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Journey to Identity

Helping Israeli teenagers of Ethiopian descent face their identity crisis, a course in leadership, patriotism, Zionism and heritage, ends with a visit to Ethiopia.    

The Problem

Ethiopian teenagers brought up in Israel are facing a real identity crisis today. They do not feel entirely Israeli, nor entirely Ethiopian, and as a result they tend to be ambivalent toward both cultures.

The Solution

Instill a sense of belonging and pride, both in their Israeli home and their Ethiopian heritage, to build self-confidence and leadership skills.

The Method

15 teenagers are chosen from many applicants. They go through an eight-month course of weekly meetings where they learn leadership skills, patriotism, Zionism, pride in their heritage and hope for the future. The course ends with a one week heritage trip to Ethiopia where they meet for the first time with family members still living there. They see the villages their parents came from, the rural life they led in Ethiopia, and the very difficult journey their parents took, walking to Sudan to reach Jerusalem, the holy land. The experience gives the teenagers insight into their heritage, a sense of pride in the centuries of Judaism practiced in Ethiopia, a new regard for their parents’ difficult journeys and a new feeling of belonging not to the past, but to Israel and the present.

Participants

15 teenagers from the Ethiopian community in Netanya

Location

Netanya