The Gedams of North Shewa

The Gedams, or hidden synagogues of Beta Israel of North Shewa are spread out throughout the North Shewa regions of Amhara and Oromia.  The Gedams are in isolated locations near rivers, as they were hidden out of fear.  These complexes are sort of monasteries that house elderly and orphans. In the pictures are Aba Firde of Gizo Gedam and Aba Kidane of Jambaria Gedam. The two are working with us to develop various programs to support the communities and the Gedams.

Gizo Gedam

Near Debre Berhan, North Shewa, Amhara, Ethiopia we are working with several Gedams, supporting the strengthening of these religious centers of the community. Our work is being supported by Shalom Corps, a global volunteer movement dedicated to meaningful service and social responsibility as an expression of the values of Judaism and love of humanity.

The program, Adopt A Gedam is providing technical support via CultivAid and local volunteers via the local community. The specific projects per Gedam aim to strengthen these institutions and its community. At Gizo Gedam, we are helping address issues of safety and the Gedam’s longevity by protecting the center from falling rocks from surrounding cliffs. The project has 2 phases, first we are establishing terraces and a protective barrier. The second stage will implement a landscape design, planting various trees and crops to support beatification of the site and stabilize the soil.

The Volunteers at Gizo Gedam, members from the local community
Abba Ferede of Gizo Gedam along with CultivAid’s coordinators – Wendi and Yael
Some of the members at the Gedam
The way to the Gedam
Descending to the Gedam
Building the terraces and barriers
Abba Ferede

Shalom Corp Volunteers Opening Event In Debra Brehan Crafts Center

The Beta Israel community of N. Shewa turn out to support the Shalom Corp’s, “Adopt a Gedam”, first project, in Debra Brehan. Volunteers construct a chimney for the smoke room of the women’s cooperative pottery workshop. Word has spread to the Gedams (Jewish spiritual centers) in the region, and now other joint projects will begin in a few weeks.

Kol Hakavod to the Shalom Corp.

Shalom Corp leadership welcomes volunteers and community leaders.

Volunteer welds parts for the chimney

Parts for the chimney come together.

Pottery now made in a safe smoke free environment.

LOZA Begins The Manufacture of Face Masks

Left to right, Michael Moges, (Purchasing Manager), Yenenesh Manaye, Mekdes Alaye, Enatfanta Fetene, Helina Engeda (Manager of Operations), Belayneh Tazebku (Marketing Director), look on as the first face mask is produced at the LOZA manufacturing facility in their synagogue, in Kechene Ethiopia. Besides employing members of the community, proceeds will be used for COVID-19 related needs, and some face masks will be donated to the local clinic.

U.S. and Israeli Delegation Visit Kechene Synagogue for Friday Shabbat Services Nov. 15, 2019

Rabbis Gila Colman and Josh Bennett begin service with parsha for the week
Rabbis Gila Colman and Josh Bennett teaching and learning a Hebrew and Amharic song, Ma yafet hayom

Community member speaks
Community member asks a question
Mesfin Assefa
Rabbi Josh Bennett giving mezuzahs to congragation
David Goldberg
Suzi Colman
Belayneh and Messfin blessing their children
Rabbi Josh Bennett talking about partnerships and then blessing children
Rabbi Josh Bennett blessing over wine
Rabbi Gila Colman presents shirts
Belayneh and Messfin blessing their children
Jon Colman
David Goldberg
Suzi Colman
Rabbi Josh Bennett, you must be are partners
Rabbi Josh Bennett, blessing of wine
Rabbi Gila Ruskin greeting the congregation
Blessing of the bread
Mikki leading Amharic prayer 1
Mikki leading Amharic prayer 2
Mikki leading Amharic prayer 3
Rabbi Gila Colman passing out Shabbat candles
Placeing the mezuzaj on synagogue door
David Goldberg
Mikki ending service
Mikkki leading Amharic prayer
Mikkie leading Amharic prayer
Mikki leading Amharic prayer
Rabbi Gila Colman talking about Suzi
Rabbi Josh Bennett explaining a mezuzah
Rabbi Josh Bennett explaining the weekly parsha of Abraham and visitors to his tent
Rabbi Josh Bennett explains and give a mezuzah to each member and affixes it to door post
Scheceanu and Am Yisrael Chai