Every year on the 50th day after Yom Kippur, Ethiopian Jews mark Sigd, a unique Ethiopian Jewish fast day, with prayers and Torah readings. The holiday, which means “prostration” in Ethiopia’s Ge’ez language, marks the day when, according to the Ethiopian Jewish tradition, God first revealed himself to Moses.
On Sigd, Ethiopian Jews symbolically re-accept the Torah.
In Israel, where the majority of Ethiopian Jews have settled in the last three decades, the Ethiopian Jewish community has grown to more than 100,000.
Throughout Germany and a few other European countries where the Nazis reigned during World War II, German artist Gunter Demnig has installed several thousand Stolpersteine — “stumbling stones” — in city sidewalks in memory of victims (and in a few cases, survivors) of the Holocaust.
This week there are 11 fewer Stolpersteine.
On Kristallnacht last week, the anniversary of the 1938 Nazi-orchestrated “Night of Broken Glass,” police in Greifswald discovered that all its stumbling stones were missing.
This week marked the beginning of the end — the end of Ethiopian Jews’ millennia-old dream to settle in Israel.
Three decades after Operation Solomon, a covert Israeli operation, started to bring the first of thousands of the African country’s Jews to the Promised Land, Israel on Monday brought some 240 members of the Falash Mura, Ethiopian Jews whose forebears had converted to Christianity a century ago. They arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on a charter flight.
On a small, circular reflecting pool in the center of Berlin, across from the Reichstag parliament building, a memorial to some of the often-forgotten victims of the Third Reich was dedicated last week.
Last Tuesday evening there was a presidential debate and a Yankees playoff game. But more than 250 people turned out at Park Avenue Synagogue to hear, and participate in, a discussion on “The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Judaism,” a major work published last spring by the Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinic arm of the movement.
In Israel, you don’t have to look at a calendar to know that Sukkot is approaching.
You just have to look around.
In the Jewish state, the Jewish festival of booths — the literal meaning of Sukkot — makes its presence felt in every street, in every courtyard, in every field, on every rooftop. In every empty space that is open to the sky.