• Ethiopian Jewish men donning tefillin at morning prayer service, Gondar Province

    Ethiopian Jewish men donning tefillin at morning prayer service, Gondar Province

    Jack Vainunska
  • Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers and sons prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers and sons prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
  • Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers and sons prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers and sons prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
  • Two young Ethiopian olim prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Two young Ethiopian olim prepare leather straps for tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
  • Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers help ther sons put on tefillin

    Together, new immigrant Ethiopian fathers help ther sons put on tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
  • Together, new immigrant Ethiopian father alongside son with first pair of tefillin

    Together, new immigrant Ethiopian father alongside son with first pair of tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
  • New immigrant Ethiopian father helps son don first pair of tefillin

    New immigrant Ethiopian father helps son don first pair of tefillin

    Rafi Trabelsi
Aliyah

New Ethiopian olim construct first tefillin

In a moving ceremony, new Ethiopian immigrants donned phylacteries for the first time ever -- ones that they made themselves

TZFAT, ISRAEL - At a recent event held at the 500-year-old Ari synagogue in the Old City, in the northern Galilee town of Tzfat, 22 new olim were surrounded by proud mothers in traditional Ethiopian dress, family and friends, as their fathers aided them in taking on the religious garb of manhood - tefillin.

In the several week-long project, fathers and sons together constructed the two boxes that house the slips of sacred parchment, painted the two pairs of black leathers straps wound around forehead and forearm, and diligently learned the halachot (Jewish instruction) concerning the daily prayers and customs connected with the act.

The youth are currently housed at the IDF's klita (immigrant absorption) base in the mountaintop town, the ancient seat of the study of Jewish mysticism - kabbala.

The project and event were sponsored by The Jewish Agency for Israel, and the United Jewish Israel Appeal of Great Britain, with guidance by community rabbinic leaders who were on hand at the joyous ceremony.

 

31 Jan 2013 / 20 Shevat 5773 0
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Rafi Trabelsi is among the most veteran members of the The Jewish Agency in Tzfat, and is a resident of the city