Brits party with Ethiopian twins
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UJIA marked the the tenth year of its British and Ethiopian bar and batmitzvah programme with its largest-ever celebration in Jerusalem.
Forty Ethiopian immigrant children from a Jewish Agency absorption centre joined their British "twins". Eight families made the trip from London, four from Manchester and four from Scotland.
The ceremony was held at Jerusalem's Great Synagogue and Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger blessed the celebrants.
Among them was 12-year-old Glaswegian Chloe Grabiner, who said: "We have been given the opportunity to perform a tremendous act of chesed [kindness] in sharing our joy of becoming batmitzvah with our Ethiopian twins.
"It is a wonderful mitzvah for us to give but we have also received - and it is much more than we have given."
Core funding for the programme was raised through the efforts of a group UJIA donors led by Larry and Michelle Gould from Manchester and Londoners Peter and Karen Goodkind. It has also been supported as a charity initiative by the Federation of Zionist Youth, whose Israel tour participants met the celebrants.