Museum in a Suitcase: A one-man show by Alemu Eshetie.
The performance highlighted the encounter between Ethiopian culture and Israeli culture, in honor of the Sigd holiday.
Alemu Eshetie is a multi-talented, Ethiopian-born artist. His performance beautifully weaves together his and his family’s personal story with that of the Ethiopian community who immigrated to Israel. Employing humor, music, and dance, the performance is Alemu’s theatrical-educational way of presenting the Ethiopian culture to Israelis. He also presents a number of objects and articles of clothing, explaining their origin, use, and significance. The Sigd holiday, which is central to the Ethiopian Jewish community, was celebrated the following day, and Alemu explained its meaning and traditions. The holiday emphasizes the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, along with a longing for Jerusalem. The holiday is observed through fasting, climbing a tall mountain (symbolizing Mt. Sinai), and a communal prayer in the direction of Jerusalem. Today, the central ceremony takes place on the Hass Promenade in Jerusalem, overlooking the Old City and Temple Mount. Alemu also explained how observation of the holiday has changed since the community’s arrival in Israel.
Backgammon tournament and Dabke performance
The second evening featured an event facilitated by Kulna, a Jewish-Arab organization that is active in both east and west Jerusalem. The event was attended by youngsters from east Jerusalem who traveled to the conference for this event, along with participants from the Jerusalem Mechina (gap year program), who live and study in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood. The latter group arrived early for a lecture by Meir Margalit, a former Jerusalem city council member, who talked about the unique problems facing east Jerusalem and the city’s Palestinian residents. The lecture laid the framework for the rest of the evening, preparing the Jewish youngsters to meet their Palestinian peers. They played backgammon against each other and danced hand in hand to the live music, guided by a Dabke dance teacher.