Jews have lived in Yemen for over 2000 years, since the early biblical period. Their language, vocabulary, accent, culture, religious customs, clothing and codes of behavior spark a flavor of ancient authenticity and associations with the biblical figures as we imagine them.
Read more about the Jews of Yemen:
|A Brief Background About Yemen
Yemen is currently considered an underdeveloped country. Still it is blessed with one of the richest and most vibrant histories in the Middle East, with archaeological sites dating back to biblical periods. It is located in the strategic south west of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a varied topography and climate and houses hundreds of diverse tribes that have kept their distinct characteristics throughout the times. Read more...
|When did the Jews Settle in Yemen?
Many scholars believe that the beginning of the Jewish settlement in Yemen goes back as far as the period of the 1st Temple.
Legends and traditions refer to a few waves of emigration to Yemen in biblical periods, starting with King Solomon and Queen of Saba (Sheba) and ending during the time of the King of Babylon. Read more...
|Relations of the Yemenite Jews with their Local Neighbors
Life of the Jews of Yemen was characterized by ups and downs depending on the different periods, different rulers and different locations.
By 380 CE, the influence of the Jews in Yemen was so great that the ruler of the Kingdom of Ḥimyar accepted monotheism and converted to Judaism. Read More....
|Connections with Other Jewish Centers
Yemen was relatively distant from the Jewish centers in Israel, Baghdad, Persia, Syria, Egypt and Europe. Still, links among them existed throughout the centuries.
During the early centuries of the Common Era the Jews promoted business connections with other Jewish communities and consequently gained wealth and influence. This influence reached a point, in around 380 CE, where a ruler of the Ḥimyarite Kingdom in Yemen converted to Judaism. Read more...
|The Scholars of Yemen
How did a large community, scattered across many different locations, with the difficult topography of Yemen, manage to keep traditions and religious practices in tact over so many generations? Over the ages there have always been dedicated scholars who played the main role in ensuring the integrity of the community’s beliefs and commitments. Read more...
|Yemenite Jews and the American Colony in Jerusalem
This is the story of Yemenite Jews, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1881, and Anna and Horatio Spafford, devout American Christians who moved to the holy land to dedicate their lives to help the needy, regardless of origin or faith.
A year after founding ‘The American Colony’ in Jerusalem, the Spaffords discovered a group of Yemenite Jews camping in their fields. These Jews shared the Spaffords' belief that the time had come for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the return of the Jews to the land of their forefathers. The story describes the generosity of the Spaffords and their relations with the Yemenite Jews. Read more…
|Kinneret and the Yemenite Pioneers
The immigration of the Jews of Yemen at the end of the 19th century was mostly characterized by hardships. Among other things, financial, organizational, social and cultural differences created a conflict between the immigrants who came from the near east and those who came from east Europe.
In 1911, a group of a few dozen families from Shar-ab in the south of Yemen, picked up their goods and came to the Promised Land, eventually settling beside Lake Kinneret. Eighteen years after they arrived, the Yemenite settlers were forced to leave their homes. Read more…
|Operation On Wings of Eagles
‘On Wings of Eagles’ was a covert operation to save the Jews of Yemen and bring them to Israel. The full operation started in December 1948 and continued through to September 1950
During the project about 50,000 Jews were flown from Aden, Yemen, on more than 380 flights. They joined an already existing community of about thirty-five to forty thousand Yemenite Jews who had arrived in Palestine prior to the creation of the State of Israel.. Read more…
|Custom, Culture and Folklore of the Yemenite Jews
This page is still under construction. Currently it provides some videos by Sei Yona, a traditional Yemenite dance troupe.
The root of Yemenite Jewish poetry is religious and national. The poems and songs function as a tool to spread stories, moral teaching and wisdom of the bible. Many express gratitude to and belief in god and reflect a longing for Zion. Read more
Waves of immigration from Yemen to the Holy Land increased substantially towards the end of the 19th century with the rise of the Zionist movement. In addition to the longing for a return to the land of Israel, they responded to a practical need for a working force that would supply the demands of a rapidly growing population...
Jewish history in Yemen witnessed ups and downs in the political environment and the attitude towards Jews. During the difficult periods there was a longing for a change which led to the rise of influential leaders, claiming it was time for deliverance to the homeland. As in other communities around the world, many believed that these charismatic leaders represented the arrival of a messiah…
The immigration of Yemenite Jews to Israel, as blessed as it was, did not come without pain. An event, which is still under investigation, scarred the entire community. With the main wave of immigration from 1949 to 1954, during a chaotic period of integration for hundreds of thousands of people, a large number of small children disappeared without proper records of why, where and how...