12th Annual Jewish Multiracial Network  Retreat

June 5-7, 2009



come to our 12th anuual retreat

“From Tesfa to Tikvah: From Hope to Hope,”

“From Tesfa to Tikvah: From Hope to Hope,” an exhibition of 20 photographs by Irene Fertik about Israel’s Ethiopian community, is at the Gershman Y’s Open Lens Gallery (www. through to August 7th.

Born in Philadelphia, Fertik is the daughter of the late Fannie Fertik, who wrote about kosher cooking in the pages of this newspaper for many years. The photographer, who now resides in California, travels to Israel every year, primarily to follow their Ethiopian community.

Tesfa means “hope” in Amharic; Tikvah is “hope” in Hebrew. The transition from the language of their former homeland to that of their new home is just one small indication of the many changes and adaptations this community has faced since moving to Israel almost 20 years ago. The move from isolated agrarian mountain villages in Ethiopia to a modern technological culture in the Jewish state has meant incredible sacrifices for the older immigrants and enormous challenges for their children.

For a photographer such as Fertik, this transition offers a veritable cornucopia of images.

According to Fertik, “The visual contrasts are extraordinary — an ancient African people in a mostly white modern society. A young boy who was a shepherd in Gondor is now a computer jockey in Tel Aviv.”

Fertik’s photographs show both aspects of the Ethiopian reality in Israel. An intimate family moment — an obvious reminder of the old ways and traditional clothing — is juxtaposed against a group of 21st-century kids in T-shirts and jeans leaning against a modern bus.

Israel’s Ethiopian community now numbers 85,000. From this pool of possible subjects, Fertik has managed to create an intimate portfolio that has caught the attention of galleries and museums from Israel to Europe, as well as throughout the United States.

A Call for Stories & Photos of Multiracial Jews & Jews of Color
The National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia
The National Museum of American Jewish History is currently seeking stories and photos which would illustrate and underscore Judaism’s growing heterogeneity and diversity. If you would like to share something with the Museum or know someone who might be interested, please take a look at the information below. Feel free to forward this as well.


In the fall of 2010, the National Museum of American Jewish History will open the doors to a new state-of-the-art building in Philadelphia. This will be the largest institution of its kind devoted specifically to exhibiting and educating about the American Jewish experience. Using historical objects, cutting-edge technology, hands-on interactives, and narrative storytelling, the Museum’s core exhibition will highlight how and when Jews immigrated to America, the choices they faced, the challenges they confronted, and the ways in which they shaped, and were shaped by, their American home.

The Museum is currently seeking stories and photographs of multiracial Jews and Jews of color, which would illustrate and underscore Judaism’s growing heterogeneity and diversity. These might include family portraits and photographs from Jewish holidays or lifecycle events, such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and Jewish weddings. Any photographs submitted would be scanned and reproduced as graphic images in the exhibition (we do not need original prints, only reproductions) with identification. These images would provide a personal reference for the Museum to interpret the changing face of American Jewry.

If you would like to share your stories and photographs with the Museum, please contact Ivy Weingram, Assistant Curator, at 215.923.3811 x 137 or via email at For more information about the National Museum of American Jewish History, please visit


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