Learning about the Ethiopian-Israeli Community

We spent this afternoon at Hineni, a non-profit that seeks to educate the Israeli community about Ethiopian Jewish life and also provides support to Ethiopian Jews in Israel. We learned from Geula, Rachel, and Chen during the session. Geula described how at age 8 she walked 1000 kilometers by foot toward Sudan, each day hiding from the authorities and each night walking another step of the journey. Her family stayed for two difficult years in Sudan before making Aliyah, the dream of a lifetime. Once she got to Israel, she discovered more difficulties, though. Rachel described how her mother was initially shocked to see that there are Jews with white skin! Moreover, she had never considered that some Jews do not observe religious mitzvot. In class, Rachel spoke about how she was always the only Ethiopian in her class and always felt the need to prove herself. With each successive generation, the Ethiopian community is establishing itself as a community and individuals, contributing to the vibrant and diverse Israeli community.

See some pictures of the doba bread ceremony and coffee ritual, along with taking our hand at some Ethiopian dancing.

Kibbutz values in action

Before lunch, we had a session with Sharon exploring the unique nature of Kibbutz Ketura, and kibbutzim more generally. We learned about the many committees that make the kibbutz function and how decisions are made. We concluded by exploring three tough cases that put the values of the kibbutz to the test. Students had many questions, some pondering if kibbutz life might be for them.

Morning hike and oil pastels

We kicked off the morning to hike up the local kibbutz mountain, known as “har hashmal,” electricity mountain, due to the electric lines at the top. It’s also the local chanukiah, where a bnei mitzvah student climbs each evening with their parents to light the festival lights. We also had the chance to paint the local scenery, producing many beautiful pierces.