It's Sigd! Time to Celebrate - and Learn About - this Ethiopian Jewish Holiday
Sigd is a unique holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish community, celebrated exactly 50 days Yom Kippur. This year it falls on November 3-4.
Sigd is recognized as a state holiday in Israel. Yet very few American Jews know about it.
The holiday is celebrated on the date thought to be when God was first revealed to Moses. Traditionally on Sigd, members of the Ethiopian Jewish community would fast and walk together to a mountain top. Members of the community would recite Psalms and remember the Torah and their desire to return to Jerusalem. In the afternoon they would descend the mountain and end their fast with a feast and dancing.
In recent decades, the Ethiopian community in Israel has celebrated the holiday by holding a mass ceremony on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
A new picture book, Pumpkin Pie for Sigd, is a perfect introduction to teaching children about the diversity of the Jewish people and the traditions of the Ethiopian Jewish community.
The story, by Jennifer Tzivia McLeod and illustrated by Denise Damanti, centers on a girl named Maddie, who feels homesick for Thanksgiving after her move to Israel. Then her new friend Orly invites her to celebrate the Jewish Ethiopian holiday of Sigd.
But what about her own favorite fall holiday, Thanksgiving? Will Maddie be able to celebrate it in her new country?
Together, the two search for ingredients for a delicious pumpkin pie and bring a taste of the United States to Israel. Along the way, they'll discover how their two holidays (and they themselves) have so much in common.
The book includes a parent note about the holiday of Sigd and its underlying value of gratitude.
"Lovely lessons to learn here, gently and kindly told." - Kirkus Reviews
For richer learning about the Ethiopian Jews, pair Pumpkin Pie for Sigd with a story about the rescue of the community from Ethiopia to Israel.
Yosef's Dream, by Sylvia Rouss with Ambassador Asher Naim, tells the story of a young Jewish boy in Ethiopia who dreams of flying on Eagle's wings to a new home. In this story of dreams, choices, and what it means to belong, Yosef and his family choose to fly to Israel, the land of their ancestors — fulfilling their long-held dream.
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