I had a day full of kvelling: I attended a ceremony where many many scholarships were awarded to relatively new immigrant university students, by an organization I volunteer for. The majority of winners were from the former Soviet Union, a significant minority were Ethiopians, and a smattering from various South American countries and France. They were studying everything: law, literature, special education, sociology, math, physiology, medicine, biochemistry, music. They come from most of the 60+ accredited institutions of higher education in Israel (lucky it's a small country, so it's a day trip to Tel Aviv for all of them).
As part of the proceedings, we were treated to a short piece written and performed by a beautiful acting student with a brilliant flashing smile, dramatizing her childhood in Ethiopia, the long, long hike to Addis Ababa with her family, the magical flight to Israel, seeing white people for the first time in her life, the insults and disappointments she experienced. It was a familiar story to many of the other students, but we were all weeping with joy at the triumph of her telling it today, December 8, 2004, my own mother's birthday. (If she were alive, she would be 108 years old today. Happy Birthday, Mom, wherever you are!)