Tag Archives: boy

Ethiopian Jews Celebrate The Sigd – Jerusalem

The Ethiopian Jewish community, called Beta-Israel, lived in seclusion for over 1,000 years, only reconnecting to the Jewish world in the late 20th century. According to Ethiopian tradition, their roots go back 3,000 years to the era of King Solomon. Like their brethren in many parts of the world, Ethiopian Jews suffered persecution for their beliefs and refusal to adopt Christianity. In the Middle Ages their lands were confiscated, villages plundered and many murdered. They were nicknamed Falash – intruders, homeless and without property. Despite the hardships, this community preserved their traditions with great devotion and generations were educated on the value of yearning for a return to Jerusalem, The Holy City, home of The Temple, pure and holy. The Sigd celebrations, Sigd meaning “to bow or prostate oneself”, convey their love and yearning for Jerusalem.

Traditionally the celebrations took place on a hilltop looking toward Jerusalem,signifying a renewal of the bond with God. Now, with a community of over 150,000 in Israel the main event takes place annually at the Sherover Promenade in Jerusalem, overlooking The Temple Mount.Thousands followed the Kessim, the religious leaders, and gathered in the late morning hours in colorful traditional garments or in whites signifying purity, to pray and give thanks. Guests of honor included Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Ms. Sofa Landver and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

The yearning for Jerusalem has become a reality. Israeli-born offspring to Ethiopian Jews are finding it more and more difficult to identify with the aspirations of their forefathers. First signs are evident that this ancient ethnic celebration of hope and faith might one day be forgotten.

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Speak to us of children!

First, there are the children of Sheikh Jarrah …

And then there are the adults …

And a whoman who held a babe against her bosom said,
– Speak to us of children!

And he said:
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come trough you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of to-narrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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Jewish Male Circumcision

Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the penis. It is widely practised in Judaism, Islam and in some Christian churches in Africa. It is estimated that 30% of males are circumcised globally, usually during adolescence or during infancy.
The practice was adopted in Western civilization around the beginning of the 20th century as a form of preventive medicine against syphilis, phimosis, paraphimosis and balanitis. Reports estimate the prevalence of circumcision among US born males was 91% for males born in the 1970s but the numbers have since been going down. In 1949, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service removed infant circumcision from its list of covered services and the proportion of newborns circumcised in England and Wales has fallen to less than one percent.
In Judaism a Mohel conducts the traditional circumcision ceremony called Brit Milah – “covenant of circumcision”. It is performed on the eighth day after birth. According to the Torah (Genesis, chapter 17 verses 9-14), God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself, his offspring and his slaves as part of an everlasting covenant. Also practised, although more controversial, is metzitzah b’peh, or oral suction, where the mohel sucks blood from the infant’s wounded penis immediately after the circumcision. The traditional reason for this procedure is believed to be promotion of healing. Research has recently suggested that oral suction has been the cause for several cases of herpes infection to infants, in some cases causing brain damage and even death. Some rabbinical authorities have ruled that a glass tube must be used between the mohel’s mouth and the wound to prevent any type of infection of the infant.

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Yearning for Jerusalem No More

The Ethiopian Jewish community, called Beta-Israel, lived in seclusion for over 1,000 years, only reconnecting to the Jewish world in the late 20th century. According to Ethiopian tradition, their roots go back 3,000 years to the era of King Solomon. Like their brethren in many parts of the world, Ethiopian Jews suffered persecution for their beliefs and refusal to adopt Christianity. In the Middle Ages their lands were confiscated, villages plundered and many murdered. They were nicknamed Falash – intruders, homeless and without property. Despite the hardships, this community preserved their traditions with great devotion and generations were educated on the value of yearning for a return to Jerusalem, The Holy City, home of The Temple, pure and holy. The Sigd celebrations, Sigd meaning “to bow or prostate oneself”, convey their love and yearning for Jerusalem.

Traditionally the celebrations took place on a hilltop looking toward Jerusalem,signifying a renewal of the bond with God. Now, with a community of over 150,000 in Israel the main event takes place annually at the Sherover Promenade in Jerusalem, overlooking The Temple Mount.Thousands followed the Kessim, the religious leaders, and gathered in the late morning hours in colorful traditional garments or in whites signifying purity, to pray and give thanks. Guests of honor included Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

The yearning for Jerusalem has become a reality. Israeli-born offspring to Ethiopian Jews are finding it more and more difficult to identify with the aspirations of their forefathers. First signs are evident that this ancient ethnic celebration of hope and faith might one day be forgotten.

The 35mm f/2 was a pleasure to work with! Light and extremely mobile hanging on my neck – I could easily raise it quickly to get the shot I wanted without scaring off the subject. Some shots were even framed from the chest. I love the shallow depth of field! Most of the work was done at f2.5 ISO100 with very high shutter speeds.  Close and intimate!

nir

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