Hundreds of new Olim [immigrants] from Ethiopia were hosted for a sample Passover seder in a Jewish Agency absorption center in Mevaseret Tzion, near Jerusalem. The event provided a first look at traditional Passover celebrations to many of the new Olim, who are members of the Falashmura community. The Falashmura converted to Christianity generations ago, but many have expressed interest in immigration to Israel and in return to the Jewish faith.
The sample seder is intended to introduce them to the holiday tradition, ahead of the real seder Monday evening.
Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky joined the event and addressed the participants. Sharansky, himself an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, recalled his first Passover seder: “I celebrated Passover for the first time in my life when I was 25. I know that for many of you this is your first Passover celebration.”
"I'm sure that for you, like for me, the night of Passover will be characterized by a sense that we are heading toward freedom, just like the people of Israel during the Exodus from Egypt,” he said.
The government recently agreed to continue bringing members of the Falashmura community to Israel, after a temporary halt in their immigration. Flights brought a total of 165 new immigrants from Addis Ababa to Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Approximately 1,000 Falashmura have immigrated to Israel since the first days of 2010.
The Jewish Agency will host real Passover seders for new immigrants on Monday night in absorption centers around the country. 5,000 Ethiopian immigrants are expected to take part in the communal seders.