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March 01, 2007 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-03-01

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at Bank of Birmingham by April 2, 2007 (a $75 value)!

Micha Feldmann, an architect of Israel's Operation Solomon that rescued
thousands of Ethiopian Jews, talks to ninth-graders at Huron High School in
Ann Arbor.

Recovering From War

Israeli speakers enlighten audiences
about Jewish Ethiopians.

Ann Arbor


aj. SMomi Bicha, an
Ethiopian immigrant and
the highest-ranking Israeli
officer injured in last summer's war
in Lebanon, and Micha Feldmann,
an architect of Operation Solomon in
which almost 14,500 Ethiopian Jews
were airlifted from besieged Addis
Ababa to Israel in one weekend, spoke
to various audiences in Ann Arbor on
Feb. 15.
At the Hebrew Day School,
Feldmann painted a picture of life for
Jews in Ethiopia and explained how,
at the beginning, the community was
unaware of and could not imagine
the existence of "white" Jews. He
recounted the struggles of those who
trekked thousands of miles on foot to
Sudanese refugee camps in the 1980s
in the hopes of escaping to Israel.
Maj. Bicha shared his personal story
of arriving in Israel with his broth-
ers and living in boarding schools
without his parents. He spoke of his
personal desire to give back to Israel
by serving in the Israel Defense Forces
a year for a year," for each of the 12
years he was clothed, fed and educated
by his country. The children were
particularly interested in his story
of being "naughty" at school and his
experiences in the war.
Both also spoke to two of Kenyatta
Tucker's ninth-grade African
Civilization classes at Ann Arbor
Huron High School. Students were fas-
cinated by the existence of Ethiopian
Jews and Israel's efforts to bring a


black population out of Africa to a
life of freedom. They were moved by
a video depicting the impact of the
recent war in Lebanon on Israel's
civilian population.
Feldmann represents the Israel
Crisis Management Center (ICMC),
a volunteer organization dedicated
to providing emotional and financial
support to immigrants who have
experienced trauma of all kinds,
including those injured in the war.
At a dessert reception celebrat-
ing the nearly $400,000 raised for
the Israel Emergency Campaign of
the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw
County, donors heard from Feldmann
and Maj. Bicha about the thousands
of new immigrants, facing the impact
of war without well-established social
networks, who were assisted by the
After being seriously wounded in
combat, Maj. Bicha and his family
received financial and emotional sup-
port from the ICMC, and he is now a
volunteer with the organization.
Michelle Herman of the Jewish
Agency spoke about the immediate
actions taken to get the children of
northern Israel to safety by establish-
ing summer camps in the center of
the country. By the end of the sum-
mer, more than 40,000 children had
attended 50 sleep-away camps that
provided extensive programming and
summer fun as well as security and
respite from bomb shelters.

— Eileen Freed, Jewish Federation

of Washtenaw County

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