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 blessed with one of the richest and most vibrant histories in the Middle East, with archaeological sites dating back to biblical periods. Located in the strategic southwest of the Arabian Peninsula, it is home to hundreds of diverse tribes... go to page...
|When did the Jews Settle in Yemen?
Many scholars believe that 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... go to page...
|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. go to page....
|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.
Business and scholastic connections with other Jewish communities helped to promote the community’s wealth and influence...go to page...
|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... go to page...
|Yemenite Jews and the American Colony in Jerusalem
A 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... go to page…
|Kinneret and the Yemenite Pioneers
The immigration of the Jews of Yemen at the end of the 19th century was riddled with hardships. Among other things, cultural differences created conflicts between immigrants who came from the near east and those who came from eastern Europe.
In 1911, a few dozen families from Shar-ab in the south of Yemen settled beside Lake Kinneret. Eighteen years after they arrived, the Yemenite settlers were forced to leave their homes...go to page…
|Operation On Wings of Eagles
‘On Wings of Eagles’ was a covert operation, from 1948 to 1950, to save the Jews of Yemen and bring them to Israel. About 50,000 Jews were flown from Aden, Yemen, on more than 380 flights. They joined an existing community of about forty thousand Yemenite Jews who had arrived prior to the creation of the State...go to page…
|Custom, Culture and Folklore of the Yemenite Jews
The root of Yemenite Jewish poetry and song is religious and national, and both function as tools to spread stories, moral teaching and wisdom of the bible.
Watch videos showcasing Yemenite singers, dancers and also some tips on how to make 'lahuh' - a traditional Yemenite flat bread...go to page...
Immigration from Yemen to the Holy Land increased towards the end of the 19th century. In addition to the longing for a return to the land of Zion, they responded to a practical need for a working force that would supply the demands of a growing population...go to this page.
Interviews with people who recall their lives in Yemen, their journeys to the land of Israel and stories about what life was like in pre-state Israel...watch the videos.
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...