One of the most fascinating and difficult parts of Israel is that there is a common religion and nationality for 80% of the civilians, Judaism, but thousands of years in diaspora has led to multiple cultures, languages, and ways to practice Judaism. The desire to keep traditional practices while also being part of the larger Israeli society and being accepted by the Rabbinate in Israel, has caused difficulties for the Ethiopian-Israeli community. Sigd, a Jewish holiday traditionally observed in Ethiopia, provides an opportunity to glimpse the current state of affairs for Ethiopian-Israelis. … More Sigd in Ethiopia & Israel
Today’s participant blog post comes from Daniel Hammerman, a participant in the Yahel Social Change Program. Dan’s group is living, learning and volunteering in Lod, Israel for 9 months this year. This post was taken from Dan’s personal blog, which can be found here. We have all heard the saying, “you can’t fully understand a person until you’ve walked … More Israel – A Land of Connections and Divisions
What is community? This question may seem easy to answer, or maybe it may seem far too abstract to be worth entertaining, or maybe it may even seem irrelevant given our placement in society. However, based on my experiences during a seminar trip, I can say that community is both something profoundly beautiful and challenging all at the same time. I believe many of us in today’s society take community for granted—I know I certainly have. There are groups that we all in some way belong to, with or without or choosing, but a community is something unique in virtue of it being of our own creation and intimate participation. Our first exposure to community took place during the observance of the Sigd holiday, which comes from Ethiopian Jewry. … More Community
In Israel, I have been fortunate enough to have several incredible families to adopt me. In Lod, I found a new family to also adopt me. My host family, the Ankorys have made this new city feel more like home, accepting my lack of Hebrew with a smile and excitement to teach me and improve their English. They literally live around the corner from me which makes going to Shabbat dinner easy and delicious. One of my new favorite foods is this couscous soup that their grandmother brought from Tunisia that is so good that I had to learn the Hebrew word for yummy to describe it (ta-im)! The grandparents immigrated from Tunisia in the midst of the war, the grandfather moving first to Israel and the grandmother following after. … More Treasures
In all, the night showed the importance of having pride in your roots, as there is so much beauty and power in the cultures and histories of each ethnicity. Sometimes though, what kids need most in order to be influenced to see this is young role models–whether its those at the community center, a young rabbi, or their youth group “representative.” … More Role Models and The Sigd
For those who may not know, I am currently in training to serve for the year as a volunteer community organizer in the developing Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion, Israel. The community is largely comprised of Jewish Ethiopian immigrants, many of whom came to Israel by way of the covert Israeli military evacuations of Ethiopian Jews from both Sudan and Ethiopia (due to famine in Sudan and political instability in Ethiopia). Operation Moses, the mass evacuation from Sudan, occurred in 1984, while Operation Solomon took place in 1991. As a result, much of the millennial and post-millennial generations of Ethiopian Jews in Israel are first-generation Israelis, and in the short time that I have been here, I am already starting to pick up on the subtle cultural identity divide between the native Ethiopian parents and their Israeli-born children. … More A Beautiful Metaphor
In the states, Yom Kippur is a whisper. We fast, attend services, and reflect on the past year’s transgressions and our intentions for the future. But the world keeps going on around us, so it is easy to get distracted by our daily lives. The significance of the day is a murmur caught up in the chatter of our surroundings.
In Israel, Yom Kippur is a deep, whooshing breath that you hold in your chest for a whole day. Everything around stands still for the holiest day of the year– there are no cars on the road, no people in the streets, and all business doors are closed. The silence forces you to observe deliberately, and reflection becomes a necessity rather than an afterthought.
When was the last time your entire world stood still?
For us, Yom Kippur began with Arab music. … More Yom Kippur Was…
This blog was written by Ben Sousa. Ben is one of the amazing participants on the Yahel Social Change Program this year. You can read his blog here. So tonight was an experience I doubt I would have gotten to have through any ordered series of events. It all started when the two Rachels and I … More Lamah Loh?: The Philosophy of the Night
This post was written by Dana Larsen. Dana was a participant on this summer’s Yahel Repair the World Onward Israel Service-learning Initiative in Be’er Sheva. As the New Year approaches, I reminded of how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to live and engage in service learning in such an incredible place, surrounded by remarkable people. For six weeks … More A New Kind of Family
Photos are representations of things we’ve seen and places we’ve been. They reveal feelings through images; these images depict the texture of my Israel. Sigd was an important event for it taught me more about my Ethiopian Israeli neighbors. I could feel the importance of this holiday by going to Jerusalem to celebrate it.