Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme 2018
UJIA Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony brings together highest number of UK families for four years
The UJIA Ethiopian Bar/Bar Mitzvah programme (EBBM) took place in Israel from Monday 23 July – Thursday 26 July, bringing together children from the UK and Israel in a unique opportunity, enabling Bar/Bar Mitzvah children from the UK to develop relationships with Bar/Bar Mitzvah children from the Ethiopian Israeli immigrant community in Kiryat Bialik, Haifa.
EBBM included 11 families from the UK, the highest for 4 years. For the first time this included at least one family from each of the four London EBBM clubs, in South Hampstead, Finchley, Mill Hill and Pinner. UJIA North East Regional Manager Alexis Harris’s daughter Leah also joined the programme.
As part of the programme, UK and Israeli children meet each other after a year of correspondence, and understand what it means to become a Jewish adult within their town. Rabbi Gideon Sylvester also joined EBBM and lead Mother and Daughter and Father and Son learning sessions. A week’s celebration culminated in a shared Bat Mitzvah ceremony in Yeshurun synagogue in Jerusalem.
UK families were welcomed by their wonderful Ethiopian hosts in their homes and received a special welcome by the Mayor of Kiryat Bialik, Eli Dorskey, who explained the impact of the project on the Municipality of Kiryat Bialik.
Karen Goodkind, UJIA trustee, Chair of EBBM and the Women’s Division, commented “the Ethiopian Bar/Bar Mitzvah Programme in Kiriyat Bialik has transformed the community, empowering young Ethiopian Israeli’s and creating leadership. The pinnacle of the year long programme is the tremendous 4 day celebration bringing U.K. twins and their families to Kiryat Bialik and Jerusalem. It was incredible to witness the bonding of 40 children through team building activities and song and dance. The British were wowed by the rich colourful Ethiopian culture as they were hosted in their twins homes. And the Ethiopian parents expressed honour at our coming from another country to unite our children in the bar and batmitzvah celebration. EBBM is a fantastic example of Jewish Peoplehood united despite differences in culture and colour.”