Young Jerusalemites Experience Ethiopian Jewish Culture

On a rooftop overlooking the Jerusalem skyline the traditional clothing, music and culinary tastes of Ethiopian folklore were explored by the over 200 people who showed up to experience traditional Ethiopian life last Thursday. The event attracted a mix of young Olim (immigrants to Israel), veteran Israelis, young and old, experiencing the depth of the culture of another segment of Israeli society for the first time.

Ethiopian cuisine is based on lentils and beans and is accompanied by pancake-like `Injera’ bread. The event was organized with the help of the Aliav Foundation – a group of event planners who wish to create socially conscious events for young professionals to enjoy and meet one another.

“It was culturally uplifting,” said Liora Katz, a new immigrant from South African who said the evening brought back memories from her own African roots. “It also made me realize the important work organizations such as Machshava Tova are doing in Israel,” she said. Machshava Tova provides professional education and training to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The centers mainly target teenagers and adults in underprivileged communities who seek to improve their education and increase their chances to find a better job.

Machshava Tova has started the first of its three centers in the Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem where more than 100 people, mostly Jews from Ethiopia, use the center every week. “I am very excited by the success of the event and the great feedback we got from everybody,” said Astorre Modena, Founder and Chairman of Machshava Tova. Modena says the goal of Machshava Tova is to help the Ethiopian Jews and other immigrant communities, integrate into Israel’s modern society.

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