Developing young leadership within the Ethiopian immigrant group in Israel

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When over 8000 Ethiopian Jews fled to Israel in 1982 and 1994, whole communities were uprooted from a longstanding traditional way of life. Their abrupt introduction to a Western-style Israeli culture, different language and customs contradicted their almost mystical expectations of their religious homeland, resulted in a culture shock that threatened their entire way of life—especially the hierarchical leadership of elders that they were accustomed to. This article offers a glimpse into the Ethiopian Jews' life prior to the migration, as well as the Israeli reality they now face. Our project, initiated in 1996 and lasting one year, sought to locate and train young immigrant Ethiopian leaders to help bridge the gap between their communities and their new life-preserving Ethiopian values and traditions while promoting adaptation. This article outlines the development of the model, from the conception of the idea through the formation of the multidisciplinary team, the establishment of criteria for locating and selecting the target leadership population, the training process, and the final evaluations and conclusions during the year-long operation of the project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Group Tensions
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


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