At Bank Hapoalim’s NGO Fair, dozens of Israelis purchased exquisite jewelry designed and created by students of the Megemeria Jewelry School – a project of the Yvel Jewelry House that is operated by the NGO, YEDID. Rosh Hashana , dozens of Israelis purchased the jewelry beautifully designed by students at the school operated by YEDID at the YVEL Jewlery Design Center
Jewelry valued at tens of thousands of shekels was purchased on Rosh Hashanah eve by visitors to the NGO Fair hosted at the Bank Hapoalim Facility in Kibbutz Shfayim. Among the purchasers were Shari Arison, Esther Levanon (CEO of the Israeli Stock Exchange), Nava Barak, Udi Engell, Adv. Ori Slonim, and many others. Several of the buyers expressed interest setting up a special visit to the school, which is located at the Yvel jewelry factory in Motza, near Jerusalem.
The sale of the jewelry was conducted by the students themselves, who took great pleasure in telling their school’s special story to the crowds gathering at their stand. They explained that Megemeria (which means Genesis in Amharic) began as a philanthropic operation but has become a social enterprise, jointly operated by Orna and Isaac Levy (owners of the prestigious Yvel Jewelry Design House) and the NGO YEDID (directed by CEO Sari Revkin, a recipient of the prestigious Schwab Foundation Award for social entrepreneurship).
When Orna and Isaac Levy decided they wanted to contribute to the community, they immediately thought of establishing a school that would train Ethiopian-Israelis in the fine art of gold and silversmithing, and produce graduates who could then be integrated into the workforce at the Yvel jewelry factory.
Megemeria is this school. Offering the opportunity to acquire a profession to members of the Ethiopian community, most of whom arrive in Israel with neither property nor education, the school also provides students with the support of a Hebrew teacher, a social worker, and an additional support network unrelated to the school’s professional studies. Tuition is free, and upon completion of the course, many students are recruited to work at Yvel.
A year after the project was launched, and with seven graduates of the school successfully employed at Yvel, the Levys decided to expand upon their original idea. They approached the YEDID, an organization well-known for its employment-promoting programming for low-income populations. The Levy’s proposed that YEDID join them as partners in managing the school and assisting its transformation into a social enterprise: a company, also called Megemeria, the profits of which will be reinvested into expanding the school, creating new work opportunities for its Ethiopian students, and assisting members of the Ethiopian community living in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas.
Megemeria’s exclusive collection is made up of a variety of exquisite pieces of jewelry, including 24 karat gold-plated brass medallions, earrings, necklaces and rings. On the underside of each piece is a unique engraving known only to its wearer. This special design turns every beautiful piece of jewelry into a uniquely personal item, and creates a separation between the public world of prestige seen by everyone and the personal message between the producer-designer and the owner-wearer. The inspirational source of the collection can be found in the original jewelry brought by the students from Ethiopia, as well as in their memories of their former homeland. Suitable for every pocketbook, prices range from $50 to $250 dollars per piece.
Orna and Isaac Levy see Megemeria as an opportunity to close a circle. Levy, whose family immigrated to Israel from Argentina 50 years ago and received assistance in their integration process, views the school as a way to help today’s new immigrants in their initial integration process in the country. For this reason, the Levy’s invest so much of their attention to the school, and ensure that the students who study there receive individual guidance from specialists in diverse fields.
The business model prepared especially for Megemeria promises a bright future and broader professional horizon for dozens of Israelis of Ethiopian descent.
Yvel House, established by the Levy’s 28 years ago, designs elegant jewelry that has won prestigious international prizes and is marketed on 5 continents in more than 65 countries worldwide. The company is a leader in the jewelry sector and its brand name is known across the globe. Its pearl and precious stone designs, the company’s trademark, have become a synonym for luxury and sophistication throughout the world.
Shari Arison owner of Bank Hapoalim
Nava Barak - Chairwoman of ELEM
IDF Chief of staff, General Beni Ganz