(Photo: Yityish Aynaw press photo)

(Photo: Yityish Aynaw press photo)

By Adam Abrams - November 2, 2017

Originally appeared here in jns.org 

In Ethiopia, Yityish “Titi” Aynaw and her fellow villagers always dreamed of living in Israel.

“From as far back as I can remember, I was always told that I am Jewish and that I must live in Jerusalem,” said the former Miss Israel, who in 2013 became the first Ethiopian to hold the title. “I imagined that Israel would look like how it’s described in the Bible, as the land of milk and honey…like a fairytale.”

This week, Aynaw commenced her third Israel advocacy speaking tour on U.S. college campuses, in what she described as an opportunity “to give back” to the country that gave her a new life.

Aynaw’s fall 2017 tour—facilitated by Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Media Watch International—began Oct. 30 and includes visits to campuses in the states of New York, Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon. The tour culminates with Aynaw’s keynote address to hundreds of American students at JNF’s national conference in South Florida Nov. 11.

Since being crowned Miss Israel, Aynaw’s meteoric rise has seen her become one of Israel’s top models, a prominent media personality and a staunch advocate for the Jewish state. Along the way, she has shattered a cultural glass ceiling and paved the way for other young Ethiopian-Israeli women to follow in her footsteps.  Read More