The Diaspora Mezuzot Project
In an evening called Ethiopian Jewish Community Innovation held last night at the PresenTense Institute here in Jerusalem, we met young social entrepreneurs from Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish community who spoke about their crucial work on some of Israel’s most challenging societal issues.
The evening also featured an exhibit about the groundbreaking Afula based non-profit embroidery collective called ADISIA (meaning renaissance in Amharic) along with a presentation on the project by Sharon Ungerleider. We also learned about Guzo, an empowerment project for young Ethiopians directed through Hillel at Tel Aviv University; that will be subject to a separate post.
about ADISIA: Hundreds of miles away from the tribal huts and villages they once called home, Ethiopian women at the WIZO center in Afula are sustaining an ancient custom and adapting it to modern society.
ADISIA’s vision is to provide aide to Ethiopian women immigrants who face tremendous challenges adjusting to Israel’s culture and language. ADISIA gives these women both meaningful employment and an outlet for their cultural traditions along with pride in their Ethiopian origins.
With support from the Massachusetts based Harold Grinspoon Foundation and philanthropist Sharon Ungerleider, the World Diaspora Mezuzot Project was born in 2006. Originally, 25 mezuzot were created to represent the global Diaspora communities for a new synagogue under construction in Eugene, Oregon. Now, with the completion of that project, the ADISIA artisans create embroidered mezuzot with a variety of motifs, all inspired by patterns and symbols from historic Judaica from communities as diverse as Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen and Cochin.
ADISIA: helping to bridge the gap between Ethiopian women and Diaspora communities.
Here is a beautiful photo-essay of ADISIA crafts by Yonit Schiller.