At Yemin Orde Youth Village, youth and staff unite to celebrate the Ethiopian festival of Sigd.
The Sigd holiday is an ancient festival of the Ethiopian Jewish community which is celebrated 50 days following Yom Kippur. The community marks the renewal of the covenant between the Jewish people, God and Torah.
The government of Israel declared Sigd a national holiday in 2008.
At Yemin Orde Youth Village, youth and staff celebrate Sigd together – as one global community. In this way, at-risk youth have opportunity to learn about other cultures and develop respect and understanding for the different traditions in Israel and in our world.
The Village’s youth dress in traditional Ethiopian clothing, dance, sing, pray and perform original plays that tell the story of Ethiopian ancestors who made the arduous journey to reach the Promised Land of Israel. Traditionally, tens of thousands from the Ethiopian-Israeli community, of all ages from all over the country, gather in Jerusalem to pray and celebrate the Sigd holiday.
Sigd festival is a multi-cultural celebration at Yemin Orde
During the festivities, some youth dress as Kessim (Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders) and wear white traditional robes. They carry the Torah scrolls and stand on an elevated stage to read excerpts from the Bible and recite prayers before members of the community.
The rest of the Village assembles around the Kessim, many dressed in traditional robes and carrying colorful umbrellas. A traditional Ethiopian meal is prepared in the Village’s dining room and served to the delight of everyone.
During Sigd, Yemin Orde’s youth perform original play with singing and dancing
At Yemin Orde Youth Village, each year youth perform an original play for the community that tells the story of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community, its connection to Jerusalem and commitment to Jewish unity in the Land of Israel. Our youth sing original songs and traditional Ethiopian dances.
“Two girls, who had never performed in front of an audience before, sang a song about coming to Jerusalem in both Amharic and Hebrew. This multi-cultural composition combined everything that is contained in our Village – tradition, unity and lots of love!
“said Yemin Orde’s music director. ”
Village Way Educational Initiatives partner communities throughout Israel also mark the Sigd holiday with special celebrations in their individual youth villages and schools.