Few people notice when a delegation of visitors comes to Yad Vashem, when the members lay wreaths and stand silently and view the photographs of Nazi atrocity during the Holocaust. One delegation that visited Yad Vashem the other day drew notice — a group of French imams, leaders of their country’s Islamic community.
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.