Black Lives in a Jewish Context: Shalva Weil Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Distinguished University Professor, and JMOF-FIU Academic Director, Dr.Tudor Parfitt will speak with Dr. Shalva Weil direct from Jerusalem about Colour of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. This lecture traces the perceived changing colour of Ethiopian Jews in Israeli society with a dual–etic (outsider) and –emic (subjective) perspective over a period of 50 years, from the time they first migrated to Israel, until today. Inevitably, the lecture surveys the different waves of Aliya (immigration) of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. It will be argued that over this period of time, Ethiopian Jews became ‘blacks’ in the eyes of the Israeli public (this is a generalization, of course) and, from the point of view of Ethiopian Jews themselves, they turned into ‘black’ from what they perceived as ‘red’ (the colour they thought they were before they came to Israel). The lecture recalls recent racial attacks in Israel, and particularly the case of Solomon Teka, shot dead by police in a northern town in Israel. The current situation in Israel undoubtedly resonates with increasing racialization in the United States.

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Shalva Weil D.Phil is Senior Researcher at the Seymour Fox School of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. She has published over 100 articles in scientific journals on religion, gender and migration, many of which pertain to Ethiopian Jews. Prof. Weil is editor of Ethiopian Jews in the Limelight (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1997) and co-editor (with E. Trevisan Semi) of Beta Israel: the Jews of Ethiopia and Beyond: History, Identity and Borders (Venice: Cafoscarina, 2011). In the past year, she has published two edited volumes: Baghdadi Jews in India (Routledge, 2019), and The Jews of Goa (Primus, 2020). She is past President of SOSTEJE (Society for the Study of Ethiopian Jewry), and has been the recipient of awards for her applied educational work among Ethiopian Jews in Israel.