Feeling Good in Israel
(Jewish Agency Israel) Twenty one year old Yonas Shiferaw was
born in the mountainous southern region of Ethiopia. When he
was seventeen, his family moved to Addis Ababa and his father
found a job working for the municipality. The family lived in
their own home, not in the Ethiopian compound, and Yonas completed
In August 2004, Yonas, his parents and two brothers made aliyah.
Their first home in Israel was the Jewish Agency for Israel’s
Absorption Center in Haifa. Seeing that Yonas completed high
school, he was recommended for Kedma, an educational advancement
program for young Ethiopians.
first, I did not want to leave my family and go on this program,
but deep down I understood that Kedma would help me advance
and give me a head start in Israel.”
went to the IBIM student village, near Sderot, where the Kedma
program is located. He met many other Ethiopians his own age
and was rapidly absorbed in his studies. Kedma participants
live at the Village and study Hebrew, math, English and computers
at the nearby Sha’ar Hanegev Regional College. This intensive
nine-month program prepares participants for professional training
or academic studies in Israel. Yonas, who is on the academic
track, has successfully adapted to the Israeli education system.
completing Kedma, I want to go to the pre-academic preparatory
program at Haifa University and then study for a BA in architecture.
My father was an engineer in Ethiopia and I know I can be a
says he feels good in Israel and, for a recent newcomer, his
Hebrew is incredibly fluent. The only thing that is missing
in Yonas’ life is his younger brother, who the family
is trying to bring to Israel with the help of the Jewish Agency.