Ethiopia’s Jews have been a priority for the Jewish Agency since the first major wave of Ethiopian immigration began in 1984 with Operation Moses and continued in 1991 with Operation Solomon. Today, Israel’s Ethiopian immigrant population is estimated at 120,000 – 15,000 of them children born in Israel.
In December 2010, the the State of Israel appointed the Jewish Agency to complete – over the course of three years – the immigration of Ethiopia’s approximately 8,000 remaining Jews (the Falash Mura) from the poverty, anti-Semitism, disease and instability characterizing life in Africa to a better life among their people, in Israel.
To meet this undertaking, the Agency assumed the operation of the Gondar facility, where they provide basic care and Aliyah preparation.
Their next challenge is absorbing these new immigrants – many of whom are illiterate and unfamiliar with Western life – into Israeli society. The current plan is to conclude Ethiopian Aliyah by 2014.
These images are from the photographic retrospective It Takes a Village: From Gondar to Jerusalem – The Remarkable Journey of Ethiopia’s Jews – documenting the process of forgotten Jews taking the final steps along their journey home.
To arrange to bring the complete retrospective exhibit to your community contact Jill Goldsmith Bowen, [email protected]
All images are copyright by the photographer.