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Memories flood back for the sewing ladies

Ethiopian women looking at the collage of photos of their visit to the museum

After hearing glowing reports of the Ethiopian Exhibit at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, ESRA Kfar Saba decided that this would be an excellent venue for the annual outing with members of our Ethiopian Sewing Center. The women were invited, transportation was organized, and with the cooperation of Shiri Meirzon and other staff members of the museum, our visit was arranged for the morning of May 20.

On arrival at the museum we met our guide, Alemu Eshetah, and as so often happens in our small country, it turned out that he is the first cousin of one of the members of our Ethiopian group. After hugs all around, we set out on our tour. Mr. Eshetah, who spoke to us in both Amharic and Hebrew, first took us to an exhibition of handicrafts which were practiced in Palestine by the early settlers over 100 years ago – fabric and carpet weaving, pottery making, wood and iron household products and others. He then demonstrated each of these crafts perfectly. The Ethiopian women excitedly told us that they produced the same items in their villages in Ethiopia using similar techniques.

We then arrived at the Ethiopian exhibit and from the looks on the faces of the women as they gazed up at the large screens showing pictures of their beautiful homeland we knew we had chosen the right place for the outing. They recognized each place and as we moved around the exhibit, with Mr. Eshetah enlarging on the information written near each picture and implement, the women also added their own personal stories from their lives in the villages of Ethiopia. The exhibit movingly tells the story of the Jews of Ethiopia from the days of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon until Operations Solomon and Moshe and their aliyah to Israel from the 1980s through the '90s. It also tells the general history of the country from many hundreds of years ago, which was not known to most of us.

We spent an absorbing hour and a half in this enchanting world before boarding our bus back to Kfar Saba. A lovely surprise awaited us in the garden of the museum. The women of the Sewing Center had brought a picnic of delicious Ethiopian delicacies for us to savor before heading home – a wonderful ending to a lovely outing. 



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