Book Signing with Irene Fertik

Saturday Jan 19, 2019

201 Highland Park Cir SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102





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See photos and hear stories from the new book by this lifelong photographer and and traveler.

Coming of age in the late 60's, Irene Fertik always knew she would be a social activist with a camera. Fast-forward 50 years, and she is still at it. Since 1991, she has been working on a photo book project, documenting Ethiopian Jews in their new/ancient home of Israel. The title of the book, From Tesfa to Tikva, means from hope to hope – the first in Amharic, the other in Hebrew. The story of the Ethiopian Jews spans millennia. Holding fast to a dream of returning to Jerusalem, this ancient biblical community began immigrating to Israel in the late 1970’s.

These Old Testament Jews had been praying for generations to return to Jerusalem, and were met at first with open arms by the people of Israel, who had heard of their devotion to their faith and the hardship of their journey. However, the move from isolated agrarian mountain villages in Ethiopia to a modern technological culture in Israel meant an incredible sacrifice for the older immigrants, and enormous challenges and adjustments for their children. 

Today Israel's nearly 135,000 Ethiopians are still in a transition period, where the old ways are continuing to be practiced, but are making way for the new. The successes within the community have been tempered by many failures. Most families live below the poverty line, and juvenile delinquency is epidemic; yet there are over 2,400 Ethiopian students now in higher education studies, 100 Ethiopian small businesses, and 24 rabbis have been ordained. Both in photos and text, Fertik chronicles the story of 25 years of change and transition. In this stunning book, the visual contrasts are extraordinary, showcasing an ancient African people in a mostly white modern society. These graceful, reserved people are enduring from tesfa to tikva.