Committee Ethiopian Jews Safed
|הועד למען יהודי יוצאי איטיאופיה בצפת
|The Committee for Ethiopian Jews in Safed.
Shortly after the first large wave of Ethiopian Jews began to immigrate to Israel in 1985, a group of supporters established the Safed Committee for Ethiopian Jews as a way of assisting the new immigrants meet their needs. The Committee’s objective is to provide financial assistance during the difficult first years of transition to better prepare the immigrants to enter Israeli society.
The “Beta Yisrael” -- Ethiopian Jewish Community -- are believed to be descendants of Jews who immigrated into Africa between 2000 and 2500 years ago. Some scholars believe that they are descendants of the Tribe of Dan.
The community began to immigrate to Israel in the 1970s and two large waves, in 1985 -- Operation Moses -- and 1991 -- Operation Solomon-- brought in large numbers of Ethiopian Jews. Since 1991 the immigration has continued in small groups of several hundred every month.
 Safed Absorption Centers
Safed has played a major part in the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants since the 1985 immigration. Three absorption centers exist where immigrants settle into Israel, learn Hebrew and complete any religious requirements which allow them to become fully-recognized as Jewish citizens of Israel.
Read full Zissil article on Ethiopian Absorption in Safed
 Government Assistance
The Israeli government provides the immigrants with housing and living stipends during their first two years in Israel. These funds cover their basic living expenses but there are many “extras” which are not funded.
 Dr. Yehoshua Sivan
Dr. Yehoshua Sivan, himself an “oleh” -- immigrant -- from Great Britian, established the the Committee for Ethiopian Jews in Safed in 1986 to assist the new immigrants with their absorption.
The volunteers who assist the Committee raise funds for needs that government subsidies don’t cover. Their mission statement states that their objective is to “supply the physical and spiritual (cultural, educational, and religious) needs of Ethiopian Jews in Safed and elsewhere, to encourage their social and educational advancement and to intervene on their behalf with local and national authorities.
Funds that the Committee raises go towards home repairs, purchasing appliances, school fees, professional training, dental treatment, medications and emergency assistance.
 The Committee
The Committee is chaired by Dr. Yehoshua Sivan, a chemistry teacher who established the committee together with other Tzfat residents and members of the Ethiopian community.
The Committee fundraisers through donors who live throughout the world. In addition, Dr. Sivan, Committee members and volunteers collect bottles and cans for deposit and use the money to help subsidize their activities. Restaurants and private citizens from throughout Tzfat assist in this effort.