A Beautiful Metaphor

For those who may not know, I am currently in training to serve for the year as a volunteer community organizer in the developing Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion, Israel. The community is largely comprised of Jewish Ethiopian immigrants, many of whom came to Israel by way of the covert Israeli military evacuations of Ethiopian Jews from both Sudan and Ethiopia (due to famine in Sudan and political instability in Ethiopia). Operation Moses, the mass evacuation from Sudan, occurred in 1984, while Operation Solomon took place in 1991. As a result, much of the millennial and post-millennial generations of Ethiopian Jews in Israel are first-generation Israelis, and in the short time that I have been here, I am already starting to pick up on the subtle cultural identity divide between the native Ethiopian parents and their Israeli-born children. … More A Beautiful Metaphor

“You Too Can Be Strong”

Today during art, Tamra* asked me for the piece of tile that I decorated in nonsense doodles and lines. On the back I wrote, from Naomi to Tamra, remember that you will always be smart, strong, and beautiful.

She smiled at me bashfully when she received it.

Tamra is a wonderful, quiet and kind fourteen year old, who has only begun to come to the Meitar, the youth village, recently. A few weeks ago I started teaching Zumba and fitness lessons to the girls. Rarely do the girls ever go into the weight room, but we’ve been working on changing that. A few days ago, after the herd of boys left the room, I saw one of the girls, Tamra, peak inside. I asked her if she wanted to come in with me and learn a few things. Within minutes we were weight lifting, and the look on this girl’s face was brighter than I had ever seen. She saw the eight-kilogram dumbbells in my hands and was amazed that girls could be that strong, that girls were even able lift weights, to feel the power that comes with moving your muscles. Next time, she wants to do more, and even start learning some boxing moves. … More “You Too Can Be Strong”

In Pursuit of Injera: Exploring Questions of Community

For me growing, preparing, and sharing food has always been a powerful way to connect with people and cultures. Throughout my travels, some of my favorite memories are dominated by cooking experiences, often bridging gaps in language, culture, and economic status. So, upon arriving in Ramat Eliyahu I wasted no time in making my desire to learn to cook Ethiopian food known. … More In Pursuit of Injera: Exploring Questions of Community

My Yahel Moment #47

This summer, 50 volunteers participated in Yahel Insight programs. Each one will share their “Yahel Moment” on Yahel’s Facebook Page. To follow their moments, please Like us on Facebook. This moment was submitted by Hannah Roberts. My Yahel Moment #47:   “Today was our last day volunteering at the women’s shelter. We began the day … More My Yahel Moment #47