Ethiopian Israelis learning high-tech

But since then, Ethiopian Jews' absorption into Israeli society has been fraught with problems, highlighted by suicides, overt discrimination and broad insensitivity. However, these have been the exception rather than the rule.

Now, JCT is trying to help these Ethiopian Israelis further their success in the academic world.

The program, the first its kind in Israel, has a variety of goals: to raise the level of Ethiopians' academic training; to create role models for younger first-generation Ethiopian Israelis to enter high-tech; to increase self-esteem among the Ethiopians as they gain high-level jobs in high-tech; and to integrate the growing Ethiopian Israeli population into Israel's high-tech industry.

"Experience has shown that Ethiopian Israelis largely tend to enter the humanities," said Yoseph Bodenheimer, president of JCT. "They did not come to Israel with a background in math and science, so it is our job to nurture that and ensure their success. The future of Ethiopian Israelis as equals in Israel society is at stake."

Enrollment has grown from five students in the program's first year to 25 for the 1997-1998 school year. The regular four-year program will place emphasis on individual attention and one-on-one tutoring.

"Expanding the program and making special accommodations is very costly," Bodenheimer said. "We are covering these costs ourselves through a special fund-raising campaign because it is our job to make sure this is a success for JCT, for the Ethiopian Israelis and for Israel."

For more information or to volunteer to help, call the American Friends of JCT at (201) 457-1760.