• masortiOpening a new chapter in Katamon, a Jerusalem neighborhood whose residents face significant economic challenges, NOAM, the national youth movement of the Masorti movement, has expanded its reach to young Israelis in an area that is home to many Ethiopian olim. About 30 third through eighth-graders have been coming together on Monday afternoons to learn about pluralism, democracy and Zionism within the context of traditional Jewish observance, through fun activities that also build friendships and connection to community. Their meetings have been coordinated by Esther Alemu, whose father, Rabbi Yafet Alemu, is the first Ethiopian Masorti rabbi, and by NOAM leaders from other Jerusalem branches. Meetings have been taking place in a bomb shelter, but the chapter is already outgrowing the space and with the support of neighborhood officials, is seeking a more suitable place for its gatherings. To encourage the development and growth of the chapter, the NOAM Katamon group is heavily subsidized by the Masorti movement, and the movement is doing its best to provide scholarship assistance so that the children from Katamon can participate in nationwide programming, trips and events. This newest NOAM branch joins 19 others throughout Israel. In addition to weekly chapter meetings, NOAM sponsors national events throughout the year that culminate in the Ramah-NOAM Summer Camp. In the coming year, it is hoped that more children from Katamon will join NOAM and participate on the national as well as on the local level, with financial assistance made available to those who need it. NOAM cultivates connection to Jewish identity and heritage, while nurturing the future leadership of the Masorti movement. Seven Katamon teens have been recruited to attend NOAM’s year-long leadership training course with the understanding that they will form the core of the local chapter’s leadership in years to come.

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