Joining in the City Daily Photo group's UMBRELLA Theme Day.
Visit the nice new portal to see how bloggers from around the world are interpreting this theme.
My photos (which you can enlarge with a click, then another click) are from Jerusalem Day, May 21, 2009.
Now in May Israel has no rain, so the umbrellas you see above are not for keeping dry.
As I understand it, they are meant to show honor to a person or object.
These men praying in their ancient Gez language are kesim, Jewish spiritual leaders of the Ethiopian community.
But Ethiopian Orthodox Christians also use these colorful fringed and embroidered umbrellas.
I have seen them called liturgical parasols and also ceremonial umbrellas.
The relatively new ceremony, now held every year on Mount Herzl, is called "The National Ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel."
President Peres had praise for this isolated community that managed to survive 3,000 years of The Exile in the mountains of Ethiopia.
He lauded their unending dream to return to Israel, which they called "Eretz Jerusalem," the Land of Jerusalem.
There were several big operations to bring masses of Ethiopian Jews home.
Peres talked mostly about Operation Moses, 1984-5.
One out of every three Ethiopian Jews who started the trek, on foot,
over the mountains and then through the desert of Sudan to the temporary
refugee camps, in other words 4,000 of those people, died before they
could be air-lifted to Israel.
This kes came to the podium, opened his ceremonial umbrella, and spoke
from the heart, without a written speech, in the spoken language Amharic.
His whole family died on the long way to Israel.
For full coverage of this event and for more about Ethiopian Jews, please see my post With Ethiopian-Israelis on Jerusalem Day.