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For Our Soul: Ethiopian Jews in Israel (Jewish Folklore & Anthropology)
Synopses & Reviews
Between 1977 and 1992, practically all Ethiopian Jews migrated to Israel. This mass move followed the 1974 revolution in Ethiopia and its ensuing economic and political upheavals, compounded by the brutality of the military regime and the willingness - after years of refusal - of the Israeli government to receive them as bona fide Jews entitled to immigrate to that country. Based on fieldwork conducted over several years, For Our Soul describes the ongoing process of adjustment and absorption that the Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, also known as Falasha or Beta Israel, have experienced in Israel. As the sole black Jewish community from sub-Sahara Africa in Israel, the Ethiopian Jews have met with unique difficulties. Teshome Wagaw examines the problems between the Falasha and Israeli Jews that have resulted from dissimilarities in language, culture, religious practices, education, technology, race, and class. Further, he considers the various conflicts that have arisen in villages, schools, and workplaces as the immigrants have interacted with the larger community. In these contexts, Wagaw analyzes the issues of modernity, work skills and habits, family formation, and methods of presenting self. To further clarify the concerns that have developed among both the immigrants and the Israeli society, the author addresses the history of the Falasha; their religious and occupational practices in Ethiopia; their social, occupational, and religious status in Ethiopia; and the adversity they experienced as they navigated from their homeland to Israel. He also provides a brief but insightful analysis of the history of Israel prior to and since statehood.
Book News Annotation:
Between 1977 and 1992, nearly all Ethiopian Jews--also called Falasha and Beta Israel--migrated to Israel in the wake of the social disruption of revolution, and Israel's belated recognition of them as Jews. Ethiopian native Wagaw (African and American studies, U. of Michigan) examines the particular difficulties they have had in their new home, as the only representatives of black sub-Saharan Jews. Based on extensive interviews.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-285) and index.
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History and Social Science » Middle East » General History