Empowering the community from within

Rabbi Yehuda Sahala

Rabbi of the Ethiopian Jewish Community in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Rabbi Sahala was born in Ethiopia in 1959. From 1978, he took part in underground activities to encourage Aliyah. As a result of these activities he was interrogated by the Ethiopian police and imprisoned for 6 months.

In 1982, Rav Sahala arrived in Israel and lived on Kibbutz Yavne and in Jerusalem. He returned to Ethiopia at the behest of the Israeli government in order to encourage the Aliyah of more Jews.

In 2007, after hundreds of Ethiopian families settled in Jaffa, Rabbi Sahala founded the Olim Behatzlacha (Successful Aliya) project with the “Aviv HaTorah” and “Ish leReeyhu” organizations.  Together they commenced activities to increase Jewish identity in the community and work with others to help Ethiopian families deal with various absorption challenges.

In 2011, after successfully completing the Chief Rabbinate exams, Rabbi Sahala was ordained as a rabbi by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Shlomo Amar, and was appointed by community members, the religious council and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality  as the Rabbi of the Ethiopian community in the city.

Within the framework of the Olim Behatzlacha project, Rabbi Sahala empowered the community through education, employment and tradition. Rabbi Sahala teaches community members throughout the year and runs activities in preparation for the holidays. Each Passover, Rabbi Sahala leads the city's largest communal Seder with around 1600 participants.


In 2015, Rabbi Sahala was chosen by the Chief Rabbinate Council as an official examiner of Jewish identity claims among engaged couples in the Ethiopian community. In this capacity, on a daily basis Rabbi Sahala assists Ethiopians who register for marriage. In many instances, he also performs the marriage ceremony.  

Successful Aliya Project

In cooperation with the “Aviv HaTorah” and “Ish Lere'ehu”