The lecture is based on a qualitative study in which 12 members of the Eritrean community participated in "Abogida". As part of the study, we observed the meetings held at "Abogida" and interviewed 2 principals, 6 teachers and 4 volunteers. The purpose of the study is to examine the perceptions of the leaders of the Eritrean community and the actions that strengthen community cohesion.
The Eritrean minority is pushed into the poorest areas and living in poor conditions, yet they manage to create social-religious meeting places in new areas of belonging. Their description of their situation, as is frequently heard in the media and in other studies, shows that their status as foreigners, temporary and stateless, preserves their cultural distinctiveness even more than other minority groups. They also face a hostile attitude on the part of large parts of Israeli society, with verbal and physical violence, racism and exclusion, and the danger of deportation (Mirsky, 2005).
Members of the Eritrean community in Israel have established an informal religious educational framework in Israel - "Abogida", which aims to preserve among children and adults the religious tradition, ceremonies and prayers, the language of origin and heritage stories. By these activities they strengthen their communal cohesion and collective identity as a minority group distinct from the dominant majority (Obrist, Pfeiffer & Henley, 2010).
"Abogida" is operated daily from afternoon by members of the community, volunteers and teachers in several places in central Israel.
Mirsky, Y. (2005). Israelis - migration stories. Mevaseret Zion: Tulips Publishing.
Obrist, B., Pfeiffer, C., & Henley, R. (2010). Multi-layered social resilience: a new approach in mitigation research. Progress in Development Studies, 10, 283–293.