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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. Today, since most members of the Ethiopian Jewish community have made Aliyah to the State of Israel, during the holiday members of the community travel to Jerusalem and visit the Wailing Wall and the promenade in the city's “Armon Hanatziv” neighborhood. The holiday serves as an annual gathering of the entire Ethiopian community, and its members view it as an opportunity to strengthen the connection with their roots and culture. The Kessim (Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders), dressed in their traditional robes, carry the Torah scrolls while holding multi-colored umbrellas. They stand on an elevated stage, read excerpts from the Bible and recite prayers before members of the community, also in Hebrew. Public officials attend the celebration and greet the audience, and many of the community members continue to fast until late in the afternoon. The Knesset legislated the Sigd Law-2008, declaring the 29th of Heshvan as a national holiday.
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