UJIA Ethiopian Bar
& Bat Mitzvah
It’s been a tremendous privilege to work with UJIA for the past 11 years developing a programme from a simple idea to twin bar and bat mitzvah children in the UK with new immigrant Ethiopian children living in Israel.
I couldn’t have foreseen then that this idea would bring over 1000 people to Israel to share the bar and bat mitzvah celebrations of 390 new immigrant Ethiopian children. Nor could I have ever dreamed that this amazing twinning programme would be running in synagogues and schools in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and London allowing more children to learn about Ethiopian history, culture and the challenges of Aliya.
In 2015 we ran the UJIA EBBM programme for the first time in the town of Kiriyat Bialik, which has a large Ethiopian population. EBBM is providing the tools so that they can believe in themselves, and feel empowered to succeed. We now have a leadership council in place, a fully supportive Mayor and local municipality providing resources, and an EBBM follow up programme to develop leadership skills in seven 2015 participants. There are also plans to build an Ethiopian community centre.
The impact on the Ethiopian children and their families taking part has been life changing.
“Our community was so lucky to be a part of this project, it is a blessing from G-d that we have had this privilege, both parents and children. My son waited each day for the activities, we were honoured to host our UK twin’s family in our home. The community is very proud that they succeeded in arranging the evening encounter at Psagot and I had the privilege of learning together with my son prayers and songs and stories about our heritage. These are important to pass on to our children. I hope our children, that were blessed to be a part of this project, will grow up to be good and educated people in Israel. I would very much like to continue to volunteer and contribute to this project. Thank you to everybody.”
Abbu Mula, father of Ethiopian participant.
“We were encouraged by Karen Goodkind to join in on the programme and shul club. I cannot tell you how privileged we were to be part of this remarkable program and how it added meaning to our Barmitzvah and connected our children to another way of life and our land.”
Leon Blitz, father of UK participant.
Click here to view EBBM Film