Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Sigd

The following was shared by photographer Yehoshua Levi, a wonderful photographer in Israel…  (photo is not his)

This week, 237 new Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Tel Aviv from Addis Ababa during operation Wings of the Dove, in perhaps the final evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Their arrival was timed perfectly to coincide with the celebration of Sigd, one of the holiest days of the year for the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Sigd, an Amharic word meaning “worship” or “prostration,” marks the date God first revealed himself to Moses, according to Ethiopian Jewish tradition.

It is celebrated annually on the 29th of Cheshvan, exactly 50 days after Yom Kippur, which also happens to be today. During the celebration, members of the community fast, recite Psalms, and gather in Jerusalem for readings from the Orit, the Ethiopian Torah.

It is an official holiday in Israel, given recognition by the Israeli Knesset in 2008. The celebration itself is a photographer’s paradise, with lots of color, ritual, and hundreds of friendly and willing subjects.

(Photographer Yehoshua writes…) I have had the opportunity to photograph the Ethiopian Jewish community on numerous assignments for the Jewish Agency. What is always striking is the stark difference between the generations. Older immigrants hold on to much of their traditional customs and style of dress while the younger generation quickly adopts a more western appearance.

Every community of the Jewish people brings wonderful holy traditions with them.

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