Hundreds of Ethiopian olim (immigrants), who are living in the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) absorption centers in Safed, experienced snow this week for the first time. The children pictured headed outside to play in the snow and feel the natural marvel with their own hands at the start of the snowstorm, which blanketed the city.
Three JAFI absorption centers are located in Safed, which house 2,000 emigrants from Ethiopia, who were brought to Israel in recent months. The olim arrived as a part of Operation Dove’s Wings, which will bring the Ethiopian aliya to a close.
The immigrants in Safed, who came from southern Ethiopia, had never seen snow before. The olim worked with the Agency’s staff to prepare for the cold: school was cancelled, educators ran enrichment programming for the children, a “movie club” was opened for teenagers and in the apartments of the olim, heaters were turned on and hot, steaming soup prepared.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s 2013 Annual Campaign, now under way, raises money for the Jewish Agency for Israel to provide for programs like Operation Dove’s Wings. Members from the Federation’s overseas funding committee are going to Israel this week to see the Joint Distribution Committee and JAFI programs supported, which will inform their decisions during the allocations process to disburse 2013 campaign dollars.