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Film Screening: Bal Ej – The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia
April 14 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Following a hundred-year-old account of the prominent Jewish Polish scholar Jacque Faitlovich, the film-maker travels to discover and explore a sect of secret Jews in Ethiopia. Named Bal Ej, craftsmen, for their artisan skills, they have been persecuted by their Orthodox Christian neighbors who slandered them as evil-eyed and hyena-people and have been deprived of the basic rights such as ownership of land, the reason for adopting crafts such as pottery, weaving and iron smithery. Fearing persecutions, they appear Christians outwardly, and practice Judaism in strict secrecy. The synagogues are hidden deep in the mountains and had never before been visited by strangers. Some of their ancient traditions trace back to biblical times and have been completely forgotten by the rest of the world. Bal Ej: The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia lifts the curtains of hundreds of years and reveals the history, customs and culture of this remarkable community to the world.
Watch a film preview here.
Following the screening, the film’s director, Irene Orleansky, will join us live from Israel via Skype. Born in Ukraine in a family of holocaust survivors from Poland and grown up in Russia, Irene is an Israeli musician, producer, ethnographer and film maker. Irene dedicated the last few years to exploring culture, music and traditions of remote Jewish communities in Asia and Africa.
Refreshments will be provided. RSVP to Justin at 713-782-4162 or Justin@hcrj.org.