On the Holiday of Sigd, Ethiopian Jews Remember Generations Past, and Yearn for Future Redemption

Today, the 29th day of the Hebrew month of Ḥeshvan, is the Ethiopian Jewish festival of Sigd, which Israel made into a national holiday in 2008. Shula Mola explains its significance, and her own associations with the day:

I have a powerful memory of my last Sigd in Ethiopia in November 1983. Sigd is a holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish community which takes place 50 days after Yom Kippur each year. Sigd celebrates our connection to Jerusalem; the entire village would go up the nearby mountain—men, women, and children—dressed in our best festive clothes for a day of fasting and prayer. The Kessoch, our religious leaders, read verses from the Torah and prayed for a return to Zion.

I remember many other things from that Sigd. For example, I can still see a woman sitting to the side and scattering grains of wheat on the ground while lamenting in a whisper and crying. At that time I did not really understand what she was doing. Today I know that it was part of the observance of Sigd. On this day we also prayed for the release of the souls of the dead, sprinkling grains of wheat or teff flour for birds to eat so they would fly our prayers to heaven. The holiday of Sigd is not only a gathering of the living, but also a day to remember and be reunited with those that have passed.

The heart of Sigd is in the renewal of the covenants between a person and God, a person and the community, and a person and society.

Read more at Jewish Book Council

More about: Ethiopian Jews, Jerusalem, Jewish holidays

 

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University