A Tribute to Ethiopian Culture and Heritage

By Yael Shapira, Federation Representative in Israel















Wow! What a show! This past month I had the privilege of watching two outstanding performances in Yokneam, both representing the best of what the  Ethiopian culture  has to offer.

The first was a bilingual play (In Hebrew and Amharic) put on by the Drama-Therapy group for Ethiopian women who worked all year long through the Family Empowerment Center in Yokneam. The women, aged 45-65, participated in a year long workshop where through drama and group support, they were able to open up, share personal hardships, talk about the challenges of immigration, the difficulties of trying to integrate into a totally new culture while at the same time trying to maintain traditions and family structures no longer valid in a new country. All that and much more was encapsulated into a professional play, where the women brought their most intimate stories, seasoned with a lot of self humor and courage which resulted with a sold out auditorium and a standing ovation by all! Much as the audience, which included Mayor Simon Alfassi and many other distinguished members of the city of Yokneam, were all beside themselves, needless to say how excited the women were! This was definitely the highlight of a tremendous year of personal growth and empowerment for them and for us!

The second performance was the end year performance of the Ethiopian Dance Troupe “Desta” (Happiness in Amharic). And Happy it was! A show of pride and joy of who we are, where came from brought  tears to the mother’s eyes who finally saw their  Israeli daughters connect to their heritage and feel real good about it. I will let the photos and video to speak for themselves, and as you enjoy the colorful show and music, please know that the ongoing support of Atalanta ans St. Louis federations has made this happiness and feeling of content possible – and that is not some thing to be taken for granted. Yasher Coach!

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