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“Everyone has a name given to them by their parents, or in my case, my sister. My name, Ortal, was given to me my older sister simply because she loved the name. it was however rather bland, and as a child, I recall envying the other Ethiopian children who had Amharic or Tigrinya names.
I distinctly remember the time in high school when I signed my name on an exam as Mebrahti, which means Light in Tigrinya. It sounded a lot nicer to my ears than Ortal.
Many Ethiopian-Israelis have a birth name as well as a “new” name given to them by the Interior Ministry, school administrators or kindergarten teachers. Names are a symbol of our aspiration to integrate into the local landscape, to be part of the social fabric.
The State of Israel urged its immigrants to change, and they indeed accepted upon themselves the local pattern of names, language, culture and worldview. They accepted but they were not accepted in return. The disparity between them and Israelis whose skin is white can be felt in almost every aspect of our lives: education, employment, police brutality and even Avera Mengistu, rotting in Hamas captivity in Gaza.
But lately there has been an awakening among the Ethiopian community in Israel, they are returning to the practices of their homeland: weddings that are performed by Kessoch (Ethiopian clerics), reclaiming traditional ethnic names and a general Ethiopian cultural awakening.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
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"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"