Born in Ethiopia, Michal Avera Samuel was only eight years old when her family set out on a dangerous journey from Gondar, Ethiopia to Israel. Prior to their proverbial Exodus, Michal’s eldest brother had been kidnapped by Mengistu’s army. This tragedy propelled Michal’s family, her parents and eight siblings, to embark on their dream of returning to Jerusalem, which included a six-week trek and a year spent in a refugee camp in Sudan.
In 1984, Michal’s family arrived in Israel as part of the Ethiopian airlift known as “Operation Moses.” From an Absorption Center to Acre to Or Akiva, Michal’s family finally settled in Kfar Saba, Columbus’ Parter City.
Following her high school graduation, Michal did the obligatory National Service in an Absorption Center. This enabled her to give back to her community by helping other Ethiopian and Russian immigrants acclimate to Israeli life and culture. Michal went on to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Haifa.
Michal’s resume does not fail to impress. After a year representing Israel at Epcot in the United States, Michal began her career as a research assistant to former MK Nomi Blumenthal, whose work focused on the Knesset’s Immigration Committee.
Wanting to continue her work with Ethiopian immigrants, Michal applied at the Fidel Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Throughout the course of nine years, Michal progressed from serving as a guidance counselor to the Association’s Chief Executive Officer.
About the program
For more than 30 years, JewishColumbus in collaboration with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) has sponsored the Community Shaliach. The Shlichim educate people of all ages in the community about Israel and serve as advocates, role models, and as staff members for Israel programming.