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Looking for a good book on Ethiopian Jews?
If anyone ever tries to tell you that Jews are racist or that Israel is an apartheid country, tell them about the Jews of Ethiopia.
You see, not only are there Black Jews, but Israel rescued the Jews of Ethiopia and brought them to Israel to live. The actual rescue was incredible. At one point, Israel was given a single weekend to bring thousands of Jews crammed into a makeshift compound. The response? Precisely what you'd expect: absolutely every available airplane was pressed into service in a massive airlift from Africa to Israel.
In Israel, of course, the Jews from Ethiopia have faced difficulties. Not because their skin is dark - there are plenty of Jews with various skin shades, though admittedly not as dark - but because in many cases the older members of families came with serious health problems, the likes of which Israeli doctors had to refer to medical textbooks to treat because such diseases were no longer known in Israel. And mostly because traditional society came to a screeching halt. The older family members were traditional and did not, for the most part, have a familiarity with Western society and education. The younger members, growing up in Israel, experienced the now-familiar gap between their parents and the secular world around them, a world only they could navigate in.
Generalizations, thankfully, are still only mostly true. Some Ethiopian Jews came to Israel with university educations. Others have gone on to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and are integrating into Israeli society. Some are finding ways to preserve the traditions their families brought with them even as they become part and parcel of Israel's social fabric.
The books on Ethiopian Jews here tell different parts of this gripping, complex story.
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