Our Kindergarten classes had an incredibly special visit this week from Mari Beza, Penn Hillel Israel Fellow. Mari was born in a small village in Ethiopia. She emigrated with her family in the early 2000s to Israel and was raised and educated in an orthodox Jewish household. Mari has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Communication, and Journalism from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Before joining Penn Hillel, Mari worked at TASFACHIN, a volunteer organization for Ethiopian Youth, and at ASSAF, an aid organization for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.
Mari likes to meet and expose Jewish and non-Jewish students to the cultural, ethnic, and political diversity of Israeli society, by having open conversations. Mari has a passion for World Jewry. Her biggest goal as an Israeli Fellow is to educate Jews of every race and color, and change stereotypes of Jewish people.
Mari taught our Kindergarteners about the Ethiopian Jewish Holiday, Sigd. Sigd is celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur. Mari wore a traditional Sigd dress and even brought scarves for the students to wear and dance with! They danced a traditional dance, and then shared in some delicious bread and challah. It was a joy to learn about Ethiopian Jewish Culture, and the Holiday of Sigd. We hope that Mari will be able to join us again soon!