Sigd Celebrated in Jerusalem

Sigd, the Ethiopian holiday which falls on 29 Heshvan,

50 days after Yom Kippur, was celebrated on the Tayelet.

view of old city

A spot with the best views of the Old City, but

with heightened security in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.

crowd Sigd

Also, somewhat smaller crowds were out on the Haas Promenade.

Buses brought Ethiopian Israelis from all over Israel

to celebrate the annual event, a national holiday since 2008.

Ethiopian soldiers at Sigd

I love to see the young men in uniform,

three girls at Sigd

and the girls too.

But, Sigd is not just eating, dancing, and socializing.

Sigd began centuries ago in Ethiopia,

with leaders gathering on a mountaintop and praying to return to Zion.

Today they have returned.

Kessim at Sigd

 Kessim, religious leaders dressed in white,

Kessim at Sigd

were seated at this long dais and more

Kessim and umbrellas

were in the audience, under their colorful umbrellas.

Prayers and speeches by government officials are part of the day.

After President Reuven Rivlin spoke,

Rivlin at Sigd

he went down the line and shook hands with the dignitaries.

Only a small part of the crowd of thousands, mostly the elders,

crowd seated at Sigd

were seated, with politicians and dignitaries in front.

However, one woman caught my attention.

older woman praying

What was she thinking?

Did she remember Sigd from Ethiopia?

What had she gone through to get here?

view old city from Sigd

She stood during the speeches looking towards the Old City,

towards the Temple Mount in the distance.

Sigd has become one of my favorite events.

Interesting, both last year and in 2012,  I also wrote that

we were in the midst of “difficult times.”

Kessim under umbrella

I must find out what this is hair-like thing is,

 I noticed several of them this year.

two girls at Sigd on Tayelet

Sigd, where ancient blends with the modern,

selfie at Sigd

and the very modern customs and practices.

The program ended in the early afternoon.

Shabbat also starts very early

with just a few hours to prepare before it is dark.

View of Temple Mount from Tayelet

Wishing a Shabbat Shalom to all from Jerusalem,

where sometimes dreams do come true.

Shabat Shalom: Bitter and Sweet

Recently on Fridays,

there has been a simple Shabat Shalom poster,

but this was not a simple week,

this was a difficult week.

Har Nof

The walls in Har Nof were plastered with mourning posters.

On Thursday the streets were mostly empty and quiet,

the air was so clean, but it felt heavy.

image Har Nof

Cars filled the street in front of the synagogue,

where five men were murdered.

The shiva houses were overflowing, with standing room only.

Those paying sympathy could only walk by the mourners,

and some who knew the families said a word or two.

Many who came did not know either victim or their family personally.

I could not look at the couch filled with young boys

who had just lost their father in such a horrific way.

Instead of revenge one widow told me,

“we cannot change the Arabs,

but we have to change ourselves.”

They want unity of the Jewish people

and an end of sinat chinum.

Then,

Sigd 018b

as we drove home past Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

image Jerusalem Park

we saw a large group of young people who were enjoying a sports day.

image Jerusalem part

The weather was perfect for a family outing.

New security in Jerusalem, Israel after Arab murders

A balloon hovered above the Begin Center,

where Yehudah Glick was recently shot,

as segway riders went by on their tour,

image segway

and the next tour was getting ready in First Station.

image Hebrew sign

  A new sign announced an organic food market to open in the tourist location,

image First Station

but First Station was deserted at lunch time,

a sad sign of the events of this week.

But,

banner of Sigd celebration on Tayelet

at the same time on Haas Promenade in Armon Hanaziv

tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered for

their Sigd Holiday celebration.

Sigd 102b

Old

image man with Old City in background

and young

Ethiopian girls in IDF unifroms

and many more each year wearing IDF uniforms.

tayelet for Sigd

They enjoyed the weather and the day on the Tayelet.

 A beautiful day

image Sigd

for many family reunions,

Ethiopian family at Sigd

food and photos.

image Israel flag

Thousands celebrated just being in Jerusalem, Israel.

To end this crazy week,

we were at a simhat bat brunch today,

to celebrate birth of a new baby girl.

Besorot tovot were everyone’s parting words.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

In Jerusalem, Fulfilling the Zionist Dream

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.

image Sigd, Sigd photo, picture Sigd celebration

They would have seen the tens of thousands of Ethiopian

olim from all around Israel who came

image Sigd, photo Sigd, picutre Sigd on Tayelet

to the Tayelet, on the Sherover Promenade, to celebrate.

photo of Sigd, image Ehtiopian dancers. picture Sigd

There were young people doing traditional dances,

picture Ethiopian men, image Sigd, photo men at Sigd

elders sitting quietly, 

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Sigd holiday picture

and women in traditional white.

image Sigd, Sigd stage photo, picture Sigd stage

The main stage was filled with Kessim, the spiritual leaders, 

under their colorful umbrellas.

image Sigd with umbrella, photo Sigd, picture umbrella

 I am not sure why this one was not on stage.

image Sigd., Sigd photo crowd, picture crowd at Sigd

It was so crowded that only a few could actually see the stage,

and most did not even try.

image Ethiopian man at Sigd,, imge Sigd

Most people were walking and talking,

image food at Sigd, Sigd woman offering food, picture traditional food Sigd

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.

Ethiopian soldiers, Sigd celebration photo, image Sigd

Many faced poverty and discrimination,

image Sigd, photo Israeli soldiers, male and female soldiers

some walked through deserts from Ethiopia to get here,

and everyone had to learn about this new, strange culture and adjust to it.

However,

Sigd image, photo Sigd, Picture Ethiopians in

 some of my favorite scenes were of the young people in uniform,

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Ethoipians in

proud Israeli soldiers.

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Sigd holiday picture

Buses were lined up all around the area for most of the day.

image Arab woman, photo Arab woman walking, Israeli apartheid

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.