Below is a collection of Sigd lesson plans, videos, and articles created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
Sigd Holiday Overview
- What: Sigd is a holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish community which was adopted as a national holiday in Israel by the Knesset in 2008. The name of the holiday is derived from the Amharic word “sgida,” meaning “prostration.”
- Where: Traditional Sigd celebrations in Ethiopia would take place as mass gatherings on high mountain tops, reminiscent of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. In Israel today, a mass celebration for Sigd takes place in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, overlooking the Temple Mount. Since becoming an Israeli national holiday, Sigd is also studied and celebrated in classrooms and communities throughout the country.
- When: Sigd is celebrated 50 days after the holiday of Yom Kippur, on the 29th of the month of Heshvan.
- Why: The holiday of Sigd has been celebrated in Ethiopian Jewish communities since the 15th century as a way for Ethiopian Jews to reaffirm their commitment to the Torah, and the communal longing to return to Jerusalem. Once the majority of the Ethiopian Jewish community had moved to Israel, the holiday is now celebrated as an opportunity to remember and honor ancestors whose dreams of returning to Jerusalem were not realized, as well as a chance for the community to reunite in celebration of where they are now and to pray for the building of a Third Temple.
- How: Today, Sigd is celebrated by members of the Ethiopian community by fasting, reciting Psalms, and gathering in Jerusalem to pray and read from the Torah and ancient Ethiopian writings. The ritual is then followed by the breaking of the fast, dancing, and celebration.
Sigd Educational Themes
- Multicultural Judaism
- The Temple
- Hope for the future
- Commitment to the Torah
LESSON PLANS AND RESOURCES
Sigd Padlet – This interactive, collaborative activity helps students connect personally to the educational themes of the Sigd holiday. From The Lookstein Center.
Treasures from the NLI: Sigd – This recorded webinar includes accompanying resources to discuss the story of the Ethiopian community in Israel as well as Sigd traditions. From the National Library of Israel.
Be’Chol Lashon: Sigd – These resources include informational slideshows, songs, traditional Ethiopian recipes, and more.
The Festival of Sigd – This resource pack for elementary school students includes project ideas and more. From UJIA.
Sigd: Celebrating the History and Culture of Ethiopian Jewry – This video and resource pack explores the connection between Ethiopian and Israeli cultures today. From Unpacked for Educators.
ARTICLES AND BLOGS
We Are All Jews By Choice – This article from The Lookstein Center’s journal, Jewish Educational Leadership, explores the diverse backgrounds that make up Jewish culture as we know it today.
Sigd: What’s It All About? – This article from Moshe House explores the history of the holiday and some key points of celebration.
Sigd: The Ethiopian Jewish Day of Covenant – This article from Anu Museum of the Jewish People explores the history of the holiday.
Sigd: A Celebration of Jewish Unity and an Eternal Connection to Zion – This blog from The Israel Forever Foundation explores the emotional connection between Ethiopian Jews and Jerusalem.
Nine Facts You Didn’t Know About Sigd – This blog from the ROI Community explores the basics of the Sigd holiday.
An Ethiopian Jewish Holiday of Communal Repentance: Sigd – This video from the ASF Institute of Jewish Experience examines the origins of Sigd and how it is celebrated today.
Ethiopian Jewry – This video from JETS Israel includes interviews with different members of the Israeli Ethiopian community and their successful and challenging integration into Israeli society.
My Sigd – This video from The Jewish Agency for Israel includes the story of two Ethiopian immigrants to Israel and how they celebrate Sigd.
Sigd: A Personal Pilgrimage to Jerusalem – This video from City of David explores the emotional story of an Ethiopian immigrant’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem from Ethiopia on foot.
Sigd and the Traditions of Ethiopian Jews – This video discussion from MyJewishLearning includes a review of the history, culture, and traditions of Ethiopian Jewry.
Adapting Podcast: Sigd – The Jewish Holiday You Need To Learn About – This podcast from The Jewish Education Project includes a personal discussion about Ethiopian history and how Sigd has grown to become the widespread Jewish holiday it is today.