Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations 2016
A group of 10 British children, together with their families had the privilege of spending four days in Israel as part of a UJIA flagship ‘Living Bridge’ initiative – the Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah programme. This educational initiative supported 30 Ethiopian Olim (immigrant) children and their families in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Bialik over the last year. As well as vital Jewish enrichment and preparation for Bnei Mitzvah, the programme offered opportunities to learn and grow together as new Israeli citizens, something that is often very challenging, especially for the parents as they negotiate the differences between life in Ethiopia and Israel.
Over the same period, nearly 100 children from all over the UK attended monthly twinning clubs, connecting them to their Ethiopian-Israeli peers and learning about the Jewish Ethiopian experience and history. The children from both communities have got to know each other using correspondence and shared learning activities, and the UK children have so far this year raised over £40,000 for their twins to take part in the programme through various fundraising initiatives.
Some of the UK participants were also able to join their ‘twins’ in Israel for their moving and uplifting Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony in Jerusalem. For four days the children and their families learnt and celebrated together forming bonds and memories that will last forever.