November 3, 2010 / 26 Cheshvan 5771
“I like doing things for the future of the Jewish people. With my work at the Jewish Agency, I feel like I am really doing something for my soul and that I am contributing to Israeli society.”
Already at the age of five, Liat Damoza had experienced more than most people do in a lifetime. Her family fled Ethiopia in 1982 and spent nearly two years as refugees in the Sudan before they were smuggled into Europe and eventually reached Israel.
Liat grew up near Haifa and did her national service as a counselor in a boarding school for new olim who came to Israel without their families and native Israelis from troubled home environments. “After that experience it was very obvious to me that I should study something connected to education,” she says. Liat entered Bar Ilan University and earned her degree in Informal Education, Sociology and Anthropology.
Today, after nearly 27 years in Israel Liat is working for the Jewish Agency where she coordinates missions for donors from around the world. Liat takes them around the country to see first-hand the different Jewish Agency programs and initiatives they are helping to support.
A couple of years ago, Liat took a Canadian family to see a Jewish Agency absorption center in Jerusalem that is home to new immigrants of Ethiopian origin. “I was explaining about aliyah and our work there and the father stopped me and said: ‘What are your immediate needs? What can I do right now?’ I told him that the children would be returning to school in a few monthsand would need school supplies, something that can be very expensive for new immigrant families.”
The man left for the nearest Office Depot and came back with notebooks, pens, crayons and other supplies. “I know that the Jewish heart is very warm and that the Jewish people are very unique,” says Liat. “This man didn’t even know these children. He just wanted to help.”
Liat’s work brings her into contact with many young immigrants of Ethiopian origin. “They are amazed at the work I am doing and that I speak English. When I see that they are excited by this, I understand that I am having an impact on my community and that I am a role model for them.”