What do we mean by home? In Drawn from Water, American Jew Dina Elenbogen explores her thirty-year friendship with Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Israel as they struggle in a new country while dealing with her own desire to join them there. Thirty years ago, Operation Moses airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, where today they, immigrants from other years, and descendants form a community over 100,000 strong. Through the stories of the children Osnat, Elad, and their siblings, Elenbogen raises questions about religion, assimilation, and cultural identity. The author’s poetic voice examines immigration in all its forms, success and failure, adaptation and resistance. Black Ethiopians suffer discrimination, and are hindered by cultural and language difficulties, yet the children eventually attend college, marry, and have families of their own. Dina’s personal journey parallels theirs, but poetry and the arts give her a bridge between her life in America and her desire for Israel.
Dina Elenbogen is author of the poetry collection Apples of the Earth and recipient of two fellowships and an award from the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has been published in numerous magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Tikkun, Bellevue Literary Review, PatersonLiterary Review, New City Chicago and numerous anthologies. She holdsa poetry MFA from the University of Iowa and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago’s Graham School. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, with her husband and children.