Twenty years after the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) took a leading role in the miraculous airlift of more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel, the humanitarian aid organization continues to support and help integrate Ethiopian–Israelis into Israeli society. With dozens of nation–wide programs strengthening the lives of Ethiopian–Israelis of all ages, JDC — through the support of the Jewish Federations of North America — helps ensure advancements in early childhood education, employment, and national service.
“Two decades after we helped bring this ancient Jewish community to safety, we’re proudly working everyday to fulfill the promise of the startup nation for this and future generations of Ethiopian–Israelis,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager. “Just as we praise the many individual successes from this vibrant community, JDC also addresses the challenges it faces in partnership the Government of Israel and together with the laudable efforts of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ethiopian National Project.”
One of JDC’s flagship programs, Parents and Children Together (PACT) works to enhance Ethiopian–Israeli children’s literacy skills and educational performance to improve their academic success by addressing the unique cultural and language barriers they face. Today, 11,000 children and their families benefit from PACT. Additionally, JDC helps Ethiopian–Israeli high school students overcome language and other academic disadvantage so they can successfully graduate and earn their matriculation certificates.
JDC also helps Ethiopian–Israelis successfully serve in the Israel Defense Forces by guiding these youth and their parents before, during, and after their enrollment. JDC has developed numerous employment services to help Ethiopian–Israelis obtain the skills needed to thrive in a modern workforce. JDC also helps restore dignity and pride among elderly Ethiopian Israelis through a program where they restore run–down communal gardens and transform them into vibrant centers of neighborhood life.
JDC-media-center/1014-Opsolomon-slideshow.aspx’>View a slideshow of JDC’s work with Ethiopian Israelis — from pre–Operation Solomon to today — and watch a video on JDC’s role in the historic airlift celebrated on May 24.