megemeria: new beginnings
September 15 – October 28, 2016
Megemeria means genesis in Amharic, the traditional language of Ethiopia. The Megemeria School of Jewelry & Art provides its students – Ethiopian immigrants to Israel – with a bright, new beginning in life.
This exhibit tells the incredible Megemeria story through moving photographs and the unique jewelry line which shares the journey of longing, renewal and yearning. Many of the pieces incorporate inspiring inscriptions such as love, friendship, happiness and hope.
The Megemeria School of Jewelry & Art, situated adjacent to the Yvel Design Center in Motza, is a one-of-a-kind school that trains Ethiopian immigrants, many of whom lack formal education and experience, to become skilled goldsmiths and stone setters. Megemeria was founded by Orna and Isaac Levy and embodies the couple’s belief that equality and success for the Ethiopian community will come through opportunities in the job market.
In collaboration with the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation
Opening Reception featuring special guest speaker: Daniel Sahalo
September 15 from 6 - 8 PM
LOCATION: Sabes JCC
In the 1980’s, Ethiopia forbade the practice of Judaism and the teaching of Hebrew. Having suffered through years of famine and in the midst of a civil war, Daniel Sahalo made the long and dangerous journey on foot from northern Ethiopia to Israel with his family as a five-year-old child in 1984. Because Jews were not allowed to leave Ethiopia, their small group traveled by foot to the border of Ethiopia and Sudan, walking only at night for eight weeks, facing robbers, hunger, wild animals, and the cold of the desert at night.
“I remember walking through the night from my village to reach the Sudanese border,” he recalls. “My sister died of malaria on the way and had to bury her and keep on walking. We walked for nine weeks.”
After waiting on the border for a couple of months, they were finally flown to Israel, where they initially lived in an absorption center. Daniel became so malnourished that his “belly was really swollen. “I spent my first few weeks in Israel in a Jerusalem hospital,” he said. Daniel’s first shock upon seeing Israelis — “I was surprised to see white Jews!” Years later, Daniel served in an IDF combat unit of the paratroopers, becoming a lieutenant and training other soldiers and later studied international relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Daniel is committed to strengthening and creating a brighter future for the Ethiopian community as the Marketing and Sales Manager of Megemeria.