Sharing their stories: Becky Sereche / Ethiopia
Becky Sereche was born in a village in Ethiopia, where she lived on a farm with her family.
“My grandfather was a rabbi,” she said at the launch event for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2015 Campaign for Jewish Needs. “He always used to say that he hoped to go to Jerusalem.”
When Sereche was 8, her family and 250 other Jews left the village for a long journey on foot to Sudan, where they arrived at a refugee camp.
“It was terrible there,” she said. “There was sickness and a lack of proper food and clean water.”
But after four months in the camp, a plane landed in Sudan to take Sereche and her family to Israel.
“We were weeping tears of joy,” she said. “We had achieved the dreams of our fathers.”
Sereche’s grandfather never made it to Israel, but she graduated from high school there, and after national service, she earned a bachelor’s degree.
During Sereche’s final year of studies, she began to work for Parents and Children Together, a family service agency founded in 1998 by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Israeli government.
“PACT helps Ethiopian-Israeli parents and children to successfully integrate into Israeli society,” she said. “The program helps these children achieve in school and in life.”
Today, Sereche is national director of the PACT program in Israel. She’s married with three children and lives in Gedera, a town in Israel’s Central District.
“This year we work with 12,000 children and their families in 14 cities (in Israel),” she said. “Cleveland’s support helped make that happen. Your community helped provide tools for our success.
“Cleveland has been a supporter of PACT since the beginning. To be a part of this ongoing story in which we together ensure that all Ethiopian-Israeli children and their families succeed, todah (thank you).”