As usual, there is much happening in Jerusalem, Israel.
Jewish community leaders from around the world are gathering
with four major conferences in one week,
including the Board of Governors of Jewish Agency
and the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly.
There has been a “summit” on Jewish identity
and a talk about Ethiopian Jewry.
But what a shame
these world leaders were not around last week
on the 29th of Heshvan to experience the annual Sigd holiday,
which falls 50 days after Yom Kippur.
They would have seen the tens of thousands of Ethiopian
olim from all around Israel who came
to the Tayelet, on the Sherover Promenade, to celebrate.
There were young people doing traditional dances,
elders sitting quietly,
and women in traditional white.
The main stage was filled with Kessim, the spiritual leaders,
under their colorful umbrellas.
I am not sure why this one was not on stage.
It was so crowded that only a few could actually see the stage,
and most did not even try.
Most people were walking and talking,
some were fasting, while others offered food.
For centuries in their villages in Ethiopia,
the Kes went to a hilltop to pray for the return to Zion,
and now their prayers were answered and they are here in Jerusalem.
From this spot with the best view of the Old City,
they can pray for the rebuilding of the Temple.
Many faced poverty and discrimination,
some walked through deserts from Ethiopia to get here,
and everyone had to learn about this new, strange culture and adjust to it.
some of my favorite scenes were of the young people in uniform,
proud Israeli soldiers.
Buses were lined up all around the area for most of the day.
Thousand of Israelis of Ethiopian origin filled the streets.
While Jewish world leaders talk,
these Ethiopians ‘just did it.’
They came to Israel
and are living their ancestors’ Zionist dream.