Chief Rabbinate Releases Ethiopian Music CD

In an effort to reach out to the thousands of Ethiopian immigrants who have come to Israel in recent years, the Chief Rabbinate has taken the unusual step of releasing a CD with popular songs played to traditional Ethiopian melodies. The compilation, entitled “A Collection of Songs for our Brethren, the Immigrants from Ethiopia”, contains 14 tracks, including tunes such as “Mashiach” and “Lecha Dodi”, many of which are performed by young Ethiopian-Israeli artists.

According to Rabbi Eliyahu Maimon, Director of the Chief Rabbinate’s Conversion Courts, the production of the CD is aimed at “re-connecting Ethiopian immigrants to contemporary Judaism as it is practiced in Israel and preserving the very important traditions they brought with them from Ethiopia.”

“Past experience, particularly from the 1950s and 60s,” he added, “shows that when attempts are made to erase the old traditions of an immigrant group, it can impair their successful absorption in the country, and that is something we wish to avoid at all costs.”
The music, which is available in both cassette and CD format, will be distributed by the Rabbinate to Ethiopian immigrants around the country. “We very much hope that this will help, in some small way, to improve their absorption here in the country,” he said.

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