My name is Temesgen Sanbato, I am an operational chef at M25, a theater actor and a graduate of Lamerhav.
The story of how I got to Lamerhav is a special one, that will always be a part of my life. I arrived at Lamerhav thanks to an incredible woman called Michal Matos, who worked as the manager of the Department of Education, Development and Production of Cinema and Television Programs at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. I worked as a security guard at a high school near the Cinematheque, as a preferential job, shortly after I was released from the army.
Every time Michal entered the gate leading to the parking lot or when she was leaving work, she would always stop to ask how I was and start a conversation. Later on, she told me that from the very moment she had met me, she felt that I was wasting my time at that job, and so, she decided that she would help me. She came into my life just when my life was quite complicated, and today I can say that she has saved me.
Michal had told me a little about Lamerhav and said that she could arrange a meeting for me with the chairman of the organization, if I would like to. At first, I was quite anxious, as I did not quite understand what this was all about. I was afraid to go to a place, where all the others would possibly be far better than me. I wondered whether this was really for me. But in the end, I said yes, that this was of interest to me.
A week later, Shula Mozes, yes, Shula Mozes in person, came to my work place to meet me!
We sat in a cafe in the evening and Shula asked me personal questions, and told me about Lamerhav and the process I would undergo before entering the program. Once the meeting was over, we had left the cafe and before we parted, we saw a beggar on the street. We took out some change and gave it to him. Later on, there was another beggar and I wanted to give money to him too, and then Shula said something that I will always remember: “You cannot help and give everyone all the time.” And from that moment on, Shula became a mother and a mentor for me. We went past the second beggar and parted ways. That was the moment when my life has changed forever.
Why is it so important for me to tell the whole story from the beginning?
Because thanks to Lamerhav, I feel very special. And because I arrived from nowhere at Lamerhav, thanks to two amazing women that I cannot even begin to describe what they mean to me. They believed in me without even knowing me, and this, I think, is the main motto of Lamerhav: believing in people, making them believe in themselves and giving them the opportunity to build a different life for themselves.
So, what is Lamerhav to me?
Lamerhav, for me is the counselor Nicky Levy, my best friend and the big brother, without whom I would not have been able to implement any of the little and big projects that I have defined as my goals. Nicky helped me understand how to manage financially, how to plan and prioritize. He pushed me forward and supported everything that interested me and always made me understand that everything was possible.
Lamerhav for me is Irit Shenkar, a groundbreaking restaurateur in the Israeli culinary world, one of the former owners of “Dixie”, the legendary “Keren” and “Philadelphia” restaurants. Irit is another special woman, whom I also consider as my mother. She came into my life and did so much to help me get where I am today. She is still with me every step I make, being supportive and attentive, helping me to keep on developing in the culinary path, which I chose to specialize in.
Lamerhav for me is Ora Einav and the old kitchen. I prepared quite a lot of Shula’s recipes with Ora at the beginning of my career as a young cook.
Lamerhav for me is a group of bicycle riders, an empowerment group and a theater group, and the friendships that were created over the years in the program.
Lamerhav for me is Lamerhav’s birthdays, and seminar C, that I loved so much, because on these days it was possible to meet the program’s young participants, the graduates and the other counselors that I did not know.
Lamerhav is one of the best places, if not the best ever, that I was extremely fortunate to be in, and which turned me into the person that I am today. This is a place where I learned to be a good person and to do good for others, and a place that made me realize that everything is possible with determination, enthusiasm and perseverance.