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2012-01-27 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


January 27, 2012  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Riki: 12 and alone, she made aliyah from Ethiopia

At an age when many American girls would feel uncomfortable going alone to a shopping mall, Bizu “Riki” Mullu traveled without her family from Ethopia to make aliyah in Israel.

Mullu arrived in Israel alone at the age of 12. She was one of 24 children who were part of a secret operation that brought 150 refugees from Ethiopia to Israel in 1977. She had to leave without her parents and eventually helped move her entire family to Israel. Her parents, eight siblings and 45 nieces and nephews now live in Jerusalem.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, the Tampa JCC & Jewish Federation’s Women’s Division will host Mullu, now an adult, as she recounts her experience making aliyah as a young girl. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. at Sophie’s French Bakery & Cafe in Hyde Park Village in Tampa.

After she graduated from boarding school, Mullu worked many jobs in the Jewish community. She says one of the most rewarding was working with young Ethiopians who immigrated to Israel through Operation Moses in 1984. Like her, many of these individuals arrived in the Jewish state without their families.

Mullu’s future was greatly impacted by her parents’ careers. Her father was a blacksmith and would shape metals into farm tools and decorative jewelry. Her mother, a midwife, was also a pottery artist. Mullu had her own artistic talent and later began designing her signature bold, bright jewelry using Ethiopian silver, bronze, and a rich array of natural stones and beads.

Mullu recently formed an organization called Chassida Shmella Ethiopian Jewish Community in North America, which seeks to help Ethiopian Jews assimilate into the greater Jewish community in America and keep their connection to Israel.

Mullu’s presentation is open to all women 13 years and older. The cost is $18 per person and includes a variety of desserts, coffee and tea.

For more information or to RSVP, call Heather Rosen at (813) 769-2802. Sponsors for the event are Titen Real Estate, Aha! Tutors and Rescuebands.

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