As the Jewish community ends its program in Ethiopia, sadness and hope.
Special To The Jewish Week
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On Aug. 28, the Jewish Agency for Israel will sponsor the final mass immigration flight of Ethiopians Jews to Israel. The operation will end a multi-decade initiative that has brought more than 100,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
Every year on the 50th day after Yom Kippur, Ethiopian Jews mark Sigd, a unique Ethiopian Jewish fast day, with prayers and Torah readings. The holiday, which means “prostration” in Ethiopia’s Ge’ez language, marks the day when, according to the Ethiopian Jewish tradition, God first revealed himself to Moses.
On Sigd, Ethiopian Jews symbolically re-accept the Torah.
In Israel, where the majority of Ethiopian Jews have settled in the last three decades, the Ethiopian Jewish community has grown to more than 100,000.
This week marked the beginning of the end — the end of Ethiopian Jews’ millennia-old dream to settle in Israel.
Three decades after Operation Solomon, a covert Israeli operation, started to bring the first of thousands of the African country’s Jews to the Promised Land, Israel on Monday brought some 240 members of the Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose forebears had converted to Christianity a century ago. They arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on a charter flight.
Here’s how it works with these service trips: They lure you in under the guise of work, telling you you’ll be helping to build a school, volunteering at a clinic, or contributing to the community in some meaningful way, and you get on that plane to incredible fanfare (mostly imagined), feeling like a hero for what you’re about to do.
Israel through the eyes of a different kind of Old Master.
The case is sometimes made that when it comes to telling truths about Israel — be they good, bad or ugly — it’s probably best to have a Jew do it. But Kehinde Wiley, a gay black artist from South Central Los Angeles, may be offering the definitive rebuke to that notion.