Traditions part 5
Traditions part 4
Traditions part 3
Traditions part 2
Traditions part 1

The Traditions in KOLOT:

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Gila and Eli Bashari - Jewish Yemen tradition

One local Yemenite Jewish tradition dates the earliest settlement of Jews in the Arabian Peninsula to the time of King Solomon. One explanation is that King Solomon sent Jewish merchant marines to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn the Temple in Jerusalem. Others claim that their ancestors settled in Yemen forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple. It is said that under the Prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Jews, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen. The Jews of Habban in southern Yemen have a legend that they are the descendants of Judeans who settled in the area before the destruction of the Second Temple. Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from both Ashkenazi, Sephardi and other Jewish groups. The Yemenite Jews are the only Jewish community who maintain the tradition of reading the Torah in the synagogue in both Hebrew and the Aramaic Targum ("translation"). Like most other Jewish communities, Yemenite Jews chant different melodies for Torah, Prophets (Haftara), Megillat Aicha (Book of Lamentations), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes, read during Sukkot), and Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther read on Purim), Mishle (Proverbs) and Psalms. In addition, there is the unique tradition of singing the mystic poetry Rabbi Shalom ben Yosef Shabbazi, who lived in 17th century Yemen. Shabbazi's extant poetic diwan comprises some 550 poems. The female singing repertoire is very rich as well, consisting songs in Arabic and Hebrew, which separate into a life cycle repertoire including wedding songs, sacred songs, love songs and work songs.