On Ethopia and Ethiopian Jews
Room 410 on the 2nd floor of the Sourasky Library
Please coordinate your visit with the Head of Section, Yona Diker
In 1974 The Tel-Aviv University was given, by The Tel-Aviv Municipality, Dr. Jacques Faitlovitch's scientific collection. Dr. Faitlovitch, a researcher and an Orientalist, lived among the Ethiopian Jews, studied their history and their culture and worked vigorously for them and for strengthening their bonds with the Jewish communities throughout the World and with the State of Israel.
The collection includes:
- Hundreds of titles discussing the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia.
The books are combined in the library's "open shelf" general collection. Nevertheless, books in Ethiopian languages are kept separately and one must coordinate browsing through them with the 2nd floor librarians.
Rare Ethiopian language books are combined in the Herbert Cohen rare books collection.
Some 40 manuscripts written in Ethiopian languages.
- The manuscripts are combined in the Herbert Cohen rare books collection.
- A historical archive on Ethiopian Jews and Jewry.
The Historical Archive includes:
- Printed media – Hundreds of periodicals, offprints, newspapers and newspaper clips from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.
- Photographs – Hundreds of negatives, photographic plates and photographs taken by Dr. Faitlovitch.
- Languages – Thousands of documents in various languages: English, French, Italian, German and Amharic related to Dr. Faitlovitch's scientific research and to his works for the Ethiopian Jewish Community.
Vocabulary, grammar, poetry, proverbs – all in diverse Ethiopian languages: Amharic, Ge'ez, Tigrinya, Agaw.
- History and narratives – Chronicles of Ethiopian Kings, Journeys in Habash, Habashian chronicles: The Queen of Sheba, and other. Articles on the Remote Tribes of Israel throughout the world.
- Scriptures and religious documents – A Jewish/Ethiopian calendar (1928/9-1933/4) ; The story of Shlomo Ben-Yitzhak's ("The Falash") – who was Dr. Faitlovitch's student, The Bible in the Ge'ez and Amharic languages, Habashian Chronicles translated to Hebrew, Ethiopian grammar, Aharon's death, letters, articles, lectures, etc.
- Documents following Dr. Faitlovitch's death - Condolence letters and documents, eulogies, memorial and commemorations.
- Miscellanea – Information on Dr. Faitlovitch's house, Historical maps of Ethiopia, catalogs, notes, a diversity of Ethiopian items, personal diaries.
- There are dozens of negatives, photographic plates and photographs taken by Dr. Faitlovich in his travels to Ethiopia at the beginning of the last century. The photographs reflect the great work of Faitlovich among the Ethiopian Jewish community. In the photos you can find: Pictures of Faitlovich's students, pictures from the Jewish community in Ethiopia, pictures of the Ethiopian royal house and pictures from various countries in the Horn of Africa (Eritrea and Djibouti).
- In addition, there is a collection of photographs donated by Professor (Emeritus) Hagai Ehrlich, an expert on Ethiopian history - most of the photographs deal with Christianity and Islam in Ethiopia.
The Faitlovich collection enables:
- Browsing through the historical archive and the manuscripts.
- Photocopying documents and images.
- Group guidance (should be pre-ordered).
Dr. Jacques Faitlovitch (Łódź, 1881- Tel-Aviv, 1955)
Dr. Faitlovitch had studied Oriental Studies and was fluent in Hebrew, several European languages and some Ethiopian languages, e.g.: Ge'ez, Amharic, Tigrinya.
Dr.Faitlovitch had first visited Ethiopia in 1904, as part of a research team. Ever since that visit he dedicated his life to Ethiopian Jews and helped in establishing the personal identities for "Beta Israel" members. His activities created the foundations which yielded, later on, the basis for their immigration to Israel in "Operation Moses" and "Operation Solomon".
In addition, Dr. Faitlovitch was working with Black Jews in Harlem and had tried to convert to Judaism Asians and Africans. His collection, which had grown and expanded throughout the years, was kept at his house on Vitkin Street (Tel-Aviv). The collection was maintained and organized by Dr. Itzhak Grinfeld, a librarian, who was fluent in several languages – including Ethiopian languages.
Dr. Faitlovitch had asked his house and collection to be donated to the Tel-Aviv Municipality after his death. Later on, in 1974, his collection was forwarded to the Tel-Aviv University Central Library.