Paying respects . . . Nina Zuck and Terry Morris lay a wreath on behalf of ESRA
Remembering the 4,000 Ethiopians who perished en route to the land of their dreams
On the eve of Jerusalem Day it was a great privilege to be in Hefzibah to witness the annual ceremony to commemorate those Ethiopian Jews who did not survive the journey from their land of birth to Israel.
There is a logical connection between this commemoration of Ethiopian immigration and the fact that it takes place on Jerusalem Day, as our capital city symbolizes the fulfilment of the driving aspirations of the Ethiopian Jews to overcome all difficulties and move to Israel.
Stories were told of their individual journeys through dangers and hardships and of many who did not survive the arduous journey. How fitting, therefore, that the center point of the evening was the memorial candle-lighting ceremony in which those who did make it paid tribute to the memory of their parents, siblings and children.
The event, in a mixture of Hebrew and Amharic, was attended by the Kessim, religious leaders, dignitaries from the Netanya Council and leaders of the Hefzibah community who honored the occasion by laying wreaths. Nina Zuck and Terry Morris also laid a wreath on behalf of ESRA which is greatly appreciated and very much welcomed in the neighborhood due to the sterling work it is doing in developing the community through several projects there.
Ofer Orenstein, a member of the Netanya Council and the person who first approached ESRA with the idea of running the ‘Students build a Neighborhood’ project, spoke excellently and frankly about how prejudice and discrimination are still present in Israeli society towards the Ethiopian community. However, in the growing generations we can now see some remarkable achievements, providing us with great hope for a more egalitarian future.
Follow me . . . The Kes leads the parade through Hefzibah
After this solemn remembrance ceremony the mood was immediately changed as the youth took over and threw themselves into a football match between the Hefzibah and Neot Shaked teams. The game was in memory of, and a tribute to, those who died to enable this new generation to thrive, grow and play in Israel.
Leading the prayers . . . The Kessim and Rabbi from Hefzibah
In Israel we celebrate the reunification of the city as Jerusalem Day, which has drowned out the memorial for the Ethiopian ‘Holocaust’ and the suffering and sacrifices that they made in order to create new lives here. Do we realize that an estimated 4,000 Ethiopian Jews perished en route to the land of their dreams? Surely this is worthy of a far greater recognition by our nation.