Anyone who attended this event will have been touched by the stories, by the dancing and by the creativity which allows children living in a modern Israel to remember and understand the culture of their grandparents and parents and their past. We were treated to the beautiful dancing of the dance group, some of the children reading their own stories, and were privileged to see the fruits of their labor encompassed in the display of books which they had written telling the stories of their families. We also had the opportunity to listen as Itzik Dessie, the first Israeli-Ethiopian lawyer and Founder and Executive Director of Tebeka, spoke directly to the children. He told them of his journey (as a 13 year old) to Israel via Sudan with all of the perils and suffering. He told of his success in being the first Ethiopian to be enrolled in an Israeli law school and how he then decided to found Tebeka (Amharic for “Advocate of Justice”), which is a legal aid organization serving Israel’s 120,000 member-strong Ethiopian community. Tebeka’s aim is to safeguard the rights of Ethiopian immigrants. His message for the children was that they had the ability to succeed and that they could achieve anything by studying and working hard.
To see Dessie's poem “I Shall Never Forget you”, in honor of those who perished in Sudan on the way to Israel, go to the link http://esramagazine.com/blog/post/never-forget-you.
To find out more about the Hefzibah community project, go to the link: http://esra.org.il/hefzibah-community-projects-netanya