Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a holiday greeting to the Ethiopian community in honor of the upcoming Sigd holiday, which is celebrated on the 29th of the Jewish month of Heshvan – this year, November 26:
“My brothers, members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, I would like to greet you on the Sigd festival, the special holiday for the Ethiopian community, that symbolizes the covenant and the yearning to return to the Land of Israel.
While you have been celebrating this holiday for hundreds of years, it has received a different significance upon your return to the Land of Israel. Naturally, you have continued to celebrate it here, as we all celebrate the Jewish holidays. I am especially proud that the Knesset has adopted the Sigd festival as an official holiday like all of our holidays from the various communities, which together constitute the mosaic of the tribes of Israel.
Almost 30 years have passed since the beginning of the large scale immigration of the Ethiopian community and alongside prime ministers such as Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, I am proud to have had – and still have – the privilege of bringing members of the community to Israel and to see to their social welfare, their absorption and their becoming part of Israeli society.
I know that the way to the State of Israel and absorption in it has not always been easy and even today members of the community are finding certain things difficult, and we are trying to help them. However, integration has been impressive and it is encouraging; it gives the essence to this idea of returning to Zion and combining the absorption of the tribes of Israel.
We will continue to work towards the absorption and strengthening of the Ethiopian community in Israel and we will continue to celebrate our holiday, the Sigd festival.”
Sigd is celebrated 50 days after Yom Kippur and symbolizes the acceptance of the Ethiopian Jewish community – also known as Beta Israel – of the Torah.
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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