Thursday, November 11, 2004

Never a dull moment

Not knowing that it was a holiday today. I took my usual Thursday shopping trip. On the way, I saw the busses and remembered is was
Sig'd, well actually I didn't know the name, but I knew there is a Ethiopian holiday where they all gather on the Tayelet. Which is around the corner from my home.

The supermarket was packed with Ethiopian Teenagers. I noticed lots were buying the cheap wine and vodka. I started wondering if there was an alcoholism problem in the Ethiopian community. There was an announcement over the loudspeaker reminding the teens that alcohol purchases are illegal to people under age 18.

I still managed to get out of there quicker than usual, but it was quite a sight.

Update: I went to the ceremony with a friend. It was spectacular. The Kes (spiritual leaders) were up on a stage shaded by colorful fabric umbrellas. The women were in traditional white gowns with bright color embroidery. The Kes lead the prayers in Amharic while the people said Amen.

When the torahs were carried away, they were on people's heads, lead by the Kes. The people crowded around, clapping and drumming. It was a beautiful sight and I feel privileged to see it. There weren't many non-Ethiopians who were present at the event.

Before they carried the Torahs away, there was a young man who got up to speak. He said he was born in Ethiopia and made aliyah at age 5. His father never came to Israel and his mother died when he was in first grade. He spoke about the problem of the younger generation, and how they were in danger because of alcohol. He said they needed to be shown that they could succeed. I know that the Ethiopians do have problems in school, and this didn't surprise me, but I was glad to see that the community sees there is a problem and are discussing it. That is the first step.

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