Written and Photographed by: Lior- the boarding school director
On Sunday night, we celebrated the 'Sigd' Holiday at Ben Yakir youth aliyah village. 'Sigd' (prostration or bowing down in Amharic) symbolizes the agreement between G-d and the 'Beita Yisrael'. This takes place exactly 50 days after Yom Kippur.
We opened the celebration with a parade led by the 'kase' (the Ethiopian chief rabbi) - Metuku. He carried the Torah, and following him, marching, singing and dancing, were all of the village youth, together with their parents who came to celebrate with us. Inside the synagogue, the 'kase' continued to lead the prayers. He spoke words of strength to the village students, and lit candles to honor the memory of those who suffered hardships, and did not make it to the land of Israel.
Yossi Kroithaimer, the director of the village, told the story of Operation Solomon, when he and his staff at the Faye Shank school, were asked to prepare the Diplomat Hotel for the absorption of the new immigrants in total secrecy.
Afterwards everyone entered the dining hall, where a Holiday dinner was assembled with traditional Ethiopian food- 'enghara', 'dabu', and 'ababa kilu'. Asher Seyum, who immigrated from Ethiopia, who served as a member of the village staff for nine years, and who currently serves as the director of the southern and Jerusalem regions for the immigration and absorption department for the Jewish Agency for Israel, spoke to the students and told his personal life story - from the time he was a boy, when he served as a shepherd in Ethiopia, and along his long and fascinating journey to the land of Israel, up to his life today, working as an educator in Israel.
At the conclusion of the evening the oldest students led the crowd in dancing to the best traditional Ethiopian folklore songs.
'This is how we continue annually to mark the Holiday that began in the days of Ezra and Nehemia. …And they stood upright in their places, they were reading from the book of the law of their God… (Nechemia 9:3)'