Yosef Yitzchak, immigrant from Ethiopia, launches his first book of Poetry at The Jewish Agency's Kalisher Absorption Center in Be'er Sheva
October 14, 2012 / 28 Tishrei 5773
A unique ceremony for new immigrants from Ethiopia was held at the beginning of October at The Jewish Agency Kalisher Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva. Yosef Yitzchak, an immigrant himself, launched his new book of Hebrew poetry, Fiorina.
In 2003, Yosef abandoned his whole world to come and settle alone in Israel. He still misses his family back in Ethiopia. His poems are also about this longing, and about his absorption into a new society. His story is the story of many immigrants. In Hebrew, which is not his native language, Yosef writes: “...Even though there are wrongs in the universe / Poetry is my way / Of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Being a poet in Israel is not easy, especially when one’s first language is not Hebrew. Yosef originally wrote in Amharic but decided, in order for his poems to see Israeli light, to improve the Hebrew he first learnt at ulpanim in Gondar and at the absorption center.
At the Kalisher Absorption Center, he found in the social worker, Heli Kain, someone to listen to him, to escort him along the process of his absorption, and to help make his dreams come true. She encouraged him to apply for a grant from The Jewish Agency, which is awarded to immigrant sportspeople and artists who excel in their fields. Yosef’s literary talent earned him 10, 000 NIS which made the publication of Fiorina possible.
He sees his book as a flower whose “blossoming will bring hope to other new immigrants from Ethiopia”.