update deskIsrael at War

Despite war, Ethiopian Israelis celebrate Sigd holiday

The holiday celebrates the Ethiopian Jewish community's yearning to return to Israel and affirm their connection to Jerusalem.

Ethiopian Israelis and their spiritual leaders gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sigd, Nov. 13, 2023. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS.
Ethiopian Israelis and their spiritual leaders gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sigd, Nov. 13, 2023. Photo by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS.

In the shadow of Israel’s war against Hamas and in accordance with Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command directives, hundreds of Ethiopians gathered in Jerusalem on Monday to celebrate Sigd.

The holiday, which originated in Ethiopia’s Jewish community hundreds of years ago, celebrates their yearning to return to Israel and affirm their connection to Jerusalem.

Sigd takes place 50 days after Yom Kippur, and is recognized by the Knesset as a national holiday.

Sigd comes from the Aramaic word sged which means to prostrate oneself, as in prayer.

Earlier this year, the Israeli government approved a plan to extend and update its plan to integrate citizens of Ethiopian descent. 

In approving the proposal, submitted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government aims to continue accelerating the integration of the immigrant community, numbering around 160,000, or almost two percent of the country’s population.

A total budget of some $66 million will be allocated for 2023-2024 to various government ministries and the Government Urban Renewal Authority to implement the plan, which is based on the insights and achievements of the 2017-2023 government plan for the integration of Israelis of Ethiopian descent.

The goals include continuing to integrate Ethiopian Israelis into military service, closing the income gap and increasing trust between the community and the government, among other aims.

Netanyahu announced in May the creation of a ministerial-level committee to address the needs of the country’s Ethiopian community.

“I am aware that there are additional challenges, but this committee is the tool to continue advancing our brothers and sisters from the Ethiopian community. I know that it will receive the cooperation of all ministries, as has been the case up until now,” said Netanyahu.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates