Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ark of the Covenant Need Blood by Ron Wyatt -

Israeli PM agrees to increase the quota of Ethiopian Hebrews immigrating to the Jewish State to appease the increasing discontent of those already here due to prevalent racism National News

PM agrees to increase flow of Ethiopian immigrants

By RUTH EGLASH02/26/2012 23:09

Some 250 Falash Mura - Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity - will be allowed to immigrate.

Falash Mura wait to make aliya By Marc Israel Sellem

After months of pressure and criticism from members of the Ethiopian community in Israel and their supporters worldwide, the government finally agreed Sunday night to dramatically increase the number of immigrants arriving here monthly from the East African nation.

Sunday’s decision was reached between representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the ministries of Finance, Interior and Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency at a joint session held at the agency’s Board of Governors meeting, taking place this week in Jerusalem.

“The Jewish Agency is thrilled by this decision and will do everything in our power to bring this historic aliya to its completion as quickly as possible,” commented Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky after the meeting.

The new arrangement will mean that instead of only 110 new immigrants arriving in Israel each month, as has been the case for the last few months, some 250 Falash Mura – Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity more than a century ago – will be allowed to immigrate.

A spokesman for the Jewish Agency said that it had some 1,200 free beds in absorption centers here and that the increased rate of aliya would continue until June, when the situation will be reassessed to determine how much space is left.

Continuing to bring 250 immigrants each month will depend on whether those living in the absorption centers are given enough support to enable them to move out and free up space to allow more immigrants to arrive.

While Sharansky thanked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his leadership on this issue, those who have been lobbying the government to increase the flow of aliya for humanitarian reasons welcomed the news with caution.

“Of course I am delighted that for the next four months at least the rate will be increased to 250 a month,” said Joseph Feit, former president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, a charity that previously ran the services for those waiting to immigrate.

“I am also pleased that serious consideration will be given to opening a new immigrant absorption centers, even though the details of how those centers will be financed is still not clear.”

Feit also said if the absorption rate stays above 200 a month, it could mean that the overall aliya operation in Ethiopia will finish ahead of the touted March 2014 schedule.

The latest decision to increase the number of immigrants arriving here each month is a turnabout for the government, which in November announced that it was adopting recommendations made by a Treasury committee to reduce the number of people coming to 110 a month.

Local and international supporters, however, have spent the last four months putting pressure on the government to increase the number to at least 200, claiming that the longer the community waits in Ethiopia to immigrate the more complicated the absorption process will be. In addition, they have pointed out that the situation facing the Falash Mura community in the Northern Ethiopian city of Gondar is particularly harsh, especially after they have been found eligible for immigration by the Israeli government.

Sunday’s decision follows a government declaration in November 2010 to continue the flow of aliya from Ethiopia, allowing roughly 8,000 to come to Israel within three years. To date, 6,000 Falash Mura have been officially approved for aliya; however, while half of those have arrived here, the rest continue to wait.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar officially recognized the Falash Mura as part of the Jewish people in 2002, and they were allowed to make aliya under a special clause in the Law of Entry.

The immigrants must undergo conversion to Judaism upon arrival in Israel.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Temple Emanu-El to host visitor from Cameroon, who will discuss rise of Judaism |

Religion Cameroon
EnlargeA 2011 Purim celebration in Cameroon, Africa.Judaism in Africa 2-17-2012 gallery (2 photos)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Judaism in Africa will be explored when a man from a Jewish community in Cameroon on that continent speaks at Temple Emanu-El in Port Richmond on Feb. 26.

Small Jewish communities are popping all over the world, said Rabbi Gerald Sussman of Temple Emanu-El, adding that this growing phenomenon over the last couple of years probably is fueled by the Internet.

Serge Etele, from the town of Saa, will talk about his community’s spiritual journey over the last dozen or so years and living an observant Jewish lifestyle in Africa.

Etele, a spiritual leader, farmer, computer specialist and educator, is doing a North American speaking tour that will include speaking on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. at the 92nd Street Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association in Manhattan.

“He is an intelligent and articulate young man who is one of the leaders of the Beit Yeshurun community in Cameroon,” Rabbi Sussman said. “They are a small community who after a long period of questioning and spiritual discovery decided that Judaism is the right path for them.”

The Saa believers have been practicing their faith based on information they found on the web, and Etele also put together a website to connect Jewish communities in Africa. In the summer of 2010, Rabbi Sussman and his wife, Bonita (Bonnie), spent two weeks with the community in Cameroon. The rabbi said there are similar small groups in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and other African countries.

“Many claim Jewish roots,” Rabbi Sussman said. “This is not surprising because there have been longstanding Jewish communities in North Africa and it is likely that people migrated south of the Sahara. Aside from this, there are several groups in Ethiopia besides the Falashas who have largely immigrated to Israel.”

The temple was put in touch with the group in Cameroon by an organization called Kulanu, which means “all of us” in Hebrew. assists emerging or returning Jewish communities around the world who are discovering Judaism or who claim to be descendants of the lost tribes of Israel or were forced converts, perhaps dating to the Inquisition, or people who submerged their Jewish identities in countries under Communist rule, Rabbi Sussman said. The program at the temple will be on Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. The cost is $7, including breakfast.

A “Shabbat Across America” dinner, featuring a Kosher Chinese buffet, will be held on March 2 at Temple Emnau-El. The Sisterhood is hosting the 6 p.m. dinner, which costs $20 for adults and $15 for children, with 5 and younger free. Reservations are required by Wednesday; mail checks to Susan Kane, 1011 Sheldon Ave., Staten Island, 10309. Feb. 22 is the deadline for reserving for the trip to Israel on April 21–29. Call the temple office at 718-442-5966 . Temple Emanu-El is at 984 Post Ave.


The New Springville Jewish Center will show the documentary film “A New Beginning” tomorrow at 8 p.m.

The film is about Jewish history from the years 1948 to 1957 and is a project of the Destiny foundation. Refreshments will be served and the suggested donation is $5. The New Springville Jewish Center is at 120 Saxon Ave. For information, call 718-983-8063 .


Rabbi Michoel Chazan, director of Chaplaincy Services at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, will speak on March 2 at a “Shabbat Across America” dinner at Congregation Toras Emes in Oakwood.

There will be a candle lighting at 5:31 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. service and three-course dinner. The cost is $18 per adult and $10 for children under age 12. RSVP by Feb. 29 by calling 718-667-5228 or visiting the website Toras Emes is at 3151 Hylan Blvd.


Temple Israel Reform Congregation of Staten Island in Randall Manor will hold a Tot Shabbat tonight.

The child-friendly service with music and song, intended for children 5 and younger and their families, begins at 6 p.m. followed by the regular Shabbat service at 8 p.m. Torah study tomorrow will be at 10 a.m. followed by Shabbat services at 11 a.m.

“Shabbat Across America” on March 2 will feature a traditional dinner, prayer, study, song and unity. The cost is $15 per person. RSVP by Feb. 24 with David Meltzer at or call 917-755-7200 .

“A Taste of Judiasm” is a free, three-session course that will focus on Jewish spirituality and ethics and is especially designed for intermarried couples but open to all. A grant by the Union of Reformed Judaism subsidizes the cost. The classes, taught by Rabbi Michael Howald, will be held on March 11, 18, and 25 from 1:30-3:30.

For information, contact the temple office by e-mail at or call 718-727-2231 . Temple Israel is at 315 Forest Ave.


A free Hebrew School Friday Night Dinner will be held this evening at Congregation B’ nai Jeshurun in West Brighton.

The 6:15 p.m. dinner will be followed by services at 8 p.m. Free Torah and Haftorah reading classes will be led by Cantor Mordechai Edry at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Feb. 23.

A “Shabbat Across America” Friday Night service and free dinner will begin at 6:15 p.m. on March 2. B’ nai Jeshurun is at 275 Martling Ave.