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October 28, 1983 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-10-28

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

THE DETROIT JEWISH HEWS

Every mission constitutes
a pledge of duty and every
man is bound to consecrate

A Falasha Speaks of Israel and Ethiopia

By HY SHENI(MAN

On a wide bench outside
her new home in Kiryat
Arba sat Tikva Ein
_,,Geda'shet, a name given to
her at her birth 25 years ago
; in a village near Gundar in
Ethiopia. She is a Falasha, a
black Jewess, who lives
with her husband Meir and
their three children,
Aguola, 7, Ajela, 5, and
Miriam, 2. They arrived in
Israel a year and eight
months ago. She learned
Hebrew and speaks it quite
well..
Asked if she would care to
tell more about her life she
got off the spacious bench,
said shyly, "B'Vakasha"
(please) and with-a motion
of her hand asked the visitor
to take her place. She wore a
colorful dress and scarf. She
leaned her slim body
against the wall of her
,;home, which is lothtecl in an
apartment building where
18 - other Falasha families
live.
Many Falasha Jews live
in Kiryat Arba, which
translates "the village of
the. four" (Abraham and
'Sarah, Yakoy and Leah,
Adam and Eve, Rivka arid-
Yitzh,a10.-Ealthlhagalsofive
in the Arad and in the
Negev.
Tikva listed attentively
to the questions and gave
short, simple, honest an-
swers. Asked about the
„ three rows of tatoos, in
the form of Grecian keys
worn on her neck, she
explained that those are
_ part of an ancient cus-
tom. She now learned
that branding marks on a
skin are forbidden in the
.,state of Israel because it
is painful. .
' Did Falashas know that
they were Jews before their
- arrival in Israel? "Of
course," she replied, "we
were told about it by our
,. parents and grandparents
since we were small chil-
dren. We never heard about
the 12 tribes, but we knew
that we were Jews. We.went
to the Bet -Hamidrash on
every Shabat and Yom Tov.
Until we came to Israel we
never saw a white Jew but
"–we knew that Jews live all
over the world. We learned
it from history books."
They lived in, the same
village with Christians to
? whom she refers as goyim
but, "They had their place
,-=
, and we had ours. We seldom
i mingled. From time to,time,
(_, Jewish boys used to get into
fights with goyim."
Most people in the village
were farmers. "My -father
was fixing weapons. One
morning, my brother went
:to the market to sell a rifle
when a- few Ethiopians
jumped him, -took his rifle
and shot him to death. The
murderers were- never
found." Tikva believes that
the killers didn't know that
L_ her brother was Jewish.
'- Did she ever dream
about coming to the state
, of Israel?_ "Always," she
answered without hesita-
tion. "Our forefathets
i always told us that 'I'm
Ezrat Hashem,' with
God's help, there will

come the day when we
will all come to
Jerusalem and live in a
Jewish country."
Asked about her feelings
on her arrival in Israel she
replied, "When our airplane
touched the. Israeli soil,
Barukh Hashem," (`Thank
God,' a- phrase she often
mentioned), then she

,-,

Tikva, one of her chil-
dren and Hy Shenkman.

paused for a while as a lump
got stuck in her throat . . .
"we were very happy . . ."
She tried to say more, but
emotions and her limited
vocabulary held her back.
About Israel she had
nothing but praise. Several
times she was pointing out
her hands towards the sky
. . "Baruch Hashem" . . .
"Tov lanu" (we have it good)
. . . "Ze shelanu" (It's ours).
What was she doing sit-
ting on_the bench? She had
just prepared dinner and
was waiting for her hus-
band to come home from
work where he commutes 30
minutes to Jerusalem. She
didn't know what he was
doing on his job. At that
time a bus pulled up and her
husband arrived.
She introduced him to the
guests and a friendly, short
conversation followed. They
wondered why people were
interested in them. With a
good-natured smile they

said Shalom and went in-
side their home.

God's
Facts
are
arguments; we 'should be
careful never to misun-
derstand or. pervert them.
— Tryon Edwards

Friday, October 28, 1983 53

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