Former Ethiopian Was Summer Student Scholar-in-Residence in Australia
“It seems that I have come a long way in my 26 years, and I would be prepared to do it again and again. I still remember the
barefoot little girl in the village in
The words obviously also moved the women of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia who had assembled in
Tarkay’s month’s stay down under found her on top of the world, exhilarated from the plethora of invitations to conferences, meetings, and Shabbat dinners that took her to a half-dozen cities covering half the continent.
“It was a great privilege to be
there,” she told Focus shortly after her return to
The graduate student who had come a long way since traipsing across the African desert as a child to reach Israel was impressed and inspired by the volunteering spirit of the Australian Jewish community, particularly by the members of the National Council. “It was a full-time job,” she marveled. “There was this feeling that I, too, wanted to help others.”
Tarkay described seeing a sign
about helping Ethiopian children when she went to someone’s house in
Although her praise encompassed
most everyone with whom she had contact, she singled out Vivien Brass, who heads the NCJW’s Ethiopian Women’s Scholarship Fund at the
The people that the UH student met were all the who’s who of the National Council. They asked her about everything. But she did not whitewash her story or play down the difficulty of her living in effect in two worlds, Israel and Ethiopia, even if “I now live peacefully” with this. “Now I know how to identify myself,” she states.
For their part, the women did not try to pity her. If they had, “I would have felt it,” she remarks. As Tarkay sees it, the women were “helping me out a feeling to do me good. So I can strive to be in their place one day.” She sees a difference. Being pitied, she said, a person does not have a feeling of being strong, of being independent.
The student-scholar’s feeling
of strength stood her well when in
She also met and talked with
aboriginals at a demonstration they were holding. She met Jewish youth her age at a parlor meeting in
No matter whom she talked with, Tarkay said, she listened carefully to what they told her. “Everything they said was important to me,” she commented.
Her hosts were also concerned
that the young visitor enjoy herself in addition to her official duties—“they wanted me to have quality time apart from the mission” was how she expressed it. She was taken to a zoo (“You
can’t come to
Staying with families over Shabbat and other times was an experience, too. “I had serious conversations with them” she related. “I got the feeling I knew them for years. I met young people whom I will remain in contact with in the future.”
As for her own future, Yafa
Tarkay knows she wants to help people. She will pursue a Master’s degree while continuing in her vocation as social worker. There seems little doubt