Together with the Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation and the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Funders Network hosted a mission to Ethiopia and Israel last week for 45 funders. The group went to see firsthand the inspiring history and culture of the local Jewish community in both Addis Ababa and Gondar, flew alongside new olim (immigrants) to Israel (some of whom had been waiting for more than 15 years), and explored the complex issues new olim face once they arrive in Israel. The group also got to meet with the US and Israeli ambassadors to Ethiopia.
The incredible trip highlighted the Israeli government’s decision to bring 5,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel (through Operation Tzur Israel – the most since Operation Solomon in 1991) and the broader need for philanthropy to help new olim overcome the myriad difficulties that they face, both in Ethiopia and in Israel.
"Imagine the faith it takes to spend weeks, literally, weeks, walking through a desert in order to get to the Land of Israel. This is what the heroes we met with did. Hearing their harrowing stories of survival during this ordeal was inspiring. Over 2,000 people died making this trek. Being with those who made the trip all those years ago, and accompanying others on the last leg of their current journey to Israel was beyond description. I just don’t have the words to do it justice."
- Alissandra Aronow, board member of the Max & Marjorie Fisher Foundation, who was on the trip.