Driving one of Tucson’s new Israeli teen emissaries, Leah Avuno, from a lunch and learn on the University of Arizona campus to her next destination, Cantor Avraham Alpert found his talking point. Avuno, originally from Ethiopia, told him Ethiopian Jews would never have made it to Israel if it weren’t for the American Jews who funded their aliyah. Then she asked why American Jews cared about the plight of her people.
He answered by telling Avuno about the role of U.S. Jews in the civil rights movement and the parallels between blacks and Jews as victims of discrimination. They spoke about Jews of color in Israel, Ethiopia and Uganda. It was only later that Alpert, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bet Shalom, came up with a simpler answer: The Torah has always tasked the Jews with bringing justice to the world.
Find the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.
Original publication date Sept. 9, 2016.