Call for Papers: Beta Israel – A History of Coping and Struggle
The third conference of the Ethiopian Jewry Heritage Center, in collaboration with the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University; The Africa Unit, S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, Tel Aviv University; and the Azrieli Center for Israel Studies (MALI), Ben Gurion Institute, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
March 27–28, 2023 Tel Aviv University
Throughout history, the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community was forced to overcome many challenges in order to survive as a religious minority and preserve its identity and way of life. These challenges included pressure and limitations imposed by the Christian Solomonic authorities in Ethiopia and dominant Christian society, and the activities of European missionaries, who aimed to convert the Ethiopian Jews to Christianity. The process of the Aliyah (immigration) of the Beta Israel to Israel and the process of their integration there also entailed challenges, albeit different in nature. The community was forced to act decisively so that its Judaism would be recognized and its Aliyah made possible, and in order to deal with discrimination and prejudice. On several occasions, the community was engaged in struggles to safeguard its rights and lead to changes in the State’s policy towards it. These struggles are central to its ethos, past and present.
This conference will examine the ways in which the Beta Israel community addressed these challenges. Its first part will be dedicated to the ways in which the community coped with challenges vis-à-vis Ethiopian authorities and society and different groups active in Ethiopia. The second part will be dedicated to the ways in which the community coped with challenges vis-à-vis the State of Israel’s authorities and within the dynamics of Israeli society. Central to the conference will be questions of continuity, change, and diversity in methods of coping in Ethiopia, in the course of the Aliyah and in Israel, and of the contribution of these methods, and among them of struggles, to shaping the community’s ethos.
The State Corporation – the Ethiopian Jewry Heritage Center, together with the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University; The Africa Unit, S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, Tel Aviv University; and the Azrieli Center for Israel Studies (MALI), Ben Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev invite scholars from all research fields to submit proposals for papers. The conference will be held on March 27–28, 2023, at Tel Aviv University.
The organizing committee is seeking proposals dealing with challenges faced by the Ethiopian Jews and struggles which they led. Relevant topics include discussions and evaluations of the actions taken in order to enable Aliyah to Israel, preserve their Jewish identity, and integrate and thrive as an integral part of Israeli society.
Proposals should be submitted to Dr. Elad Wexler, head of the Research Institute of the Ethiopian Jewry Heritage Center, through the following E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than the December 15, 2022. They should include the following details:
- Name of the researcher, contact details including a telephone number, E-mail and address
- An abstract of up to 300 words (papers will be 20 minutes long)
- A short bio (up to 200 words)
- The name of each file should be the name of the submitter + a designation of the file’s content
- Proposals can be written in English or Hebrew
The conference will be held in-person with audience attendance by advanced registration, and the event will also be live-streamed online.
Scholars from abroad who are interested in taking part and are in need of a travel grant can add to their proposal a request for a travel grant and for accommodations in Israel. The organizing committee will decide upon the distribution of several travel grants.