Baina Bitva, a senior at AMIT Lehava Ulpana High School in Kedumim who immigrated with her family from Ethiopia six years ago, is the winner of the Agnon House writing competition. Fifty years ago this week, the writer S.Y. Agnon received the Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm. It was the first time that a citizen of Israel had won, and the first and last time to date that a Hebrew-writing author won.
Baina was invited to a special meeting of the Knesset Education Committee, which was held in honor of Agnon and the 50th anniversary of his Nobel Prize, where she read her unique story to the committee members and professors of literature from universities across Israel. With the guidance from her AMIT Lehava literature teachers, Baina wrote the story “A Tale of Might” about her journey to Israel from Ethiopia. Baina also impressed the writing competition judges and Knesset Education Committee members with her fluency in Hebrew.
Before starting to read her story at the Knesset, Baina excitedly told the distinguished committee about her incredibly positive experience at school. “One month after we came to Israel, I started school at Ulpanat AMIT Lehava. I did not believe I could learn Hebrew and certainly never dreamed of earning a matriculation (bagrut) certificate. This year I am finishing high school, and thanks to the love and support at the Ulpana I will be earning my diploma – and am even able to stand before you and tell my story,” said Baina.
Yair Rashelback from AMIT Tzfat High School for Boys was selected as the AMIT Network Outstanding Student, 2015-2016 school year, for excellence and impressive achievement in the regional and national Bible Competitions. Together we are lifting up the youth of Israel. #MyAMIT
Or is 18 years old and is in his fourth year at Kfar Blatt. Or grew up in Sderot and has lived in youth homes most of his young life. He has four brothers, all of whom were residents of Kfar Blatt. Or enjoys studying and participating in a variety of extra-curricular activities. Aside from music, Or likes playing soccer. He is eagerly awaiting entering the army and looks forward to protecting Israel. Or hopes to become a commander in an elite unit in the IDF.
According to AMIT graduate Barak Avraham, “AMIT saved my life.”
Barak Avraham was born in Ethiopia and emigrated to Israel with his family when he was 9 years old. He has two brothers and two sisters. He grew up in Netanya, where his mother still lives, and now resides in Petach Tikva.
Barak was floundering as a student, going no where, until he began studying at the AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village. He recently completed his master’s degree in public service at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel’s first private college and one of the country’s most prestigious centers of higher education. He also has his B.A., in government, from the same institution. Barak, who is 30 years old, served in the Israel Defense Forces in a special intelligence unit and was the national chair of the Ethiopian Students Union. He currently is a partner in an internet start-up company. He previously spent a month in the United States, in Boston, on a full scholarship from AIPAC.
Tziona Desta is 29 years old and was born in Ethiopia. She immigrated to Israel with her family as a young child. Her father works in a factory, her mother works as a cook.
Tziona attended school at AMIT Kfar Batya in Ra’anana and then went on to Bar Ilan University, where she earned a degree in communications. She is now a reporter on Channel E.I. TV, the Ethiopian Israeli channel, and also works on local TV Channel 3.
“It is thanks to AMIT that I am who I am today,” she notes.
Zoma Tede is a graduate of the AMIT Gould Junior and Senior High School for Girls in Rehovot. One of eight siblings, she was born in Ethiopia and arrived in Israel in 1991 when she was six and a half years old. An outstanding student, she recently finished her internship at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and will enlist in the IDF as a military physician. Her future plans after her military service are to pursue a residency in ENT surgery.
Tal was born in Sderot, but was raised in AMIT Beit Hayeled and AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village. While Tal was growing up, his alcoholic and abusive father was in and of prison, and his mother could not handle raising Tal and his four brothers on her own. With the help of AMIT, Tal grew up with a strong work ethic, finally culminating in fulfilling his dream of becoming a filmmaker. As Tal says today, “AMIT saved my life.” His first documentary, “Wounded Town,” about Kassam attacks on Sderot, can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHhXINu6mCc.
ROMI BERLIN & CHAIM SITON
Chaim Siton and Romi Berlin make beautiful music together. But this isn’t your typical “garage-band-made-good” story. Everything Chaim and Romi have accomplished in their young adult lives can be attributed to the innovative approaches to education and curriculum offered at the AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva and Kollel in Kfar Batya. That is where they met and where they began their music careers, playing together in a school band. Today, Romi and Chaim are still playing together in Mashiv HaRuach, playing gigs throughout Israel.