Sigd Holy Day At The Western Wall in Jerusalem

Sigd, a Holy Day originally unique to the Jewish Ethiopian community, is marked every year on 29 Mar Cheshvan (this year the date corresponds to 14 November 2012).  The Israeli Knesset voted to include it in the official State Holiday calendar in 2008.  Since then the Sigd Holiday’s history, traditions and ceremonies have been included in the educational system’s curriculum.
The Holy Day includes a half day fast, and special prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple.  Originally, the Sigd Holy Day was a celebration marking the giving of the Torah and expressing the Ethiopians yearning for Zion.  In Ethiopia the community observed Sigd with a half-day fast and a pilgrimage to the top of the nearest mountain. On the mountain top the Kessim (the Ethiopian Community’s Priests) chanted from the Torah and lead communal prayer.  Since the mid-1980s, when large numbers of the Jewish Ethiopian community immigrated to Israel, it has also includes special prayers of Thanksgiving for the right of being returned to the Land of Israel as well as memorial prayers for those who began the march home from Ethiopia through Sudan but who did not survive.
The tradition favored by Ethiopian Jewry is that they are descended from Menelik the son born to King Solomon through his marriage to Queen Sheba, therefore the photographs of my Israeli-Ethiopian sisters celebrating Sigd at the Western Wall in Jerusalem are accompanied by verses from Shir HaShirim (The Song of Songs)…this is to honor their courage, strength and gentle beauty…as well as to wish the Israeli-Ethiopian Community a Happy Sigd 2012!  
“We will recall your love more fragrant than wine; they have loved you sincerely.” (Shir HaShirim 1:4)
“I am black but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem! Like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.” (Shir HaShirim 1:5) 
“Behold, you are comely, my beloved; you are comely; your eyes are like doves.” (Shir HaShirim 1:15)
“Behold, you are comely, my beloved, yea pleasant; also our couch is leafy.” (Shir HaShirim 1:16)
and finally in order to honor the elder Kessim “The beams of our houses are cedar; our corridors are cypresses.” (Shir HaShirim 1:17) 
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