Efrat Yerday

Efrat Yerday
Role: 
Head of the research group "A Story Rewritten: Ethiopians Jews Rewriting Their Story"
email: 
Fields of Practice: 
Identity, gender, blackness, popular culture

Efrat Yerday was born in Ashdod and lives in Beersheba. She has a master’s degree in politics and government from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Her master’s thesis dealt with relations between Israel and Ethiopia in the 1980s in light of the development programs of Mashav (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) and in light of the declared rift between the countries.

In the course of her studies she established the "Ethiopolitics" reading group, for students of Ethiopian descent who wanted to broaden their knowledge of Ethiopian history and issues of identity and racism in Israel and abroad. One of the group’s aims is to constitute a safe and supportive space in which students can share their experiences of racism in academe and their experience of being black in a white society.

In 2015, following the success of the reading group, she initiated and prepared an academic course in the university’s Department of Politics and Government. The course, Black Identity in a White Space: The Ethiopian Population in the Israeli Context, is part of the Program for Specialization in Politics.   

In 2014 she edited the book Avak shel ir: Asufat shirim Be’ersheva’it (Dust of a city: An anthology of Beersheba poems).

In 2012 she established the Ra’av (Hunger) publishing house in Beersheba with the aim of adding color to the Israeli bookshelf. She edited its first book, Kushila’imashelahem—Antologia zmanit leshira shekhora (Kushila'imashelahem—A temporary anthology of black poetry).

In 2010–2011 she served as the spokesperson for the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews and published opinion pieces on racism in general and institutionalized racism in particular. Over the years she has also published reviews of nonfiction dealing with Ethiopian history and the absorption of Ethiopians in Israel.

In 2010 she established the Young Ethiopian Students blog, inviting critical thinking and challenging the establishment and academic narrative of the immigration and absorption of Ethiopian Jews.

Yerday writes the “Shekhora mi’skhor” (blacker than black) column in Hamakom hakhi kham begehinom (the hottest place in hell)—an independent columnist magazine on social topics.

At the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute Yerday heads the research group titled A Story Rewritten: Ethiopians Jews Rewriting Their Story.