Ethopian children twinned at Jerusalem shul

August 20, 2009

Forty Ethiopian immigrant children from a Jewish Agency absorption centre celebrated their bar- and batmitzvahs in the company of eight UK “twins” at Jerusalem’s Yeshurun Synagogue.

The Ethiopian bar- and batmitzvah programme is among those supported by UJIA to assist the immigrants’ integration into Israeli society and to link British Jewry with communities in Israel. Both sets of youngsters learned about each other’s culture and heritage and were encouraged to correspond through emails and, in some cases, personal visits.

Conducted in Hebrew, Amharic and English, the ceremony featured Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and was followed by a banquet for participants and their families.

Among the “twins” was Londoner Oliver Young, who said: “The whole experience has been magical and has showed me a new way of life.”

Glasgow participant Jack Yedd recalled that “football was a great way of connecting” with his Ethiopian counterpart Malako.

Funding was raised partly through UJIA donors led by Michelle and Larry Gould in the north of England and Karen and Peter Goodkind in London.

Last updated: 4:46pm, August 20 2009