Yafit: An Ethiopian-Israeli Woman of Valor

When Yafit was seven, she and her family began to walk. This journey to escape famine and persecution took them from their village in Ethiopia to Israel, where Yafit knew neither the language nor culture of her new country. Determined, she learned Hebrew, earned a degree in education and started teaching Hebrew to Russian immigrants in Ashdod.

Her skill and spirit soon caught the attention of Federation partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Representatives invited her to run workshops for their Woman of Valor program, which helps Israeli women from disadvantaged backgrounds enter the regional job market.

Now, as head of JDC’s Southern Region’s Career Advancement Program, Yafit works with dozens of Israeli women one-on-one, assessing their potential and helping them plan and reach goals for a better future.

“Some women worry about childcare, and some already have many personal and communal responsibilities. They take care of everyone else and have no time to take care of themselves,” she says. “My work is to help show them that by improving their careers, they are in fact strengthening their families and communities.”

And it is in doing this work– helping others find success through wisdom she learned the tough way as an immigrant working mother – that Yafit truly shines as her own Israeli woman of valor.


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