Celebrating a Bar and Bat Mitzvah is something we in the UK may take for granted but this is not the case for Ethiopian children who have recently arrived in Israel. For the past 8 years, UJIA has been providing young Ethiopians with a communal Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony, bringing joy and enrichment to hundreds of children and their families. The project is unique as it is not just funded by UJIA and FZY, but is created and run by us – together with an Israeli absorption centre – and it is pluralist in the way that it brings everyone together.
In addition to fund-raising for the programme, FZY is an integral part of the UJIA Ethiopian Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme. In the run-up to the ceremony, FZY tour groups join the Ethiopian children in their preparations. FZY tour groups also participate in the ceremony in Jerusalem and join the celebrants for lunch and dancing after the ceremony. The special day continues with a moving “Salute to the Ethiopian Community” organized and performed by FZY tour groups.
Together we provide:
- Bar/Bat mitzvah lessons for participants
- Shabbat together promoting spiritual and social bonding
- Organisation and volunteering programme
- Elegant clothes, shoes and jeans for weekdays
- Sets of Talitot and Tefilin for all the boys and candlesticks for all the girls
- Siddurim for all the participants
- Silver necklaces with a Magen David for all the girls
- Three day seminar in Jerusalem
- Transportation to Jerusalem for family members to join in the Simcha together with staff and guards
- Renting the Great Synagogue for the ceremony and lunch
- Band for Simcha dancing
- Spending money for each participant as a gift
- Photographs for all the celebrants and their families
As well as this, the participants are twinned with children in England who they write letters to, they are taught computer skills and take part in the ‘Roots’ programme, whereby they create a PowerPoint presentation of their families in order to learn about their heritage and enrich their personal journey experience.
The programme is one of several strategic educational and welfare programmes the UJIA and FZY supports to aid the integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.
Interested in making a donation – visit our Just Giving website – http://www.justgiving.com/ethiopianbarmitzvahfund