July 18, 2024
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BPY Celebrates ‘Sigd’ With Rav Aviv Abebe

Each year on the 29th of Cheshvan—50 days after Yom Kippur—the Ethiopian Jewish community celebrates the holiday of “Sigd.” On the day of Sigd, the community marks the renewal of the covenant between the Jewish people, God and His Torah by fasting for half of the day, reciting certain scriptures, then feasting and dancing.

BPY is privileged to have amongst its shlichim Rav Aviv Abebe, an Ethiopian Jew. On Thursday, December 1, the BPY family gathered together to experience Sigd. Rav Aviv spoke regarding his life experiences in Ethiopia and Israel. Attendees were mesmerized as Rav Aviv described his childhood growing up in a small village in Ethiopia and the hardships he and his family encountered, through lack of schooling and hard work. He explained how the Abebe family, much like our ancestors, began their journey to Israel on foot for three consecutive days! The journey also included airports, planes and cars and Rav Aviv hilariously recounted his first encounters with an escalator, an airplane flight and even seat belts!

When Rav Aviv and his family finally made it to Israel he encountered different kinds of difficulties—not knowing the language and missing basic reading, writing and math skills as he began middle school. Rav Aviv inspired the audience as he told everyone that failure was never an option. He was motivated to succeed, and used that motivation to study hard and eventually climb the academic ranks. Rav Aviv also told about his army service through Tzuk Eitan, and how the Abebes’ connection to the Jewish land was exemplified when he and three of his brothers participated in the same war without using the exemption available to them.

Rav Aviv finished his amazing story with his proposal to his wife, Adi, and their joint decision to become shlichim. Rav Aviv and Adi were married on the first night of Chanukah, and so it is fitting that their mission is to shine the light of Judaism in everything they do through their teachings and community leadership.

The program ended in celebration with traditional Amahrit dancing and music led by Rav Aviv, and Ethiopian Dabo bread and Bunah coffee prepared especially for Sigd. The BPY students and parents alike owe a tremendous gratitude to the Abebes and the evening was a wonderful success!

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