As Ethiopian aliyah draws to a close, American Jews look back at the key role they played
This month, Israel finishes up the series of airlifts of Ethiopian Jews and their descendants that it initiated in the 1980s. But it was the action and pressure of American Jews that started the process. Some of those pioneers look back in pride.
In the summer of 1981, Barbara Ribakove Gordon traveled with a group of 12 other American Jews by foot, and on mule and horseback, through the Semien Mountains in northeastern Ethiopia until they reached a tiny, isolated, Jewish village perched on the edge of a cliff. Arriving, they went into “culture shock, deep, deep culture shock,” she said, taking in the sight of impoverished, barefoot, Jewish...
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