Funding climbs for twinning

By Stephanie Brickman, June 3, 2010

Thirty UJIA supporters went on a climbing expedition in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday in support of a bar- and barmitzvah twinning project with Ethiopian Jews.

They scaled The Cobbler, otherwise known as Ben Arthur, which affords some spectacular views. Led by Steven Banks and Mark Tenby, the group completed the 884-metre hill climb in five hours.

Six Scottish families are among 21 from the UK participating in this year's twinning scheme, which pairs bar/batmitzvah celebrants with Ethiopian counterparts in Israeli absorption centres.

Anthea Masson, who co-ordinates the project in Scotland, said: "It costs £1,200 to sponsor an Ethiopian twin. For the last four years in Glasgow we've been running a bar- and batmitzvah club to allow all children to take part, regardless of whether they sponsor a twin. They fundraise as a group as well as for their own twins.

"We're confident that the climb will have raised enough for another Ethiopian child to participate, maybe more."

The climbing group included Leor Benshetrits, a 12-year-old pupil at Mearns Castle School, who has found the twinning project hugely rewarding.

"It makes me feel good that I've helped other people. My twin is called Gamara. He's in an absorption centre. We write emails and have got to know each other. I can't wait to meet him in the summer. He tells me how grateful he is to be in Israel.

"On the climb I hurt my leg but I just kept going because I realised my twin had done 10 times more than that just to get to Israel."

Last updated: 3:01pm, June 3 2010