UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is partnered with the Kiryat Moshe neighbourhood in the city of Rehovot as well as with the city of Bat-Yam. These are both low-income areas in which a large number of Ethiopian immigrants reside.
The successful integration of Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society is an issue of paramount importance for the future economic and social resilience of Israel. To effect better integration, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto sponsored a number of initiatives to support the Ethiopian immigrant community first in Kiryat Moshe, and later on in Bat-Yam as well.
In Kiryat Moshe, strategic interventions have improved the opportunities available to Ethiopian members of the community and helped members of the community recognize and achieve their potential. UJA Federation has successfully helped reduce the number of youth at risk, upgrade scholastic achievement and reduce unemployment.
After several years of significant activity in Kiryat Moshe, UJA expanded its reach to benefit another community with a high concentration of Ethiopian immigrants, namely Bat-Yam.
Bat-Yam is home to the fastest growing Ethiopian-Israeli community in Israel. This community is also vulnerable and living in poverty.
Of the Ethiopian immigrants in Bat-Yam today, 70% live below the poverty line, nearly 60% are recipients of social services and more than half the men ages 18-64 are unemployed. Furthermore, nearly all of the recent immigrants are illiterate - even in their native language - Amharic.
The statistics regarding youth are even more alarming: 40% of Ethiopian youth are categorized as “at-risk.” The most recent immigrants lack the language skills and basic education to enroll in school, and of those who are in the local school systems, only 40% pass their general matriculation exams.
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, together with its Israeli partners, is applying its successful three-pronged strategy from Kiryat Moshe to benefit the Ethiopian immigrant community residing in Bat-Yam.
- Reducing social and educational deprivation of at-risk Ethiopian youth through educational enrichment initiatives.
- Increasing the social mobility and economic independenceof members of the Ethiopian community through professional and vocational training.
- Developing local Ethiopian and Israeli young leadership and attracting new residents to be agents of change and role models for the community.
By partnering with local forces, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is offering this unique Jewish community of immigrants a candid chance for a better future in Israel – a chance to integrate in the land they have long dreamt of reaching.