July 20, 2009 / 28 Tammuz 5769
On the morning of July 16th, when the Shir Tikvah Congregation from Portland, Oregon arrived at the Jewish Agency Barnea Absorption Center, they had two missions to complete: First, to learn more about Ethiopian immigration and absorption to Israel; and second, to pass on a special gift prepared by the synagogue group for children living at Barnea Absorption Center who are preparing to enter the first grade.
Shir Tikvah congregants first met with Levi Shafran, a retired air force pilot who assisted in flying the Hercules jets back and forth to Ethiopia during Operation Solomon – delivering more than 14,000 Ethiopians to Israel. They then learned about immigration and absorption activities taking place throughout Israel, including the customized programs run by social workers and absorption center staff that facilitate the successful integration of new immigrants in Israel.
At the visit's conclusion, children from the Shir Tikvah Congregation came to the front of the room and presented their gift of school supplies to a group of Ethiopian children from Barnea who are entering the first grade. Received with applause and cheers, the school supplies demonstrated the visitors' support and encouragement for the young immigrants' success in the upcoming academic year. In return, the Ethiopian children presented their gift to the Shir Tikvah congregation: a beautiful album of pictures of the Ethiopian immigrants living at Barnea Absorption Center.
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