Participants in the Chef's Training Program for Ethiopian Immigrants at the
Altshul Absorption Center in Beer Sheva. This is the second course that has been offered.
November 15, 2010 / 8 Kislev 2010
For many Ethiopian immigrants, adapting to a new Israeli reality is challenging. A big part of their acclimation – and success in their new country - is dependent upon finding work and a stable career.
Responding to this very real need, the Jewish Agency, in collaboration with Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, launched the Chef's Training Program for Ethiopian Immigrants living in Jewish Agency Absorption Centers. The program is made possible through the generosity of Melinda Goldrich of Aspen, Colorado.
After the 18-month training program, the young men and women participants (ages 18-21) become certified masters of the culinary arts. The program also offers enrichment courses and personal mentorship. In the end, they walk away with a renewed self-confidence, new skills, and the ticket to financial independence and professional integration into the Israeli workforce.
So far, the Chef's Training Course has been offered in Kfar Saba and in Beer Sheva.
The course is so popular that many more participants are eager to sign up – but currently, the interest is greater than the resources available.
"We wish we could run even more of these vocational programs because these young people receive more than just a diploma – they are given the tools they need to become financially independent and productive members of Israeli society," said Moshe Bata, the Jewish Agency's Director of Employment for Ethiopian immigrants, himself an Ethiopian Israeli.
So far, some of the best hotels in Israel have guaranteed jobs to graduates of this Chef's Training Course.
The Chef's training course comes at a time when Israel is committed to bringing in even more immigrants from Ethiopia. Recently, Israel's cabinet approved a plan to bring the remaining Falash Mura community to Israel over the next few years. The nearly 8,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent are living in poverty in transit camps in northern Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israelis had a moral duty to resolve the "complex humanitarian crisis."
For more information please contact Maya Neiger
Photo credit: Michael Finkelstein