Israeli women from the Ethiopian Jewish community pray during the Sigd holiday marking the desire to ‘return to Jerusalem’, as they celebrate from a hilltop in the holy city overlooking the Temple Mount, on November 16, 2017. Sigd used to mark the aspirations of Ethiopian Jews to go to Jerusalem and nowadays the festivity is celebrated in Jerusalem with thousands of Ethiopians from all over Israel congregating to pray together, led by their religious leaders, the ‘Kessim’ who recites prayers while they overlook the old city of Jerusalem. / AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON

Sigd: Celebrating the History and Culture of Ethiopian Jewry

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This coming week, the Ethiopian Jewish community will celebrate Sigd, an ancient holiday that is observed 50 days after Yom Kippur. “Sigd” means “prostration” in Ge’ez, an ancient Ethiopian liturgical language, and is related to the Aramaic word “sged” (“to prostrate oneself”). Historically, on Sigd, Jews living in Ethiopia would mark the renewal of the covenant between God and the Jewish people and pray to return to Jerusalem.

Now that a majority of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, the community marks this holiday by gath...

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