Celebrating Ethiopian-Israeli Communities

celebrating-communities 'Celebrating Communities' is a joint project between BINA and Friends by Nature. The Ethiopian-Israeli "Celebrating Communities" program aims to strengthen Ethiopian-Israeli young adults by connecting them to their own culture, empowering them to become leaders and to share that culture with others. It is currently running in three cities with large Ethiopian-Israeli communities: Gadera, Rishon Letsiyon and Petah Tikva. In each city, groups of 15 participants take part in a range of activities including a group of Ethiopian-Israeli young adult "Learning Leaders" that gather for two hours every other week with a BINA educator-facilitator and a Friends by Nature Ethiopian community-organizer to:  
  • Study Ethiopian-Jewish texts, stories, history and traditions, alongside non-Ethiopian-Jewish texts, in a pluralistic and inclusive manner. The focus is on the study of holidays, both unique Ethiopian-Jewish holidays and shared Jewish holidays, and discussion of which traditions the Learning Leaders would like to preserve, which to adapt, and what new traditions to create.
  • Learn and practice group facilitation and mentorship skills (that will then be applied by the young adults in their work with local youth).
  • Gain skills for event planning and practice those skills by organizing at two public holiday events for the local community, (group members decide which holidays and how to celebrate) for the local community, with the help of BINA and Friends by Nature staff. Each event will bring together members of the local community – families, old and young, Ethiopian-Israelis and non-Ethiopian-Israelis.
  • As part of the holiday events and/or in preparation for them, the Learning Leaders organize workshops/activities for local youth in which they will teach local youth about Ethiopian holiday traditions, and involve local youth in the holiday event activities.
The groups also participate in a joint weekend seminar for a day of learning and celebrating culture that forms the first step towards building links between the individual communities to form a network, a “community of communities.” Friends by Nature is a non-profit organization established in 2005 with the goal of strengthening and empowering Israeli Ethiopian communities.