Ethiopian Community, Talpiot, May 13, 2009
A month ago, we updated on our efforts, together with Mosaica, to train establishment agencies, such as the Community Council, the Welfare Department, the Absorption Authority etc., to work with the Ethiopian community in the Talpiot neighborhood. Since then, we met again with representatives from the community, from organizations that advocate for them and from establishment agencies.
Today we held the first cultural competency training for representatives of agencies that work with the Ethiopian community, focusing on cross-cultural communication. We learnt about the communication style of Israelis and compared it with the communciation style of Israeli-Ethiopians. In fact, Israeli-Ethiopians tend, as all multi-identity individuals (or, in other words, every individual…), to use both systems of communication, even though they seem to contrast with each other.
We invented a case study specifically for this training about an Ethiopian community leader who gets in conflict with the establishment over community issues. It was striking, but not surprising, to see how much the participants identified with the case study, feeling that the story resembles many of the incidents they encounter daily. We began analyzing the case and many issues were raised. On our next meeting we will have to think about solutions - how does one crete a bridge between these two cultures.