When: 09/04/2013
Where: The Montagu Centre, 21 Maple St, W1T 4BE
Time: 20:00
Contact: 0207 289 6321
Price: £10 (+1 booking fee)
This event has now passed.

In Ethiopia, the Jews were attributed with dishonourable status because of their perceived dissociation from the land. Yet they still derived their self-ascribed honour from their link with Israel, expressed through their name: Betä Israel ("House of Israel").

In the Israeli context, the Betä Israel's association with Ethiopia constitutes both a limiting factor to their honour, leading to a concern among Betä Israel with the image of their ethnic group, and constitutes also a medium for the pursuit of honour. It is in these terms, and in its concern to progress, that the Betä Israel Band of Porachat HaTikva (Blossoming Hope) is viewed as a microcosm of Bet Israel society in Israel. As such, the Band is portrayed as expressive of a shift taking place in Betä Israel identity in Israel in terms of gender and generational relationships, and of the discursiveness between values in tune with their traditional village identity and those they associate with the "decadent" Ethiopian town.

Traditional Ethiopian song-types which form the repertoire of the Band are turned to the Israeli context of the time, amid major international political events, including the first Gulf War. Through the adaptation and performance of these songs, honourable values - heroism, patriotism, and honourable expressions of love, are attributed to the Betä Israel, and the Band in particular. Among these songs, those of reminiscence and relating to their migration to Israel provide the focus for various perspectives on this migration, from the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, to the painful memories of a land of birth and history, where family members were left behind.


  • Central Synagogue - 36, Hallam St, London W1W 6NW - easily reached by public transport - Centre, Victoria and Bakerloo Lines
  • HGSS - Norrice Lea, London N2 0RE - East Finchley Underground Station- Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines, buses 102, H2
  • Liberal Jewish Synagogue - 28 St. John's Wood Road, London, NW8 7HA - St John's Wood Underground Jubilee Line, buses: 13, 82, 46, 113, 139, 187, 189, 274
  • Tikun - 1117 Finchley Rd, Temple Fortune, NW11 0QB - Golders Green Underground, Northern Line, busses: 82, 102, 460
  • The Spiro Ark at Hampstead Shtiebel - 10a Canfield Gardens, London NW6 3JS - one minute behind Finchley Road Underground Station Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines and Waitrose, busses 13, 82, 113, 187, 268
  • The Spiro Residence - Kidderpore Avenue - NW3 - Finchley Road Underground Station, busses 13 82, 113


T: 020 7794 4655
F: 020 7794 4650
E: education@spiroark.org

The Spiro Ark, Flat 106, 15 Kidderpore Ave.
London NW3 7SJ T: 020 7794 4655 E: education@spiroark.org

Registered Charity No 107 0926. A company limited by guarantee.
Registered No 361 3280. Registered office 788-790 Finchley Road London NW11 7TJ