Ethiopian Jews recently celebrated their festival of Sigd, which involves reacceptance of the Torah, communal fasting and feasting, and prayers.

Is it acceptable for someone of a Minhag other than that of the Beta Israel/Ethiopian Jews to celebrate Sigd? I ask because it is a holiday that doesn't exist outside of all non-Ethiopian traditions, but also doesn't conflict with Jewish beliefs. I've been in Israel during Sigd (though I wasn't this year), and wondered about "joining in" with my Ethiopian friends when they celebrated.

Obviously CYLOR, etc.

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    +1, interesting question....I'd never heard of Sigd before seeing this post!
    – MTL
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:26
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    @Shokhet, the Ethiopian Calendar differs in terms of chagim relative to the common variant among other Jews. They also have a variant of beha"b, which occurs every week (be"h?). Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:32
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    @NoachmiFrankfurt I may just have to ask some new questions about the Ethiopian calendar, then :) ....live and learn, huh?
    – MTL
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:35
  • @Shokhet, yup, but the only resource that I know of is Wiki. I doubt that Hebrewbooks (or any other mainstream Eurasian or African Jewish resources) would have much on them. Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:44
  • Closely related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/50879
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 18:54

2 Answers 2


I haven't found a definitive Halakhic answer, but at some level it seems like Sephardic Rabbis are open to this.

The Rishon Lezion Yitchak Yosef on worship stage at Sigd festival

The Rishon Lezion Yitchak Yosef (son of Ovadia Yosef) went to a Sigd festival and got up on the main worship stage and said the following:

“I wish to bless you on the occasion of your holiday,” he told the worshipers. “There is nothing greater than that there be unity in the nation of Israel. Thank God, we have merited that there be an ingathering of exiles … . For two thousand years we longed for this thing … . Thank God, there are now over six million Jews in the Land of Israel.”

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef used the occasion to remember his late father. “I wish to mention my father, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who issued the rabbinic ruling that the Jews of Ethiopia are Jews in every sense, basing himself on the words of the Radbaz (Rabbi David ben Shelomo ibn Zimra) and Rabbi (Yaakov) Castro and others,” the Sephardi Chief Rabbi said.

Source: https://www.jewishrhody.com/stories/israels-ethiopian-jewish-community-celebrates-annual-sigd-holiday-in-jerusalem,3042

  • Although Ovadia Yosef called blacks "monkeys," he correctly celebrated this Jewish festival, which is a good thing for him to do.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 3:40
  • I believe Ovadia Yosef was quoting the Kuzari and others who make such disparaging remarks.
    – Aaron
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 18:16
  • You may be right. Sadly, the Kuzari makes many disparaging statements about non-Jews.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Feb 22, 2022 at 18:21

Yes. Source: People do.

See this article, where it talks about how Sigd has become an Israeli holiday (on the calendar since 2008), celebrated by both Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians.

However, if you look at the article above, you can see them prostrating, which is a problem according to mainstream Judaism. If joining, you might want to skip that part.

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    Are those people joining recognized halachic authorities? If not i dont see how they are relevant
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 20:11
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    It seems from the linked article that rabbis would encourage their non-Ethiopian students to join in the festivities.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 20:12
  • @Scimonster I know people do celebrate it, but I was curious if anyone had issued a formal ruling
    – user5540
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 20:29
  • @ShmuelBrin judaism.stackexchange.com/q/50879
    – msh210
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 18:54

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