Publication date: 20/02/2020
Introducing Bartukan Baruch – One of our motivated and bright Masters degrees students who lives in Petach Tikva. She is married and a mom to three young children.
Bartukan’s energy and positivity, her charisma and amazing people skills have served her well in life. As she claims ever so astutely, “ I grow from challenges!” Seemingly, nothing stands in her way. She seeks out new goals and follows through with commitment and strength despite the hurdles.
Alongside her keen desire to succeed in school and in life, she displays a strong sense of self. Bartukan proudly explains why she kept her Amharic name upon Aliyah at age 13 – “Bartukan means citrus fruit, an orange and besides the difficulty people have in pronouncing it, my name is who I am – it’s my identity and Im proud to keep it. It’s a struggle to explain to people how to say it, but it’s worth the effort!”
She goes on to explain that making Aliyah in 1998 to a caravan site near Nahariya as a young adolescent girl was far from easy. It’s a tough age – a time of conflicts and changes, compounded even further by her desire to fit in and the challenges that come with adapting to a new culture and language. She shares her feelings about being a kind of a “facilitator” between her home life and the mentality outside – that of Israeli culture. She was like an adult child – bearing the responsibility for guiding her younger brother and parents through the fog of a new country and language.
Following a six month stint at the Hofim middle school, Bartukan was sent to an Ulpana Boarding school in Ofra outside of Jerusalem, where she claims she learned what it meant to be a part of Etretz Yisrael. The staff was kind and loving and gave her a strong foundation upon which to build her new life. Bartukan enjoyed high school and was immediately called out for her strong academic and people skills. She demonstrated a keen ability to succeed and let nothing stand in her way. Despite the fact that just a few years earlier, she did not speak a word of Hebrew, Bartukan was asked to attend courses at the Open University in tenth grade and graduated high school with distinction. During that time, she felt she could easily bridge home life and that at her school and was asked to act as a translator at the parent teacher conference meetings for all Ethiopian Israeli students and their parents. She has fond memories of the Ulpana and claims it was her anchor – her rock – what later led to her scholastic successes. Her national service was completed at the Shareey Tsedek hospital in Jerusalem followed by contemplation of how to start her academic career. Since she is the first in her family to attend post-secondary education, she did not know where to turn. This was a source of worry and pride – knowing she would begin a bachelor’s degree. After receiving guidance from an old friend at Aliyat HaNoar, Bartukan was accepted into a sociology, psychology and criminology Bachelors’ degree at Bar Ilan Univsersity. At first she was hesitant, hoping to study only psychology, however once she began, she realized this degree would open many doors for her. In retrospect, she felt this degree would provide a good base for her future career.
Following her graduation, Bartukan worked at FIDEL as a youth coordinator and felt a sense of pride and calling. This was her purpose. She was then hired by Strauss Israel and worked in human resources for over five years. Although she was not particularly qualified for the position, she told me that the director of the department believed in her and knew she would be a quick learner and a dedicated employee! And that she was. During this time, she met her husband, got married and had two of her three children. When it was time to look for a new adventure and she wanted to spread her wings and grow yet again, she was hired by the Israel Train Authority in the human resources dept. She has been there ever since.
For years, Bartukan dreamed of returning to University. She had a stable job and then another baby. However, the time was not right. She knew she couldn’t afford to waste time or money on studies that she did not like or that would not advance her career in some significant way. Her desire to study something practical was paramount to her. Ten years had now passed and she was no longer eligible for funding from the student authority. She turned to Keren Aynor for assistance and was thrilled when she was awarded a special scholarship for her studies in the Master’s degree program in organizational development. Bartukan was selected to be one of the recipients of the very generous Michael Frieze donation in honour of the Ethiopian heroes Farede Aklum and Baruch Tegenya (of blessed memory).
Bartukan loves her studies and is proud to be doing a second degree. She shares that it’s not easy to juggle a family, a full time job and an academic degree, however, with the support of her husband and KHA, she is succeeding with flying colours. Bartukan boasts grades in the high nineties and is learning something new each day. No matter the challenges she faced along the way, she tells me with optimism and hope in her voice: “anything is possible. Now I’m a role model for my three children and in some way, for the larger Ethiopian Israeli community!” The scholarship and backing she receives from KHA has given her a sense of peace and calm and that extra push to succeed. Her own sense of self and her motivation and desire to face life head on and grapple with any challenge that may come her way, is truly an inspiration to us all. She is dedicated to her goals and goes after them each day. We wish her the best of luck in her Master’s Degree program and know that she will succeed!