« The Online 'Voice Of The Gedolim' Pouts About Reaction To The Vos Iz Neias Ban | Main | What Is Matzav.com Doing? »

December 28, 2010

Baruch Dayan HaEmet: Baruch Tegegne, Rescuer Of Ethiopian Jews

Baruch Tegegne ztz UPDATED The Ethiopian Jew who may have done more than anyone else to save his people has just passed away.

My dear friend Baruch Tegegne – a tireless advocate for his people who sacrificed much of his own life to save them, a man who did the first rescues of Ethiopian Jews in the late 1970s (after himself escaping Ethiopia on foot), and whose escape routes were used by thousands of Ethiopian Jews – died after a six-month battle with severe illness. The levaya, funeral, is Wednesday at 1 PM at the Kiryat Ekron Cemetery near Rehovot, Israel.

Update 9:30 am CST – Here is an email I received a moment ago from my friend, noted filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, about Baruch:

It is with deep sorrow that I am sharing the passing in Israel of my very dear friend Baruch Tegegne (z”l). The funeral will be on Wednesday at 1pm at Kiryat Ekron Cemetery. Baruch was born in Ethiopia and was one of the original group of Jewish youths brought to Israel by then President Ben-Tzvi and raised in Kfar Batya. He was then sent back to Ethiopia to be a leader of the Ethiopian Jewish community. In Ethiopia, he served his community and the state of Israel in many, many ways. After Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed, he was arrested by the Marxist Military junta as an Israeli agent. He escaped Ethiopia without a passport and literally walked across deserts and stowed on ships to make it back to Israel. In Israel, he became one of the most important figures in the advocacy campaign for bringing the Ethiopian Jewish community on aliyah. He lobbied, he smuggled people and he put his life on the line to make sure this most ancient of Jewish communities would be rescued from violence and starvation. When I met Baruch in Montreal in 1979, there were only 400 Ethiopian Jews in Israel. It is no exaggeration to state that he was the one individual most responsible for the fact that there are over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel today. Everyone who met him knows that Baruch was a sweet human being and a true Jewish hero.

On a very personal note, meeting him changed the course of my life. He involved me in the Ethiopian Jewry movement and encouraged me to make my first film, “Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews”. Like so many people that he touched, he literally changed my life.

May his memory be for blessing.

Update 10 am CST – I'll try to write a detailed article later. But I want to add that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein gave Baruch Tegegne (and myself) a bracha, blessing, that we sould be successful in saving Ethiopian Jews. So did Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dworkin, the Av Beit Din of Crown Heights and the Rebbe's posek. (This was before the Rebbe put out the word that he did not want Chabad to help Ethiopian Jews.)

Baruch wrote an autobiography that was published by Gefen Books. You can buy it here.

Update 12:20 pm CST – The Jerusalem Post's report:

Pioneer of Ethiopian aliya dies at age 65
Filmmaker: "No exaggeration to state Tagnene was one individual most responsible for fact that there are over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel today.
By GIL SHEFLER • Jerusalem Post
   
Baruch Tagnene, one of the first Ethiopian olim who later played a prominent role in successfully lobbying the government in Jerusalem to bring his brethren to Israel, passed away on Tuesday aged 65.

Tagnene was born in Ethiopia and first came to Israel in 1955 when he was 12 years old as part of a youth group organized by then-president Yitzhak Ben Zvi.

He studied agriculture in Kfar Batya before returning to his country of birth where he put the agricultural skills he obtained in Israel to use building a modern farm.

In 1974, he had to flee Ethiopia after a communist faction which had come to power accused him of being an Israeli agent. After a long and perilous journey on foot through the Sahara he eventually found his way back to Israel where he championed the cause of his brethren back in Ethiopia.

Simcha Jacobovici, who made a documentary called Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews, credited the late Tagnene with a key role in the immigration of around 81,000 Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, to the Jewish state.

“When I met Baruch in Montreal in 1979, there were only 400 Ethiopian Jews in Israel,” he wrote. “It is no exaggeration to state that he was the one individual most responsible for the fact that there are over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel today. Everyone who met him knows that Baruch was a sweet human being and a true Jewish hero.”

His relatives said Tuesday that Tagnene served as an inspiration to his friends and family.

“My uncle was everything to me,” his nephew Demoze said.

Tagnene’s funeral will be held in Kiryat Ekron at 1 p.m. Wednesday. He is survived by a daughter.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Baruch Dayan ha Emet. I met him once, in the 1980's. He was very down to earth and humble for such a great man. This is a loss to klall Yisrael.

i'm so sorry. a great man.

Baruch Dayan ha Emet.

Shmarya,
The opening line should probably read, who may have "done" more.

Boruch Dayan HaEmes!
Klal Yisroel has lost a true Godol!
May The Almighty bring comfort to all who mourn.

Yeah, you're right. Thanks for telling me.

Mr. Rosenberg,

Sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing your story and educating me about of this courageous man.

May his memory live on forever.

Funeral for a friend 2010 (apologies to Elton John):

The roses in the window box
Have had their course run,
Everything about this life
Was born for tikkun olam.

It doesn't seem so long ago
To this very day
You saved your nation,
If we don't keep the peace,
I can't face another day.

Chorus:
And love lies bleeding in my heart,
It kills me to think that you did so soon depart.
You were saving fellow Jews and I was just a fan,
But Africa couldn't hold you
It's not the Holy Land.
Love lies bleeding in my hands.

I wonder if your courage
Has left a scar on you,
Like all the burning hoops of fire
That your fellow Jews passed through.

You're a beacon in the darkest night
I hope you're happy now,
Well if the real Moshiach comes down, man
You'll make it back somehow.

Repeat chorus

Yochanan,

Once again you have reduced me to tears.

Would it be asking to much if you could dedicate (in your patented and trademarked style) another Sir Elton classic...Candle In The Wind Princess Diane version to this great man.

You're very talented Yochanan. It's a beautiful rendition of a beautiful song. Thank you.

It is so nice to read about such a noble man amidst the other unfortunate happenings we read about.

ברוך דין האמת, יהא זכרו ברוך

Thanks MM3, Rochel. MM3: I'll consider your request.

Anything you allege was said by Rabbi's Feinstein and Dworkin are suspect. In particular since they are quoted to support your agenda. Sorry Scott, due to your obvious bias, you need to bring in unbiased third party testimony to confirm anything that you said they said.

Anything you allege was said by Rabbi's Feinstein and Dworkin are suspect. In particular since they are quoted to support your agenda. Sorry Scott, due to your obvious bias, you need to bring in unbiased third party testimony to confirm anything that you said they said.

Posted by: Josh | December 28, 2010 at 02:56 PM

How true. Lets all ignore 26 years of me telling exactly the same story, and of Rav Moshe's family knowing it, and Rav Dworkin's gabbai and many Chabadniks knowing it.

And on top of that, lets give extra weight to anonymous Chabad trolls on Internet websites whose agenda rarely coincides with the truth.

[/end sarcasm]

For MM3:

Goodbye Baruch T.
Though I hardly knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you strove
They crawled out of oppression
And through the desert made their way
They set you on to history
And that's how you made your name

Chorus:
And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a beacon in the dark
Ever knowing where to illuminate
When the oppression was stark
And I would have liked to know you
But I was just a kid
Your beacon served its purpose before
Your legend ever did

Loneliness was tough
The toughest role you ever played
Politics made you go too far
And pain was the price you paid
Even when you died
All the racists still hounded you
All the bloggers had to say
Was that Baruch was a righteous dude

Chorus

Goodbye Baruch T.
Though I hardly knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled
Goodbye Baruch T.
From the grateful Jews of Africa
Who see you as something more than spiritual
More than just a shliach aliya

Chorus

Your beacon served its purpose before
Your legend ever did

YL,that was absolutely beautiful.
You are far more then just a satirist.
You are an artist

Thanks, Jay.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Yochanan Lavie,

You're scholar, gentleman and R-teest!

I owe you one.

Boruch Dayan HaEmet!

Thanks, MM3.

To Shmarya,

I tried sending you a private message to the comcast address but it bounced back.
Do you have an alternative e-mail ?

Prayers for Baruch Dayan ha Emet. A righteous man passes.

P.S. Right now in Melbourne on News Radio the Australian cricket team is about lose the Ashes to the English enemy. The Barmy Army is singing William Blake's "Jerusalem". I love how the world is so interconnected at the moment.

Yeah yeah the Falashes blah blah. Here we go again.
Probably a great man and his loss should be mourned. I'm not sure what my feelings will be when Shmarya goes on to a better place after 120...

ברוך דין האמת


Fine, fine work YL.

My condolences for the loss of your dear friend, Shmarya. May his memory be a blessing.

Thanks, OCR.

A Rachmano on us all when a Gibor in Israel passes.

RIP, i do not know how many people like him will be in the future!very sad!

that there are real heroes like baruch who live in relative anonymity in israel, and are mostly unknown to diaspora jews, is testament to a country filled with and built by so many unknown heroes. but if saving a single jew is tantamount to saving the world, why is he not a hero to kids in yeshivas? you can learn a lot about a society by seeing who their heroes are. it seems the haredi world values reading old books more than giving life to countless future generations.
i'm sorry to admit i didnt know of mr. tagnene before this, and thank shmarya for the education. of baruch one can surely say, he left the world a better place for him having lived there. goodbye brother.

sorry, s/b mr. tegegne.

YL- thanks for the 2 beautiful,moving tributes.

Thanks, APC.

"that there are real heroes like baruch who live in relative anonymity in israel, and are mostly unknown to diaspora jews, is testament to a country filled with and built by so many unknown heroes. but if saving a single jew is tantamount to saving the world, why is he not a hero to kids in yeshivas?"

Ah Pee Chorus I agree with you so much on your observation. I just ordered Baruchs book after reading about him here. I want my daughter to read it after Im done. She needs to know that not only are there are courageous and brave Jews out there, which she is already aware of but even among our brave ones, there are many that break the mold like Baruch did. At least by the fact that as you say that such heroes can live so unassumingly amongst their peers, that Im starting to understand that the Moshiach can be such a person like Baruch was. Unknown, not adored or worshipped, yet there making a difference all the same.

Lehit PishPosh

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options, For A List Of Recent Posts, And For Comments Rules

----------------------

----------------------

Recent Posts

----------------------

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website. Please click the Donate button now to contribute.

Thank you for your generous support!

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

-------------------------

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin