Israela Tadela, 30, is an Ethiopian Jew and a first generation Israeli. Her parents arrived in Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses, the Israeli government’s secret evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan. Three siblings did not survive the treacherous journey across Ethiopia to Sudan.

As a youth, Israela had difficulty relating to her parents who struggled with the Hebrew language as well as Israel’s modern society-a complicated family situation similar to so many Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

Yemin Orde welcomed Israela to the Village in 2000 when family strife distracted her from achieving success in school and diminished her self-confidence.  The Village’s staff and its community of meaning provided support, loving-kindness and the promise of brighter future.

“Yemin Orde taught me independence and values. The things I learned about myself are a big part of who I am today,” Israela said. “I had a difficult time with my parents and if I didn’t have Yemin Orde, I am not sure where I would be in life right now.”

Strengthening cultural identity as an Ethiopian Jew

At the Village, Israela strengthened her cultural identity as well as learned to respect the traditions and cultures of other immigrant youth at Yemin Orde.

“I had friends from Tibet, the Former Soviet Union and Brazil,” she said.

After high school graduation, she served in Israel’s air force and later earned a double B.A. degree in Education and Sociology from the University of Haifa. Yemin Orde provided Israela with financial assistance while she attended school; an opportunity afforded all graduates of Yemin Orde in times of need or academic aid.

Today, Israela serves as a News Producer at Israel’s Channel 2; for a while, she was the only Ethiopian working at the television station. Prior to joining Channel 2, she worked at one of Israel’s Ethiopian television news stations.

Israela believes strongly in the notion of helping others by giving back to the community, a life lesson she learned at Yemin Orde through its Village Way methodology.

She volunteers for IsraElite, Israel’s only gap year leadership program specifically geared for at-risk immigrant women. She also spends time helping at Yemin Orde. In addition, Israela has volunteered for Tebeka, a free legal service for Ethiopian-Israelis created by fellow Yemin Orde graduate, Itzik Dessie.

“Yemin Orde taught me to believe that you can do whatever you want if you work hard,” said Israela.

Israela was interviewed by Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent newspaper while on a  recent visit to the U.S. You can read the article,

Israela was also featured in a profile in The Huffington Post. Read all about her experience at Yemin Orde:  Ethiopian Jews Find Friendly Israeli Village