Paris, Palestine and Abyssinia

If there was one book in 2007 that simply didn’t get enough attention, it was Emanuela Trevisan Semi’s volume: Jacques Faitlovitch and the Jews of Ethiopia. For the first half of the 20th century, Faitlovitch was one Lodz-born ideological sculptor of the Ethiopian Jewish ingathering. Before Operation Moses and Solomon, this man transformed himself into a traveler, scholar, Orientalist and Zionist and in turn changed the face of modern Jewry. And within this book, you can dig around the roots of Jewishness in the 21st century – one baffled by its loss of authenticity, and defiant in the face of categorization. Semi’s book offers us a fair and probing look into one Jewish Orientalist, who while striving to save Ethiopian Jews from a Protestant missionary onslaught and collaborating with black Jewish sects in Harlem, ended up creating a valuable piece of history. If he were alive today, he would be writing for Jewschool.

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