In New York City in the 1970s, the photograph at right was as iconic as the Statue of Liberty.
It spoke to the broad appeal of Levy's Jewish Rye bread across a diverse cultural demographic.
That point was driven home by the image of a young boy who, by appearance alone, "couldn't possibly be Jewish" enjoying a sandwich made with Levy's Rye.
While the ad sold bread, it also had the effect of further embedding the stereotype that there are none of African descent among the Jewish people.
In late 2013, photographer William Rasdell set out to create a contemporary profile of the Ethiopian Jews in Israel.
By some sources, the Ethiopian Jews, known as Beta Israel (House of Israel), are thought to be descendants of the lost tribe of Dan, one of the biblical Ten Lost Tribes. The community resettled in Israel with the aid of the Israeli government in two massive waves of immigration in 1984 and 1991.
The Beta Israel’s absorption into Israeli society has been difficult. Physically, culturally and religiously, the people of Beta Israel are different than the rest of country. To this day, they practice an ancient form of Judaism no longer seen in Israel, leading some to publicly question their legitimacy as Jews.
My City: My World Exhibit: Beta Israel, which begins on Thursday, April 24 in the JCC Art Gallery, shines a light on the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel. It is at once universal and very personal. The stories of integrating traditions and culture into a new environment are certainly relevant in our own city.
This eight week exhibition was made possible largely through a generous grant of the Efroymson Family Fund. It will dovetail with the JCC’s Days of Remembrance, which will begin April 27 with Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, and end on May 4 with Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day.
Please join us at the opening reception for refreshments and an opportunity to meet the artist: Thursday, April 24, 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the JCC Art Gallery