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Knesset Celebrates 63 Years in an Open House Event – Jerusalem

Thousands of Israelis visit the Knesset today as it opens its doors to the public hosting an Open House event on the occasion of the parliament’s 63 birthday. Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Reuven “Rubi” Rivlin was quoted saying: ”The Knesset is the house of the people, and this will literally be true, when a crowd of thousands comes to the Knesset to enjoy a range of activities. The purpose of the ”Open House” is to celebrate the Knesset`s birthday in a way which will bring the public closer to the Knesset, its unique role and its operations. The happening taking place on Tu Bishvat will be a mix of educational activities, cultural events, exercises led by MKs and yearly traditional ceremonies. I can promise anyone who comes an exceptional experience.”

Many interactive activities took place in Parliament today including the Knesset Band who welcomed visitors in the front plaza, ‘Story Hour’ for children lead by MKs, an exhibition of the Knesset Guard dog handlers, symposiums lead by MKs on political issues for students, actors dressed as famous Israeli political leaders interacted with visitors and a workshop on hand-powered bicycles for the handicapped.

A kindergarten class from the Arab city Tayibe arrives to the Israeli Parliament for an open house celebration on the occasion of its 63rd birthday, exemplary of Israeli democracy and equality of rights. Jerusalem, Israel. 8th February 2012.

A row of photo portraits of past prime ministers decorates the halls of the Knesset as it opens its doors to the public for an Open House birthday celebration. First photo portrays legendary David Ben-Gurion. Jerusalem, Israel. 8th February 2012.

Children are mesmerized as MK Nachman Shai reads a story by Lea Goldberg to granddaughter’s kindergarten class in ‘Story Hour’. Thousands of Israelis visit the Knesset today for an open house celebration. Jerusalem, Israel. 8th February 2012.

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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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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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Filed under documentary, image, israel, Jerusalem, photo, photographer, photography, photojournalism, photos