‘Bini’ and Sarah

Bini's sister Sarah In Ethiopia
Bini's sister Sarah In Ethiopia

“Bini” is the nickname given to Biniyam (Benjamin in Amharic) by his parents. Sound familiar? He’s the 6-year-old Jewish kid from Ethiopia whose broken heart will soon be healed by an expert Israeli medical team at “Save A Child’s Heart.”

Bini has a 1-year-old sister named Sarah. She, along with Dad, remain stuck in Gondar, Ethiopia for the moment while mom, Shashitu has flown from Addis Ababa to join her son as his operation date approaches.

Bini and Sarah’s mother Shashitu arriving in Israel. Photo: The Jewish Agency for Israel

It hurts the heart of this NYC boy to hear that Sarah’s been torn from her mother’s breast. What to do?

Then a dear friend reminds me of another story. That once upon a time, a certain Israeli Prime Minister whose last name begins with “N” met his Sara on a flight from the Big Apple back to Israel.

Mmmmmmm….

Bibi, Bini, Bini, Bibi.

One a political figure for decades. The other a “heart throb” for so many as his story breaks through in the press. What a love fest of helping hearts fly into action! Israeli Minister P’nina Tamano-Shata with her Absorption and Immigration team, The Jewish Agency, the Health Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Regional Cooperation Ministry. Whoa! This kid Bini…already spinning the wheels of power!

Bini and Sarah with their father Tesfahun Maru Chekol in Ethiopia prior to Bini’s arrival in Israel

“Save A Child’s Heart” in Israel, an organization that could only have started in the land of Great Hearts makes me think of other kids in Ethiopia I have met and their hearts. Hearts that beat with joy at the thought of coming to Israel.

So, who gets a seat to the Promised Land? These kids, the future IDF officers, medical experts, musical stars, ministers and more…they’re so ready to take on the future, the Jewish future with all their talent…and need I say – HEART.

How about bringing them ALL?

It’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss in this season of redemption.

When the plane door opens, I hope a flood of kids I know and love will step out.

And that Bini’s dad will kiss the ground of his forefathers, holding in his arms for the glory of our people…another Sarah.

About the Author
Neal H. Brodsky, a family and somatic psychotherapist, writer and activist lives in Connecticut near NYC. A contributor to the 2021 Routledge International Handbook of Play, Therapeutic Play & Play Therapy, he practices online during Covid-19 and is affiliated with the Israel Center for Self Transformation. Originally trained as a script writer, his career includes ten years writing grants supporting families in subsidized housing, more than a decade in marketing positions at major U.S. public television stations and programming management at HBO. Neal curates One Jewish Family: News of Ethiopian Jews social media feeds on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. He also writes for publication in The Forward and Medium.
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