Mekonen, a film about an African Jew, has been screened on campuses around the United States. The film follows the backstory and personal journey of Mekonen Abebe, who was a 12-year-old shepherd when his father died suddenly, less than a day before his family was to move to Israel.

The film accompanies Mekonen back to Africa on an emotional journey. He explores his roots, makes peace with his past and embraces his future in Israel. After a difficult adjustment period in Israel, Mekonen was fortunate to attend the Hodayot High School, which educates children from troubled backgrounds and helps integrate them into Israeli society. Mekonen became a decorated officer in the IDF, while staying true to his Ethiopian roots and culture.

Mekonen is an uplifting and inspiring film that will move audiences and show viewers that anything is possible with the right attitude, tools and support.

CAMERA-supported group Tritons for Israel held a screening of the film on campus during lunchtime at UCSD. The screening occurred in the presence of guest speaker Chloe Valdary. Valdary is a African-American pro-Israel activist. Following the film, Chloe led a question and answer session, which students found very interesting. Many of the questions were not on the topic of the film, but rather had to do with campus issues relating to Israel such as accusations of “pink-washing”. Chloe was able to provide students with the tools to address such accusations. The conversation then turned to the human side of Israel, which this film definitely captures.

CAMERA-supported group Mustangs United for Israel also hosted a screening of the film at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Mustangs United for Israel invited the Black Student Union and its members so they could watch the movie together and have a discussion afterwards about the content of the film. The joint screening helped to further develop a positive relationship between Mustangs United for Israel and the BSU.

The film was also screened at University at Buffalo by CAMERA-supported group UB For Israel. Chloe Valdary was also present at the screening, and like ast UCSD, held a question and answer session after the film. The film engaged the students and students described the event as very enjoyable.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern.


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