From Ethiopia to Hebron: The Eternal City of Our Fathers

Jewish immigrant to Israel from Ethiopia talks about his inspiration to move to Hebron.

23.11.22, 17:01
Yehonatan Freide is a 34-year old Yeshiva student, who is also currently finishing his BA in education. He was born in Ethiopia and came home to Israel during “Operation Solomon” in 1991. He lives in Hebron with his wife and children. This article was originally published in 2009 in Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins edited by Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa.
City of the Fathers,
City of the Torah,
City of the Machpela,
City of the Soaring,
City of Restoring,
City of Regality,
City of the Bravery,
City of the Fathers’ Sleep,
City of the Rising,
City of Reviving.
In our World, there are expressive words such as those above. These may be quite difficult to explain, and therein lies a deep respect and awe that the explanation itself of the words could be muffled or obscured, and thereby maybe lose much of their meaning.

Yet, this is what we Jews are exposed to, should we study and grow from our learning. Through this, we may achieve an increasingly higher level of morality.
We extract the contents of an idea and transfer them into action. Still, some things must be delved into more deeply. We have no choice! Biblical Hebron is no castle in the clouds. Like other holy sites in Israel, the City of Hebron has been written into our Jewish hearts with fire. It has entered us with the milk of our mother. We learned it from the wise men in a modest, remote village in Ethiopia. They reiterated how important these holy sites are for us as Jews.

A wise man in the village told me of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs, of King David who established his Kingdom in and from the City of the Forefathers, and of the purchase of the Machpela Cave. The seller was paid very well, and this particular sale and event became the genesis of our Jewish history. All began here – in Hebron.

The stories were not only heard, they were absorbed into our bones. They became the most vital inner landscape of our lives during the Diaspora. The message affected our view of life itself.

We, who were born in a strange land, an unnatural place for we Jews to be born, perceived ourselves as strangers from childhood. In a place we did not belong. This became our inner impetus; to return to Israel – no matter the cost. It is our parents’ rearing that is the main reason we are here in Hebron today.
The Spirit of this Holy place,
The Fathers’ Spirits’ teachings;
Merits of the Fathers –
The World in their embracing.
The valor of the Spirit
Of David who is King,
Tarpat’s heroes’ Spirit,
In Hebron’s gallant pioneers;
In the City where the Spirits
Of the Fathers ever keep.
It is unnatural for us Jews to live in the Diaspora in places that don’t belong to us. This is why it is such a wonderful feeling to finally be in a place that belongs to us; and for that reason, it is the most natural place for us to be.

Even more gratifying, is being with our ancestors – walking along the same paths that the Matriarchs and Patriarchs, King David, Caleb Ben-Yefune and Avner Ben-Ner walked along in their day. This knowledge is the driving force in our lives in Hebron. We, the Freide family, live and are nourished by this intimate and genuine reality that we are a part of.

Here we live in happiness and harmony with everyone; heroes in a city of constant renewal. We wish to live in this place of miracles. Hebron contains all the spiritual resources we need.
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