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Ethiopian Children Treated to Summer Camps


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Posted on: 
27 Oct 2011
Ethiopian Children Treated to Summer Camps

The Jewish Agency’s absorption center in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion is home to some 1,400 residents, making it the largest facility for new immigrants in Israel. Most of those living in the neighborhood are Ethiopian Jews, including hundreds of children struggling to adjust to their new surroundings.

During the summer months, when most Israeli children are on vacation abroad with their families or enjoying youth camps with friends, the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Center seeks to offer a similar outlet to its Ethiopian children.

The ICEJ’s Aliyah department stepped in to sponsor summer camp for ten of these Ethiopian children, allowing them the chance to progress in their Hebrew lessons, adjust to Israeli society, and just have fun with their friends.

The combination of studies and play keeps the summer months productive and enjoyable for the younger immigrants. Integration into Israel is turned into a great adventure.

Most Ethiopian Jews arriving in Israel first stay at the Agency’s absorption centers. The adults also learn not only the Hebrew language, but also how to function in a country more developed than they are accustomed to. Usually, the main challenge is picking up enough Hebrew for everyday use, as some are not even literate in their native Amharic language.

Ethiopians often lack the trade skills needed to find suitable work in Israel. Everything is different – the foods, the schools, the shops, the local customs. The absorption centers help them start life anew in this unfamiliar setting.

Most families spend up to two years in the absorption center before moving out on their own. During this time, social workers try to make sure their new homeland is welcoming and no longer foreign to them.



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