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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Everyone Has a Story

  It goes without saying that an Israeli summer is unlike most summers you may have experienced in your lifetime. The heat of the Middle East is truly unavoidable as it begins to cast its shadow at the early hour of 8 am. You may ask, how can one avoid this? The answer is simple. One must arise just before the sun rises, and be out on the road at 6 am, at the latest. As ENP's volunteers and staff ventured out from Jerusalem to Afula yesterday morning, this was exactly the case.We were extremely excited to be a part of a traditional Ethiopian cooking demonstration, put together for a group of women visiting from Rhode Island. As large fans of Ethiopian food, we had no problem taking part in the eating of the fresh ingera and wat, far before noon. As the group piled into the Afula youth outreach center, the stove tops were switched on and the room began to fill with the smells of the traditional spices. The heat of the room and aroma of the food created the atmosphere of an "authentic" Ethiopian summer. It was incredible to be able to interact with passionate and inspired women, so excited to participate in the activity, even after only arriving in Israel a day before. It goes without saying that it's very different working with a group of adults as opposed to a group of children. From the questions they ask, to the levels of interest they show, it's very meaningful to think about the large spectrum of Jews living all over the world, and the phenomenal organizations who work so hard to bring them all together.
         As the women tried out the Ethiopian cuisine, with their hands of course, we were privileged to hear from Rachamim, the ENP regional supervisor for Afula, Beit Shean, Migdal HaEmek and Karmiel. The women were avid about hearing an Aliyah story, so Rachamim gave them exactly that. A large theme of the morning was the concept of a story; everyone has one. A true story includes a struggle, a journey, and a redemption. The Ethiopian Aliyah story possesses each of these three factors in a very intimate way.
     Rachamim explained how ideas of traveling from Ethiopia had circled among the villages by word of mouth. Like many who left Ethiopia in secret, Rachamim made the trek from Ethiopia to Sudan on foot in 1984. He had told his mother that he wanted to go to Jerusalem, expecting to be rebuked, however her reply was quite the opposite. She said, "no problem, it's fine by me." Jerusalem was the dream. Moshiach is coming! What could go wrong? Based on this reaction, Rachamim wrongly, anticipated no danger.
    The journey covered 570 km and spanned over 23 days. The group was stopped and robbed a total of five times as they traveled on foot with minimal food and water. The bandits never hurt them, but they did steal everything they had. When they made it to the boarder and onward, they had to hide their Jewish identities out of fear of being killed or arrested. They were placed in Red Cross refugee camps, set up in the blistering heat of the desert. There was no shade in the desert and the severity of the heat inside of the tent was just as bad as outside. Eventually, Rachamim was able to obtain a passport and fly through Switzerland to Israel. It was necessary to keep his Aliyah as secretive as possible.
   As his story was translated phrase by phrase, from Hebrew to English, the faces of the women drastically changed. They were impressed by the brutal journey that was integral of most Ethiopian immigrants. They are an extremely resilient people who truly earned their right to be in this country. The women responded intelligently and were very thankful for the stories and of course, the delicious food. After they left; we, the volunteers had no problem finishing up the leftover ingera and wat. It's always fascinating to hear and experience the stories of others while observing the newcomers behavior as they embark on the journey for the first time.

-Emily Zimmer