Passionate About Inspiring Others
My name is Naftali Aklum and I was born in Ethiopia in 1979. The following year, in 1980, I and parents were among the first groups to make Aliya to Israel via Sudan in what later became known as “Operation Moses.” I am The youngest of 12 brothers and sisters, my late brother Ferede Aklum was the first Ethiopian Jew to make the journey to Jerusalem via Sudan, with Ferede then setting the stage for others to follow: after reaching Sudan in 1978, the letter Ferede wrote requesting assistance to make Aliya found its way to Menachem Begin, who then set in motion the remarkable, secret operation in which North America Jewry played such a vital role. In his footsteps, literally, over 8,000- of 12,000- successfully reached Jerusalem after 2,500 years of yearning.
I was raised and educated in Beersheva. In the army I served as a firefighter. Graduated from Ben Gurion University in 2008 with a concentration in politics, government, history and Middle Eastern Studies.
I participated in a number of delegations, including a 1996 visit to the United States with the Anti-Defamation League, and in 2002, i spent a year with “Israel at Heart,” sharing the story of Israel and Ethiopian Jewry. i volunteered to help children in the city of Beersheva through my Council for the Well-Being of Children, and I served as a mentor to other Ethiopian-Israeli academics to assist them in their job placement efforts.
Since 2010, I played a critical role in ENP’s SPACE (School Performance and Community Empowerment) Scholastic Assistance Program. In my capacity as Director of Educational Programs, I was responsible for the emotional and social well-being of 150 7th through 12th graders and oversees 15 teachers who provide intensive scholastic assistance to ENP participants. Through my work over the years, thousands of children have been inspired and motivated to succeed, knowing they have a mentor, a friend and a big brother who will do everything in my power to help them succeed.
The story of the exodus of Ethiopian Jews to Israel is one of the most moving historical events of the Jewish people. Although it happened recently, most Israelis and Diaspora Jewry are not aware of the difficulties and challenges encountered by Ethiopian Jews in their trek to reach Israel. Upon arrival they faced various problems and challenges.
Today As a member of the Ethiopian Israeli community in Beersheba, I have developed an interesting one-day educational experience for tourists that focuses on the history, culture and traditions of Ethiopian Jewry
My objective is to enable the Ethiopian community in the Negev and in Israel in general, to share its unique narrative and cultural treasures with others, to empower the community and to contribute to a pluralistic Israeli society that views its communal diversity as a source of strength. The story of Ethiopian Jewry in Israel is a unique tale of suffering, perseverance, and fulfillment.