JFNNJ sends delegation to Ethiopia and Israel, as Ethiopian immigrants go to Israel
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JFNNJ sends delegation to Ethiopia and Israel, as Ethiopian immigrants go to Israel

A delegation of 60 Jewish federation leaders joined Jewish Agency for Israel executives to spend four days in Israel and Ethiopia. They plan to learn about sites of historic significance to Ethiopian Jewry, meet with families awaiting aliyah, accompany 100 Ethiopian immigrants on their journey to Israel, and visit Jewish federation-supported initiatives for new olim in Israel.

Four members of the delegation are from northern New Jersey – the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’ CEO, Jason M. Shames, and community philanthropists Dina Bassen, Suzette Diamond, and Robin Epstein.

“Federation’s deep commitment to helping Jews all over the world is one of the primary tenets of our work,” Mr. Shames said. “Ethiopian Jews have become an important part of the tapestry of Israeli society as well as a source of pride with regards to Israel’s diverse culture. It gives me immense pride to participate in this renewed initiative of helping our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia make aliyah to Israel.”

This is part of Operation Zur Israel or Rock of Israel, an initiative that the Israeli government approved that will allow 3,000 members of the Jewish community in Ethiopia to make aliyah and reunite with their family members in Israel. Some of the immigrants have waited more than a decade to reunite with their loved ones and fulfill their dreams of moving to Israel.

The delegation arrived in Ethiopia on September 12, where they toured various facilities funded by Jewish federations, and then flew to Israel and meet the immigrants upon their arrival on the tarmac. In Israel, the delegation visited absorption centers and met with immigrant families.

The Jewish Federation of North America is committed to caring for Jews all over the world. It recently launched a $9 million campaign for the continuation of aliyah from Ethiopia and for humanitarian assistance for the community still awaiting aliyah.

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