Project Spotlight: On Wings of Eagles

The Fellowship  |  August 23, 2016

Woman in a green headscarf smiling and laughing.
Project Spotlight: On Wings of Eagles

On Wings of Eagles is a Fellowship program that assists needy Jews in making aliyah (immigrating to Israel). They come from all over the world — Russia, Argentina, India, Muslim countries, and elsewhere — to escape anti-Semitism and extreme poverty, and to realize the dream of living in their biblical homeland. When they arrive in Israel, On Wings of Eagles provides them with klitah (resettlement) assistance to help them become full, productive citizens.

Nana and Kano made aliyah in 2010. They were both born in the village of Ciro, Ethiopia, where Nana remembers her grandmother singing songs of Jerusalem.

The couple married in 2002, and in 2004 they decided to leave their village and travel to Gondar, hoping they would be able to continue on to Israel from there. Unfortunately, it was eight long years before they would be able to realize their dream. “Gondar was never home to us,” Nana said. “Every day we prayed that we would be on the list of those chosen for the next flight.”

While the couple continued to pray and wait, they built a family. They had three children, including their now-8-year-old daughter who was born with a serious illness. During their time in Gondar, Kano and Nana lived near the Fellowship-funded medical clinic. “The clinic was so important to us. We all received the check-ups and vaccinations that we needed, but the clinic was the reason that our daughter is still alive,” Nana said.

Kano says the happiest day in his life was the day four years ago when they learned that The Fellowship would bring them to Israel On Wings of Eagles. “It was a real holiday! All of our friends celebrated with us, the way we had celebrated with those who were chosen before us,” he said. Once in Israel, they had two more children. Their youngest daughter is 2 years old and their son is 6 months old.

Kano and Nana are determined to succeed in Israel. “We studied hard and are beginning to speak Hebrew much better,” Kano said. He has started working as a cleaner in a factory. But Kano’s job pays minimum wage and the family is faced with daily struggles. “Food is very expensive and we try to make do with as little as possible,” he said. The family received another blow when their sick daughter was hospitalized last month. “My husband stays with her night and day. He hasn’t been going to work. Things are even more difficult now,” Nana said.

Nana’s eyes lit up when Rabbi Eckstein recently entered her small, two-room apartment, bringing the family a large box of food along with a food card. “These are all of the things that we need. Now we’ll be able to celebrate Rosh Hashanah! Thank you. Shana tova!” they said, overcome with gratitude and joy.

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