“For generations, this community grasped the ‘embers of Judaism.’ In India, they observed the Sabbath and Yom Kippur, and their songs and prayers included descriptions of their deep yearning and longing to return to Israel.
The Bnei Menashe community is particularly talented. They have the ‘golden touch’, are very creative, instilled with a strong work ethic, diligent, gentle and reserved. Their integration into Israeli society has been challenging, however. Employment has been difficult to find, and most of the first generation immigrants work in menial jobs far below their capabilities. Most of them work multiple jobs in order to earn the most basic living.
We, at Merkaz Otzma in Kiryat Arba, are working with this community with the goal of freeing them from the cycle of poverty by empowering them with educational opportunities, vocational training and financial counseling.
I am so pleased that we will be partnering with Ten Gav in order to enhance the programs we offer this population.”
This was the introduction that Ruth Yisraeli, director of Merkaz Otzma, gave us to the Kiryat Arba Bnei Menashe community in October 2018. Merkaz Otzma is a program of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services that works within specific local social services agencies across Israel. Its mission is to help people living in poverty turn their lives around through increased participation in the workforce, better use of their rights and improvement in the relationship between social workers and their clients.
Since we began working with Merkaz Otzma Kiryat Arba in late 2018, Ten Gav donors have provided 23 families in Kiryat Arba with:
Tuition for vocational training - 5
Tuition for academic programs - 5
Computers - 5
Rental assistance (Corona related) - 2
After-school programs - 1
Psychological counseling - 1
Refrigerator - 1
Bunk beds - 1
We look forward to continuing our relationship with Merkaz Otzma Kiryat Arba for the benefit of this unique community whose special qualities can certainly contribute to all of Israeli society.