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November 3, 2013 3:20 pm

Ethiopian Jews Mark Ancient Holiday in Israel’s Capital

avatar by Anav Silverman / Tazpit News Agency

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Ethiopian Jews celebrating in Jerusalem. Photo: Inbal Gross / Tazpit News Agency.

JERUSALEM – On Thursday, thousands of Ethiopian Jews poured into Jerusalem to celebrate the Sigd holiday, a 2,500-year old tradition from Ethiopia. The date of the holiday falls exactly 50 days after Yom Kippur, and symbolizes the Jewish covenant of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Every year Israel’s Ethiopian community celebrates the holiday with a mass ceremony on the Armon Hanetziv Promenade overlooking the Old City and the Temple Mount, and a procession to the Western Wall – one of the most sacred sites for the Jewish people.

In Ethiopia, the holiday of Sigd, which means “prostration” or “worship” in Amharic, was a day of fasting and repentance. Jews would climb a local mountain to pray and carry the Ethiopian Torah, known as the Orit, which is comprised of the Five Book of Moses, writings of the Prophets, Songs of Songs, and Psalms, and excerpts from the book of Nehemiah.

In Israel, the holiday has taken on new meaning with Ethiopian Jewry marking the day with prayers for the Messiah and the building of the Third Temple. The holiday was made an Israeli national holiday in 2008, when Israel’s Knesset legislated the Sigd Law, declaring the 29th of Heshvan a national holiday.

Jerusalem’s newly re-elected mayor, Nir Barkat, Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Minister of Education Shai Piron, as well a number of MKs and religious figures including Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef were present at Thursday’s ceremony.

Deputy Religious Services Minister, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, told Tazpit News Agency that he blesses the aliyah of the Ethiopian Jewry to Israel. “The aliyah of Ethiopian Jews to Israel and their return to Jerusalem today is a light to all Jews.”

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  • Ami

    @ DACON,
    we do not have white jews-whites are Jabeths race not semites which is true for the negroid race of kush origin! The Ethiopians are the original Abrahamic seeds blessed by MelckZadiK-you judge them because of their impoverished status compared to the jabeth race converted to orit belief-yes that is how lucifer will declare to be the messiah because of his status in this world showing the riches and the glory of this world!
    Oh! My soul delights in the presence of God that rests in Zion-His seat is in the Ark of the covenant!

    showing grave stones of the star of DAVID with a cross in the center of it.
    I AM *NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT, I dont care who supposedly accepted them…they are NOT Jews.

    • Gembre

      I think you are wrong. We are jews.

      I think you should do some research before reciting what you saw on cable television. There is a convincing evidence for the Israel government to accept them as jews.

      Stop being a couch potato, and do some historical research on our history.

      God Bless Israel!

    • Mark

      No surprise, most non-Jews accuse authentic Jews as they are afraid of them. You are not Jewish

      “All families are presumed to be of legitimate descent . . . if a man casts aspersions upon other people’s descent, alleging that that certain families or individuals are of blemished descent or calling them bastards, there is justified suspicion that he himself might be blemished or bastard. . . .”
      ———Rambam, Mishneh Torah 19:17

  • hail Jews n we shall prevail as long God of Abraham is wth us.