Cry of the Giraffeby Judie Oron
In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Yerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated.
In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Yerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu must return to Ethiopia alone. “Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she staysuntil the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strengthuntil the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel. Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.
Turning the experiences of her adopted daughter into a fictionalized memoir, a Canadian journalist takes readers back to the vicious anti-Semitism and civil war that led to an exodus of Ethiopia's indigenous Jewish community in the 1980s. Having fled with her family to a refugee camp in Sudan, 12-year-old Wuditu (a fictional name) and her little sister Lewteh are caught up in a sudden round-up and conveyed back to Ethiopia. Leaving Lewteh in the care of a local Kes (rabbi), Wuditu makes her way to a city in search of rumored rescuers but finds herself trapped in a years-long daily struggle to survive that leads to being forced by a soldier into sexual servitude and reduced to slavery by a cruel bar owner. Despite some scenes related in gut-wrenching detail—a self-induced abortion, for instance—Wuditu's narrative often has a distant tone and several seemingly arbitrary twists. Still, readers will feel for her and be relieved when she is miraculously found by a faranj (white foreigner—the author) and tearfully reunited with her sister and family in Jerusalem. (map, glossary, cast list) (Historical fiction. YA)
- Annick Press, Limited
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.60(d)
- Age Range:
- 15 - 18 Years
Meet the Author
Judie Oron, a journalist, risked her life to save Wuditu from Ethiopia and take her to safety in Israel, where she still lives today. Judie Oron lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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