Date: March 24, 2014
Time: 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Location: 335 Shillman Hall
Len Lyons presents the dramatic, astonishing, and inspiring story of of the Ethiopian Jews who emerged out of the ancient Aksumite Empire about two thousand years ago. He explains the surprising and tenacious commitment to the Torah among the Beta Israel of Ethiopia through centuries of discrimination as the poorest group in one of the world’s poorest nations. Quite miraculously, the remnant of these African Jews were rescued beginning in the 1980s by the State of Israel, where their community now exceeds 130,000. Yet, their exodus from Ethiopia is in important respects painfully unfinished. Using photographs and personal stories, Lyons recounts the profound challenges and inspiring accomplishments of Ethiopian Jews struggling to become Ethiopian Israelis.
Len Lyons, Ph.D. in Philosophy (Brown University), is the author of six books on a variety of subjects, most recently The Ethiopian Jews of Israel: Personal Stories of Life in the Promised Land (Jewish Lights). Through hosting Ethiopian Israeli students visiting Boston in 2004, he became fascinated with the story of the Ethiopian Jews and their struggle for acceptance in the country that rescued them. During many trips to Israel and Ethiopia, he has met with Ethiopian Jews from all sectors of society to learn, in their own words, how they escaped from Ethiopia and how they experienced the transition from a third-world African nation to the modern Jewish State.