Project Spotlight: Ethiopian Jews Make Aliyah

The Fellowship  |  June 20, 2023

aliyah, Ethiopia, Ethiopian Jews, Ethiopian aliyah
(Photo: Chen Schimmel)

There is perhaps no event as heartwarming as family reunions after decades apart. And many of those occurred recently thanks to The Fellowship’s faithful donors, as 163 Ethiopian Jews at last made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with The Fellowship at the end of May, made possible through our partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI).

Heart-Warming and Unforgettable

Marki told us that ever since he found out he was going to finally make aliyah with The Fellowship, the smile has not left his face. “We have been waiting here for aliyah for 17 years. We came here from a tiny village [in Ethiopia] and finally, thanks to The Fellowship, our dream is coming true.”

Marki, 32, made aliyah with his wife Nibret, 30, and his two small children Workito, 9, and Havtami, 3. In Ethiopia, the family lived in a small house with no running water in Gondor, which they rented in hopes to make aliyah soon—but they’ve been waiting for years.

“We heard about The Fellowship and understood that there was hope that someone would take us to the Holy Land,” says Nibret. “My father already made aliyah to Israel ten years ago and I have not seen him since. I want to cry from the excitement that I will finally see my father again. My father is also very emotional to see me and the grandchildren. We have been talking on the telephone for so many years. They will come to the airport to meet us.”

The family will bring some of their Ethiopian culture with them, a way to share with Israel the special land they come from: “We will make aliyah together with our special ‘injera’ oven that makes us Ethiopian pitas, and we will take some of the local Teff flour that we are used to.”

And they feel it is truly an honor to make it to their Promised Land: “We will dress nicely and get our hair cut for the flight and have a party with the neighbors.”