100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

February 11, 1983 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-02-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

22 Friday, February 11, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Falashas, Israelis and Americans: Cultural Shock

By GIL SEDAN

ATLIT (JTA) — It was a
meeting between Jews here
in this town some 15 miles
--south of Haifa. But these
Jews did not seem to have

very much in common.
Here was Alfred Blum of
Denver, Colo., one ofthe 150
delgates from the United
States on the 1983 United
Jewish Appeal Winter

President's Mission, facing
Baruch Yassu, a Falasha
from Ethiopia. Of necessity,
they confined their com-
munication to frequent shy
smiles and the repeated use

VIDEO
PROFILES
CORPORATION

Complete Broadcast Color Videotape Productions

HAVE A MOVING EXPERIENCE

And Still Enjoy Your Party

Any Event • Any Subject • Any Occasion •

CALL 354-0438
TALK TO A VIDEOGRAPHER

Personal Video Services

NOW AT GREENE BROS.

,

PHONE WORKS

Your Full Service Phone Store

Why Rent - Save $$$ - Own Your Phone
We carry a complete line of phone equipment.
Decorative - Novelty - Cordless - Rotary - Pulse -
Answering & Dialing Equip. - Genie - Trimstyle
Accessories - many colors & styles to choose from

pribes starting from $

1795

Full factory warranty and loan guarantee
plus our exclusive extended warranty.
Avoid hassles — we'IF return your old phone for credit

Big Savings Always At Greene Bros.

Mura
Cordless

$8 995

model 510

Let us show you how to

Save Up To

DEMON DIALER

stores up to 176 phone numbers

$750 -

model 176 T
OTHER DIALERS AVAILABLE

on your next
phone purchase

$1 5 995

FROM

$39.95

4.14

f

.1.... 1
i r r
,. W

IN STORE SPECIAL

rl\!: ( i
)1/ • I ;

7

1 1

60% OFF

BALI HORIZONTALS

900'

REG. RETAIL 5399.00

„ i !1

111-L-1 , ' 'LLL''''

'PCV-21 COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM- 85x84.
Fits standard 6' door window including proper
overlap. Covered headrail available. 5 Year Guar-
antee on headrail. Present this ad to obtain this
outstanding value.

while supply lasts

all-other verticals 60% Off

THE BLIND DUSTER THAT REALLY CLEANS

OLD ORCHARD
Shopping Center
626-2400

SINCE
1895

WINDOW SHADE CO.

All offers expire 2-12-83

Open Mon. thru Fri.
10:00 to 5
Sat. 9 to 3

45150 W. 7 Mile Rd.
342-8822
Open Mon. thru Fri.
8:30 to 5
Sat. 9-3

of the word "shalom," the it to Israel, the Falashas
only word in Hebrew both not only crossed a geo-
could use, confident that the graphical barrier • but-
other would understand.
also a cultural one. They
There was a certain un
were suddenly thrown
easiness on the occasion: the from a primitive African
rich Jews from America society into the modern
flashing their cameras in society of Israel, with its
the dark faces of the advantages and its dis-
Falasha Jews, as if they advantages. Although
were live objects at an ex- the Jewish Agency_ pro-
hibition. "It's like going into vided them with consid-
an archeological dig, erable help — basic
encountering a rare find- commodities,
rental
ing," said one of the dele- housing,
vocational
• courses — they still found
gates.
The Falashas did not it very difficult to adjust
know much about their to the new society. _
guests. "We know they
The main' barrier is the
are from America, that's language. They speak var-
all," said Yassu, 29, in ious dialects of the ones
broken Hebre*. Some- used in Ethiopia. Their
body explained to them Torah is written in these
that they are the people dialects, therefore hardly
with the money, who — any of them speak Hebrew
were largely responsible much less any other lan-
for the material absorp- guages. - --
tion of Jews in the coun-
Their main tool in over-
try. But the Falashas coming their difficulties
lacked the words to ex- was a tremendous will
press gratitude.
power. As Tamar- Karmeli,
The only element both an Israeli who worked with
groups — Americans and them, told the UJA dele-
Falashas — had in common gates, "They just want to
/ was the knowledge that keep on learning."
they were Jews. "To me they
Nehama Srebrenik, aso-
are Africans who study the cial worker added: "We had
same religious philosophy," to teach them things from
said one delegate, who pre- scratch, from using running
ferred to remain anonym- water, to going to a doctor,
ous. "You do ask yourself bringing up children in a
how can they be Black and modern society.
yet Jewish."
"One of the problems
But Blum, for one, did not was their understanding
see it this way. There are of religion. They stick to
the Moroccan and Yemenite the letter of the Bible,
Jews who are also dark- with no additions, such .
skinned, he noted. Dennis as the Halakha and the
Kessler of Rochester, N.Y. Talmud.
stated: "To me they are
"They are very strict, for
Jews. All Israelis are - re- example, observing the pur-
sponsible for each other," he ity of the woman. Back in
said in Hebrew.
Ethiopia a woman used to
The UJA delegates were isolate herself completely
in Isral for a few days on one from the society during her
of the all too familiar hectic (menstrual) period.
tours which include lunches Likewise, she would do so 40
and dinners with the politi- days after giving birth to a
cal elite of the country, son, 80 days after giving
sightseeing, plus an extra- birth to a daughter. It was
quick tour of southern very difficult for them to ac-
Lebanon. The meeting with cept emotionally that this is
the Falashas was a new di- not the way they can prac-
mension in the UJA tours, tice it in Israel.
people the guess from
"Their motivation for
America had never seen be- studies — I have never seen
fore.
anything like it. They may
It took the several sit with a book outside class,
thousand Falashas who saying that breaks are a
now live in Israel some waste of time. They children
2,000 years to get there. in school did not want to
Although the distance study any handicraft, only
between Ethiopia and Is- Hebrew and mathematics.
rael is only a matter of a
"Some of them arrived
few hours by air, some of here completely illiterate.
them needed as long as Today they are studying
two years to arrive be- auto mechanics and other
cause of the political bar- vocations, and they are
riers between the two more successful than Is-
countries.
raelis who were born here."
Those who came to Israel
With all their will
did it the hard way, leaving power, they have difficul-
the country illegally, some- ties integrating into the
times travelling for weeks society. Some of the diffi-
on foot, often caught by the culties are characteristic
authorities and jailed. - of all who were not born
Yassu is AWOL from the here. Some are due to the
Ethiopian army. He left be- fact that they are Black —
hind a wife and a young and different.
daughter.
"I am afraid they will be
He remarried in Israel treated here as the Blacks
and has a baby born here. are in America," said Kes-
"We could not be Jews in sler. They live in a small
Ethiopia," he said. "We communities throughout
could not observe the Sab- the country, mainly_ in de-
bath. We could not wear a velopment towns such as
yarmulka. We could not Afula, Nazareth and Kar-
own land."
miel. But some of them ad-
When they finally made vanced economically, and



addl.

50/

to Off

Wallpaper

No freight

Thousands of patterns
to choose from

SAVE

BRING IN YOUR
WOOD ROLLER
NEW CLOTH WILL BE
MOUNTED AT A
FRACTION OF THE COST.
1st RATE TRANSLUCENT
OR FIBERGLASS CLOTHS

MEASURE AND
INSTALLATION
AT ADDITIONAL COST
PREVIOUS ORDERS EXCLUDED

FREE PHONE

with window treatment
or wallpaper purchase
of $800 or more

$45.00 value

purchased their own flats in
the middle of the country, in
cities such as Tel Aviv. Is-
raelis are gradually learn-
ing to accept — and live
with — those different look-
ing Jews.
Undoubtedly, as time
passes, they will integrate
more into Israeli society and
probably lose a lot of their
heritage. Yitzhak Gunzan
is one of their Cohanim —
spiritual leaders, the equiv-
alent of a rabbi although he
was not called a rabbi in
Ethiopia and is not recog-
nized as such by the Chief
Rabbinate here.
An elderly person, wear-
ing a white robe and head
ornament, he sat facing the
American guests and
blessed them in what
sounded like a mixture of
Hebrew and Ethiopian
dialect. The guests politely
uttered amen after the
blessing, although they did
not understand a word. An
interpreter decoded: "We
thank you for having come
to visit us, just tas the
angels came to visit Ab-
raham."
In his hands Gunzan
was holding a camel hide
bag which contained a
carefully wrapped Torah
book, supposed to be 300
years old, now being
studied by experts at Tel
Aviv University. The
book, which made the
long journey from
Ethiopia, is a silent tes-
timony to the determina-
tion of those people to
remain Jewish.
"They are a little more
Jewish than we are," said
Tamar Carmeli. One of the
guests added: "Those people
are more religious than
many of those high bred
Jews of America."
Elazar Tzifai, a 24-year-
old Falasha, recited a long
list of the difficulties he has
been facing in Israel. "But if
it got • one thousand times
worse, we would never want
to go back to Ethiopia," he
said. In Israel in 1983 this is
a rare kind of Zionism.

When one begins to turn
in bed, it is time to turn out.

FIRESTONE

JEWELRY

Wholesale Diamonds & Jewelry
Remounting Jewelry & Watch Repair

SUITE 318 ADVANCE BLDG.
2 , 077 Greenfield at 9 Mile
(313) 557-1860

Where Can
You Get

First Quality
`Name Brand'
Clothing

at the lowest
prices in town?

National
Dry Goods
Company

1200 Trumbull Ave.
961-3656

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan