Ethiopian Sigd Festival

Sigd is a holiday commemorating the acceptance of the Torah by the Ethiopian Jewish community. It is celebrated each year on the 29th of Cheshvan, and is recognized as a national holiday in Israel.

Mimouna in Ashdod

Celebrate the end of Passover with a traditional Mimouna party in Ashdod.

Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jews who Perished on their Way to Israel

Each year on the 28th of Iyar, the Israeli Ethiopian community remembers those who perished on their way to Israel. From 1980 to 1984, a mass immigration of Ethiopian Jews took place from their villages in Gundar and through Sudan. Those who managed to flee Ethiopia and walk for long periods, up to several months, arrived at the Ethiopian-Sudanese border and waited in provisional camps to make Aliyah. Immigrants were met at the Sudanese border by the Mossad, who instructed the Ethiopians to hide their Jewish identity.

During their escape from the Sudanese camps in an attempt to arrive at Israel, 4,000 community members died from disease, hunger, and violent robberies. Due to the instructions to hide their Jewish identity, it was difficult for them to observe Jewish law and traditions, for fear of the Sudanese guards.

In November 1984, “Operation Moses” began its the first national operation to bring the Ethiopian Jewry to Israel. This secret operation brought 8,000 Ethiopian Jews over on Israeli aircrafts. However, due to a leak of information, the operation ended before schedule and several families were left behind or torn apart, until May 1991, when 14,324 more immigrants were brought within 36 hours during “Operation Solomon.”

In 2003, the  government decided that a national memorial ceremony to honor those who perished would be held each year on the 28th of Iyar, Jerusalem Day.

Family Day (Yom HaMishpacha)

While the United States and other countries around the world celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day individually, Israel is celebrating its annual Yom HaMishpacha, or Family Day. This day, which originally began as Mother’s Day in 1947, was established to honor the family unit and its centrality to Israeli life.

It was decided around the year 2000 that Yom HaMishpacha would be celebrated on the 30th of Shevat, the day of Henrietta Szold’s death. Though Henrietta Szold never had any kids, she was known as “the mother of all children” and was extremely active in creating the framework for Jewish immigrant children from around the world.

Yom HaMishpacha has evolved into a day of love and celebration for mothers, fathers, and children. It is particularly popular in Israeli schools and kindergartens where children create art projects and bring photographs of their families to be displayed at school. After school, many families celebrate by going on hikes, picnics, or playing games together. Yom HaMishpacha is a special day in Israeli society when families celebrate and remember the importance of cherishing those closest to them.

Hebrew Language Day

Eliezer Ben Yehuda is known as the father of spoken Hebrew. He came to Palestine in 1881 with a dream to recreate Hebrew as a spoken language, a language which had not been spoken in almost 2,000 years. Every year on the birthday, Israel celebrates Hebrew Language Day to remember Eliezer and his dream to bring the Hebrew language to the Jewish nation.

The Hebrew language remains a fundamental element for Israel society, which unites people from around the world who make Aliyah to the Land of Israel. Even though Eliezer died in 1922 many years before Israel’s Independence, his dream came true and today Hebrew is the official language in the modern State of Israel.

The Siyum HaShas for Women

Join thousands on 9 Tevet, 5790 (January 5, 2020) at the International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’Uma) for the first global Women’s Siyum HaShas, an unprecedented learning experience.
The event will be live-streamed to an international audience. The Hadran Siyum will bring women together to inspire a new generation of learning for all.

International Museum Day in Israel

International Museum Day marks a day of many free museum visits. Please call the museums you plan to visit to verify this information before you go.

Yom Bimkom – “Switch Day”

“Switch Day” is a national initiative of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and the Rothschild Partnerships. On this day hundreds of people all over the country (in similar positions and jobs), who are from different “tribes,” switch with a partner from another “tribe” for the day.

Come and get to know a neighbor’s daily routines and challenges in a personal, “Israeli style,” meeting.