PHOTO/DAVID A. SCHWARTZSarah Tazazo, an Ethiopian-Israeli student at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, speaks during a program for the Jewish Federation of Broward County’s Ethiopian Israeli College Supplemental Fund at a private home in Hollywood.
By David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer
February 24, 2014
There are 50 Ethiopian-Israeli students at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and Jonathan Davis wants more.
Davis, vice president of the private university in Israel, was in Hollywood last week with student Sarah (Yatoa) Tazazo to raise money for more scholarships for Ethiopian students.
“We want to raise a generation of Ethiopian kids who will become the future leaders of Israel,” Davis said before guests packed the media room in a private home to hear Davis and Tazazo speak.
Tazazo, 25, was a volunteer social worker for a year and a lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces for four years before she became a student at the school. She is a second-year student studying law and government and wants to be a lawyer.
The Jewish Federation of Broward Countyfunds six scholarships for Ethiopian-Israeli students like Tazazo through its eight-year-old Ethiopian Israeli College Supplemental Fund.
The fund was spearheaded by Ben J. Genet and his wife Dorit of Hollywood. Genet said he visited Ethiopia on a Broward Federation mission in 2006 and realized that Ethiopian Jews need help after they get to Israel. “I’m helping the cream of the crop,” he said. “We give charity all the time. Here you see where your dollars are going.”
The full cost of a scholarship is $11,000 and the university provides free tuition, monthly stipend, unlimited tutoring and a laptop computer. Davis said it costs $20,000 to educate a student.
Last year 1,250 Ethiopian students began their first year at the university. The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya accepts the students based on military or sherut leumi (national service) achievement, high school grades and a personal interview. More than 90 percent of the individuals accepted graduate, the school says.
Broward County residents Stephen Jackman and David Shulman were also on the trip to Ethiopia.
“Being in Ethiopia is like no other experience that I’ve had,” Jackman said. He said he and his wife were in Israel at the time when planes from Operation Solomon began transporting Ethiopian Jews to Israel. “It’s like they’re transported a thousand years overnight,” Jackman said. “They have the opportunity to get an education and be successful in life.” And they can help to build Israel, he added.
There are 90,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel and 50 percent are under the age of 25. About 80 percent are functionally illiterate and 65 percent are unemployed, according to the Jewish Federation of Broward County.
For information or to make a donation to the Jewish Federation of Broward CountySupplemental Fund for Ethiopian Israeli College Scholarships, call Nikki Packer at 954-252-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org