“Soap-to-Cope” Urgent Campaign for Jews at Risk of Coronavirus in Ethiopia

Thousands of Jews in Ethiopia, who have waited decades to emigrate to Israel, live in mud huts with virtually no resources nor help from the worldwide Jewish community.   Now, the coronavirus pandemic has begun to spread in their communities. All ages — many with underlying health problems caused by chronic undernourishment and extremely limited access to health care — are at critically increased risk.    anJie ’s on-site partner in Ethiopia, SSEJ (Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry) — a 501(3)(c) U.S. registered charity — has urgently requested anJie’s help to raise funds to buy and distribute soap to limit the…

A ‘Tale of Two Cities’: Update on Ethiopia’s Jewish Communities

Joe Feit, head of anJie partner SSEJ (Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry), has recently returned from his second visit to the Jewish communities of Ethiopia this year.  He is pleased to report the following. Gondar The feeding program is going well.  SSEJ’s addition of a second daily meal has made it more worthwhile for women to make the trek (by foot) to the Gondar synagogue compound.  Currently, 400-450 women attend of whom 80-100 are pregnant and/or nursing mothers. In conjunction with the feeding programs, educational activities also take place.  The summer camp is outstanding (1,500 kids actually attending daily; 1,900 registered). The noise level, indicating…

“RED SEA DIVING RESORT”: ISRAEL’S UNKEPT PROMISE IS OUR CALL TO ACTION

By Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.  As this summer’s Jewish feel-good movie, “The Red Sea Diving Resort” (Netflix) begins, the hero, Ari, aborts a last-second car escape in 1979 Ethiopia in order to rescue a young refugee from his machine-gunning pursuers.  Plucking the boy from certain death, Ari explains his heroic action: “We leave no one behind.”   Two “inspired by true events” movie-hours later, the narrator concludes: “He kept his promise. We did go back. Again and again. We left no one behind.”   Except …. we did.  The movie perpetuates a tragic myth.  Although Israel did go back again and again to rescue thousands…

An Excellent Summary of the Current Nutritional Situation in the Jewish Community of Gondar, Ethiopia

Malnourished Jewish Children Awaiting Aliyah in Ethiopia SSEJ needs financial support to sustain and hopefully expand programs of supplemental nutrition for the children of the Beta Israel community remaining in Ethiopia. We currently are providing two daily meals to chronically malnourished children 0 – 5, chronically malnourished pregnant women and nursing mothers in Gondar, Ethiopia. Nursing mothers are eligible during the first 6 months after they give birth while their children are exclusively breast feeding.  We would also like to add another 40 pregnant women to the existing program in Gondar even though they are not technically malnourished to improve the…

Meet Solomon Mulat, 21, Jewish Community in Addis Ababa

Solomon lives with his parents and three siblings in this one-room mud home.   Here are some family photos (his father was a work when the group photo was taken). The family arrived in Addis twenty years ago from Gondar, anticipating Aliyah, but only Solomon’s mother’s uncle and aunt have been allowed to immigrate to date.   Solomon’s father works as a security guard.  Solomon’s brother is a community hazzan (cantor) and is teaching Solomon this traditional skill.  Solomon speaks excellent Hebrew, which he has learned from Israeli volunteers, and quite good English.  He is a B’nai Akiva madrich (guide/leader) for younger children in the…

$40,000 NEEDED FOR JEWISH SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM FOR 1,900 KIDS

Each summer, NACOEJ, with the (non-financial) assistance of the youth leadership group B’nai Akiva in Israel, sponsors a two-month feeding and activities “summer ‘camp’” in Gondar and Addis Ababa for 1,900 Jewish children ages 6-18. The word ‘camp’ appears in apostrophes here because there is little, if any, relationship to “youth summer camps” as we in America know them. Rather than fun in well-appointed residence, recreational, and dining facilities set amid beautiful natural settings, the Jewish children in Ethiopia receive (1) a very meager lunch, and (2) zero-budget Jewish educational and recreational programming provided by Israeli volunteers. Nevertheless, for children…