Ethiopian Olim enjoy their first snowfall at a Safed Absorption Center; photo Rafi Trabelsi/The Jewish Agency

Hundreds of Ethiopian Olim who are living in The Jewish Agency for Israel Absorption Centers in Safed experienced snow today for the first time in their lives. The children headed outside to play and feel the natural marvel with their own hands at the start of the snow storm which has blanketed the city.

Three Jewish Agency Absorption Centers are located in Safed which house 2,000 immigrants from Ethiopia who arrived in Israel in recent months. The olim arrived as a part of Operation Dove’s Wings which will bring the Ethiopian Aliyah to a close. The immigrants in Safed, who come from southern Ethiopia, had never seen snow before.

Since early morning, the olim worked with The Jewish Agency’s professional staff to prepare for the bitter cold: school was cancelled; educators are running enrichment programming for the children; a ‘movie club’ was opened for teenagers and in the apartments of the olim, heaters were turned on and hot, steaming soup prepared.