Ingathering of exiles

sigd 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sigd 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Thousands of Israelis of Ethiopian origin from throughout the country gathered Monday at the Sherover Promenade for the annual celebration of the Sigd, a holiday that affirms Ethiopian Jews' connection to Torah and their longing for Zion. In Jerusalem asked several of the celebrants what the day meant to them. Yonatan Toroneh, a high-school student in the Ort Naval high school in Ashdod: "It's a holiday that brings joy to the community." Gadi Yitbarach, 25, a student at Tech Careers - Computer Training Center for Ethiopian Jews - who lives in Petah Tikva and comes every year: "It gives the young people a feeling of belonging…. You're asking if I feel I belong [to Israeli society]? Not really. When I tell people I'm studying computers they say, 'Wow!' I hope there will come a time when people won't be astounded that a member of our community - or any community - is studying such a profession." Uri Yimtza: "It givers me a feeling that I won't forget our tradition. Neither I nor my children. We won't forget." Nanu Tefara, 60+, from Rehovot kisses her fingertips and raises them and her glowing eyes skyward: (in Amharic) "It's such a strong happiness, that it's impossible to describe." Mulu Maharat, 21, from Pardes Hanna: "It does my heart good to come once a year to Jerusalem, to pray, to hear the kessim. It's exciting. The best." Yosef Ayalu, 14, from Rehovot, a sabra attending for the first time: "Fun!"