Helping Ethiopian Women


It is gratifying to read about Yifat Ovadia’s initiative, Olim B’Yachad(“Finding Jobs, And Hope, For Ethiopian Gen-Xers,” Feb. 26).

 The marginalization of any member of Israel’s society is anathema to Jewish core values, and although there exist any number of interventional programs that serve the Ethiopian Israeli community, almost none address the huge cultural chasm that prevents these young people from achieving the same success as other Israelis.

We founded Nishmat Ethiopian Women (NEW) because we recognized that for the community of Ethiopian women immigrants, educational remediation was just not enough. Nishmat addresses the particular cultural challenges that make educational opportunity and job-seeking that much harder for the Ethiopian Israeli woman.

With 90 percent of our students admitted to college, almost all graduating, and 50 to 80 percent attaining work in their fields of study, Nishmat’s numbers not only surpass the national statistics of recent surveys but are a testament to how powerfully mentors can impact the lives of young Ethiopian Israeli women. Nishmat’s dream of empowering women through education appears to be breaking down barriers in very real ways. It encourages us to strive for the day that no Ethiopian Israeli woman will feel that she is any less a citizen of Israel.

Founder and Dean

Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center

for Advanced Torah Study for Women