Last night, instead of a normal tochnit erev (evening activity), we had Aliyah Bet! This is an activity we do every year where we learn about the migration of a certain group of Jews to Israel. This year, the theme of Aliyah Bet was the migration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The chanichim (campers) began the night by walking around to a variety of stations that introduced them to different aspects of Ethiopian Jews and their journey to Israel.
At one station, the chanichim (campers) learned about Ethiopian culture by looking at pictures of their instruments, clothing, food, and holidays.
At a different station, chanichim (campers) learned about a sect of Ethiopian Jews called the Falashmura, which is a group of Ethiopian Jews that converted to Christianity and continued to practice Judaism in secret. Subsequently, Israel made it much harder for this group to immigrate to Israel. To simulate this, the chanichim divided into two groups and played a game of basketball. One group was allowed to hold onto the ball and travel with it, while the other group had to dribble and was frequently chastised for not dribbling well enough. This symbolized the differences between the Ethiopian Jews and the Falashmura, who had to go through a number of obstacles in order to prove that they were Jewish.
After going through all of the stations, the chanichim (campers) participated in a hike in the surrounding woods around Mosh. This symbolized how the Ethiopian Jews had to walk across Sudan in order to be airlifted into Israel. Once the hike was over, the chanichim made their way to the basketball court, where they went on a mock plane ride. While on the “plane”, the chanichim read books about Israel and drew pictures of what they thought their destination might look like.
The night ended with donuts in the chadar ochel (dining hall), and then the chanichim were sent to bed. This was a fun way for the chanichim (campers) to learn about a different group of Jews and their hardships!