Included in the delegation are 20 lay leaders from UJA-Federation of New York headed by Alisa Doctoroff, Chair of the Board, UJA-Federation, and John Ruskay, executive vice president & CEO of UJA-Federation.
The olim arrived in Tel Aviv at 2:30 am and were chaperoned to their absorption center in Kiryat Gat, where they will begin their absorption process in Israel.
The mission traveled to Ethiopia to meet the remaining members of the community and visit the Jewish Community Center and school in Gondar before escorting the olim to Israel.
Making the dream of aliyah a reality (Photo: Pnina Weiss)
In Israel, the delegation plans to engage in discussions on the future of Ethiopian olim with Jewish Agency and JDC representatives. They also plan to celebrate early Tu B’Shvat festivities.
The UJA-Federation generously donates over $3 million annually to Ethiopian aliyah and absorption in Israel, as well as medical and educational services for those still in Ethiopia. At the moment, there are more than 6,000 Ethiopian Jews (Falash Mura) seeking to make aliyah to Israel.
“Seeing first-hand the hardships that the Jews of Ethiopia face, and joining them as they come home to Israel, truly illustrates why making the dream of aliyah a reality is such an important part of our work,” said John S. Ruskay.
“But our obligations go much deeper than simply bringing them to Israel. We believe it is our responsibility to give the Jews of Ethiopia the tools to succeed once they arrive.
"Multiple UJA-Federation initiatives, done with our overseas agencies, help ensure these new olim are able to put down roots in Israel and lead full and productive lives.”