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Kosher Ritual Slaughterers Graduate From First-of-its-kind Program in Ethiopia

By 11/28/2022 8:01 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Twelve Ethiopian Jews in the city of Gondar have completed a pioneering program designed to prepare them to perform ceremonial slaughters, or shochtim.

To continue supporting Jews in Ethiopia, Rabbi Menachem Waldman of the local community and Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, director of the Straus-Amiel Rabbinical Emissary Program of Ohr Torah Stone and the Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry, collaborated on the program.

In Gondar, there are roughly 10,000 Jews, and Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia, has an additional 2,000.

Due to the absence of halachic ceremonial slaughter operations up until this point, observant members of the community were compelled to primarily abstain from consuming chicken or red meat.

Students have been studying pertinent books since the course’s online launch two and a half months ago.

Two weeks ago, Rabbi Netanel Ansani, a highly skilled ritual slaughterer, arrived in Ethiopia to start the practical training.

The specially made blades and sharpening stones were sent to Ethiopia from Israel.

The study session lasted from early morning until late at night, according to Ansani.

Each student needed intensive training in practical techniques to gain as much practical knowledge and confidence as possible and show their dedication to lifelong learning.

Birnbaum and Rabbi Dr. Ari Greenspan, a shochet, professor, and dentist, visited Ethiopia last week to monitor the examination procedure.

The men all acquired certifications permitting them to perform as halachically-approved ritual slaughterers in front of their families and neighbors.

According to Birnbaum, the residents in Gondar and Addis Abeba would gain tremendously from this historic occasion.

The establishment of a shechita infrastructure within the Ethiopian community is something we think is very important, both from the perspective of food supply and no less so from the perspective of strengthening their Jewish identities and connection to our heritage.

With God’s help, we will be blessed to see the remaining members of the community return home very soon to join us in Israel.

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