Village Way communities plan special festivities in observance of Sigd Ethiopian holiday.
Sigd is an Ethiopian Jewish holiday celebrated on the 29th of Cheshvan, exactly 50 days after Yom Kippur. Since 2006, it is recognized as a national holiday for all Israels.
Each year, at Yemin Orde Youth Village and in Village Way Educational Initiatives partner communities, youth and educators participate in community-wide parades, special meals, prayers and live performances depicting the meaning of this holiday, which marks the return of the Ethiopian Jewish community to Jerusalem.
Holidays and traditions are celebrated as one inclusive community at Yemin Orde and in Village Way partner educational communities. In this way, youth learn from each other and develop knowledge and respect for different traditions and beliefs.
“In order to build a strong home for the future, you need to consider and remember the past. Just as we remember where we came from in Egypt, for the Passover holiday, we also need to remember where the Ethiopians came from and the meaning of Sigd. We look to the past to build our future,” said Shmuli Bing, Director, Yemin Orde Youth Village.
At Yemin Orde, youth performed an original play that depicted life in Ethiopia and how they yearned for Jerusalem. The play also reflected life in Israel today and compared it with the dream of coming to Israel with the everyday realities of actually living in Israel. Youth discussed the importance of remembering the past and to be proud that, today, they are both Israeli and Ethiopian.
Sigd is celebrated in other communities
At Ort Adivi Ashkelon High School, a Village Way partner community, Sigd is celebrated throughout the school environment. Special Ethiopian dishes are served for meals, students wore traditional Ethiopian dress, and the rhythmic Amharic music was played throughout the school day. The Sigd celebration program was developed years ago during the school’s Village Way integration process and has become school tradition, involving students, parents, teachers, and the local community.
During the program, the father of one of the school’s students shared the story of his immigration to Israel, and a student shared about the special trip to Ethiopia he took with classmates. One of the educators also shared the story of his own immigration to Israel with his family.
“We, at our educational community, believe in the connection to the past, tradition and roots, and we are so proud of our students for connecting with this tradition,” said another educator from the school.