UJIA are proud to offer educational resources to enhance the learning for your community in preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
The Bar Bat Mitzvah of a child is the perfect opportunity for a family and community to consider what it means to welcome a new Jewish adult. It’s also an important time to reflect on what this means to them. This programme allows you to do that through the prism of Israel and the story of Ethiopian Jewry and their integration. The full programme consists of 8 sessions; each session can be delivered as a stand-alone unit.
Please see below for an overview of each session, including the learning objectives.
What it means to be Jewish? What it means to be an Israeli?
What does it mean to be a Bnei Mitzvah?
‘Behold, how wonderful it is when brethren dwell together in unity’ Psalms 133
‘Despite our differences we are one nation…with responsibility towards each other and the right to demand tolerance from each other’
Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel 2014- to date.
• To introduce the programme to participants. To reflect upon their identity as young Jews about to approach Bar/Bat Mitzvah
• To consider our connection to Jews in Israel and how our joint heritage brings us together.
What is the history of Ethiopian Jewry and its amazing journey of Aliyah to Israel?
חֶסדֶ / Loving Kindness
‘The world rests on three things: Torah, Service to God and Acts of Kindness’ Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers)
‘Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an Immigrant’ The Law of Return 5710 – 1950 of The State of Israel
• To learn about the journey of the Ethiopians to Israel; why and how they travelled.
• To consider how our own families share a Jewish journey story. How did our families arrive in the UK?
• To understand how Chesed/Kindness is an integral part of Judaism.
Where do we come from? A potted history of the State of Israel – what do we know, what do we wantto know?
By knowing where we come from, we know how to plan our future.
ואְֵ֛לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֥ת/ ‘And these are the generations’ Genesis 25:19
‘We are one family, and the connection between all Jews, all over the world, is very important to the State of Israel’ Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel 2014 to date
• To consider the journey of the Ethiopians to Israel; why and how they travelled.
• To consider the challenges of being a new immigrant to a country.
Tzedakah. Volunteering as part of society
צֶדֶק צֶדֶק תִּרְדֹּף
‘Justice, Justice, shall you pursue’ (Deuteronomy 16:20)
“Give as the flowers, Who spread their fragrance to all, Without asking or receiving anything in return, Just because they’re flowers.”
Ester Kal (1930 –2018) Israeli writer, author and editor.
• To be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the Jewish attitude to charity.
• To understand how important volunteerism is in Israeli society.
רְאֵ֖ה קָרָ֣אתִֽי בְשֵׁ֑ם בְּצַלְאֵ֛ל
ואֲָמַלֵּ֥א אֹת֖וֹ ר֣וּחַ אֱלהִֹ֑ים בְּחָכְמָ֛ה וּבִתְבוּנ֥הָ וּבְדַ֖עַת
“I have called Bezalel and I have filled him with the spirit of G-d, with ability…and craftmanship, to devise artistic designs… to work in every craft” Exodus 31:2-5
Art created by Almaz an entrepreneurial project for empowering Ethiopian women and men in Israel. Using the amazing embroidery skills of the Beta Yisrael community.
• To reflect on the skills and contributions that new immigrants can make to a society.
• To design an item of Jewish ritual use based upon the tradition of Ethiopian Jews.
• To be able to describe the rich art tradition of the Beta Yisrael.
Life for new Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. Time to ‘check our privilege’. How lucky are we, do we know how to appreciate what we have?
ואֲַהַבְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הַגּ֑רֵ כִּֽי־גרֵים הֱייתִֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיםִ׃
‘Love the Stranger for you were stranger in the Land of Egypt’ Deuteronomy 10:19
אני יודע שהכול יהיה בסדר
ניתן בראש בע הבלי נדר
אני יודע שהכול יהיה סבבה
ניתן תלב והנשמה נביאת‹סוואגה
לא נוותר רק נרים ת ראש למעלה
I know everything will be fine, No matter what everyone’s saying, behind your back
With the help of Hashem you, can be top dog, God willing.
I know that everything will be Cool, Give you heart and soul,
We’ll bring the swagger, We won’t give up, just lift up your head
Chorus from the 2015 Israeli Pop Hit, from the Ethiopian Israeli Rap Duo, Café Shahor Chazak – Strong Black Coffee
• To show understanding for what it is like to be a new immigrant to Israel by engaging with role playing activities.
• To contrast Jewish practice in the UK with Jewish practice in Israel.
• To share knowledge you have acquired about Jewish communities with differing practices.
What’s life like now for Ethiopian Israelis. A focus on successes and challenges.
אמר רבי יוחנן גדול קבוץ גליות כיום שנבראו בו שמים וארץ
Rabbi Yohanan said, ‘The day of the Ingathering of the Exiles is as great as the day on which heaven and earth were created.’ Talmud, Pesachim 88a
Fidel Stern, “Melting Pot”, cartoon, Courtesy of the Israeli Museum of Cartoons, Holon, 1950s
In the early 1950s, with the advent of the “Great Aliyah”, the “melting pot” policy was widespread in the country. At the core of this approach was the desire for mergers Kibbutz Galuyot and create a new, uniform model of the Israeli. This illustration attempts to show that Jews from throughout the world enter Israel and are pushed through a “meat grinder” to come out as a model Israeli.
• To recognise examples of successful integration into Israeli society.
• To reflect on the challenges of discrimination in Israeli society and to consider how to be active allies against all discrimination.
• To consider the importance of Israel to Jews living in the UK.
Moving forward into Jewish Adulthood. What we’ve learnt and where it takes us.
The Talmud (Berachot 10a) asks why David repeats the words ברכי נפשי, “Bless, O my soul,” five times in the Book of Psalms; they answer that each represents a different stage in his life, and his soul received a song corresponding to each.
Point of View
What distinguishes the narcissus and the sunflower is their different points of view: the former looks at its reflection in the water and says: ‘There is no I but I’, while the latter looks at the sun and says: ‘I am only what I worship.’ At night the distinction grows narrower, and the interpretation broader. Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian Poet
- Consider what values underpin our lives and how Judaism influences our life choices.
- To create commitment statements reflecting on what you’ve learnt through this course and how we intend our Bar/Bat Mitzvah to shape our lives.
- To reflect on the Jewish Ethiopian Community in Israel connected to this programme and send messages for their Bar Bat Mitzvah to reflect your learning.