Ethiopian spiritual leaders go on hunger strike

December 4, 2011 10:35


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Hundreds of Ethiopian spiritual leaders arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday to protest the state's refusal to officially recognize them as religious authorities, Army Radio reported.

They set up protest tents across from the Prime Minister's Office and began a hunger strike that they plan to continue until they receive recognition and rights as spiritual leaders of the community from the state.

The Ethiopian kessim have no Orthodox rabbinic training but were spiritual leaders for thousands of years in Ethiopia.

The Kessim have received no recognition from the state, despite performing weddings and brit mila (circumcision) ceremonies for the Ethiopian community.

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