Faces of The Fellowship: Avitch | IFCJ
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Faces of The Fellowship: Avitch

In his own words, here's how The Fellowship helped Avitch: “I am 58 years old and used to be a farmer in Gazgei, a tiny village in Ethiopia. My farm was productive enough that we were able to make a decent living, but my wife’s brothers all lived in Israel, and we longed to join them there.I gave the farm to one of my oldest daughters, who wanted to stay in Ethiopia, and my wife, other children, and I went to live in the city of Gondar to apply to move to Israel. While we were waiting for the process to be completed, we took Fellowship-sponsored courses about Judaism, and we started to keep the Jewish traditions. My wife and I discovered that we love celebrating the Sabbath, and we learned about what it truly means to honor your parents and to be generous to others. I started praying three times a day and learned more about what it means to be a Jew.I have a skin condition that causes me to have rough, scaly skin, especially on my legs and feet. Two years ago, the complications from this condition got so bad that it was hard for me to walk. A year ago, it was so painful that I couldn’t even stand. I took medication, but it didn’t help, and in Ethiopia there are no skin specialists. At one point, my doctors said that I needed surgery, but when they heard that I was hoping to move to Israel, they told me to wait until I moved, because in Israel I could receive better medical care.We made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 2013 and settled at a Fellowship-sponsored absorption center in Arad. Arad is a small Israeli city near the Dead Sea, and it is a world center for treating eczema and other skin ailments. The absorption center is a place where new immigrants from Ethiopia can learn Hebrew and get support while we learn about the Israeli school system, Israeli jobs, and the like. When I arrived in Israel, I was in great pain and was severely underweight. I spent a month in the hospital. All that time, the staff from the absorption center visited me often. They also helped my wife and children, who range in age from 10 to 19, to settle into their new home and get used to things in Israel. Today, I’m a new man. I can walk, and I leave the house frequently. I’m very pleased with the medical care I’ve received in Israel, which has cured me and enabled me to walk again, and I’ve started regaining my weight. This week, I even went with the other immigrants here on a day trip to see an Israel Defense Forces base. I can participate in my Hebrew and Judaism classes. I miss my brothers and the other family members I left behind in Ethiopia, but I am looking forward to a better future here in Israel. Right now, it still takes a lot of energy for me to get things done, but as my health improves, I want to find a job, earn an income for my family, buy a home, and raise my children to be successful in school and in life. We are so happy and grateful to The Fellowship. We have received so much help.”


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