In Ethiopia, the Jewish community struggled just to survive and dreamed of returning to Jerusalem. During the 1980s, with famine and disease rampant in Ethiopia, NACOEJ sent 18 missions to Jewish villages, bringing in doctors, medicine, clothing, and school supplies. NACOEJ played a key role in enabling the quiet aliyah of Ethiopian Jews before and between Operations Moses and Solomon.
Following Operation Solomon, NACOEJ provided food, education, employment, and religious facilities to Ethiopian Jews waiting to make aliyah. Programs included Jewish day schools, daily School Lunch Programs, Feeding Centers for Children Under Age 6 & Pregnant and Nursing Mothers, adult education, and employment help for adults. NACOEJ also continued to play a significant role in enabling Ethiopian Jews to make the journey to Israel.
Since 2016, NACOEJ has taken on responsibility for providing funding for simple lunches for Ethiopian children age 6 to 18 attending the Kaytana (summer program) in Addis Ababa and Gondar. This program, which includes Hebrew lessons and Israeli culture is run under the auspices of the Ethiopian’s own community organizations and is largely taught by young Israeli volunteers who pay their own way. We also provide take-home packages of food for all participants' younger siblings.
NACOEJ has also been providing funds for Holiday meals for the communities, as well as some distributions of grain. We are now raising funds to feed very young children who are severely malnourished, in partnership with our sister organization, SSEJ (Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jews).
In Israel today, the Ethiopian-Jewish community is an important part of society. However, their struggles are not yet over. Many Ethiopian-Israeli families live below the poverty line and cannot give their children the tools they need to do well in school. They strive to build a future, despite the obstacles.
NACOEJ programs in Israel help Ethiopian students build a bright future by providing them with educational and financial support. NACOEJ believes that a strong education today opens the door to success tomorrow.
NACOEJ programs include the Limudiah Intensive After-School Education Program, which provides assistance for Ethiopian elementary school children, the NACOEJ/Edward G. Victor High School Sponsorship Program to help Ethiopian-Israeli teens attain quality high school education, and the NACOEJ/Barney & Rachel Landau Gottstein Adopt-A-Student College Sponsorship Program that enables Ethiopian-Israeli college students pursue higher degrees.