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Ethiopian Jews In New York

Ethiopian Jews In New York

The evening described in Jonathan Mark’s article, “Crossing The Sambatyon” (March 16) was meant to highlight how far Ethiopian Israelis have come in the short amount of time they have been living in Israel.

Some very bright young members of the Ethiopian Israeli community were on a panel that evening, including Dina Lakao, who came from Israel and is studying law at the IDC in Herzliya, and Avidor Baruch, who along with Yaniv Jamber is a Fulbright scholar. They are in the master’s in business program at Brandeis. 

No doubt the Ethiopian community in Israel faces many daunting challenges, but the good news is that there are those in the younger generation who have served in the Israeli army, gone to college and know they deserve to be treated like good Israeli citizens. 

There are about 1,000 Ethiopian Israelis living in New York for a variety of reasons, and unfortunately they have not been as embraced by the local Jewish community as they should be. They celebrate all the Jewish holidays, and it would be wise and important to make a point of inviting them to our seders. They represent a community that made the modern-day exodus from Ethiopia to Israel, and while remembering our ancestors in Egypt, we should pay special attention to our sisters and brothers living among us today. 

The writer is Founder of Israel At Heart, which provides annual scholarships to the IDC in Herzliya for Ethiopian Israelis.

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