The Eights has Their Romance, Problems, Challenge
' the four questions in Hebrew from the settlers through the initial
fund 'for the establishment of a Ababa.
By DR. ISRAEL GOLDSTEIN
We were then taken to their He- Ilagadot which had been brought period, security provisions, a few
school for a number of the most
Emeritus, Congregation Bnai
from Israel. They also read other medical clinics, schools for general
promising Falasha youth, to be brew schools, one of three support- portions of the Hagada. Then the and Jewish education, a vocational
Jeshurun, New York; Chairman,
erected on a plot of land which had ed by the education department of High Priest explained in Amharic school, and a synagogue.
Keren Hayesod, Jerusalem
The question of the Falashas, a been donated by the Emperor the Jewish Agency, where the chit. the general significance of the fes-
It would be a rough guess on my
tribe of Semitic origin living in :Haile Selassie I, who had a short dren greeted us with a resounding
part to e timate that the new set-
Ethiopia. has intrigued Jewish pub- ,time previously ascended the "bruhim ha'baim" in the form of
As we left them, one of the tlement program would require an
lic opinion for 100 years. In 1870 throne, and had taken the title, spirited Hebrew songs.
It was a touching welcome from Kohanim whispered into my ear, initial investment of $500,000 and
Prof. Halevy of the Sorbonne dis- , "Lion of Judah." In appreciation
Hebrew "al tishkakh otanu,"— $100,000 a year thereafter for five
covered them in the course of his of his interest in the Falashas, our this far-off segment of our people.
years, and that for the elementary _
-don't forget us!"
search for Ethiopian dialects. al- committee sent him a miniature Their teachers are young men who
Jewish Colonization Asso- care of the Falashas in other parts
though they have been the subject sculptured lion in bronze, and we had mostly been taught in Israel. ciation is ready once again to of the country an initial amount of
of references by Jewish travelers inscribed it, "To the Lion of , It was apparent from snatched finance the visit of an agricultural $50,000 would be required for
Judah, in appreciation of his inter- conversations that the young peo
pie especially felt a yearning for expert from Israel to the Falashas. proper installations, and $25,000 a
- est in the Falashas."
f. Eldad ha-Dani in
In Ethiopia itself Dr. M. Felszer year for a period of five years
With the passing of Prof. Fain°- Zion, in which were mingled a my-
the 9th Century.
and his wife, who had come out thereafter.
, vich in 1954. the moving spirit of stic feeling that it was the fulfill-
There are various
My audience with His imperial
years ago to establish and
the work was no longer there, and ment of Tora prophecy, a tremen-
theories as to
several clinics, continue to Majesty, the Emperor Haile Selas-
the American Committee went out dous admiration for Israel's
their origin. The
sie I, took place during the week
of existence. In recent years, Prof. achievements in war and peace. give volunteer part-time service,
of Passover and followed my audi-
Norman Bentwich of England has which is shared by the Ethiopian as Dr. Felszer now has an impor-
has been inter-
ence with the governor of Gondar,
been foremost among those who people as a whole, and a desire for
preted to mean
lic health administration in Ethio- who had lived in Jerusalem during
have tried to revive and stimulate the new way of life which Israel
the years of the Italian occupation
the interest of Jewish organizations represents. It is not feasible, how-
"invader." In re
ever, to speak of large-scale Aliya aid administration in Ethiopia is of Ethiopia, felt a great friendship
in the Falashas.
cent years they
toward Israel and regarded with
The standard of living of the to Israel not only because of prob- volunteering a good deal of his
have also adopt-
favor the newly proposed resettle-
Falashas is primitive, like that of lems arising from the attitude of time as the chairman of a small
ed the name
their Ethiopian neighbors. Their the chief rabbinate toward the
"Bet a Israel."
The following were the essential
families live in "tuklus," built of Falashas, but also because of dom- administering such modest sums
in my audience with the em-
bamboo, straw and mud. They are estic policy. Individuals and small
ing their origins
clothed like most of their neigh-
vary. They may Dr. Goldstein
1. He recalled with respect and
supplies and other forms of help.
have come from Southern Arabia bors, in sacks. Even sandals are a can probably continue to come.
Then we visited their synagogue. Yonah Bogala is always at the dis- appreciation the work of Professor
as Jews who became mixed with luxury, so most of them walk bare-
of blessed memory.
the local Ethiopian population but foot, sometimes a distance of days
2. He felt that the world Jewish
operation and advice. And, of
retained their Semitic identity, or to get from one place to another. their huts. but larger in its dimen-
had done little for
their origin may be of a different Their features are like those of all sions and with a substantial roof
Addis Ababa is a steadfast "amicus the Falashas.
character. There are also scholars, Ethiopians. well-chiselled faces. surmounted by a - Magen David."
3. He affirmed the principle that
who say that in Ethiopia one can indeed, black, beautiful faces, top- In the sacred ark they had their
is lacking, however, is a help extended to the Falashas
find tribes whose origin is even ped by grizzly hair. They eke out own Tora in the form of a book.
should also be made available to
more unmistakably Semitic.
their non-Falasha neighbors, as he
One must always bear in mind mostly as serfs working for land- sacred language of all Ethiopians, structive help, a proper coordina-
and wrapped in a cloth, and they tion of the factors which are will- attached importance to the princi-
that the Ethiopians as a whole lords.
ple of equality between group and
claim descent from King Solomon
i group in Ethiopian life. To this
and the Queen of Sheba. They operated by Boris Gevirtsman and mantle, which Yonah Bogala had increase in the amount of help.
Fortunately, a substantial pro- point, I responded that it is part
have a tradition that their son Harry Cahanne, with its main brought to them from Jerusalem
of the Jewish tradition for Jews to
Menelik asked and secured from plants in Asmara and in Gondar. and had taught some of their gram of land resettlement which
would take care of as many as help the needy regardless of faith
his powerful father 12,000 men, exports tinned, kosher meat to Is- priests to read.
4. He knew of the proposed re-
The synagogue service was con- 1,500 Falasha families, is now
1,000 from each tribe, to help rael. Its kashrut is under the
settlement program and looked
build up his country and that from supervision of the Israeli rabbin- ducted by the Kohanim, their under consideration, with the gov-
with favor upon it.
them stem the Ethiopian people. ate, employs 1,000 Ethiopians and priests. led by the high priest. the ernment's approval.
The proposed resettlement pro-
The symbol of the Lion of Judah enjoys the high regard of the Kohen Gadol, who is elected by
was adopted by Haile Selassie I,
upon his ascension to the throne, a
Some years ago a group of young chant in Gheez, to the gentle ac- help in the form of water wells,
symbol which abounds, together Falashas came to Israel through companiment of a drum and a cym- water tanks, agricultural machin-
with the Magen David alone or Youth Aliya, and stayed at Kfar bal. This lasted a little over a half ery, seeds and food supplies to see
combined with a cross in the Im- Batya, where they learned Hebrew hour. I then greeted the congrega-
perial Palace and in public parks and returned to teach it to num- tion in Hebrew which was trans-
lated into Amharic. the Ethiopiaa
in the capital city of Addis Ababa. bers of Falasha children.
The Falashas themselves claim
The late president of Israc.d. dialect. and the high priest re-
that for 2.000 years. they have Itzhak Ben-Zvi, who had a deep in- sponded. The translations back and
maintained their tradition, primar- terest in "the scattered remnants forth were rendered by Mr. Bo.
ily the Tora, though they have of Israel," convoked several meet- gala.
After the service, the congrega-
several other sacred books, and ings of interested groups and in-
they have done so in the face of dividuals, in which I had the privi- tion gathered outside the synago-
strong Christian missionary pres- lege to participate. His successor, gue. The group of children recit , •d
'717 13Pti, DV4H1 3'.;97?
sures, which have decimated their President Zalman Shazar. has con-
numbers They keep the laws of tinued this tradition, motivated by Hebrew Corner
the Tora - the Sabbath, and the •his own special interest in the
High Holidays and festivals. cir- problem of the Falashas.
cumcisions. shehita and family
This is the background which
purity. Rabbinic Judaism and the prompted me to undertake, with
Shulhan Arukh have skipped them. Mrs. Goldstein, a Passover visit to
Jad is a young doctor.
More than 60 years ago, Prof. the Falashas.
Before the Six-Day War began, the
It is estimated that today there soldiers were not aware of him. But 1131
everything all around became
vitch, a disciple are about 25,000 Falashas, scat-
hell, when bombs fell all around and
of Prof. Halevy. tered over many villages in the people lay on the ground and actually
began to interest vast country of Ethiopia. but con- • dug foxholes for themselves with their
fingernails, everyone suddenly became
himself in the centrated mostly in the Gondar aware of Jad. He went around the bat-
Falashas and de- area. In the days of Prof. Faitlo- tlefield at night with a flashlight in his
hand, in order to be able to treat the
dicated to them vitch, their numbers were estimat- wounded properly.
Jad was not an ordinary doctor who
the rest of his ed at 70,000 and in earlier periods.
injections which put the wounded
life. He was the substantially more. Some have de- gave
He spoke to all of them. lie treated
first one to make fected of their own volition, in
wounded under all circumstance,.
them vividly quest of a more viable standard of the
He gave them the feeling that they
Faitlovitch aware of the Jew- living, or have joined the Ethio- • were being looked after and treated.
We returned fr om the battle, the
ish people in the rest of the world, pian army, and, in large part, unit reached the collecting station.
to educate some of their promising have intermarried. Others have
1111113' it'? —
rh ae nsi fV icto lip eteifis outVled w eir de nson=d
young men in Hebrew and•in Jew- succumbed to the active programs There was a feeling that we would
n getting out of there.
ish traditions, and to give a few of of the Christian missionaries, hav-
Jad tried to give mouth-to-mouth
them an opportunity to study ing failed to receive adequate on- breathing to the wounded. At the same
abroad, acquire a Western culture going help and encouragement time, he stationed two men beside
Gadi, who had lost a leg. He told them.
and then• return to their folk as from world Jewish organizations. "Don't let him sleep. Talk to him. Don't
him fall asleep. If he falls asleep,
— i 7
teachers and guides. Among the
We reached the Falasha village let
he will never wake up." "We never had
most distinguished of these were of Ambober a few hours before a more difficult order," the men said.
Prof. Tamrat Emanuel who at one Passover in time to see their final
,"13 n'Tkt r.t3P
throat, and we kept speaking to him all
time held a high position in the preparations for the Passover. Am- • the time. It was terrible. `Gadi,' we said
Ethiopian government; Tadesseh bober is the largest of the Falas- to him, •the helicopter will come soon.
Gadi, you will be all right. Gadi, don't
Yaakov, who holds a high position ha villages. The road from Gon- worry. Gadl, where do you come from?
in the Ethiopian government: and dar • is bo t 186 miles but it Gadi, speak to us. Gadi, do you want to
something? Gadi, do you remem-
Yonah Bogala, a man of culture is intended for mules or on foot, drink
ber the blond? Gadi, don't sleep now.
and dedication who is the leader not for vehicles, so it took us 11/2
something, Gadi'. . ." Suddenly Gadi
of the Falashas today, the princi- hours by a land-rover to negotiate began to shiver. Jad said, "Cover him
up." The group took on their shirts,
pal of their several Hebrew schools that relatively short distance.
an g w
ed ha si e i
rnuorm, naenttl .-y11 1111 x111
and their bridge to Israel and the
As we arrived, we saw numbers
of men coming from the nearby he shivered and shivered.
Finally the helicopter came. Jad put
O'3nr1 /WI .10DirlYrIll SPIrl trilD
It was Prof. Faitlovitch who in- stream where they had bathed, in Gadi in last so as to be able to
him out first at the hospital. Before the
terested me in the Falashas 40 preparation for the festival.
door of the plane closed, I saw the
Yonah Bogala, the Falasha lead- doctor pat Gadi's head and his fore- 01U??1
years ago, on one of his visits to
the United States, when he per- er, who was our guide, presented head.
suaded me to become the first
• • T
Published by the Brit Iv cit Olamit,
the assistance of the Memoria'
chairman of the American Pro- wine from Israel which were made with
Foundation for Jewish Culture
Falasha Committee. We undertook available through the good offices
Material in vowelized, easy . Hebrew
be obtained through your local He-
as our project, the provision of a of the Israel Embassy in Addis can
tion, or by wri ing direct , iza
Doctor at the
40—Friday, June 20, 1969
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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