Shavei Israel profile: Naomi Orkisa – from a mushroom farm to the dentist’s office

Shavei Israel profile: Naomi Orkisa – from a mushroom farm to the dentist’s office

The Bnei Moshe, including Naomi Orkisa, made aliyah from Cajamarca, Peru

By day, she works in a mushroom farm on a hillside outside Jerusalem. At night, she dreams of a new career: a profession in which she can stand tall rather than stoop in the fields.

Naomi Orkisa is one of the ambitious young women whom Shavei Israel is helping to study at the Hadassah Hospital dental school’s program for dental assistants and hygienists. Naomi is from the Bnei Moshe, a small community in Peru founded by two Catholic brothers from the town of Cajamarca who, after reading the Torah and studying the Bible, decided in 1958 to embrace Judaism. Most of the Bnei Moshe community has since converted under the auspices of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and many have moved to Israel.

Naomi grew up in a very poor home in Peru. The family did its best to make ends meet by selling water – they had a well in the garden and, because there was no plumbing in their area, water became a valuable commodity.

Since immigrating to Israel with her family in 2004, Naomi, now 30, has been responsible for supporting her elderly parents, while at the same time caring for her own young child. Now that her son is old enough to go to school, Naomi finally has the opportunity to improve her situation: becoming a dental assistant is a ticket out of the poverty that has followed her all her life.

But finding the time to attend classes and study leaves much less time to devote to her job on the mushroom farm. That, in turn, means a significant drop in salary – up to 70%. Naomi needs our help.

We have committed to helping Naomi with a monthly stipend to cover half of her tuition (some $2,000) and part of her living expenses as well. Please consider helping “sponsor” Naomi in her quest towards rising above a difficult upbringing and establishing the financial stability that she and her family so keenly deserve. Click here to go to our Support page and make your donation today.