West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 20 | October 17 - 23, 2007

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Starbucks, eat your heart out

At the Village Temple on Friday night, Beejhy Barhany, director of Beta Israel of North America, demonstrated an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. It was the culmination of a Shabbat service centered on the story of the Ethiopian Jews, their history and their resettlement to Israel via massive airlifts by the Israelis in the 1980s and 1990s. Ethiopians drink coffee three times a day, said Barhany as she roasted green coffee beans while burning frankincense next to her, above. “I know you like Starbucks,” she said. “We Ethiopians do not use sugar. We like it natural — no milk.” She then served rounds of the coffee, which was flavored with clove and cinnamon. The congregants also ate a traditional Ethiopian meal and heard Friday night prayers given in Ethiopian dialect. The evening was part of a program sponsored by Synaplex, a national organization that gives grants and training to synagogues to help them put on stimulating events to increase attendance. Upcoming events at the Village Temple will feature a green seder.


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