Ethiopian weaver at work.
As you may know, Harley (my husband), Ariel (our 7 year old daughter) and I were in Ethiopia for 4 months recently. Our primary purpose in being there was to follow the deep calling in our hearts and souls to adopt the child meant for our family. We met our precious son, Samuel, in October when he was just 6 weeks old. And then we got the call that my Mom’s cancer had progressed, and that she had only had 6 months to a year left. Heartbroken, we left our son and got on a plane headed to Vermont. Two weeks later, my Mom passed on. My world was turned upside down as I tried to make sense of a life without her. She was extraordinary woman who loved her family so deeply and who would do anything for us. It has been 4 months since she died, and we have been taking care of my Dad in Vermont and waiting for the adoption process to move forward in Ethiopia. B’ezrat Hashem (with G-d’s help), we will return to Ethiopia soon to complete the legal process so we can bring Samuel home.
In Ethiopia, there are more than 5 million orphans, due to poverty and illness. Fewer than three thousand are adopted each year. Can you even begin to imagine what 5 million orphans means, what those children’s lives are like? Every day, we met these children who were parentless. Hearing their stories and seeing the efforts of many committed Ethiopians to create a better life for these children, we made a commitment to do whatever we could to support programs that are making a difference in the lives of orphans. We met with a number of amazing grassroots organizations that are providing housing, food, education, health care and loving care for these children. There are also programs that are helping to create jobs and job training for parents so that they can feed and take care of their children. If you want to read an inspiring book that beautifully tells the story of many orphans in Ethiopia, read There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene.
In memory of my beloved mother, Betsy Ravit Chase, and in honor of our beautiful Ethiopian-American son (we will announce his complete name after we pass through the court process) we are asking you to partner with us to support the good work of these organizations. When we were in Gondar, Ethiopia, where the remaining Ethiopian Jews (the Falashmora) reside, we found a collective of weavers making the most beautiful tallitot (prayer shawls). We watched as they spun the yarn, dyed and then hand-loomed these gorgeous prayer shawls (click here for pictures). One important way you can help is by buying a tallit.
Who do you know in your community that might want to buy a tallit and help many in the process? They would make wonderful gifts for Bnai Mitzvah celebrations, Weddings, Birthdays, etc. The cost of a tallit is $136 which includes shipping and tax. We will ship them to you when we return from Ethiopia probably over the summer. The tallitot in the pictures on this website do not have tzitzit; however, the ones you buy will. If you do not want a tallit but want to make a donation, you can do that, too. Click here to buy a tallit or to donate to this worthy cause.
Once we successfully go through court in Ethiopia, we will send you a picture of our complete family.
Thank you for all your support and prayers,
Yafa, Harley, Ariel, and Samuel