Many people know that Jerusalem Day is the day that we celebrate on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyyar. It celebrates the liberation of Jerusalem, which took place at the end of the Six Day War in1967. Not many people know that this is also a day of remembrance for a very special Jewish community.
Since 2004, this day has also been marked as day of remembrance for 4000 fallen Jews who came to Israel from the Ethiopia. On Mount Herzl, the mount upon which most soldiers who have died in action are buried, there is a special ceremony for the Ethiopian community to commemorate all of those who died during the journey to the Promised Land from Ethiopia.
On Mount Herzl on this day, everyone wears wear white and the leaders of the Ethiopian Community – who are called kaysim – קייסים – recite a special prayer in a special Ethiopian liturgical language called Ge’ez.
Most of the people who died on the journey to Israel died in Sudan. They suffered from various diseases and starvation. So on this day when we remember the liberation of Jerusalem, we also remember in our hearts those who never arrived at their destination. The ceremony is held next to a special monument on Mount Herzl.
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