Kim Salzman, an Israeli with Pittsburgh ties, will release her debut novel, “Straddling Black and White,” on April 13.
The book, Salzman writes on her website, is her “humble but earnest attempt to pay homage to the tremendous sacrifices made by the thousands of Ethiopian Jews who made aliyah to Israel, and to those who perished on the way.”
The historical fiction saga tells the story of an Ethiopian Jewish family torn apart in the 1980s during Operation Moses. The protagonist, 14-year-old Azmera, embarks on the treacherous journey via Sudan to join her father in Israel, leaving her pregnant mother and younger siblings behind. Upon her arrival to Israel, Azmera struggles to assimilate into her new homeland where the language, the land, the culture and the people are foreign to her.
“Straddling Black and White,” Salzman writes, “is more than just a novel about the heroic Ethiopian Jewry’s immigration to Israel — it is a novel about risking everything in pursuit of a dream.”
Salzman was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After earning her law degree from the University of Michigan, she immigrated to Israel, served in the international law department of the Israel Defense Forces, and worked for the United Nations Refugee Agency and an organization advocating for the legal rights of Ethiopian-Israelis. She lives in Northern Israel and works as the Israel and overseas director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. PJC