Support in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, the Jewish community struggled just to survive and, for 2,000 years, 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 (1984) and Solomon.
Following Operation Solomon in 1991, 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 six and for pregnant and nursing mothers; adult education; and an employment program for adults.
NACOEJ also continued to play a significant role in enabling Ethiopian Jews to make the journey to Israel.
Today in Ethiopia, in conjunction with our sister organization, Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ), we are enabling hundreds of malnourished Jewish children, from nine months until age five, to eat nutritious doctor-approved meals at least five times a week. These meals include eggs, milk, fortified porridge, potatoes, bread and fruit.
We have been advised by the doctors of the urgency of also providing a second meal. Children this young can’t eat enough in one meal to absorb all the nutrients they need for their still-developing brains and bodies.
This need is crucial for them to withstand the onslaught of the malaria season which begins in May and goes through October.
A nurse comes every two weeks to weigh and measure the children and assess how they are progressing and how to handle those who are not doing well.
The pregnant and nursing mothers for whom we are now providing meals are also at risk.
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.
During the summer of 2019, it is anticipated that 350 children will participate in the Kaytana program in Addis and 1750 will participate in Gondar.
Additionally, NACOEJ has also been providing funds for Holiday meals for the communities, as well as some distributions of grain.
We rely heavily on our NACOEJ supporters to help feed these hungry Jewish children and support the community. These programs can continue only with your support.
NACOEJ and our sister organization SSEJ are providing water stations to help slow the spread of the disease, mobilizing medical care and, of course, continuing our crucial feeding programs for malnourished young Jewish children and pregnant and nursing mothers, now in modified social-distancing form.