Ethiopian Dance Troupe, Y-Love and Eliran at 92nd Street Y
It’s not that you get to see an Orthodox hip-hop artist debut a song, a legendary star perform classic a song close to his heart and a dance troupe that is rarely in America. But the hundreds of enthusiasts who head to the 92nd Street Y this Sunday at 1 p.m. will get exactly that at the Sigd, an Ethiopian-Jewish celebration marking the giving of the Torah.
Yitzchak Jordan, known as Y-Love and Ron Eliran, a hit-maker known for such songs as “Sharm El-Sheikh,” and “Hallelujah,” will perform.
Y-Love, who raps in English, Hebrew and Yiddish will be performing an original song he wrote for the event, showing off his ability to rap in Amharic. Y-Love is an African American of Ethiopian descent, who converted to Judaism and has performed all over the globe, including Israel. Eliran will perform his song “And Then Came Joshua,” a moving epic song about how Israeli planes came and transported Ethiopians Jews to Israel. Eliran, who is one of the most well-known Israeli singers, said the situation for Ethiopian Jews is a hot topic.
“In Israel, this issue of Ethiopians Jewry is controversial because there is an accusation of prejudice against them while at the same time some are generals and getting high positions,” Eliran said in a phone interview. “I remember 25 years ago, Operation Moses, and later Joshua and this event is important because it’s still in our hearts and it still has a lot of power.”
Eliran, who will soon release an album titled “Shabbat Songs,” which he recorded with his son Mike, said Sunday”s event will also give people a treat in the form of the Ethiopian dance group.
“American Jews aren”t often exposed to Ethiopian performers and it will be great to come out and see their talent.”
The Beta Dance Troupe from Haifa will perform and show off their athleticism and verve.
It is hosted by Israeli actress and singer Zamira Chenn and will also feature Ethiopian rabbis who will speak and give a benediction.
Bizzu Riki Mullu, founder of Chassida Shmella, an organization that assists Ethiopian Jewry, said that for this event, which she organized, size did matter.
“We really wanted to do something big,” she said. “We are very excited to have more exposure for the wonderful culture.”
Mullu grew up in Northeast Ethiopia and moved to Israel when she was 10. She still remembers the beautiful landscape and the difficulty of not having running water in every home. She said that it is difficult to raise awareness for the cause.
“We are quiet and we don”t have a lot of money like some other groups do,” Mullu said. “But we hope slowly but surely that more and more become aware of the need to. This is an event that I think is truly special and it is wonderful that the artists will be performing special songs that directly relate to our cause.”