Sisterhood Blog

Galia Sabar: Champion of Israel's Migrants

By Jane Eisner

  • Print
  • Share Share

About eight months ago, Galia Sabar received an email that she thought was an Internet scam. Like one of those letters from Nigeria pleading for money. But this was from a foundation associated with the Dalai Lama, and it was real, and the message was that Sabar would be the first Israeli to receive the Unsung Heroes of Compassion award from the Tibetan holy man himself.

“I thought to myself, how did they know about my work?” Sabar recalled a few days after receiving the award alongside 48 others at a ceremony in San Francisco. Her work is worth recognizing: As chair of the African Studies department at Tel Aviv University, Sabar has artfully combined her academic knowledge of Africa with on-the-ground efforts to aid people in need.

She was involved with Operation Moses, the humanitarian effort dedicated to rescuing Ethiopian Jews in the early 1980s. From that experience, she grew interested in the role African migrants — both legal and not — played in Israeli society, and now works with the Israel Religious Action Center and other not-for-profit groups to fight prejudice and racism in the country.

The mother of five children — two of whom are right now in active combat units in the Israeli military — Sabar has no illusions about the struggles still faced by migrants of color. But she has seen great strides in the decades since her work began. By way of example, she recalls the thousands of migrants who joined together in a massive Passover seder this year, in the middle of the central bus station in Tel Aviv.

“They were singing songs, eating matzo — in the heart of the city. It was amazing!” she said. “Israel is not an either/or reality. It’s a both/and. Full of despair, and full of hope.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Galia Sabar, Dalai Lama, Unsung Heroes of Compassion

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.