Tracey Shipley
Youth, family and addictions counselor/creative therapist/band organizer and manager/event producer/writer

An Ethiopian experience you will never forget

Traditional Ethiopian Hut

I have been working with the Ethiopian Israeli community for the past 13 years, since my return to Israel after five very long years away.  I came back to the country with an unexplainable desire to work with Ethiopian teens to help them derive pride from their rich heritage and culture.  Within a year I created the Malkatshva Cultural organization for youth  Recruiting the top Ethiopian Israeli artisans we were able to work with hundreds of youth teaching them everything from Ethiopian traditional dance, art, music, theater in Amharit, their heritage and more. These kids were not the same when they left our program.

After taking a break for a few years focusing on opening up Sober venues and activities for youth downtown I found myself back in the arms of this special community maybe due to yet another senseless death.  So here we go again.  My first Ethiopian cultural event in over five years!

Join us On Tuesday and Wednesday November 19-20th where we will be turning the Jerusalem Nature Museum into an Ethiopian Village to honor the holy Sigd Holiday. Complete with traditional Ethiopian huts and cultural corners we will be creating an atmosphere where you will feel like you are actually in Ethiopia while being in the Center of Jerusalem!  During the day you will learn how to make Ethiopian baskets and other art, how to dance traditional Ethiopian dances, how to make traditional Ethiopian coffee and take part in a Buna ceremony, eat delicious Ethiopian food, meet top Ethiopian artists who will be displaying and selling their art in addition to elders who have lived most of their lives in Ethiopia and have been here for decades with many stories to tell.

The Sigd is a holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish community, known as “Beta Israel”. The name of the holiday is derived from the Hebrew word for prostration, “sgida”. During Sigd, which is celebrated on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Heshvan – 50 days after Yom Kippur (similar to the holiday of Shavuot, celebrated 50 days after Passover), the community marks the renewal of the covenant between the Jewish people, God and His Torah. On Sigd, Ethiopian Jews pray to God and plead to return to Zion. The community also holds communal introspection – in addition to the individual self-examination during Yom Kippur – because, according to tradition, in order to be worthy to return to Jerusalem from exile, the public must engage in communal introspection and repentance. Sins of the community members are forgiven during Yom Kippur and the following 50 days. On the 50th day, following communal introspection, the community returns to the Yom Kippur experience with prayers and a fast.

The event’s purpose is to turn the Israeli community on to the beauty of the Ethiopian Israeli community, their culture, their history and to enlighten Israeli natives to the struggles and successes of this community since their coming to Israel.

In the evening we will be hosting performances, talks from those who took part in the evacuation from Ethiopia and film showings.

Help us to spread the word on how lucky we are to have our brothers and sisters-home!

For more information please feel free to contact me.

Tracey Shipley

Event organizer


About the Author
Tracey Shipley is a youth and family counselor specializing in addictions and family communication. She was born in the US and moved to Israel in 1984 to continue her studies in Art Therapy. She moved back to the US in 1989 and began working in a drug rehab for teens where she was trained while she worked as a primary counselor. She moved back to Israel in 1996 and continued her work in addictions at the Jerusalem Methadone Clinic for a total of 9 years. She initiated projects for the children of the addicts at the Methadone Clinic, Established a program for Ethiopian Teens educating them about their culture and opened the Jerusalem School of Rock program which helps to create teen rock bands and established monthly teen music events at downtown venues where teens perform for their friends in a teen friendly exciting atmosphere. In addtion to her projects Tracey was the English Speaking Volunteer Coordinator for Emunah Jerusalem succeeding in bringing in more funds and volunteers than ever before. Tracey organizes monthly Rock Festivals and manages rock bands young and old. Tracey also writes for Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post.
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