Colorado delegates visit the Jewish Agency's Beit Canada Barnea Absorption Center in Ashkelon. Photographed are Barbara Mellman Davis (Far Left), Sue Allon, Absorption Center Dirctor Eli Goldshmidt, Shelley Miller, Jeannie Ritter, Jewish Agency representative Keren Neiger, Social Worker Ora Cohen.
July 19, 2010 / 8 Av 5770
Members of a Colorado economic development Mission to Israel, led by Governor Bill Ritter, took time out of their busy itinerary focused on establishing long-term business, investment and research partnerships in the fields of energy, clean-tech and water, to visit the Jewish Agency's Beit Canada Barnea Absorption Center in Ashkelon.
The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado sponsored the mission, which was underwritten by private contributions to the Federation.
The four women from the Colorado delegation visited the Absorption Center on July 14, 2010. The participants included the first lady of Colorado, Jeannie Ritter, whose top priority is mental health awareness, Sue Allon, a leader and in the mortgage due diligence and credit risk management industry and CEO of Allonhill, Barbara Mellman Davis, President of Marisco Investments, a Denver-based mutual fund investment company, and Shelley Miller, Vice President of the North American Title Company.
Eli Goldshmidt, director of the Absorption Center, greeted the visitors and briefed them on the absorption center, which currently houses 300 new immigrants from Ethiopia and Yemen.
Social worker Ora Cohen has worked at the Center for eight years. She shared her knowledge of how absorption center staff help new Ethiopian immigrants adjust to life in Israel. An important part of the equation is to assign one social worker to each family to help them throughout their stay at the Center and to be a liaison as they navigate the health care and educational systems. Beyond that, native Ethiopians work as staff members at the Center and, if needed, can act as translators and advocates for the immigrants.
The delegation visited the kindergarten and the synagogue at the center. They also had an opportunity to taste traditional Ethiopian coffee, which is served during traditional hospitality ceremonies in the Ethiopian culture.
The women were presented with an album of drawings by the Ethiopian children participating in the summer camp.