Ben Krull writes in the New York Jewish Week:
… We ate in Sderot with a group of people helping terror victims. I sat next to Mulualem, a social worker who emigrated from Ethiopia in 1982. He spoke excellent English, was slightly built, had charcoal-black skin, and an easy smile. Unlike the many Ethiopians I saw who wore a kipa, Mulualem’s short-cropped hair was uncovered.
He told me that most Falashas were spiritually content, having fulfilled their dream of seeing Jerusalem. But there is little economic opportunity for them, and culturally the transition to Israeli society has been difficult.
“In Ethiopia we didn’t have pressures like mortgages,” Mulualem explained. “If you needed a house, you built a house.”
A white man sitting with us brought up the plight of the Falash Mura, whose ancestors were Ethiopian Jews forced to convert to Christianity. “The Falashas don’t consider them Jewish. Most won’t let their children marry them,” the man said. “Would you allow one of your children to marry a Falash Mura?” he asked Mulualem.
Mulualem glanced at the floor before answering. “The most important thing is that they’re happy,” he said.
Mulualem asked me about intermarriage in New York.
“It’s a big concern,” I said.
“What can be done?” asked Mulualem.
“I think it would help if more Jews visited Israel as teenagers,” I said.
“Yes!” Mulualem said, flashing a big smile. “That is the future.”
Discussing intermarriage with Mulualem reminded me of similar conversations I’ve had in New York with my friends. Suddenly I saw the Falashas as Jewish rather than as black.
This insight made me feel ashamed for letting skin color blind me to the Falashas’ Jewishness. They are people, after all, who gave up their way of life for the dream of living in the Promised Land.…
Read it all here.