Abby and Ellie's B'not Mitzvah Ethiopian Twinning
Abby and Ellie are raising funds as part of the UJIA Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme to help a recent Ethiopian immigrant in Israel prepare for and celebrate her bat mitzvah. They will be running a 5k, completing a difficult hike, and more. Thanks so much for your support!
About the UJIA Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme
Now in its 10th year, this exciting programme works with up to forty Ethiopian new immigrants of Bar and Bat Mitzvah age, living in Kiriyat Bialik, near Haifa, and twins them with children from the international Jewish community.
The Ethiopian-Israeli children take part in a programme which teaches them about becoming Jewish adults within their town, as well as within the global Jewish community. Bar and Bat Mitzvah twins learn about each other’s cultures and are encouraged to correspond with each other via emails (translated by UJIA) and form real friendships. The programme culminates in a week-long celebration in Israel each July for the twins and their families, including a shared Bnei Mitzvah ceremony in Jerusalem for the Ethiopian participants.
For any new immigrant to Israel, it takes time to adapt. For Ethiopians, it is an even bigger culture shock. So our engagement with this community is at a particularly challenging, and important time in their lives.
It’s clear that both twins get a lot from the programme. Selenet, an Ethiopian participant, wrote: “My Bat Mitzvah experience was a truly inspirational one that holds a special place in my heart, even today. Without this project it is most likely that I would not have been able to have this experience, which symbolises, in my eyes, the transformation from childhood to adulthood. I will always remember this as one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
Eliza, a British participant reflects: “Sadly, it had to come to end sometime; we watched our Ethiopian families do their wonderful dancing and then we sang the songs we learnt at the beginning of our journey. Everyone holding hands, our amazing adventure had finished. I hugged my twin; never wanting to let her go. I was going to miss her so much, but I promised myself that we would see each other again.”
For more about the programme, visit https://ujia.org/project/ebbm/.