Bridging Cultures: A Leap Forward for Ethiopian Israelis at Rambam

In a groundbreaking move, Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa has joined forces with the Boston-Haifa Connection, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, to launch a pioneering educational initiative aimed at empowering its Ethiopian employees through Hebrew literacy and computer skills. This initiative, a testament to the spirit of inclusivity and progress, seeks to break down barriers and open up new horizons for twenty Ethiopian immigrants working at Rambam, predominantly from the Housekeeping and Custodian Department.

The program, enriched by the partnership with the Boston-Haifa Connection — the Israeli office of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston — underscores a shared commitment to fostering equality and opportunities for Ethiopian immigrants. It shines a light on the challenges faced by these community members, who, due to cultural differences and initial hurdles, found it challenging to master the Hebrew language upon their arrival in Israel.

“Education is the cornerstone of advancement and a core value at Rambam. We are dedicated to nurturing the skills of our staff, believing fervently that knowledge paves the way to a better life,” remarked Merav Sudri, director of Rambam’s Human Resources Division. This initiative not only offers language and digital literacy but also represents a beacon of hope and empowerment for those striving for independence and a desire to integrate more deeply into Israeli society.

Scheduled to run for five months with sessions during work hours, this program is a significant investment in the future of its participants, allowing them to catch up on essential skills without compromising their duties. Galit Kobi, director of Rambam’s Department of Learning and Organizational Development, shared the enthusiasm for this project, highlighting the hospital’s proactive approach in responding to the employees’ aspirations.

The stories of the participants, like “S,” a mother who sacrificed for her son’s education, and “Y,” who dreams of assisting his child academically, resonate with the universal desire for self-improvement and contributing to one’s family. This initiative not only addresses the immediate need for Hebrew proficiency but also sows seeds of inspiration within the community, demonstrating that it’s never too late to pursue one’s educational goals.

The Boston-Haifa Connection’s involvement exemplifies the strength of international Jewish solidarity, focusing on leadership development, Jewish Peoplehood, and creating a shared society. “Our goal is to support the Ethiopian community in Haifa and within Rambam, fostering an environment where every individual has the chance to excel,” said Hila Perlman-Pniel, the director of the BHC.

This initiative is more than just a language course; it’s a testament to Israel’s resilience and dedication to inclusivity. It embodies the values of the State of Israel, where diversity is celebrated, and opportunities for growth and integration are provided to all its citizens. Through education, we bridge cultures, unite communities, and build a stronger, more inclusive society.