A number of Jewish Agency services, from Absorption Centers to formal and informal educational programs, help new Ethiopian immigrants acclimate to life in Israel.
Immigration Services in Ethiopia: Our field staff helps Aliyah candidates complete the Israeli government’s lengthy preparation and approval process, makes sure they receive the required vaccinations and medical exams, and secures their flights and travel documents. We also prepare olim for their new lives in Israel through Hebrew lessons, Jewish identity programs, and workshops about Israeli culture and the Israeli school system. Because food insecurity is rampant in Ethiopia, we provide food to infants and children ages 0–5, pregnant and nursing mothers, and the elderly.
Absorption Centers offer a “soft landing” and transitional housing for new immigrant families and adults at the beginning of their acculturation process in Israel. For Ethiopian olim specifically, 13 absorption centers provide subsidized housing dedicated to the unique cultural needs of Ethiopian olim, and serve thousands of Ethiopian immigrants annually.
Yesodot: Educational Services for Children of Ethiopian Immigrants (“Foundations” in Hebrew) provides a continuum of formal and informal educational programs for Ethiopian children and young adults who live in absorption centers, helping new immigrants from preschool through 12th grade close educational gaps they confront when acculturating to Israeli schools. Each year the program serves more than 800 children. Yesodot’s services include:
- Matzophim (“Water wings”) — a formal after-school program that reinforces Hebrew, math, and English skills among children ages 6-14.
- Educational Summer Camps
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program
- My First Library — facilitates Hebrew literacy for Ethiopian children and their parents by encouraging reading in Hebrew through story hours and book distribution.
Transitions Workshops for Ethiopian men, women, children, couples and families build cultural understanding and adaptation skills to help families thrive in their new culture. These include stress reduction, prevention of violence, empowerment of women, conflict resolution and more. Many of the workshops utilize activities such as therapeutic gardening, carpentry, or psychodrama.
Health and Mental Health Programs offer dental care, emotional care for children, private therapy, and care of children with health issues or other special needs.