Friday, November 09, 2007

And what are you doing for Sigd next year?

Noticed this in the JPost.

Sigd is an Ethiopian Jewish festival that happens on the 29th of Cheshvan (but was actually celebrated yesterday, rather than tomorrow, because apparently it can't share time with Shabbos--details unclear to me, ask a kes.) It celebrates and renews the brit made at Sinai--apparently in the Ethiopian minhag, Shavuos (as they don't pronounce it) is only a harvest and pilgrimage festival and doesn't take on the historical cycle stuff (that's a technical term, of course).

Anyway, now the Ethiopian community in Israel wants Sigd to be on the official religious calender in Israel. One girl interviewed made a parallel with Mimouna, which is celebrated, or at least noticed, more widely in Israel than just the Moroccan community now.

So, thinks the Balabusta, regardless of what the Israeli rabbinate decides to do--the Balabusta doesn't care too much about the Israeli rabbinate at the best of times--should the Balabusta be doing something for Sigd next year? Or Mimouna for that matter? (Mimouna, I got to tell you, I normally celebrate by eating large amounts of pizza, which I don't THINK is a Moroccan custom.)

First, the Balabusta has some strong opinions about preserving Ashkenazi customs. Actually, the Balabusta has some strong opinions about everyone preserving customs, it's just that the ones that she's inherited to preserve are Ashkenazi. I actually want to learn to daven and leyn in the old-fashioned Ashkenazes pronunciation--in a very short period of time, that will be gone at least from my own community unless a few of us young ones decide it's valuable. And I firmly resist the 'let's all eat kitniyot' movement. (You can do without rice for a week. I'm sorry. If God had meant for you to be an Abulafia, you would have been one. Cope. Or convert. ((Can you become Sephardi by choice? I've always wondered.)))

But I like the idea of doing something for Sigd. Why? Not because I feel the need religiously--in my mind, Shavuos has me covered--but because I want to feel the connection to the entire global Jewish community. For me, maybe, it's a time to learn and teach a little about the Ethiopian Jewish experience, to cook something different, and examine the Jewish world from a new angle. Same for Mimouna. A chance to say to the whole Jewish world that hey, we brought cool things back to each other from the far corners of exile, to hold them out to one another, and cherish them.

So anyway--what do you cook for Sigd?


aliyah06 said...

{grin} I don't know the Rabbinate's stand on this, but this family thinks you can be Sephardi-by-choice....having been adopted into a large, Moroccan-Israeli extended family on arrival here, we found the food to be more in line with our California tastes (they cook with something that tastes a lot like jalapenos) as well as the gemutlichkeit. Now we eat kitniyot---and historically, there's no longer a reason not to.

BTW, Mimouna is NOT a recognized holiday in Israel (like, you don't get the day off) but Israel is more laid back on this stuff...NO ONE expects the Moslems to be at work for the three days of Eid; no one expects the Christians to work Christmas Eve and Christmas (and there's 3 of these here); and no one expects any Moroccans to show up to work on Mimouna, just like no one expects the Ethiopian Jews to show up to work or school on Sigd.....but it would be nice to make it a general holiday anyway since we work six days a week here, and additional holidays are always welcome---besides, THINK of the FOOD!!

Miriam said...

Oh man. You mean I missed it..again?!