From Ethiopian “Royalty” to Having Emunah/Faith in Israel

My name is  “Z*” which in Ethiopian means royalty/crown. I was born in the village of Godgim in Ethiopia. I have five siblings, and I am the middle child.  When I was three, my family moved to Gondar, an Ethiopian city that serves as a way-station for those seeking a permit to move to Israel.  In 2007, when I was eight, after five long years of waiting, we made Aliyah to Israel. For the first two years we lived in the city of Tzfat (northern Israel), and then we moved to Yokne’am, where I still live with my parents.

It was important to me to invest in my studies at the Emunah Neve Sara Herzog High School located in the city of Bnei Brak. I chose to study bio-medicine (a track in STEM: Science Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum), which I excelled at. I have been drawn to the field of medicine since I was young.  For my final graduate project, a partner and I worked  with the pharmaceutical company Teva, to develop a specialized “sensor watch” for those suffering with Parkinson’s disease. The “sensor watch” is triggered when a person is about to suffer a tremor.  During the attack, the device gives an order to a pump which is attached to the patient, to release a medicine which then calms the tremors. The project was so well received that  we won first place in a national competition for finding new solutions for Parkinson’s disease.  

After graduating from the Emunah Neve Sara Herzog High School, I did two years of “National Service” (instead of entering the army) as a medical assistant in the internal medicine ward of Beilinson Hospital, located in Petach-Tikva.  My service gave me a glimpse into the world of medicine and how the doctors and nurses have such an impact on the lives of their patients. I experienced first-hand how Israeli medical personnel deal with some of the most difficult and life-threatening circumstances across cultural divides . As part of my job I did blood tests, set up IV’s, administered EKG’s, and helped with anything the doctors needed. During these two years of fulfilling my National Service duty, I acquired a  great deal of medical knowledge and a true desire to pursue a career in medicine.  Upon completion of two years of service, I was honored to be selected for the President of Israel’s Outstanding National Service Candidate award. 

I then opted to spend a year studying at the Midreshet Nishmat Seminary in Jerusalem, an educational program to enhance my religious and Biblical knowledge, along with attending the Ma’ayan Leadership Program, a specialized project for young women of Ethiopian background.  

I chose these programs out of a desire to connect more deeply to my Ethiopian roots and my Jewish heritage.  Now, I am preparing to take the entrance exams for medical school.

I have been truly blessed. Every day I thank Hashem (God) for bringing my family and me to Israel!

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