Twenty-two youngsters have completed the UJIA Ethiopian bar and bat mitzvah course in Leeds.
Youngsters, who are twinned with Ethiopians Idalem Aklo, Liraz Dasta and Makanet Aviya, raised funds throughout the year and took part in a sponsored walk on Sunday.
The total of over £2,000 included a donation from sponsor Marilyn Stowe.
Funds will help Ethiopian participants in Israel celebrate in Jerusalem on July 20.
Graduates received certificates from Micha Feldman who has devoted his life to bringing Ethiopian Jews to Israel and helping them settle into Israeli society.
Micha was one of the chief architects of Operation Solomon in 1991.
The educational programme included sections on living in an absorption centre in Israel, adapting to a different way of life, how Ethiopian children are the ‘eyes and ears’ for parents, and differences between day to day living in Ethiopia and Israel.
Students Daria Shaloshik and Talia Glantz took the classes.
“This year’s class was the biggest and most challenging so far,” said Deborah Selwyn, UK programme administrator.
“Participants enjoyed being taught by Daria and Talia, and it was wonderful watching them progress over the weeks learning new information about the Ethiopians.”
Deborah added, “It is very important children of bar and bat mitzvah age learn about other cultures and people less fortunate than themselves. Helping fundraise towards their celebration offers a different dimension to the overall bar and bat mitzvah year.
“Ethiopian Jews have often struggled to adjust to modern life in Israel. Children often become carers for parents, work is hard to find, as is parental support for a child’s education.
“Our participants learn about these issues and have become actively involved in supporting the twined Ethiopians growing up in Kiriyat Bialik in the Galil.
“They work concurrently with our children, learning about what it means to become bar ann bat mitzvah whilst being supported through learning activities to assist with their integration into Israeli society.
“Celebrating their simcha with families next month is something that would never have been possible without the commitment of this UJIA project.”
“I’ve really enjoyed this years Ethiopian twinning as well as my bat chayil course,” said Simcha Jacobs. “It’s been a real eye opener to lean all about different traditions and more of my job as a Jewish women. It was lots of fun.”