July 19, 2007 / 4 Av 5767
At the age of 3, when Leah Biteolin should have been learning and playing, she was fleeing Ethiopia, spending six months as a refugee and making the perilous journey to Israel. With the help of the Jewish Agency and its partners throughout the world, Leah was able to embrace her Jewish heritage and complete her higher education, things that would never have been possible in Ethiopia.
Today, Leah works for the Jewish Agency in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood near Rishon Letzion, and she is involved in the implementation of educational and professional programs for the city’s youth, many of whom are Ethiopian immigrants. In this way, Leah maintains her connection to her roots while fulfilling her desire to give back to the country that provided her with a better life.
Although Leah may have missed out on various educational opportunities in her formative years, she quickly proved herself and eventually earned a degree in political science and public communications at Bar Ilan University, where her studies were funded by a Jewish Agency supported Student Authority scholarship. Leah also spent a year working as a Jewish Agency emissary in London, Ontario. When traveling this time however, it was freely and proudly as an Israeli citizen.
Now 26, Leah is a prolific Jewish Agency employee. Her responsibilities include,among other things, supervising youth clubs, educational enrichment initiatives and vocational training programs. She also acts as a liaison between the communities of Kiryat Moshe and Toronto which were matched through the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 program. “My work brings a lot of challenges and there are a lot of things to do here,” says Leah.
Despite the challenges, Leah is excited to participate in these crucial Jewish Agency programs. “I’m not sure where I will find myself in two or three years from now, but I will always keep this connection with my community,” she says. “I don’t want to forget where I came from.”
As an employee of the Jewish Agency, Leah works hard to advance the Jewish Agency’s critical programs in Kiryat Moshe. However, one need not be an employee to contribute significantly to any of our vital initiatives. With your help, we can continue to offer programs and services in Kiryat Moshe and throughout the country that will improve the lives of thousands of Ethiopian immigrants and native Israelis. To learn more about how you can help, click here.