Ethiopians bring their culture and cuisine to Israel, the country that brought them home and out of oppression back in Ethiopia. Many in this community struggle as new immigrants, however, and you can help Israel Today ease their burden and help make them at home.
For some Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, the move to Israel was motivated by famine, harsh living conditions and a desire to escape a country wracked by civil war. But for many others, it was also part of an ancient longing to reside in their spiritual homeland. As with most immigrant communities to Israel, Ethiopians brought with them the foods of their region.
The foods that Ethiopia’s Jews brought to Israel include many of the classic elements of Ethiopian cooking — the legume and meat stews, and injera, which serves as both plate and utensil. Like their non-Jewish neighbors, Jews in Ethiopia seasoned their food with overlapping layers of spice — a tribute to the ancient Indian and Arabic trade routes that crisscrossed the country.
Many wots (Amharic for “stews”) begin with garlic, onions and ginger. These dishes are often sautéed in clarified and infused with cardamom, clove and cumin, among other spices. While simmering, dishes are also infused with berbere, a fiery blend of toasted ground bird’s eye chiles, fenugreek, turmeric and many other ingredients. The use of berbere is universal, but each blend is distinctly personal — a balance of heat and flavor that a cook hones over a lifetime.
Israel's Ethiopian immigrant population is 120,000 citizens strong. Unlike immigrants from the West, our Ethiopian brothers and sisters often have a difficult time adjusting to life in Israel and fully integrating. Help us make them feel welcome and loved.
Because of the cultural and ethnic differences that the Ethiopians bring with them when they immigrate, it is more challenging for many of them to adjust to the mix of Western and Middle Eastern life in Israel. It is also difficult for many of them to find work and provide for their families.
Consider giving a gift of love this year and help the Ethiopian immigrants feel at home in the Land of Israel. Click here to deliver a Bundle of Love to an Ethiopian family and be a blessing to those in need.