languages of Ethiopia:Tigre, Tigrinyaand Amharic. With the penetration and growth of Amharic, Ge’ez was increasingly marginalized. Now, it is only usedas the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Church, the Eritrean Churchand the Ethiopian Jewish community. Samai Elias, therabbi or “kes”of the Ethiopian community of Rishon LeTzion and chairman of the Spiritual Council of Kessim (Rabbis), told Al-Monitor,”Ge’ez is not a spoken language at all today. It is the language of our prayers and our Torah scrolls. Kessimlearn the language, but as a spoken tongue, it is in danger of immediate extinction. What gives it a longer shelf life is that our prayers are still recited in it. These prayers preserve the language, if only on a low flame.” “You could say that the relative survival of theGe’ez language could be credited mainly to the Jews of Ethiopia,” addedAbeje Medhani, the documentation coordinator at the Israeli State Center for Ethiopian Jewish Heritage. He is responsible for various projects working onthe preservation, documentation and recognition of the culture and heritage of Ethiopian Jewry. “Although it is a sacred language for the church as well, only we have continued to use it in our prayers for the past thousand years. Knowing Ge’ez is, in effect, the threshold that anyone who wants to become a kes must pass. A kes must know the prayers and the Torah in the Ge’ez language. Modern researchers make frequent use of Jewish materials to study the Ge’ez language. Jewish monks in the 15th century composed the prayers and religious law books of the Jewish community in Ge’ez.” While Ge’ez is being preserved in some way, the Qwara language, which originated in the Qwara province of Ethiopia, has almost completely disappeared, though it was once considered the “Yiddish” (a colloquial and colorful language mixof Hebrew and German) of the Ethiopian Jewish community. “Until a few years ago, elders of the community who arrived from the Qwara region still knew the language, which was once in general use among the Jews of Ethiopia. Missionaries and researchers who visited the region in the 18th and 19th centuries testifiedthat it was used by most Ethiopian Jews,” saidMedhani. “Today, however, you could say that the language is completely extinct.” Elias added, “The Qwara language is unique to the Jews of Ethiopia. As far as I know, there is no one in the world today who speaks Qwara or even knows Qwara. I am envious of Yiddish, which has enjoyed something of a renaissance and revival recently. I think that in contrast, the fate of Qwara is sealed.” Medhani, who speaks Ge’ez, recently published a Ge’ez prayer book, though according to Ethiopian tradition, prayers are recited by heart and not read. “I reached the conclusion that preserving the language will occur through the liturgy,” he said, “if Ge’ez isn’tbrought back to use.” Medhani is now working on an Amharic-Ge’ez dictionary. His dream is to see the first nonreligious text published in Ge’ez. When asked about why it is so important to preserve the heritage of the Ethiopian exilesonce the community immigratesto Israel, Elias stressed,”It is an ancient Jewish heritage that cannot be dismissed.” “We are talking about prayers that were recited by Jews for hundreds of years. Their forms and melodies are unique. They were not copied from other communities or religions. We have a variety of original material. That obligates us to preserve the language. Similarly, the Kaddish prayer is recited in Aramaic, and that has not been changed over the years. We are preserving a heritage,” he added. This desire to preserve Ethiopian culture, especiallythe Ge’ez language, has intensified in recent years, oncethe Ethiopian immigrant community became establishedand startedintegrating into Israeli society. “With the first waves of immigration, there was a very strong tendency to sever ties with our roots and to distance ourselves from our language and traditions. There were concerns that people would stop praying in that language. Over the last decade, however, there has been something of a return to itand a larger quest for Ethiopian identity,” saidMedhani. Elias is convinced that the reasonmany young Ethiopians are returning to their traditional practices, such as using Ethiopian names and embracing Ge’ez cultural activities,has to do with the discriminationthe communityfaces. “What changed thingswas the attitude of the government, which refused to recognize the spiritual leadership of the Ethiopian Jewish community. This had a boomerang effect,” he explained. “Israel’s Chief Rabbinate revoked the authority of the kessim. They are not allowed to perform marriage ceremonies for young members of the community or to grant kosher certification, based on the community’s customs and norms. Young people today want to show that the community has not abandoned the kessim. That is the source of the revival of tradition.” Elias added, “We’ve been in Israel for 30 years now. During the first 15 years, not a single kes was ordained in Israel. In the last 15 years, 30 new kessim, some born in Israel, were ordained. In 2010, the government decided to recognize the 15 kessimwho were ordained in Israeland granted them the authority to serve their communities. We are now facing a much bigger struggle, not only to obtain government salaries for them, but also to recognize kessim as Jewish spiritual leaders with authority over matters of marriage and kashrut. Much to our surprise, there was a certain readiness in the government to consider the issue seriously and to give it a voice. They see that the younger generation has no plans to give up.” Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/geez-language-only-left-in-lithurgy.html

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

A Legendary Photographer Visits an Isolated Christian Community in Ethiopia – Smithsonian

We were very tired, Sebastio Salgado recalls. He was on a 500-mile, 55-day hike though some of the most inaccessible passages in the Ethiopian highlands, a region known as the roof of Africa, where the elevations range from a few thousand feet to almost 15,000. We had to climb, to climb, to climb, he says in his Portuguese-accented English. Finally he and his porters and guides reached a village. It was about 2 p.m., very hot. Very few people. But slowly, slowly people start to come out, says Salgado, one of the worlds premier photographers. Among the villagers were two ladies with a kind of basin, wood basin, and with water. They came beside my feet, they took off my boots, my socks, and they washed my feet. Oh boy, I felt the humility of the beginning of the Christians. This sacred encounter, reminiscent of the biblical scene in which Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, was a highlight of the extraordinary journey that led Salgado to create the pictures on these pages. They commemorate a peoples profound connection to both the heavens and the earth. It was 2008, and Salgado, a native of Brazil, was 64 years old. His monumental projects Workers (1993) and Migrations (2000) had established his pre-eminence as a chronicler of conflict, dislocation and environmental degradation. Then, as an antidote to despair, he embarked on an eight-year quest involving some 30 trips all over the globe to seek out places and peoples untouched by modernity, including the highlanders of Ethiopia. Why would a man risk his 64-year-old knees on terrain so difficult that it killed five of his expeditions rented donkeys? In every step we discovered new things, Salgado explains. You feel the power there. The highlands hold traces of ancient Jewish communities, though most of Ethiopias Jews emigrated to Israel in the 1980s and 90s to escape famine, persecution and civil war. Some of the worlds oldest Christian communities persist there, populated by the spiritual descendants of an Ethiopian court official who, according to the New Testament, was converted to the faith a few years after the death of Christ. Today, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians make up 44 percent of the countrys population; Sunni Muslims, who are concentrated in the east, make up 34 percent. Sectarian and civil conflict still wrack other parts of Ethiopia, but not this one. Setting out from Lalibela, with its 11 renowned monolithic medieval churches, Salgado headed southeast and then turned northwest, to Simien Mountains National Park. Some people he had consulted before his trip advised him to hire armed guards, so he did. Two guys with Kalashnikovs, he says. After one week we sent them back, because we felt that the people would take this as an offense. When you come to a place, everyone brings a gift to you, they are so kind. He, too, brought giftsknives and tools to trade for lamb meat to supplement the food he packed in for himself and his retinue of 17 guides, porters and donkey-tenders. So few people tread the path they took that we had no guide capable to come with us from the beginning to the end, he says. When one guides knowledge of the way ahead ran out, Salgado hired someone who could pick up the trail. With local expertise, plus a GPS-equipped satellite telephone, they stayed on track. With solar panels, he kept his phone and camera batteries charged. But above all else, he says, he valued his hiking shoes. The highland villages are so far removed from the rest of the world, Salgado says, that in most of them he was the first outsider to visit in memory. And theyre so cut off from one another that they speak different dialects. But they are linked by the same God, he says. These communities are Christians from the beginning of time. In these communities, he saw churches fashioned from caves, Bibles written on animal skins and traditions that reflect Christianitys Judaic roots, such as forgoing milk and meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. He was especially taken with the highlanders terraced farms: I looked at all this incredible, sophisticated agriculture, I said, We had these 10,000 years ago. For him, the villages bespeak a continuity over millennia, and the landscapewith its blazing shafts of sunlight and a river-carved canyon deeper, at points, than the Grand Canyoninspires a connection to eons past. That river, the Tekez, ultimately nourished the Blue Nile Delta, hundreds of miles away. All that fertile land energy came from there, eroded from there, Salgado says, and boy, me walking there, seeing this, doing my task inside the beginning of our history, was something amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing.

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Opinion Natan Sharansky: Aliyah List is a partnership for the future – Jewish News

Were experiencing a renaissance in aliyah, an action that for years was associated with images of Jews fleeing persecution and adversity in their countries of origin. The numbers were made up of Holocaust survivors, Jews from Arab countries, Ethiopian Jews and Jews from the former Soviet Union. They all came to Israel seeking refuge from the hardships they left behind. In recent years, however, we have witnessed a dramatic shift: aliyah from Western, democratic countries now accounts for greater numbers than immigration from the rest of the world. A high-tech superpower with a booming economy and low unemployment, Israel has come to be viewed as an attractive destination for Western Jews seeking a brighter future for their families. And as increasing numbers of young people experience life in Israel through Jewish Agency programmes like Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel, they come to understand that Israel is both an integral part of their Jewish identity and a place in which they can celebrate that identity comfortably and fully. If in the past the bulk of Jewish immigration to Israel was aliyah of rescue, today it is very much aliyah of choice. It is the product of an affirmative decision to lead a fully Jewish life in the Jewish state. British Jewry has long been a leading force within British society. From the earliest days of Jewish settlement in Britain until the present day, British Jews have risen to the highest echelons of British culture, journalism, business, politics, and arts. Indeed, this year we will celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, one of British Jewrys proudest achievements. I personally remember British Jews extraordinary contributions to our struggle for freedom in the Soviet Union, including the invaluable role played by the London-based Womens Campaign for Soviet Jewry, known as the 35s. Similarly, there was the work of Royal Navy veteran Michael Sherbourne, who coined the term refusenik and served as our primary channel of communication with the outside world. And yet, despite the British Jewish communitys full integration into British society and its significant involvement in both national and international affairs, thousands of British Jews have chosen to realise their Zionist dreams by making aliyah, tying their personal fates to that of the Jewish state. In recent years, in fact, we have seen the number of British immigrants to Israel grow by more than 30 percent. From diplomats to artists, journalists to lawyers, immigrants from Britain have contributed richly to Israeli society and they continue to do so today, serving as a bridge between the UK and Israel and bringing the dynamic energy of British Jewry with them. Perhaps one of the most notable contributions of British immigrants in recent years has been the introduction of that most cherished British Jewish institution, Limmud, to Israeli audiences. Earlier this month. I was pleased to join president Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in celebrating Limmuds unique impact on Israel and world Jewry with the 2017 Jerusalem Unity Prize. As we honour the contributions of British immigrants to the Jewish state, I encourage you to nominate outstanding British olim for inclusion in the Aliyah List, a partnership between the Jewish Agency and Jewish News. And as we look forward to celebrating Israels 70th birthday, I invite you to learn about the Jewish Agencys programmes and about all that life in Israel has to offer and I look forward to seeing you next year in Jerusalem. Article by Natan Sharansky, Chairman, The Jewish Agency NOMINATE HERE:

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June 29, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed


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