Five year old Biniyam suffers from a hole in his heart. Last week he bled through his mouth as his parents desperately sought word on evacuation from Ethiopia to a hospital in Israel. The boy is one of thousands of Jewish children waiting to make Aliya with their families.
News of Biniyam comes to me via his uncle, my young friend Mesenbet, the leader of Ethiopia’s Children of God Circus Troupe.
Why do I care so much about a boy and his heart? This year I lost both my 29 year old son Yosef Eliyahu and my 96 year old father Seymour (Yaakov Sholom,) a strong advocate for Ethiopian Jewry. In their memory I sponsor a Jewish infant in Ethiopia whose mother died after childbirth. And my heart longs to help more.
I remember my son when I talk with the young people who help children in Ethiopia become fluent in Torah as I did with Yosef. I remember my father as I listen to veterans of the Ethiopian cause. And I imagine my dad’s smiling face, seeing the strides made by new Ethiopian Olim who’ve made it to Israel.
As I look at what it will take to save Biniyam’s life and release him from the prison of his illness, I know he needs generous people who can provide the passport, visa, airfare and hospital fees necessary to make Binyamin whole.
Dr. Mesrasha Dessie, who recently made aliya, texts me one word on WhatsApp.
I hope this boy will live another year to hear the miraculous stories that sustain his people.
May the seas part for Biniyam.
Note: A version of this story by the author appears on Medium.