News From Ramaz
Morah Rinat Levy-Cohen arranged for Mr. Zion Ozeri to speak (in Hebrew) with 8th graders about the Yemenite Aliyah to Israel. Mr. Ozeri is a world renowned photographer. He is known for his travels around the world to photograph Jews in the diaspora. He has captured Jews in Portugal, Ecuador, Morocco, Uzbekistan, and more. His photographs have been exhibited in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, and have been published in newspapers such as The New York Times.
Mr. Ozeri started his presentation by sharing his family story with our students. Born to parents who immigrated from Yemen to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet, he was inspired to document this special ethnic group whose traditions were slowly being neglected by the next generation.
Mr. Ozeri presented images of Yemenite Jews in Israel. Through those images, students learned about the struggles Yemenite Jews faced. For example, Yemenite Jews came from a pre-modern society where life had changed little for hundreds of years. Transitioning to the modern state of Israel posed great challenges. Students observed in his images the generational gaps between immigrants from Yemen and their children. For example, in one image, students saw a mother and her daughter sitting on their porch. The mother was wearing traditional Yemeni clothing while her daughter wore an Adidas outfit.
Mr. Ozeri also spoke with our students about his dangerous trip to Yemen in the early 90's to capture photographs of the few remaining Jews. Through his images, 8th graders learned about Jewish Yemenite appearance, culture, struggles, and customs in Yemen. For example, in one photograph, a group of Jewish Yemenite children were sitting around a book learning how to read from the Torah. Our students learned that there was a shortage in books in Yemen and that many children learned how to read the parasha upside down.