Posts Tagged ‘ethiopian jews’

“Shalom, Mirembe!”

 
The Abayudaya Jewish Community of Uganda and Israeli artist Irene Orleansky partnered to create “Shalom, Mirembe!” as part of a music collection from Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia. For more information and to purchase the CD visit www.ireneorleanskyo.com The participating Jewish communities receive all proceeds from CD sales.

Lead singers – Irene Orleansky, J.J. Keki, and Rachman Nagwere
Dance – Hope Cultural Troupe
Drums – Jerry Marotta
Mix – Kirill Malahov at Music Brothers Records
Mastering – Donal Whelan at Mastering World Studios
Video – Hannah Nemer

Back vocals — Rachel Nagudi, Irene Orleansky, David Kababala, Rachman Nagwere, J.J. Keki
Stick — Irene Orleansky
Xylophone — Sula Gidenyi, Ali Walufu
African drums — Amram Kadosi, Joshua Adjah Anang,
African percussion – Joshua Adjah Anang, Irene Orleansky

New CD Release: Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia

3869086_origThe CD Music of Israelites and Jews of Africa and Asia is the result of Irene Orleansky’s  fascinating two-year journey through Africa and Asia. Equipped with a mobile studio, Irene visited nine Israelite and Jewish communities sometimes at distant and dangerous places to record music with the communities’ artists.

The story of the lost tribes started in the 7th century BC in the lands of Aramea and the Kingdom of Israel when the Assyrians invaded the Northern lands and deported ten Israelite tribes of the Northern Kingdom, thus starting the longest exile in the history of mankind. For many centuries those tribes were considered lost, until the last centuries, when technological developments in transport and communication revealed what had been previously hidden.

wj_africa-matzah2_042508The Ethiopian Jews of the tribe of Dan made an epic return when Israel airlifted them in Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1991; Bene Israel of India, supposedly of the tribe of Zebulon, returned to Israel between 1948 and 1969. Right now thousands of Bnei Menashe are coming back home from North-Eastern India and Burma. Still there are thousands of descendants of the lost tribes of Israel who remain in the lands of their exile and thousands more to be rediscovered yet. In her journey, Irene was privileged to witness and actively participate in fulfilling the Biblical prophecy, the return of the lost tribes of Israel,  and to discover unique  music and culture of her long lost brothers and sisters.

While traveling, Irene saw hardship, poverty and discrimination that many of the Jewish communities in Africa and Asia encounter in their daily lives, and decided to turn it into a charity project to raise funds to support those communities in need.

All the money earned from the sales of the album will be spread among the communities to support their music and arts. By buying the CD, you are supporting the Jewish and Israelite communities in Africa and Asia. PURCHASE HERE!

Update your calendars. We DO have a holiday during the month Cheshvan!

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SIGD CELEBRATION , SUNDAY NOVEMBER 3rd @1pm.St. Nicholas Park 135th Street HARLEM, NYC. Join the Beta Israel Community as we celebrate the SIGD Festival.

The National Holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish Sigd

The Knesset legislated the Sigd Law-2008, declaring the 29th of Heshvan as a national holiday. Sigd is a holiday of Ethiopian Jewry, the community named “Beta Israel.” The name of the holiday is derived from the Hebrew word for bowing or prostration, “sgida”.

Sigd is celebrated on the 29th of Heshvan – 50 days following Yom Kippur (similar to the holiday of Shavuot, celebrated 50 days after Passover), and the community rejoices for the renewal of the alliance between the people, God, and His Torah.

In Ethiopia, the community used to gather from all distant villages to celebrate communally. The day prior to the holiday was used for carrying out special prayers to welcome the following day and for washing their festive clothing. The Kes (spiritual leader) would prepare cow and sheep meat for the feast to be held to end the holiday, during which the community fasted.

The Sigd ceremony was held on a high mountain, considered to be pure due to its resemblance to Mt. Sinai on which Moses was given the Torah. Elder members of the community would climb up to the place of prayer and ensure its purity and strengthen its surrounding fence, in front of which they would prepare the area to place the Torah scroll. Early in the morning, the community would bathe in the river and gather at the prayer house. The Kes would then extract the Torah to the sounds of singing and cries of happiness and lead the crowd up the mountain. Some of those present would carry with them a rock symbolizing their surrender before God and as a sign of regret for their sins.

The ceremony opens with the Kes reading excerpts from the Bible, spoken in Ge’ez and translated to Amharic. The excerpts included: Receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai (Exodus, 19-20), Nehemiah’s ceremony for renewal of the alliance with those returning from the Babylonian exile (Nehemiah, 8-9), and excerpts from the books of Leviticus, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Psalms. Furthermore, the Kes would pray and accompany their service with sermons and preaching.

During the ceremony the members of the community would kneel, bow and direct their hands at the sky. This was followed by an interval of trumpets, while saying: “As we have had the fortune to celebrate the holiday this year, we shall have the fortune to hold it in Jerusalem in the next year.” The prayers following these words expressed joy, comfort and their hope for the return to Zion and the building of Jerusalem. The participants would return to the prayer house in the afternoon to hold a festive meal, accompanied with songs and dance.

Ethiopian Sigd Festival – a religious worship in Jerusalem: Slideshow


Today, as the majority of the Ethiopian Jewish community has made Aliyah to the State of Israel, members of the community make their way to Jerusalem, to the Wailing Wall and to the promenade at the “Armon Hanatziv” neighborhood in the city. The holiday serves as an annual gathering of the entire Ethiopian community and they see it as a chance to strengthen their affinity to their history and culture.

The Kessim carry the Bible holding colorful umbrellas. They stand on top of a stage to read the excerpts and prayers before the community. Many officials come and greet the audience, while the crowd continues to observe their fast until late in the afternoon.

sigd

Live and Become (Va, Vis et Deviens) , directed by Radu Mihaileanu (2005, France/Belgium/Italy/Israel, 140 min., in Hebrew/French/Amharic with English subtitles, 35mm)

Radu Mihaileanu directs this magnificent, epic story of an Ethiopian boy who is airlifted from a Sudanese refugee camp to Israel in 1984 during Operation Moses. Although Shlomo grows up and thrives as an adoptive son of a loving family, he is plagued by two big secrets: He is neither a Jew nor an orphan, just an African boy who survived. Three different actors, including, as the adult Shlomo, Sirak M. Sabahat, who made his own trek across Ethiopia to an airlift to Israel, portray Shlomo at various stages of his life. Israeli actress Yaël Abaccasis and French actor Roschdy Zem movingly portray his adoptive parents.

Said New York Times film critic Stephen Holden: “… Live and Become exerts a tidal pull. It makes you feel the weight of history, of populations on the move in a restless multicultural world. It makes you reconsider cultural assimilation, a process that may seem to be complete but whose underlying conflicts may never be fully resolved.”

Live and Become won the Audience Award for Best Feature Fiction at the 2005 Boston Jewish Film Festival, where actor Sirak M. Sabahat was present. It also won the Prize of the Ecumenical July at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival and a César (French Academy Award) for Best Screenplay.

Enjoy a memorable Shabbat experience! Join Riki Mulu and Chassida Shmella, a vibrant community founded by a new generation of Ethiopian-Israeli Jews in America, to celebrate the Sabbath with unique Ethiopian customs. Special guest will be Dr. Ephraim Isaac, director of the Institute of Semitic Studies in Princeton, NJ. Families are welcome. Space is limited; pre-registration required. Co-sponsored with Chassida Shmella and with Bechol Lashon.

Ethiopian Shabbat Dinner (JCC Manhattan)
Fri, Dec 4
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Shabbat - Ethiopian Embroidery Program, NACOEJ

Shabbat - Ethiopian Embroidery Program, NACOEJ

Dr. Ephraim Isaac, Ethiopian Yemenite Jewish scholar extraordinaire, linguist, conductor, historian and history maker, Director of the Institute of Semitic Studies in Princeton, NJ.

Mocha Star-25x25

Bizu “Riki” Mullu, a jewelry artist and community activist, works with Chassida- Shmella, one of two U.S.-based organizations to provide Ethiopian Jews with cross-cultural networks, communal partnerships and educational/professional opportunities

rikimullu

Riki Mullu’s Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

doro watjpg

1 whole chicken cut into 12 pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 yellow onions (finely chopped)
1 red onion (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
3/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp flaxseed (available at health food stores)
5 hard-boiled eggs peeled and scored lightly (1 per person or as needed )
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
Cook onions in oil for ten minutes until soft. Add tomato paste and chili powder and spices and cook another ten minutes or more until flavors blend. Add chicken and about one cup water. Simmer for about 45 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add hard boiled eggs. Grind fresh garlic and ginger together. Grind one Tbsp flax seed oil. Add to chicken. Cook for about 2 more minutes.

Noah's Ark - Ethiopian Jewish Handmande Embroidery

Noah's Ark - Ethiopian Jewish Handmande Embroidery


One: Don’t miss the boat.

Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Three: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

Four: Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Five: Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Six: Build your future on high ground.

Seven: For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

Eight: Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Nine: When you’re stressed, float a while.

Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

Immigrant filmmaker Shmuel Beru pushes Israeli audiences

Thirty years – officially – after the first Ethiopian Jews set foot on Israeli soil, the first Israeli film about the Ethiopian community of the Holy Land is being released in theaters on Thursday.

DIFFERENT WORLDS. Shmuel Beru...
Different Worlds. Shmuel Beru’s first film tells the story of Almaz (above), her brother Gili and their family as they deal with clashing cultures and racism. Photo: Courtesy

Filmmaker Shmuel Beru, who made aliya from Ethiopia at the age of eight, hopes to show Israeli audiences the richness of his community with Zrubavel, his first full-length feature film.

Even after three decades, all that most Israelis know about this population of more than 110,000 is what they read in newspaper reports: problems of integration, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence – or, more rarely, one successful Ethiopian immigrant who becomes a doctor, a pilot or a famous singer or actor. But what do we really know about the Ethiopian Jews of Israel – their values, their traditions, their language, their music, their food, their dreams, their problems and how they deal with them, their feelings?

These are the questions that Beru, 33, who started as an actor, wanted to answer by getting behind the camera.

In Tel-Aviv’s Kerem Hateimanim neighborhood, a two-minute walk from Rehov Zrubavel, where he lives, Beru agreed to talk to The Jerusalem Post about this original project.

The idea came to him two years ago, he says. “I thought that in my community, there were a lot of stories to tell that others are not exposed to. So I decided to make a movie to relate them, thinking that if I don’t do it, nobody will do it for me.”

BERU PRESENTS a picture, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, of a group of residents in an entirely Ethiopian neighborhood. All the generations are represented, from the patriarch of the Zrubavel family – a colonel in Ethiopia, now a street sweeper in Israel – to his eight-year-old, Israeli-born grandson Yitzhak – alias “Spike Lee” – whose dream is to make movies.

Through the eyes of the latter, Beru – who arrived from Ethiopia via Sudan one year before Operation Moses in 1984 – tells the story of Yitzhak’s aunt, Almaz, the “most beautiful girl in the neighborhood.” A talented singer, Almaz wants to marry a distant cousin, despite her father’s injunction to respect the traditional rule of not marrying a relative within seven generations. Meanwhile, Almaz’s brother Gili, pushed by his father, tries despite racism to enter a selective school to become an IAF pilot, as Yitzhak’s parents fight over whether their son will enter a yeshiva or become a soccer player.

“My goal was to show that behind color and culture, there are human beings,” says Beru. “I wanted to create an opportunity to see us [Israeli Ethiopians] in a different way than people are used to, to go further than what the news released about us, to make people realize that we are not different from others.

“‘It doesn’t matter where you come from, you are just a person’ – this is the main point of my movie, and it is not only true for Ethiopians. Zrubavel tries to talk about integration in general, and its message can be applied to every other community.”

Although he had never directed before, Beru was undeterred.

“My theory is, if you want to do it, just do it. I need a script? So I wrote a script. I need actors? So I found actors. I need money? Okay, I don’t have money. I need to raise it. I presented my project to a few producers. I got only negative answers. So I invest my own money to direct a pilot. And I win the support of the Israel Film Fund and the Gesher Foundation. And I started.”

DESPITE LIVING in Israel for 25 years, Beru says he still feels “different.”

“I still feel I am not judged just as a person, but regarding my origins, my color,” he explains. “People like to divide other people into groups. I don’t know why, maybe it’s easier for them to say, ‘You, you are from outside, you are a foreigner, you just came to visit.’ And this is what is exposed in the movie. This neighborhood [in the film] is like a ghetto, not connected to the other groups of society, to the rest of the world, and it affects its residents.”

One of the issues Beru addresses in the movie is the gap between the older and younger generations in the community.

“For the youth, it’s hard because they feel half-half – on the one hand, they want to be like Israelis, and on the other, they want to be like Ethiopians. And it is difficult for them to find a good balance, to mix. Especially when they have to face the reaction of their parents, themselves in a struggle to deal with a new culture and lifestyle very different from their old one,” he says.

Beru also shows “a typical Israeli family” trying to contribute to their country.

“The father is very Zionist. [He] wants his son, Gili, to defend his country, even though he already lost another son in the army. He wants him to be a pilot and to be recognized as a part of society,” he says.

Beru admits that the character of Yitzhak, the young filmmaker, could be a reflection of himself, although he hadn’t planned it that way.

“Yitzhak is just a naïve little boy who wants to do a movie, very simple, with his handmade camera,” he explains, adding, “In this business, everyone wants to be Spike Lee and wants to be a voice for their own community.”

Beru’s next film project is a personal account of his own experiences coming to Israel.

“It will talk about my life, about my journey from Ethiopia to Israel via Sudan. I already have a script,” he says. “Now I look for funds to start; it will be huge production.”

Ethiopian Israelis Get Their Bat Mitzvah

Thirteen girls from the Jewish Agency’s Mevasseret Zion absorption center, all recent immigrants from Ethiopia, celebrated their Bat Mitzvah yesterday (June 1, 2009) in Jerusaelm. They received gifts, including a book of Pslams from President Shimon Peres.

Ethiopian Bat Mitzvah 3 by The Jewish Agency for Israel.
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Ethiopian Bat Mitzvah 2 by The Jewish Agency for Israel.
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Ethiopian Bat Mitzvah 1 by The Jewish Agency for Israel.

“From Tesfa to Tikvah: From Hope to Hope,”

“From Tesfa to Tikvah: From Hope to Hope,” an exhibition of 20 photographs by Irene Fertik about Israel’s Ethiopian community, is at the Gershman Y’s Open Lens Gallery (www. gershmany.org) through to August 7th.

Born in Philadelphia, Fertik is the daughter of the late Fannie Fertik, who wrote about kosher cooking in the pages of this newspaper for many years. The photographer, who now resides in California, travels to Israel every year, primarily to follow their Ethiopian community.

Tesfa means “hope” in Amharic; Tikvah is “hope” in Hebrew. The transition from the language of their former homeland to that of their new home is just one small indication of the many changes and adaptations this community has faced since moving to Israel almost 20 years ago. The move from isolated agrarian mountain villages in Ethiopia to a modern technological culture in the Jewish state has meant incredible sacrifices for the older immigrants and enormous challenges for their children.

For a photographer such as Fertik, this transition offers a veritable cornucopia of images.

According to Fertik, “The visual contrasts are extraordinary — an ancient African people in a mostly white modern society. A young boy who was a shepherd in Gondor is now a computer jockey in Tel Aviv.”

Fertik’s photographs show both aspects of the Ethiopian reality in Israel. An intimate family moment — an obvious reminder of the old ways and traditional clothing — is juxtaposed against a group of 21st-century kids in T-shirts and jeans leaning against a modern bus.

Israel’s Ethiopian community now numbers 85,000. From this pool of possible subjects, Fertik has managed to create an intimate portfolio that has caught the attention of galleries and museums from Israel to Europe, as well as throughout the United States.

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