Thursday, August 2, 2018

Goodbye, ENP

My name is Eileen. I am a rising junior at the University of Texas at Austin, where I major in English Language and Literature while simultaneously earning a certificate in Business and Public Policy. For the past six weeks, I've been interning at the ENP headquarters in Jerusalem. On our first day at the job, Ariela gave us a brief tour of the building in which we work. For those of you who don't know, ENP is situated in the Jewish Agency for Israel building. She told us to look out for Natan Sharansky, who can be identified by his signature green hat and strong Russian accent. Six weeks later, and I still haven't spotted him. My eyes remain peeled.

While much of my time at ENP has been spent at a roundtable in Grace's office, working on grant applications, sending thank-you notes, and producing marketing materials, I had one specific experience that will be the cornerstone of my time at ENP. First, allow me to backtrack. When I had my initial interview with Ariela, I didn't know much about the experience and backstory of Ethiopian-Israelis. My time at ENP has been somewhat of a history lesson, and each day I really feel like I learn something new about the Ethiopian-Israeli community. I also really, really like Ethiopian food, of which there is no shortage in this city. ENP had the opportunity to send several kids to summer camps all over the U.S. this summer. Two of the girls going this year just happened to be going to the Jewish summer camp in Texas that I attended for every single summer of my childhood, and where I worked as a counselor the summer before I entered college. Basically, I have very strong ties to this camp and spent most of my formative youth there, singing about Israel and getting sunburns. Grace suggested that I meet with one of the girls and her mother before she was to leave for camp, and I readily agreed. We drove to their home together, about an hour away from Jerusalem.

The girl's mother was incredibly warm, offering me pastries, Ethiopian coffee (in tiny mugs emblazoned with lions and the flag of Ethiopia), and crackers. Though there was a slight language barrier, Grace and I were able to answer all of her and her daughter's questions about the camp and what it would be like. Towards the end of the conversation, her mother looked at Grace and me and said very deliberately: "I just want to make sure she (her daughter) will be safe and happy." I think that the reason this stuck with me was that it was a very universal hope to have. Initially, I found it difficult to relate to a lot of the Ethiopian-Israeli experience - the oppression, the arduous exodus, the journey of finding one's footing in a foreign country. That being said, I really think that everybody can relate to the mother's message; everybody wants their loved ones to be safe and happy when experiencing new things. This is part of the reason why traveling, working and engaging with new and different people is so deeply important. One will come to find that almost every person, no matter where they are in the world, no matter their background, has similar, intrinsic human experiences. Having these conversations brings the world closer together. Before I left, she blew a kiss my way and sent me off with snacks for the bus ride home.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

6 Weeks is Not Enough: My Short (but Amazing) Time at ENP

My name is Nathan. I'm an intern here at Ethiopian National Project. I don't feel like an intern, though - I feel like one of the staff members. From Day 1 I was greeted and treated like a staff member, and because of that, I acted like one.

Every morning I come into work, say "Shalom" to everyone - Chen, Roni, Ariela, Grace, the interns (in that order) - and sit myself down for my daily reading: the first couple pages of the ENP Mid-Year Report.

In those first few pages, the report outlines the mission of ENP, the needs of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, and what is being done to meet those needs. My favorite part is the letter from the Prime Minister of Israel's Office: "The Government of Israel will commit to ENP the following: 17.8 million NIS per year for four years," the letter reads. It continues "this investment requires matching from the Diaspora Jewish organizations."

"So we have to raise 17.8 million shekels?!" I think. "Yes. Boom, now I know what my job is. Let's get to work."

As the videographer for ENP, my job is to make compelling videos that communicate ENP's mission to Diaspora Jewry. The hope is that after seeing the video, people will be moved emotionally or intellectually (or both, hopefully) to contribute to our cause: the full and successful integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society.

I work with the conviction that I am making a difference. I can see the potential in the work I do as I'm doing it: I make a video, the video gets viewed by donors, the donors contributes funds to ENP, ENP is able to provide SPACE to Ethiopian-Israeli students for free, the students gain better prospects for their futures through the academic and social support they receive from SPACE, and eventually they go on to higher positions in the army, the university, and the workforce.

One child at a time, ENP is fulfilling it's mission to the beautiful Ethiopian-Israeli community, and over these past 6 weeks, I've had the honor to help them do it. I'll never forget my time here, and I will truly miss everyone and everything about ENP.

Yalla, bye.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

ENP at the TLV Community Center

Lindy Rosen, Intern for the ENP

My Weekly Schedule:

Sunday-Wednesdays -
8:20am: Wake up and head to the bus stop
9:10am: Arrive at work at the TLV Community Center
9:15-12:45pm: Work with amazing kids and staff teaching them English
12:45-2pm: Special activities such as going to the horse ranch, amusement park, having a basketball tournament, going to an water park, etc.
2pm- : Go home and explore Tel Aviv

7:20am: Wake up and head to the Alzorov Bus Station
8:30am: Take the 480bus to Jerusalem
10:00am: Arrive to work at the ENP Headquarters
10-2pm: Work with a great staff and other interns, listening to speakers and brain storming ideas on how to improve the ENP

I'm leaving Israel in one week, that means I'm also leaving the ENP. My time here has been incredible; I'm so sad to be leaving. I look forward to going to work each day knowing I'm improving somebody's life and helping them succeed in the future while also having fun. While they are being taught English from me, they are also teaching me Hebrew. Its a unique opportunity to work for the ENP and being able to work both sides on the organization, the business and marketing side and the camp side.
Basketball Tournament
BasketBall Tournament
Getting Awards
At Superland Amusement Park
At Superland Amusement Park
Working Hard on her English
Carriage Ride at the Horse Ranch