Thursday, March 29, 2018
From Falasha to Freedom: An Ethiopian Jew's Journey to Jerusalem Paperback – 21 Aug 2016 by Shmuel Yilmah ( Gefen Publishing Company)
From Falasha to Freedom” is an autobiographical saga of one of the pioneers of “Operation Moses” and the Ethiopian community’s integration into Israeli society. Falasha, defined as “stranger” or “landless”, was used as a derogatory name for Ethiopian Jewry
From Falasha to Freedom is too short! Schemuel's transfixing account of his "journey" at 11 years of age in rural Ethiopia to his impressive achievements in Israel today touches but the tip of his astounding saga and the thrilling exodus of the Ethiopian Jews.
Not unlike Moses and his people, Schemuel and his family confront the ultimate questions: Will they leave everything- land, house, belongings, friends, animals, community, country-for their religious beliefs? Do they dare begin the march into a recognized dangerous unknown with only the faith of their mothers and fathers as their luggage? Thanks to a brave, ingenious uncle and a wise resolute grandmother, their unequivocal response is a courageous, Yes!
Schemuel's personal story, with drawings, photographs, maps and a glossary, highlights the prodigious trek out of Ethiopia to Sudan through barren desert; up and down stupendous mountains; facing wild animals, bandits, inescapable hunger and thirst. Wonder, fear, pride, terror, confusion, relief fill the pages. Too briefly Schemuel illustrates the complex forces that were at play to create his exodus - a civil war, guerrilla fighting against an oppressive Communist regime, an encroaching famine, massive migration of millions of non-Jewish Ethiopians to Sudan, a Jewish State and a Jewish organization poised for rescue AND eons of longing for Jerusalem.
Glistening examples of strength, valor, determination, perseverance, and ingenuity permeate From Falasha to Freedom. Schemuel may no longer sit around the fire like his ancestors recounting his story, but he has written profoundly and poignantly so that not only his children, but also the world may understand and appreciate his cultural roots and community's history.
A people's dream of centuries and 2000 years of yearning are compressed into this one little book. Let From Falasha to Freedom be an inspiration for other Ethiopian Jews to write their story and, Schemuel, please, write more!