Paul Grant (ex Utah Jazz) with children from the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Center
September 2, 2010 / 23 Elul 5770
A delegation of former and current NBA players made a special visit to the Jewish Agency's Mevasseret Zion Absorption center on September 1, 2010.
The players are members of SportsPower International, a group of former and current NBA players who act as role models to disadvantaged youth.
The delegation included players Allan Houston (Knicks), Anthony Bonner (Knicks), Jerome Williams (Knicks), Paul Grant (Utah), David Wood (Bulls), Darnell Lindsey (Mexico), Shawn Hawkins (China), and Dwight Howard, Sr. (the coach).
Israeli basketball legend Tal Brody was also in attendance.
The Mevasseret Zion Absorption center, located just outside Jerusalem, is the Jewish Agency's largest absorption center with over one thousand Ethiopian immigrants.
Jewish Agency representatives briefed the delegation about the Jewish Agency and its work to help absorb and support Ethiopian immigrants as they acclimate to life in Israel. Challenges include transiting from an agricultural lifestyle to a modern, urban Israeli society, as well societal issues such as tolerance (and intolerance). Education as the key to success was emphasized.
Jerome Williams, Anthony Bonner and Allan Houston (all ex NY Knicks)
with children from the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Center
Benjamin Aklom, a young Ethiopian Israeli, shared his personal story with the group. Aklum's father was one of the leaders of Ethiopian immigration to Israel. Benjamin has a bachelor's degree in biology and is a counselor and role model for Ethiopian youth.
The delegation also viewed the model of an Ethiopian village housed in the absorption center, and were treated to a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
The highlight was when the players shot some hoops with the youth on the absorption center.
For more photos, click here.