SIGD Celebrated in Jerusalem

SIGD Celebrated in Jerusalem

Sigd is one of the most photo worthy, special annual events held in Jerusalem, Israel.

Tens of thousands Ethiopian-Israelis and others gathered at the Tayelet, Armon Hanatziv promenade, for the annual Sigd Festival gathering today. Prayers went from early morning through to breaking a fast at 2:00 pm.

Sigd in Jerusalem Israel

Crowds lined the path and filled gardens of the Tayelet with the Old City in view.

Men around Ethiopian holy book at Sigd in tayelet

Besides the main ceremony, men were gathered around their holy books.

View on Old City on Sigd with figures dressed as in time to Beit Hamikdash

These cutout figures were dressed as in Temple times.

Ethiopian Israeli man and woman with view of Jerusalem in background

Generations of Ethiopian-Israelis come together on Sigd.

Sigd Ethiopian festival in Jerusalem Israel

For thousands of years in Ethiopia, they dreamed of returning to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel women in costume for Sigd

For Sigd, smiles and colorful costumes were abundant.

Ethiopian Sigd holiday and women praying.

White clothing was worn by women dressed in old traditional outfits prayering.

Sigd prayers in Jerusalem Israel

These women were probably all born in Ethiopia, each must have a story of how they and families arrived in Israel.

Crowds were huge. Security was especially tight.

Jerusalem Israel Ethiopian Israeli rabbi Rav Shaul

But at least I got to see Rav Shaul and others arrive and enter, as I impatiently waited entry.

Kessim on stage for Sigd at Haas Promenade

Once in the very restricted area, this was view of the main stage with the Kessim under colorful umbrellas.

Ethiopian religious leaders Kessim in Jerusalem for Sigd

The prayers were still being chanted around noon.

Kessim at Sigd Jerusalem Israel

One man near the stage raised his hands in prayer.

Kessim shaking hands with President Rivlin at Sigd

President Rivlin reached up to shake hands with the Kessim as he proceeded to the stage to speak.

Ethiopian Israeli women walking to find bus home from Sigd

So many buses, from all over Israel were lined up, it was a long walk for these women to find their bus home. One was complaining in Hebrew about the distance, but I thought how much longer and difficult was the journey from Ethiopia to Israel.

Sigd was celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur by Ethiopian Jews going to the mountains yearning to return to Zion. On the top of the mountain, the faithful would pray and fast. At the conclusion of the prayers, the Kessim would break bread known as Dabu which symbolized the bread served in the Temple. Today in Jerusalem, Israel, Sigd was remembered looking toward the Old City and site of the Temple.

Here is a short video near the end of the prayer service.

More Sigd photos on Facebook HERE 

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Tuesday or Sunday, Election and Harvest Week in Jerusalem, Israel

Sunday.

One thing people mention they miss most living in Israeli is Sunday.

In Israel it is a regular week day, with school and work beginning bright and early Sunday morning.

No more Monday morning blues in Israel, by Monday evening the week feels half over.

View of Kotel and Har Habayit from Rova Jerusalem Israel

In Jerusalem on a Sunday we can enjoy special scenes like this one in Old City, but it’s not a day off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, was a national holiday, Election Day.

Elections for local governance and municipalities in Israel are held every 5 years.

Many olim joked that having this Tuesday off from work made it feel like Sunday.

Sadly in Jerusalem even though it was not a work day, the turnout was low.

Apathy with only a 30% voter turnout?

Ofer Berkovitch for Jerusalem Mayor

A runoff election is to be held in two weeks between Ofer Berkovitch and Moshe Lion.

Meanwhile, the future leadership of Jerusalem, Israel, is an unknown.

Line of tourists going into Jewish Quarter Old City Jerusalem Israel

Nevertheless, tourists keep coming by the tens of thousands. One part of a group in this photo was heading into the Old City near the Jewish Quarter.

Har Hazetim and view from Old City Jerusalem Israel

Seeing the grave stones on Har Hazetim, the Mount of Olives, with the Arab buildings up next to, and even on top of ancient Jewish graves, is another visual tourist experience.

Soldiers and tourist near Zion Gate in Jerusalem Israel entrance to Old City

Entering the Old City through Zion Gate, with its bullet-marked stone walls, is often the route for tourists and new IDF soldiers to learn history first hand.

The symbol of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a sword wrapped by an olive branch.

Olives and olive oil have connection to Eretz Yisrael going back thousands of years.

While elections are every five years, harvesting olives has been an annual event for centuries.

Jerusalem Israel President House Olive tree in back ground

There are 60 olive trees on the grounds of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Among other things I learned this week, olive trees can live 2,000 years.

So important is the harvesting of olives there is a special word for it in Hebrew, מסיק, masik.

Jerusalem Israel olive harvest

So this week after the first winter rain, President Rivlin invited olive growers to help him harvest the presidential olives.

Israel President at Biet Hanasi

President Rivlin and his wife Nechama came out to greet the invited guests, Arab, Jewish, religious, secular, of all ages, some seventh-generation farmers.

Those little orange rakes were good for official photographs.

But the serious harvesting was done by large electric tools.

Cat in garden of Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

And as usual in the Presidential gardens, the Presidential Cat was on guard supervising.

The fall season is not just for harvesting olives.

post for annual Oud Festival in Jerusalem Israel

The annual Oud Festival is coming up soon.

Sugganiot ready for Hanukah

And suffganiot, those Hanukkah donuts, are appearing and disappearing from bakery shelves.

Jerusalem Israel message of support with Pittsburgh on walls of Old City

And with all this happening, a shadow over this past week was cast by the unthinkable events in Pittsburgh which we learned about after Shabbat here in Jerusalem. As young people gathered Sunday night to sing Hebrew sad songs in Zion Square, this message of support was shown on the walls of the Old City.

Up-down, another roller coaster week, but if you want to end on a positive note, meet one of Israel’s proud olive growers.

Not everyone in Israel wants to go into hi-tech, some still believe in value of agriculture.

The sun is shining, the weather cooling, and it’s a great time to get out and walk around to see what else is happening in Jerusalem, but watch out for those black overripe olives that have fallen on sidewalks.

Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

The Jewish holidays fall early this year.

Upon turning the calendar page to September, one finds that Rosh Hashana is only a week way.

Not sure where the summer went or how the time flew so fast.

Children are back in school and holiday preparations have begun.

Gan Sacher new area with cafe and landscaping.

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is getting a major make-over.

The new cafe should be finished for holiday crowds.

Emek Refaim Shir Chadash pre-Selihot music Yehudah Katz

Music is filling the streets and concert halls.

Shir Chadash Synagogue on Emek Refaim sponsored a musical performance by Yehuda Katz.

Listen to a minute from the after-Shabbat performance in this video.

Night time in Yemin Moshe stairs

The streets of Yemin Moshe were quiet at night.

But inside the Yemin Moshe synagogue, the Solomon Brothers were leading selichot, the pre-Rosh Hashana prayers.

Newly painted lions before holidays in Jerusalem Israel

The twin lions in the Jewish Quarter near the steps to the Kotel, Western Wall, got a new coat of paint before the holidays. The next day, the eyes and detailing were added.

New elevator at Western Wall, steps blocked.

With construction for a new elevator access, the regular steps are blocked.

They had better work fast here before the holiday crowds arrive.

Night at Kotel, before Rosh Hashana night of selihos

The moon was a brilliant orange color in the sky over the Kotel.

A bit of the sounds of the night. Amazing how fast the moon had moved, I tried to get in in the video and did not succeed.

Though it was approaching midnight, people were coming and going, but there were no overflow crowds.

Night time at Western Wall Kotel, egalitarian area Robinson's Arch empty

The Robinson’s Arch area was empty as usual when I went to check.

Heichel Shlomo crowd on night of selichot

However, at Heichal Shlomo, the overflow crowd was also at the back door trying to get inside.

The Old City and the Great Synagogue were not where the crowds were for the first night of these selichot prayers. They were at First Station.

Takana Rishona at night

Walking past the vendor stands and restaurants of First Station, in the Hangar

Selihot in Jerusalem Israel with Yitzhak Meir at Takana Rishona

Yitzhak Meir was leading a musical selichot service.

His following has grown over the past few years, with a larger venue each year.

Crowd at First Station for Selichot

Thousands attended in the Hangar as he sang with musical accompaniment.

This was not your grandfather’s service, mumbling the words after midnight in a small shul.

Jerusalem Mayoral candidates dancing at Selihot

You may not see this again, but approaching the New Year, Jerusalem mayoral candidates danced together at the conclusion of selichot. 

Jerusalem mayor candidates holding hands

The race could get nasty after the holidays, but at least for one night, the candidates joined hands and were singing and dancing together. These photos are screen shots from You Tube video.

Politicians were out the first day of school to be photographed with children going back to class.

Rosh Hashana sign near Old City

Summer is over. Shana tova signs are up.

Second hand sale Yad2Fair in Jerusalem

It’s buying and selling season in stores, at second hand fairs on Jerusalem, Israel streets,

Man selling linen on Jerusalem Israel street before holiday

and from pop-up vendors of all sort of housewares for preparing for holidays.

Jerusalem street sign from FoZ for shana tova

From huge holiday wishes from Friends of Zion,

Rosh Hashana gift basket

to the Shana Tova gift basket I found at my door,

Sign for erev Rosh Hashana at Takana Rishona

and another evening of selihot and prayers at First Station, many are the signs of Jerusalem preparing for New Year.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah on porch

And yes already a week before Rosh Hashana, the first sukka was spotted.

Up on this porch, a family is prepared and ready in Mea Shearim,

Shana tova שנה טובה on side of building in Jerusalem Israel

At least for now, the faces of candidates for mayor are down, and holiday greetings are up.

Wishing all a successful school year and a very good New Year 5779.

שנה טובה וכתיבה וחתימה טובה