Archive for the ‘Ethiopian Jews’ Category

Lessons from Begin: Is rescue no longer a Jewish imperative? – Canadian Jewish News (blog)

On June 10, 1977, an Israeli freighter, the Yuvali, captained by Meir Tadmor, responded to an SOS call from a leaking fishing boat that was adrift in the South China Sea. The boat held 66 Vietnamese, including 16 children under the age of 10. They were almost out of food. Water was being rationed at the rate of three teaspoons per child per day, and none for adults.

Ships from East Germany, Panama, Japan and even Norway had previously ignored its SOS calls. But Tadmor took them on board. He understood that helping ships in distress is the first law of maritime menschlichkeit, a point lost on gentile boats. Tadmor tried to get medical help for them in Hong Kong, then a British colony, but was not allowed to dock because he was not scheduled to call there. He next tried Yokohama, Japan, to no avail. In Taiwan, police boats surrounded the Yuvali lest someone surreptitiously try to get to shore.

If there is a rescue plan, we will also assume the burden, because rescue supersedes everything else

The previous month, on May 17, Menachem Begins Likud party had won the Israeli national election, taking 44 out of 120 seats (in Israel, it was considered a landslide). On June 20, he rose in the Knesset to make the speech asking for a vote of confidence for his new government. He quoted from the prophet Isaiah and spoke of the meaning of the Holocaust, in which his parents and brother were murdered. That was followed by speeches from other members of the Knesset. Toward midnight, the speaker of the Knesset, Yitzhak Shamir, formally gave Begin the floor once again.

At that point, Begin should have delivered his response to his nascent governments critics. But he did not. Instead, he offered a different message: On the basis of my assumption that tonight the Knesset will express confidence in the government and my confidence in the agreement of members of the Knesset across, or almost across, party lines, I announce that tomorrow, my first act as prime minister will be to give instructions to grant asylum in our country to refugees from Vietnam.

He continued: We all remember the ships with Jewish refugees in the 30s that wandered the surface of the seven seas, asking to enter a specific country, or any number of countries, only to encounter rejection. Today, there exists the state of the Jews. We have not forgotten. We will behave with humanity. We will bring these unfortunate people, refugees saved by our ship from drowning in the depths of the sea, to our country. We will provide them shelter and refuge.

And that is precisely what he did. The Vietnamese were thereupon flown to Israel and greeted on arrival by immigration minister David Levy. Israel thus gained the distinction of being the first country in the world to take in Vietnamese refugees. These were but the first group of Vietnamese to make aliyah. (Canada, by way of contrast, would not admit Vietnamese boat people until July 1979.)

By pure, bittersweet coincidence, June 21, 1977, was the 38th anniversary of the return to Europe of the MS St. Louis, with its 900 Jews who had escaped Nazism, only to be refused entry into Cuba, the U.S. and Canada. They were divided among four European countries, three of which were overrun by Hitler two years later.

At their first meeting, then-U.S. president Jimmy Carter publicly lauded Begin for taking in the refugees. Begin replied by situating the act in a continuum of Jewish history and universalism: We never have forgotten the boat with 900 Jews having left Germany in the last weeks before the Second World War travelling from harbour to harbour, from country to country, crying out for refuge. They were refused. Therefore, it was natural to give those people a haven in the Land of Israel.

For Begin, rescue was a Jewish imperative. In 1955, when the government debated excluding elderly and ill Moroccan Jews from aliyah because of financial hardships facing the young country, he delivered a stinging rebuke: If there is a rescue plan, we will also assume the burden, because rescue supersedes everything else.

He and Yitzhak Chofi, the farsighted head of Mossad, began the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, fulfilling the words of Isaiah (49:6): And I will give you as a light unto the nations to extend my salvation as far as to the ends of the earth (and even to the South China Sea).

Today, unfortunately, the story is quite different. Along its border with Egypt, Israel has built a fence that keeps out genuine Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers. When U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order to build a wall on the Mexican border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israels southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.

We as Jews need to absorb the lesson of the Jerusalem Mishnah, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter 4, Law 5, which recites how in capital cases, judges impressed upon the witnesses the importance of telling the truth and disregarding hearsay. They told them that killing someone also deprives his unborn descendants of life: Therefore was Adam created singly in the world (i.e., not en masse like the animals), in order to teach that he who destroys a single life is considered as if he had destroyed an entire world, and he who saves a single life is considered as if he had saved an entire world.

Murray Teitel is a Toronto barrister and freelance journalist.

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Lessons from Begin: Is rescue no longer a Jewish imperative? – Canadian Jewish News (blog)

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June 24, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

As Ethiopian olim trickle to Israel, many wonder when’s their turn – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post
As Ethiopian olim trickle to Israel, many wonder when's their turn
The Jerusalem Post
Neither Asmamo nor Alamow has been sitting idly waiting; both are active in a campaign called the Struggle for the Aliya of Ethiopian Jews, which seeks to put pressure on the government to bring the remaining members of the Ethiopian Jewish

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As Ethiopian olim trickle to Israel, many wonder when’s their turn – The Jerusalem Post

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Hearing the unheard voices of Ethiopian Israelis J. – Jweekly.com

Too many Jews of my generation see Jewish people, as a whole, as being primarily privileged and white. However, there are plenty of Jewish groups, particularly within Israel, that do not have the privilege and wealth that many of us in the Bay Area enjoy.

One of these groups is the Ethiopian Jewish community.

During my senior year at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco, I researched the Ethiopian community in Israel and communicated with Ethiopian Israeli teens through a pen pal program that I organized. Hearing the voices of this unheard group has been worthwhile and important to me, and I believe it is ultimately important for everyone.

The Ethiopian Israeli experience is important for us to learn about because it is crucial to know about the culture and traditions of Jewish communities other than our own, and because the struggles this community faces must be acknowledged and remedied. If we truly care about tikkun olam, repairing the world, we must prioritize helping less privileged Jewish communities worldwide.

The Ethiopian Jewish community has a long and little-known history that is sometimes obscured by the miraculous journey of most of the community to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. There has been a Jewish presence in Ethiopia for thousands of years, since before there was a Christian or Muslim presence. Legend has it that Ethiopias first ruler, Menelik I, was the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Ethiopian Jews have been traditionally regarded as the descendants of the tribe of Dan.

Due to the pre-Talmud origins of the Ethiopian Jewish community, they have practiced an older form of Judaism (which has included sacrifices and different prayers and rituals) than what is practiced by rabbinic Jews. Despite the ostracization to which these Jews were subjected in Ethiopia, and the frequent efforts of Christian and Muslim Ethiopians to convert them, the Ethiopian Jewish community has maintained its beliefs and practices in an unbroken chain of tradition for countless generations.

Judaism is not a monolithic entity, and the Ethiopian Jewish experience certainly attests to that fact. Yet many Jews have little awareness of Jewish communities or practices beyond their own.

It is important for Jews around the world to learn about the Ethiopian Jewish community because knowing about the history and culture of other Jewish groups can enhance communal connection between different, far-flung communities.

If we truly care about tikkun olam, repairing the world, we must prioritize helping less privileged Jewish communities worldwide.

Additionally, this knowledge can inspire curiosity about the history and experience of other Jewish communities that can foster a greater connection to and understanding of Judaism and Jewish history as a whole. Ethiopian Jewish culture is a unique and significant hue in the rainbow of Jewish culture.

For most of modern history, the Ethiopian Jewish community has endured significant hardships. Many walked through the desert to Sudan and endured terrible conditions in refugee camps waiting for flights to Israel. Once they arrived in the Holy Land, they faced discrimination in everything from housing to policies that seemed to invalidate their Judaism. Kessim, the Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders, have never been recognized in Israel the way rabbis are. Blood donations from Ethiopians were discarded. Though there have been some improvements, many of these problems persist today.

A disproportionate percentage of police investigations are against Ethiopian Israelis. There have been several high-profile cases of police brutality against Ethiopian Israelis. One-fifth of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage are jailed at some point in their Israel Defense Forces service. Just last year, Israels highest-ranking police officer claimed that police discrimination against Ethiopian Israelis was justified because they are more likely to commit crimes.

In the workplace, the average Ethiopian Israelis salary is 35 percent less than the average Israelis salary. A disproportionate percentage of Ethiopian Israelis work menial and unskilled jobs. According to a 2011 survey, 39 percent of Ethiopian Israeli families live below the poverty line a staggering statistic. The percentage of Ethiopian Israelis with a university education (20 percent) is half the nationwide average. This systematic disadvantaging and discrimination follows many Ethiopian Israelis from youth to adulthood.

Living lives of relative privilege and ease here in the Bay Area, we may not notice the experiences of other Jews who are not so lucky. There are concrete things that can be done to spread the voice of this under-heard community.

When traveling to Israel, particularly with school groups or on other education-oriented trips, you can arrange to meet with Ethiopian Israeli teenagers or adults to hear about their personal experiences, learn about their beautiful traditions and see for yourself the circumstances that they face. You can donate to Israeli organizations that advocate for the Ethiopian community, particularly those that are run by Ethiopian Israelis, such as the Ethiopian National Project. Other organizations can be found at friendsofethiopianjews.org/resources.

And while donating is good, learning more does a world of good, too. Ultimately, the most important thing is knowledge of the history, culture and struggle of the Ethiopian Jewish community. By listening to them tell their own stories, we can learn more about their place and ours in the global patchwork of the Jewish community.

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Hearing the unheard voices of Ethiopian Israelis J. – Jweekly.com

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Shelter From Storm For Abused Israeli Girls – Jewish Week

To whom does this young woman belong? [Ruth 2:5]

Zohar, born under African skies, is a daughter of Beta Israel, Ethiopian Jews descended from the Tribe of Dan, once one of the Ten Lost Tribes. Moving with her family to Israel when she was five, by 13 she was lean and athletic, a highly ranked long-distance runner, racing through Israels streets, parks and fields, until raped by a stranger in the Ramat Gan soil.

Zohar (she asked that we call her Zohar meaning Splendor or Radiance rather than her actual name) told us that her father couldnt deal with the rape of his child, and soon he couldnt deal with Zohar either.

My mother was kind of supportive, says Zohar, but my father took it very hard; he never stopped blaming me for what happened. I didnt go back home at night and didnt go to school in the mornings. I found myself in situations that I never thought Id find myself: living on the streets, drinking, smoking, drugs, like falling downhill.

Homeless, helpless, on the edge of the law, she found herself ordered into a municipal lock-down facility for girls, designed to protect the girls from whomever was threatening them. (Lock-down meant no casual exit or entry, with guards, mounted cameras and security restrictions.) It was like jail, very hard, says Zohar. My family rarely came to visit me, sometimes my mother, never my father.

After four months in lock-down, Zohar says her social worker told me about Beit Ruth, an institution for abused or at-risk girls that opened in 2006 with room for only 15 girls. Expanding its capacity to 45 girls in 2013, Beit Ruth opened a second house in Afula, a northern town in the Emek Yizrael valley. Zohars social worker was quick to get Zohar a place.

Iris Twerski, who manages Beit Ruths activities in Israel, told us that Zohars father wanted her to stay in lock-down place. When he heard she was going to Beit Ruth, an open place, he wasnt happy, but the lock-down place could only be temporary.

Zohar recalls visiting Beit Ruth with my mother and my social worker. It was new and beautiful. I fell in love with it immediately. They told me to think about it. I told them I could say yes immediately. She was only 14 when she first unpacked.

Beit Ruth Educational & Therapeutic Village was established as a residence for girls 13-18 who have been removed from their families by court order as a result of neglect or various levels of abuse. The girls, from across the Israeli spectrum, live three to a room, in a home-like environment, where they are given communal housekeeping chores, individualized education and therapy. Zohar says that there was an extra bed in each room to host a guest, perhaps a sister.

Founded by Susan and Michael Ashner, American philanthropists, with help and support from the Jaffa Institute and WIZO, the project aimed to help Israels most vulnerable, self-destructive or at-risk girls, estimated to be as many as 33,000 by Beit Ruth. Without assistance, reports Beit Ruth, these girls often descend into a life of addiction, prostitution, violent relationships, poverty, attempted suicide and the perpetuation of the cycle of abuse.

With an all-female staff of 40 caring for 45 girls, everything is arranged, from new clothes to healthcare, from private and group therapy to individualized education and programs in art, dance, drama and music. The girls also are taken on educational field trips throughout Israel to deepen their connection to their Jewish identity and culture.

At the beginning it was hard, says Zohar. Aside from the regularly scheduled therapy sessions, Zohars social worker would take her out for coffee or ice cream. Sometimes when we would go out informally I found it easier to talk, recalls Zohar.

The girls were not allowed to keep their phones with them, said Twerski, to protect them from the outside, though the phones were returned to the girls for one-hour of phone time each evening, or they were allowed to use a communal phone.

Zohar, now 20, graduated and lives independently in Tel Aviv. Her alarm clock rings at 5 a.m. so she can get to her 6 a.m. job as a hostess in a Tel Aviv hotel.

Zohar, recently in New York with Twerski to meet financial supporters of Beit Ruth, laughs about how she once didnt have the wherewithal to get out of bed in the morning, and now shes up at 5. At first, some of the girls, Twerski explains, dont have the strength or energy to wake up in the morning, but not because Zohar was lazy; she didnt yet have the energy. The source of life was taken from her. Its our job to make these girls believe again in the world. The saddest thing is we just have room for 45 girls.

Sometimes, Zohar wonders about what happened in the past, the times she tried to kill herself. Why was my life like that? Why was I living, at all? Without Beit Ruth, to have money for drugs and alcohol, I would have worked as a prostitute. I would have no life, if I didnt live on the streets. That, or suicide. Without Beit Ruth, thats where I would have ended up. But that was then.

After Beit Ruth, Zohar found work in an Ethiopian restaurant. One day a young man from the Tribe of Dan came in, looking for a meal but leaving in love. He courted Zohar, shared her love for Amharic music and helped her find that hostess job in the Tel Aviv hotel, where he works in maintenance.

Zohar brought him to Beit Ruth to meet the family. I have a few Beit Ruth mothers so, of course, I came to get approval for my boyfriend.

And there was evening, and there was morning, a revival: She had a job, she was in love, life was good, riding a bus to her tomorrows in the Tel Aviv dawn.

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Shelter From Storm For Abused Israeli Girls – Jewish Week

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Israel finally receives blood donations from gays and Ethiopian immigrants – Ynetnews

As of June 1, the MDA Blood Services Center will allow blood donations from both men who have not had gay sex in over a year and Ethiopians, after years during which these groups were barred from donating. This change will be implemented thanks to advanced equipment that enables rapid viral tests.

To date, MDA blood services have forbidden Ethiopian Jews and gay men to donate blood due to fear of contracting HIV. This long-standing decision has aroused waves of protest from the Ethiopian community.

(File photo: Shutterstock)

Three years ago, Ynet journalist Moran Azulay published a story about former Knesset Member Pnina Tamano-Shata, who wanted to donate blood at the Knesset, like her colleagues, but was informed that because she was born in Ethiopia, she was not allowed to donate blood.

Former Health Minister Yael German decided to set up a committee to determine the criteria for receiving blood donations. Many western countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, allow gay men to donate blood, provided they have not had sex a year before the donation.

As mentioned, about six months ago, the Ministry of Health announced for the first time the change in the policy of blood donations, and determined that immigrants born in Ethiopia could donate blood much like Israelis of Ethiopian origin born in Israel, provided they did not visit Ethiopia a year before the donation.

Similarly, homosexuals can now donate blood, provided that they report they have not had sex with other men a year prior to the donation.

The newly purchased device enables detection of viral infections: HIV 1 and 2, HTLV type 1 and 2, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis. In addition, the test also detects the West Nile virus that can cause severe diseases in populations at risk such as the ill, the elderly, infants and pregnant women.

Another innovation that the National Blood Bank has decided upon is to allow blood donations without age restrictions, contrary to the policy that has been in force thus far, restricting blood donations up to the age of 65. The donation of blood by members of the third age group will be possible after the approval of the family doctor indicating that the donation does not endanger their health and the indication of diseases and medications.

Former MK Pnina Tamano-Shata: “The State of Israel discriminated against the Ethiopian immigrants for three decades, looking at us as a walking affliction to Israeli society, labeling us as sick from a racist point of view. While taking blood from other much more infected countries, our blood was thrown away. ”

“This is a victory and for that, I’m glad. For me, this has been a struggle over my very existence and my ability to exist in peace in Israeli society. I have made a vow that there will not be a situation in which the State of Israel thinks that it may continue to discriminate against us for so many years it is an important message for the younger generation that justice and truth must not be sacrificed.”

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Israel finally receives blood donations from gays and Ethiopian immigrants – Ynetnews

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An Israeli’s alphabet combines Hebrew and Arabic to promote understanding – thejewishchronicle.net

Liron Lavi Turkenich compares produce in a video for her Aravrit writing system. (Screenshot from YouTubeTurkenich)

Israeli typography designer Liron Lavi Turkenich has created a stylized writing system that merges the two ancient alphabets, allowing Hebrew and Arabic speakers to read the same words. Her hope is that Aravrit will promote coexistence in Israel and beyond.

I believe Aravrit sends a message that were both here, and we might as well acknowledge each other, Turkenich said. That applies to Jews and Arab Israelis, but also to Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world.

Israelis have been receptive. Over 1 million people have watched a Hebrew-language video introducing Aravrit since it was posted last week on Facebook by Kan, Israels new broadcasting authority. Dozens left positive comments. A version of the video with English subtitles was released Monday.

I think maybe this explains the crazy success of the Hebrew video: We can do something caring for the other side just by reading, without having a solution, Turkenich said.

Turkenich, 32, was inspired to create Aravrit by the road signs in Haifa, the mixed Jewish and Arab city where she was born and has lived most of her life. Although many of the signs feature Arabic along with Hebrew and English she realized that she had always ignored the lettering. Arabic tends to appear smaller on official signage and, like most Israeli Jews, she cannot read it.

For her final undergraduate project, Turkenich set out to combine Hebrew and Arabic lettering in a way that would allow them to live together, as she put it. She started by revisiting the work of French ophthalmologist Louis mile Javal, who in the late 19th century found that people can read pretty well using only the top half of Latin letters. With some experimenting, Turkenich discovered that the same is true of Arabic and by happy coincidence, the opposite holds for Hebrew.

In Hebrew, most of the identifying characteristics of letters forms are near the bottom part, she said. When I went to check Arabic, I crossed my fingers that they would be on the top half and they were!

Based on this insight, Turkenich combined each of the 22 letters in Hebrew with each of the 29 in Arabic to create an Aravrit alphabet with 638 characters. Vowels are used as needed for legibility below the Hebrew letters and above the Arabic ones, per the languages respective rules. Turkenich tested the Hebrew elements on herself and her friends. For advice on the Arabic, she turned to Arab-Israeli commuters on her daily train ride from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

Whenever I heard someone speaking Arabic, I would ask them if they had time to answer a few questions. They always said yes, she recalled, noting that she now has Arab friends who help.

Since graduating in 2012 from Shenkar, a college of engineering, design and art in Ramat Gan, Turkenich has further developed Aravrit into a writing system. She has incorporated alternative forms of letters in both languages some Hebrew letters take on a different form at the end of words and connected the Arabic elements in traditional cursive style. The changes have given her the flexibility to craft each word in a unique way, and she is working on writing down the rules.

Turkenich said she gets lots of requests to write Aravrit, including recently from the head of a small mostly Jewish city in Israel that she declined to name. She also teaches and gives lectures about her work in Israel and around the world. Last year, Aravrit was exhibited at The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Beersheba.

Language of course can be a political issue in the Jewish state. Hebrew and Arabic both have sacred roots, and are central to the identities at stake in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier this month, Israeli ministers backed a bill that would constitutionally enshrine the countrys Jewish status and make Hebrew the only official language, demoting Arabic from that status and, critics say, further marginalizing the 20 percent of Israelis who are Arab.

But Turkenich said her goal is to build on the languages, not subvert them. In Aravrit itself a hybrid of the Hebrew words for Arabic and Hebrew sentences follow the grammar rules of Arabic on top and Hebrew on the bottom, she noted, and the lettering retains the most prominent features of each script. A word like peace, for example, would read as salaam on top and shalom on bottom.

Both Hebrew and Arabic have incredible histories. We should not erase them, she said. Its the same as the political situation: We cant start from scratch.

Arabs are not the only Israeli minority group Turkenich is interested in. While earning a masters degree in typeface design from Englands University of Reading in 2015, she developed a typeface called Makeda, the name Ethiopians use for the Queen of Sheba, which works for Amharic, Hebrew and Latin letters. She hopes it will be used for Israeli government and legal documents relevant to the countrys 135,000 Ethiopian Jews.

Makeda is a little less idealistic than Aravrit, Turkenich said, laughing. That was me growing up.

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First Read For June 7 – Jewish Week

Want a Free Palestine T-shirt? Dont go to Sears

Sears says it will remove a line of clothing featuring the slogan Free Palestine from its website, the Jerusalem Post reports. The clothing was offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and included tank tops, t-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages.

The clothing was offered for sale through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears. The designs included a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag and statements opposing The Israeli occupation.

A Sears representative said the company will be removing the items soon. We do not want our members to be unhappy. According to a statement from a Sears spokesman, the apparel was pulled from the site based on feedback the company received.

Jewish campus chaplains daughter assaulted in England

The teenage daughter of the University of Surreys Jewish chaplain in England was allegedly beaten by an anti-Semitic gangand left bleeding in a park fortwo hours late last month after police failed to respond to an emergency call, according to the Algemeiner.

Hannah Goldbergwas reportedlysitting in apublic park with two friends on the Shabbat of May 27, when a group of five men approached them with comments like, Hitler should have killed all you Jews when he had the chance and You should have all been gassed, the paper reported.

One of the boys threw a basketball at Hannahs face and kicked her in the chest, while another boy punched her in the face repeatedly. Hannahs friends approached a nearby postal worker for help, who in turn called the Metropolitan Police Service, who never arrived.

New York educators honored by Covenant Foundation

Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, founding principal of SAR High School in Riverdale, and Meredith Englander Polsky, national director of Institutes and Training at Matan in New York, were among Jewish educators named recipients this week of the Award from the Covenant Foundation, the New York-based philanthropy announced.

The Award is considered among the highest honors in the field of Jewish education.

These Jewish educators exemplify inspired, courageous and visionary leadership, said Cheryl Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation and a former Covenant Award recipient. Along with the recognition that accompanies this award, each recipient will receive $36,000 and each of their institutions will receive $5,000.

Rabbi convicted of indecent assault opens study center in Jerusalem

Rabbi Moti Elon, a prominent educator in Israel who was convicted of indecent assault against a minor less than four years ago, this week opened a study center in central Jerusalem, Israeli mediareports.

Elon was convicted on two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor in August 2013, but never served any jail time. Instead, he was given a six-month commuted sentence which he served in community service. According to an assistant, the rabbi, who lives in northern Israel, has been teaching in Jerusalem ever since his conviction with several hundred people attending his lessons.

His new study center, Beit Vaad UMidrash, will host religious lessons and lectures throughout the week. Rabbi Elon himself will teach three times a week on topics of Jewish law and mysticism.

Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel

Surrounded by Israeli flags and dozens of balloons, 72 new Ethiopian immigrants arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport yesterday, the first group to immigrate since the government resumed Ethiopian immigration last October, according to the Times of Israel.

In August 2016, a year after the government first announced it would bring those still awaiting immigration, the Finance Ministry agreed to allocate money to allow 1,300 Ethiopians to come, the first step of a five-year program to bring 6,000 new immigrants at a rate of approximately 100 per month.

The process for immigration approval has beenplagued by accusations of racism and inefficiencyagainst the Interior Ministry. Two additional flights are planned for June, including one next week with almost 100 people.

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First Read For June 7 – Jewish Week

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PM holds talk with Ethiopian-Israelis in Israel – Walta Information Center (blog)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed with Ethiopian-Israeli communities on current affairs in Israel.

In Discussion form the Ethiopian Embassy in Israel organized yesterday evening, the PM said that Ethiopia has registered fast economic growth over tha last consecutive years.

The PM also mentioned that it was this growth that enabled it to tackle the drought occurred in the country by itself.

However, there were problems happened in some parts of the country following the people request, the PM said that these problem has been solved by deep reform programs.

The PM said that peace and stability has maintained in the country, which makes the country safe for investment.

He urged the Ethiopian-Israeli to invest in Ethiopia as the government is awaiting them with support.

According to him, there many business people investing in the country, he said calling up on the Ethiopian-Israeli communities to invest in the country with the technologies they have acquired.

The PM was also responding the questions raised by the participants who said they were allowed to gain a passport of Ethiopian-Israeli.

He assured them that new regulation was enacted to respond the question of passport and it is solved.

According to him, the government believes the importance of creating relation Ethiopian Jews in a new chapter.

The Ethiopian-Israeli communities, which their number stood 140,000 this time were first airlifted to Israel in late 1900s.

In the visit accompanied by first lady Roman Tesfaye and senior officials, PM is expected to strengthen the bilateral relation between two countries.(ENA)

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Jerusalem Film Scholarship Awarded to Business Student – The Media Line

Winner seeks to tell the stories of the disenfranchised On his college transcript, 24-year old Napthali Rosenberg seems like a typical college senior about to graduate with a degree in business administration. In reality, he has a far bigger plan to take that business degree and apply it to the world of filmmaking.

Rosenberg is this years winner of a scholarship created by the Miami Jewish Film Festival that sends a Jewish South Florida student to Jerusalem for a six week workshop on filmmaking, from June 14 to July 25.

I am beyond excited and grateful for this incredible opportunity I have been given, Rosenberg told The Media Line. Its really a dream program they have put together.

When selecting a winner for the scholarship, the Miami Jewish Film Festival was seeking a student with an intense passion for filmmaking. While Rosenberg is going to Florida International University to receive a degree in business administration, his degree is all part of a larger plan focused around film.

Rosenberg wants to open his own production company and he plans to use the skills he learned with his business degree to help him along the way.

The logistics side is the most important part of creating a quality film piece, Rosenberg said. Having a clear, creative vision is very important, but is only half of the necessities in filmmaking. Acquiring finances, building and leading teams, marketing and distribution of a film project are what will tremendously help ensure the highest quality.

Rosenberg was born in New York but moved to South Florida after less than two years. His mother is an African-American who converted to Judaism and his father is an Orthodox Jew associated with the Chabad movement of Hasidism.

I have been deep in the Jewish community simultaneously as an insider and outsider, which has given me a unique perspective on Jewish culture, Rosenberg said.

Rosenbergs diverse background caused him to stand out when he attended Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach, where he was the only student of African-American descent.

Socially, I wasnt able to express myself the way I wanted to, Rosenberg said. He turned to various art forms such as writing, drawing, and painting to express himself at the time. It was not long until Rosenberg found the same solace in filmmaking.

Rosenbergs film portfolio includes short films, advertisements for startup companies, and multiple business conferences. This week he is taking on the 48 Hour Film Project in Miami, an event where teams of filmmakers have a single weekend to write, shoot, and edit a short film.

This summer, students of the Jerusalem Film Workshop will be tasked with creating one documentary film during their six week stay. Rosenberg plans to create a film focusing on the Ethiopian Jews that live in Israel.

They [Ethiopians] have a large community in Israel and unless you travel there people dont realize that there is an African community of practicing Jews, Rosenberg said. I dont think their story has been told well.

This film idea directly reflects Rosenbergs future plans in filmmaking. When he creates his own film production company, he hopes to focus on films that tell the story of the disenfranchised.

I want to do all kinds of film but primarily I want to focus on the unheard voice and different minority groups that have overcome certain obstacles and didnt see themselves just as victims, Rosenberg said.

For a second consecutive year, the Miami Jewish Film Festival has provided a full ride scholarship to the Jerusalem Film Workshop. Festival executive director Igor Shteyrenberg has developed the scholarship program over the last two years and he believes its purpose directly reflects what the festival stands for.

This [scholarship] really spoke to our festivals core values, Shteyrenberg told The Media Line. Thats bridging cultural gaps, supplying tolerance and understanding, and giving fledgling filmmakers the opportunity to realize their dreams.

Selecting a winner for the scholarship was a lengthy process in which a candidates previous work in film and commitment to filmmaking was analyzed, Shteyrenberg said.

Over 150 candidates were vying for our scholarship and each of them showed tremendous potential, Shteyrenberg said. Ultimately, what distinguished Naphtali was his extraordinary burning passion and determination to fulfilling his film making dreams, his production experience, and extensive work-to-date.

THOMAS CHILES is a student journalist with The Media Lines Press and Policy Student Program.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Media Line Ltd., it’s management, staff, advertisers and sponsors. The Media Line bears no responsibility for opinions and/or information appearing herein.

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Jerusalem Film Scholarship Awarded to Business Student – The Media Line

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Lessons from Begin: Is rescue no longer a Jewish imperative? – Canadian Jewish News (blog)

On June 10, 1977, an Israeli freighter, the Yuvali, captained by Meir Tadmor, responded to an SOS call from a leaking fishing boat that was adrift in the South China Sea. The boat held 66 Vietnamese, including 16 children under the age of 10. They were almost out of food. Water was being rationed at the rate of three teaspoons per child per day, and none for adults. Ships from East Germany, Panama, Japan and even Norway had previously ignored its SOS calls. But Tadmor took them on board. He understood that helping ships in distress is the first law of maritime menschlichkeit, a point lost on gentile boats. Tadmor tried to get medical help for them in Hong Kong, then a British colony, but was not allowed to dock because he was not scheduled to call there. He next tried Yokohama, Japan, to no avail. In Taiwan, police boats surrounded the Yuvali lest someone surreptitiously try to get to shore. If there is a rescue plan, we will also assume the burden, because rescue supersedes everything else The previous month, on May 17, Menachem Begins Likud party had won the Israeli national election, taking 44 out of 120 seats (in Israel, it was considered a landslide). On June 20, he rose in the Knesset to make the speech asking for a vote of confidence for his new government. He quoted from the prophet Isaiah and spoke of the meaning of the Holocaust, in which his parents and brother were murdered. That was followed by speeches from other members of the Knesset. Toward midnight, the speaker of the Knesset, Yitzhak Shamir, formally gave Begin the floor once again. At that point, Begin should have delivered his response to his nascent governments critics. But he did not. Instead, he offered a different message: On the basis of my assumption that tonight the Knesset will express confidence in the government and my confidence in the agreement of members of the Knesset across, or almost across, party lines, I announce that tomorrow, my first act as prime minister will be to give instructions to grant asylum in our country to refugees from Vietnam. He continued: We all remember the ships with Jewish refugees in the 30s that wandered the surface of the seven seas, asking to enter a specific country, or any number of countries, only to encounter rejection. Today, there exists the state of the Jews. We have not forgotten. We will behave with humanity. We will bring these unfortunate people, refugees saved by our ship from drowning in the depths of the sea, to our country. We will provide them shelter and refuge. And that is precisely what he did. The Vietnamese were thereupon flown to Israel and greeted on arrival by immigration minister David Levy. Israel thus gained the distinction of being the first country in the world to take in Vietnamese refugees. These were but the first group of Vietnamese to make aliyah. (Canada, by way of contrast, would not admit Vietnamese boat people until July 1979.) By pure, bittersweet coincidence, June 21, 1977, was the 38th anniversary of the return to Europe of the MS St. Louis, with its 900 Jews who had escaped Nazism, only to be refused entry into Cuba, the U.S. and Canada. They were divided among four European countries, three of which were overrun by Hitler two years later. At their first meeting, then-U.S. president Jimmy Carter publicly lauded Begin for taking in the refugees. Begin replied by situating the act in a continuum of Jewish history and universalism: We never have forgotten the boat with 900 Jews having left Germany in the last weeks before the Second World War travelling from harbour to harbour, from country to country, crying out for refuge. They were refused. Therefore, it was natural to give those people a haven in the Land of Israel. For Begin, rescue was a Jewish imperative. In 1955, when the government debated excluding elderly and ill Moroccan Jews from aliyah because of financial hardships facing the young country, he delivered a stinging rebuke: If there is a rescue plan, we will also assume the burden, because rescue supersedes everything else. He and Yitzhak Chofi, the farsighted head of Mossad, began the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, fulfilling the words of Isaiah (49:6): And I will give you as a light unto the nations to extend my salvation as far as to the ends of the earth (and even to the South China Sea). Today, unfortunately, the story is quite different. Along its border with Egypt, Israel has built a fence that keeps out genuine Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers. When U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order to build a wall on the Mexican border, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israels southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea. We as Jews need to absorb the lesson of the Jerusalem Mishnah, Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter 4, Law 5, which recites how in capital cases, judges impressed upon the witnesses the importance of telling the truth and disregarding hearsay. They told them that killing someone also deprives his unborn descendants of life: Therefore was Adam created singly in the world (i.e., not en masse like the animals), in order to teach that he who destroys a single life is considered as if he had destroyed an entire world, and he who saves a single life is considered as if he had saved an entire world. Murray Teitel is a Toronto barrister and freelance journalist.

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As Ethiopian olim trickle to Israel, many wonder when’s their turn – The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post As Ethiopian olim trickle to Israel, many wonder when's their turn The Jerusalem Post Neither Asmamo nor Alamow has been sitting idly waiting; both are active in a campaign called the Struggle for the Aliya of Ethiopian Jews , which seeks to put pressure on the government to bring the remaining members of the Ethiopian Jewish …

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Hearing the unheard voices of Ethiopian Israelis J. – Jweekly.com

Too many Jews of my generation see Jewish people, as a whole, as being primarily privileged and white. However, there are plenty of Jewish groups, particularly within Israel, that do not have the privilege and wealth that many of us in the Bay Area enjoy. One of these groups is the Ethiopian Jewish community. During my senior year at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco, I researched the Ethiopian community in Israel and communicated with Ethiopian Israeli teens through a pen pal program that I organized. Hearing the voices of this unheard group has been worthwhile and important to me, and I believe it is ultimately important for everyone. The Ethiopian Israeli experience is important for us to learn about because it is crucial to know about the culture and traditions of Jewish communities other than our own, and because the struggles this community faces must be acknowledged and remedied. If we truly care about tikkun olam, repairing the world, we must prioritize helping less privileged Jewish communities worldwide. The Ethiopian Jewish community has a long and little-known history that is sometimes obscured by the miraculous journey of most of the community to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. There has been a Jewish presence in Ethiopia for thousands of years, since before there was a Christian or Muslim presence. Legend has it that Ethiopias first ruler, Menelik I, was the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Ethiopian Jews have been traditionally regarded as the descendants of the tribe of Dan. Due to the pre-Talmud origins of the Ethiopian Jewish community, they have practiced an older form of Judaism (which has included sacrifices and different prayers and rituals) than what is practiced by rabbinic Jews. Despite the ostracization to which these Jews were subjected in Ethiopia, and the frequent efforts of Christian and Muslim Ethiopians to convert them, the Ethiopian Jewish community has maintained its beliefs and practices in an unbroken chain of tradition for countless generations. Judaism is not a monolithic entity, and the Ethiopian Jewish experience certainly attests to that fact. Yet many Jews have little awareness of Jewish communities or practices beyond their own. It is important for Jews around the world to learn about the Ethiopian Jewish community because knowing about the history and culture of other Jewish groups can enhance communal connection between different, far-flung communities. If we truly care about tikkun olam, repairing the world, we must prioritize helping less privileged Jewish communities worldwide. Additionally, this knowledge can inspire curiosity about the history and experience of other Jewish communities that can foster a greater connection to and understanding of Judaism and Jewish history as a whole. Ethiopian Jewish culture is a unique and significant hue in the rainbow of Jewish culture. For most of modern history, the Ethiopian Jewish community has endured significant hardships. Many walked through the desert to Sudan and endured terrible conditions in refugee camps waiting for flights to Israel. Once they arrived in the Holy Land, they faced discrimination in everything from housing to policies that seemed to invalidate their Judaism. Kessim, the Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders, have never been recognized in Israel the way rabbis are. Blood donations from Ethiopians were discarded. Though there have been some improvements, many of these problems persist today. A disproportionate percentage of police investigations are against Ethiopian Israelis. There have been several high-profile cases of police brutality against Ethiopian Israelis. One-fifth of Israeli soldiers of Ethiopian heritage are jailed at some point in their Israel Defense Forces service. Just last year, Israels highest-ranking police officer claimed that police discrimination against Ethiopian Israelis was justified because they are more likely to commit crimes. In the workplace, the average Ethiopian Israelis salary is 35 percent less than the average Israelis salary. A disproportionate percentage of Ethiopian Israelis work menial and unskilled jobs. According to a 2011 survey, 39 percent of Ethiopian Israeli families live below the poverty line a staggering statistic. The percentage of Ethiopian Israelis with a university education (20 percent) is half the nationwide average. This systematic disadvantaging and discrimination follows many Ethiopian Israelis from youth to adulthood. Living lives of relative privilege and ease here in the Bay Area, we may not notice the experiences of other Jews who are not so lucky. There are concrete things that can be done to spread the voice of this under-heard community. When traveling to Israel, particularly with school groups or on other education-oriented trips, you can arrange to meet with Ethiopian Israeli teenagers or adults to hear about their personal experiences, learn about their beautiful traditions and see for yourself the circumstances that they face. You can donate to Israeli organizations that advocate for the Ethiopian community, particularly those that are run by Ethiopian Israelis, such as the Ethiopian National Project. Other organizations can be found at friendsofethiopianjews.org/resources. And while donating is good, learning more does a world of good, too. Ultimately, the most important thing is knowledge of the history, culture and struggle of the Ethiopian Jewish community. By listening to them tell their own stories, we can learn more about their place and ours in the global patchwork of the Jewish community.

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Shelter From Storm For Abused Israeli Girls – Jewish Week

To whom does this young woman belong? [Ruth 2:5] Zohar, born under African skies, is a daughter of Beta Israel, Ethiopian Jews descended from the Tribe of Dan, once one of the Ten Lost Tribes. Moving with her family to Israel when she was five, by 13 she was lean and athletic, a highly ranked long-distance runner, racing through Israels streets, parks and fields, until raped by a stranger in the Ramat Gan soil. Zohar (she asked that we call her Zohar meaning Splendor or Radiance rather than her actual name) told us that her father couldnt deal with the rape of his child, and soon he couldnt deal with Zohar either. My mother was kind of supportive, says Zohar, but my father took it very hard; he never stopped blaming me for what happened. I didnt go back home at night and didnt go to school in the mornings. I found myself in situations that I never thought Id find myself: living on the streets, drinking, smoking, drugs, like falling downhill. Homeless, helpless, on the edge of the law, she found herself ordered into a municipal lock-down facility for girls, designed to protect the girls from whomever was threatening them. (Lock-down meant no casual exit or entry, with guards, mounted cameras and security restrictions.) It was like jail, very hard, says Zohar. My family rarely came to visit me, sometimes my mother, never my father. After four months in lock-down, Zohar says her social worker told me about Beit Ruth, an institution for abused or at-risk girls that opened in 2006 with room for only 15 girls. Expanding its capacity to 45 girls in 2013, Beit Ruth opened a second house in Afula, a northern town in the Emek Yizrael valley. Zohars social worker was quick to get Zohar a place. Iris Twerski, who manages Beit Ruths activities in Israel, told us that Zohars father wanted her to stay in lock-down place. When he heard she was going to Beit Ruth, an open place, he wasnt happy, but the lock-down place could only be temporary. Zohar recalls visiting Beit Ruth with my mother and my social worker. It was new and beautiful. I fell in love with it immediately. They told me to think about it. I told them I could say yes immediately. She was only 14 when she first unpacked. Beit Ruth Educational & Therapeutic Village was established as a residence for girls 13-18 who have been removed from their families by court order as a result of neglect or various levels of abuse. The girls, from across the Israeli spectrum, live three to a room, in a home-like environment, where they are given communal housekeeping chores, individualized education and therapy. Zohar says that there was an extra bed in each room to host a guest, perhaps a sister. Founded by Susan and Michael Ashner, American philanthropists, with help and support from the Jaffa Institute and WIZO, the project aimed to help Israels most vulnerable, self-destructive or at-risk girls, estimated to be as many as 33,000 by Beit Ruth. Without assistance, reports Beit Ruth, these girls often descend into a life of addiction, prostitution, violent relationships, poverty, attempted suicide and the perpetuation of the cycle of abuse. With an all-female staff of 40 caring for 45 girls, everything is arranged, from new clothes to healthcare, from private and group therapy to individualized education and programs in art, dance, drama and music. The girls also are taken on educational field trips throughout Israel to deepen their connection to their Jewish identity and culture. At the beginning it was hard, says Zohar. Aside from the regularly scheduled therapy sessions, Zohars social worker would take her out for coffee or ice cream. Sometimes when we would go out informally I found it easier to talk, recalls Zohar. The girls were not allowed to keep their phones with them, said Twerski, to protect them from the outside, though the phones were returned to the girls for one-hour of phone time each evening, or they were allowed to use a communal phone. Zohar, now 20, graduated and lives independently in Tel Aviv. Her alarm clock rings at 5 a.m. so she can get to her 6 a.m. job as a hostess in a Tel Aviv hotel. Zohar, recently in New York with Twerski to meet financial supporters of Beit Ruth, laughs about how she once didnt have the wherewithal to get out of bed in the morning, and now shes up at 5. At first, some of the girls, Twerski explains, dont have the strength or energy to wake up in the morning, but not because Zohar was lazy; she didnt yet have the energy. The source of life was taken from her. Its our job to make these girls believe again in the world. The saddest thing is we just have room for 45 girls. Sometimes, Zohar wonders about what happened in the past, the times she tried to kill herself. Why was my life like that? Why was I living, at all? Without Beit Ruth, to have money for drugs and alcohol, I would have worked as a prostitute. I would have no life, if I didnt live on the streets. That, or suicide. Without Beit Ruth, thats where I would have ended up. But that was then. After Beit Ruth, Zohar found work in an Ethiopian restaurant. One day a young man from the Tribe of Dan came in, looking for a meal but leaving in love. He courted Zohar, shared her love for Amharic music and helped her find that hostess job in the Tel Aviv hotel, where he works in maintenance. Zohar brought him to Beit Ruth to meet the family. I have a few Beit Ruth mothers so, of course, I came to get approval for my boyfriend. And there was evening, and there was morning, a revival: She had a job, she was in love, life was good, riding a bus to her tomorrows in the Tel Aviv dawn.

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Israel finally receives blood donations from gays and Ethiopian immigrants – Ynetnews

As of June 1, the MDA Blood Services Center will allow blood donations from both men who have not had gay sex in over a year and Ethiopians, after years during which these groups were barred from donating. This change will be implemented thanks to advanced equipment that enables rapid viral tests. To date, MDA blood services have forbidden Ethiopian Jews and gay men to donate blood due to fear of contracting HIV. This long-standing decision has aroused waves of protest from the Ethiopian community. (File photo: Shutterstock) Three years ago, Ynet journalist Moran Azulay published a story about former Knesset Member Pnina Tamano-Shata, who wanted to donate blood at the Knesset, like her colleagues, but was informed that because she was born in Ethiopia, she was not allowed to donate blood. Former Health Minister Yael German decided to set up a committee to determine the criteria for receiving blood donations. Many western countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, allow gay men to donate blood, provided they have not had sex a year before the donation. As mentioned, about six months ago, the Ministry of Health announced for the first time the change in the policy of blood donations, and determined that immigrants born in Ethiopia could donate blood much like Israelis of Ethiopian origin born in Israel, provided they did not visit Ethiopia a year before the donation. Similarly, homosexuals can now donate blood, provided that they report they have not had sex with other men a year prior to the donation. The newly purchased device enables detection of viral infections: HIV 1 and 2, HTLV type 1 and 2, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis. In addition, the test also detects the West Nile virus that can cause severe diseases in populations at risk such as the ill, the elderly, infants and pregnant women. Another innovation that the National Blood Bank has decided upon is to allow blood donations without age restrictions, contrary to the policy that has been in force thus far, restricting blood donations up to the age of 65. The donation of blood by members of the third age group will be possible after the approval of the family doctor indicating that the donation does not endanger their health and the indication of diseases and medications. Former MK Pnina Tamano-Shata: “The State of Israel discriminated against the Ethiopian immigrants for three decades, looking at us as a walking affliction to Israeli society, labeling us as sick from a racist point of view. While taking blood from other much more infected countries, our blood was thrown away. ” “This is a victory and for that, I’m glad. For me, this has been a struggle over my very existence and my ability to exist in peace in Israeli society. I have made a vow that there will not be a situation in which the State of Israel thinks that it may continue to discriminate against us for so many years it is an important message for the younger generation that justice and truth must not be sacrificed.”

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An Israeli’s alphabet combines Hebrew and Arabic to promote understanding – thejewishchronicle.net

Liron Lavi Turkenich compares produce in a video for her Aravrit writing system. (Screenshot from YouTubeTurkenich) Israeli typography designer Liron Lavi Turkenich has created a stylized writing system that merges the two ancient alphabets, allowing Hebrew and Arabic speakers to read the same words. Her hope is that Aravrit will promote coexistence in Israel and beyond. I believe Aravrit sends a message that were both here, and we might as well acknowledge each other, Turkenich said. That applies to Jews and Arab Israelis, but also to Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world. Israelis have been receptive. Over 1 million people have watched a Hebrew-language video introducing Aravrit since it was posted last week on Facebook by Kan, Israels new broadcasting authority. Dozens left positive comments. A version of the video with English subtitles was released Monday. I think maybe this explains the crazy success of the Hebrew video: We can do something caring for the other side just by reading, without having a solution, Turkenich said. Turkenich, 32, was inspired to create Aravrit by the road signs in Haifa, the mixed Jewish and Arab city where she was born and has lived most of her life. Although many of the signs feature Arabic along with Hebrew and English she realized that she had always ignored the lettering. Arabic tends to appear smaller on official signage and, like most Israeli Jews, she cannot read it. For her final undergraduate project, Turkenich set out to combine Hebrew and Arabic lettering in a way that would allow them to live together, as she put it. She started by revisiting the work of French ophthalmologist Louis mile Javal, who in the late 19th century found that people can read pretty well using only the top half of Latin letters. With some experimenting, Turkenich discovered that the same is true of Arabic and by happy coincidence, the opposite holds for Hebrew. In Hebrew, most of the identifying characteristics of letters forms are near the bottom part, she said. When I went to check Arabic, I crossed my fingers that they would be on the top half and they were! Based on this insight, Turkenich combined each of the 22 letters in Hebrew with each of the 29 in Arabic to create an Aravrit alphabet with 638 characters. Vowels are used as needed for legibility below the Hebrew letters and above the Arabic ones, per the languages respective rules. Turkenich tested the Hebrew elements on herself and her friends. For advice on the Arabic, she turned to Arab-Israeli commuters on her daily train ride from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Whenever I heard someone speaking Arabic, I would ask them if they had time to answer a few questions. They always said yes, she recalled, noting that she now has Arab friends who help. Since graduating in 2012 from Shenkar, a college of engineering, design and art in Ramat Gan, Turkenich has further developed Aravrit into a writing system. She has incorporated alternative forms of letters in both languages some Hebrew letters take on a different form at the end of words and connected the Arabic elements in traditional cursive style. The changes have given her the flexibility to craft each word in a unique way, and she is working on writing down the rules. Turkenich said she gets lots of requests to write Aravrit, including recently from the head of a small mostly Jewish city in Israel that she declined to name. She also teaches and gives lectures about her work in Israel and around the world. Last year, Aravrit was exhibited at The Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures in Beersheba. Language of course can be a political issue in the Jewish state. Hebrew and Arabic both have sacred roots, and are central to the identities at stake in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier this month, Israeli ministers backed a bill that would constitutionally enshrine the countrys Jewish status and make Hebrew the only official language, demoting Arabic from that status and, critics say, further marginalizing the 20 percent of Israelis who are Arab. But Turkenich said her goal is to build on the languages, not subvert them. In Aravrit itself a hybrid of the Hebrew words for Arabic and Hebrew sentences follow the grammar rules of Arabic on top and Hebrew on the bottom, she noted, and the lettering retains the most prominent features of each script. A word like peace, for example, would read as salaam on top and shalom on bottom. Both Hebrew and Arabic have incredible histories. We should not erase them, she said. Its the same as the political situation: We cant start from scratch. Arabs are not the only Israeli minority group Turkenich is interested in. While earning a masters degree in typeface design from Englands University of Reading in 2015, she developed a typeface called Makeda, the name Ethiopians use for the Queen of Sheba, which works for Amharic, Hebrew and Latin letters. She hopes it will be used for Israeli government and legal documents relevant to the countrys 135,000 Ethiopian Jews. Makeda is a little less idealistic than Aravrit, Turkenich said, laughing. That was me growing up.

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First Read For June 7 – Jewish Week

Want a Free Palestine T-shirt? Dont go to Sears Sears says it will remove a line of clothing featuring the slogan Free Palestine from its website, the Jerusalem Post reports. The clothing was offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and included tank tops, t-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages. The clothing was offered for sale through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears. The designs included a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag and statements opposing The Israeli occupation. A Sears representative said the company will be removing the items soon. We do not want our members to be unhappy. According to a statement from a Sears spokesman, the apparel was pulled from the site based on feedback the company received. Jewish campus chaplains daughter assaulted in England The teenage daughter of the University of Surreys Jewish chaplain in England was allegedly beaten by an anti-Semitic gangand left bleeding in a park fortwo hours late last month after police failed to respond to an emergency call, according to the Algemeiner. Hannah Goldbergwas reportedlysitting in apublic park with two friends on the Shabbat of May 27, when a group of five men approached them with comments like, Hitler should have killed all you Jews when he had the chance and You should have all been gassed, the paper reported. One of the boys threw a basketball at Hannahs face and kicked her in the chest, while another boy punched her in the face repeatedly. Hannahs friends approached a nearby postal worker for help, who in turn called the Metropolitan Police Service, who never arrived. New York educators honored by Covenant Foundation Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, founding principal of SAR High School in Riverdale, and Meredith Englander Polsky, national director of Institutes and Training at Matan in New York, were among Jewish educators named recipients this week of the Award from the Covenant Foundation, the New York-based philanthropy announced. The Award is considered among the highest honors in the field of Jewish education. These Jewish educators exemplify inspired, courageous and visionary leadership, said Cheryl Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation and a former Covenant Award recipient. Along with the recognition that accompanies this award, each recipient will receive $36,000 and each of their institutions will receive $5,000. Rabbi convicted of indecent assault opens study center in Jerusalem Rabbi Moti Elon, a prominent educator in Israel who was convicted of indecent assault against a minor less than four years ago, this week opened a study center in central Jerusalem, Israeli mediareports. Elon was convicted on two counts of indecent assault by force against a minor in August 2013, but never served any jail time. Instead, he was given a six-month commuted sentence which he served in community service. According to an assistant, the rabbi, who lives in northern Israel, has been teaching in Jerusalem ever since his conviction with several hundred people attending his lessons. His new study center, Beit Vaad UMidrash, will host religious lessons and lectures throughout the week. Rabbi Elon himself will teach three times a week on topics of Jewish law and mysticism. Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel Surrounded by Israeli flags and dozens of balloons, 72 new Ethiopian immigrants arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport yesterday, the first group to immigrate since the government resumed Ethiopian immigration last October, according to the Times of Israel. In August 2016, a year after the government first announced it would bring those still awaiting immigration, the Finance Ministry agreed to allocate money to allow 1,300 Ethiopians to come, the first step of a five-year program to bring 6,000 new immigrants at a rate of approximately 100 per month. The process for immigration approval has beenplagued by accusations of racism and inefficiencyagainst the Interior Ministry. Two additional flights are planned for June, including one next week with almost 100 people.

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PM holds talk with Ethiopian-Israelis in Israel – Walta Information Center (blog)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed with Ethiopian-Israeli communities on current affairs in Israel. In Discussion form the Ethiopian Embassy in Israel organized yesterday evening, the PM said that Ethiopia has registered fast economic growth over tha last consecutive years. The PM also mentioned that it was this growth that enabled it to tackle the drought occurred in the country by itself. However, there were problems happened in some parts of the country following the people request, the PM said that these problem has been solved by deep reform programs. The PM said that peace and stability has maintained in the country, which makes the country safe for investment. He urged the Ethiopian-Israeli to invest in Ethiopia as the government is awaiting them with support. According to him, there many business people investing in the country, he said calling up on the Ethiopian-Israeli communities to invest in the country with the technologies they have acquired. The PM was also responding the questions raised by the participants who said they were allowed to gain a passport of Ethiopian-Israeli. He assured them that new regulation was enacted to respond the question of passport and it is solved. According to him, the government believes the importance of creating relation Ethiopian Jews in a new chapter. The Ethiopian-Israeli communities, which their number stood 140,000 this time were first airlifted to Israel in late 1900s. In the visit accompanied by first lady Roman Tesfaye and senior officials, PM is expected to strengthen the bilateral relation between two countries.(ENA)

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Jerusalem Film Scholarship Awarded to Business Student – The Media Line

Winner seeks to tell the stories of the disenfranchised On his college transcript, 24-year old Napthali Rosenberg seems like a typical college senior about to graduate with a degree in business administration. In reality, he has a far bigger plan to take that business degree and apply it to the world of filmmaking. Rosenberg is this years winner of a scholarship created by the Miami Jewish Film Festival that sends a Jewish South Florida student to Jerusalem for a six week workshop on filmmaking, from June 14 to July 25. I am beyond excited and grateful for this incredible opportunity I have been given, Rosenberg told The Media Line. Its really a dream program they have put together. When selecting a winner for the scholarship, the Miami Jewish Film Festival was seeking a student with an intense passion for filmmaking. While Rosenberg is going to Florida International University to receive a degree in business administration, his degree is all part of a larger plan focused around film. Rosenberg wants to open his own production company and he plans to use the skills he learned with his business degree to help him along the way. The logistics side is the most important part of creating a quality film piece, Rosenberg said. Having a clear, creative vision is very important, but is only half of the necessities in filmmaking. Acquiring finances, building and leading teams, marketing and distribution of a film project are what will tremendously help ensure the highest quality. Rosenberg was born in New York but moved to South Florida after less than two years. His mother is an African-American who converted to Judaism and his father is an Orthodox Jew associated with the Chabad movement of Hasidism. I have been deep in the Jewish community simultaneously as an insider and outsider, which has given me a unique perspective on Jewish culture, Rosenberg said. Rosenbergs diverse background caused him to stand out when he attended Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach, where he was the only student of African-American descent. Socially, I wasnt able to express myself the way I wanted to, Rosenberg said. He turned to various art forms such as writing, drawing, and painting to express himself at the time. It was not long until Rosenberg found the same solace in filmmaking. Rosenbergs film portfolio includes short films, advertisements for startup companies, and multiple business conferences. This week he is taking on the 48 Hour Film Project in Miami, an event where teams of filmmakers have a single weekend to write, shoot, and edit a short film. This summer, students of the Jerusalem Film Workshop will be tasked with creating one documentary film during their six week stay. Rosenberg plans to create a film focusing on the Ethiopian Jews that live in Israel. They [Ethiopians] have a large community in Israel and unless you travel there people dont realize that there is an African community of practicing Jews, Rosenberg said. I dont think their story has been told well. This film idea directly reflects Rosenbergs future plans in filmmaking. When he creates his own film production company, he hopes to focus on films that tell the story of the disenfranchised. I want to do all kinds of film but primarily I want to focus on the unheard voice and different minority groups that have overcome certain obstacles and didnt see themselves just as victims, Rosenberg said. For a second consecutive year, the Miami Jewish Film Festival has provided a full ride scholarship to the Jerusalem Film Workshop. Festival executive director Igor Shteyrenberg has developed the scholarship program over the last two years and he believes its purpose directly reflects what the festival stands for. This [scholarship] really spoke to our festivals core values, Shteyrenberg told The Media Line. Thats bridging cultural gaps, supplying tolerance and understanding, and giving fledgling filmmakers the opportunity to realize their dreams. Selecting a winner for the scholarship was a lengthy process in which a candidates previous work in film and commitment to filmmaking was analyzed, Shteyrenberg said. Over 150 candidates were vying for our scholarship and each of them showed tremendous potential, Shteyrenberg said. Ultimately, what distinguished Naphtali was his extraordinary burning passion and determination to fulfilling his film making dreams, his production experience, and extensive work-to-date. THOMAS CHILES is a student journalist with The Media Lines Press and Policy Student Program. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Media Line Ltd., it’s management, staff, advertisers and sponsors. The Media Line bears no responsibility for opinions and/or information appearing herein.

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June 5, 2017   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed


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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."