A woman of biblical beauty, a dark-eyed Ethiopian gazing directly at the camera, appears on the cover of a new book of photographs, "Transformations: From Ethiopia to Israel" by Ricki Rosen (Reality Check Productions, $45). She's wearing white embroidered robes, her hair covered with a kerchief. Flip to the back cover and fast forward 13 years, and the woman, with the hint of a smile, is dressed fashionably in an orange sweater, her hair falling loosely in tiny braids.
I was in a compound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sitting with 500 men, women and children, all praying in Hebrew during Shabbat. I was there as part of a small group of lay and professional leaders from the United States to try to understand a complex and confusing series of issues surrounding the Falash Mura, a group of more than 20,000 Ethiopians who claim Judaism as their faith and are eagerly awaiting aliyah.
The differences between the two services could not have been more striking. In Jerusalem, we were all well-dressed and appeared healthy. In Addis Ababa, the group was dressed in threadbare, hand-me-down clothes. Not surprisingly, many looked unhealthy.