Preserving Jewish-Israeli Yemenite Heritage
The Association for Society and Culture (Netanya, Israel, 011-972-9-833-1325), whose mission is to preserve and document the Jewish-Israeli Yemenite heritage, culture and folklore, published its house magazine, Tehuda (Editor: Rabbi Dr. Aharon Ben David).
As in the previous issues, Tehuda (in English: 'to heed'), is a great enriching and illuminating publication. One can learn about the daily activities of this ethnic organization whose president is Ovadia Ben Shalom, who founded it in 1970 to be a distinguished model for other ethnic societies in Israel.
Any survey of these activities and high level of creativity will second our quest: let the Israeli government award Mr. Ben-Shalom the 'Guardian Angel' of the Yemenite ethnic heritage and this 'society' with the Israel Prize of 2002!
This will be a recognition of the contribution of the Jews from Yemen to the success of Israel and its well being. It honors the links between Israel, the Zionist idea and the most ancient Jewish Diaspora who built and live in Israel.
As to the last issue of Tehuda, the following are some selected abstracts of scholarly articles:
Dr. Shlomo Harir: The Integration of talmudic- mathematical problems in teaching -
Today in the teaching of mathematics has not been done any practical experiment to combine Talmudic topics, as well as in Talmud teaching. In most cases, Talmudic topics of mathematical characters do not get attention by teacher of Talmud only a superficial one. Today most students accept mathematics as a theoretical subject which has no relevance to practical life and especially to the life according to the Halacha, to which religious people are attached recent years a few attempts have been one to make a reform in teaching science and the tendency is to move from domain teaching to "inter-domain teaching" 2 other field of knowledge Talmud and Mathematics. From first look it is impossible to see the connection between those two topics. But it turned out that those 2 fields can be both connected and combined.
Shalom Lahav: About "Midrash Hagadol" and the identity of its author - The Midrash Hagadol is one of the main spiritual books of the Yemenite Jews. It contains ancient Jewish studies from ancient times in Israel as well as from Babylionic times.
The author of Midrash Hagadol is Rabbi David Ben-Amram who lived in Aden in the 13th century. This article reviews comprehensively the content of Midrash Hagadol, its high value in research as well as a source of Jewish tradition and religion, its interpretations to various problems and questions. This article also deals with the identity of the author of Midrash Hagadol.
Dr. Aharon Gaimani: A Yemenite Rabbis Blessing for the Iman Yahya - the King of Yemen -
The Imam Yahya, who ruled Yemen in the first half of the 20th century, was considered in the eyes of the Yemenite Jewry as a kind ruler. He protected his Jewish subjects against despots who sought to do them evil, and they dwelled safely during his times. In this article a blessing is presented, which was instituted by Rabbi Awad Methane, rabbi of the Al-Dahrah Jewish community, in honor of the Iman Yahya, when the latter came down to convalesce in the public baths of Damt in the year 1942.
Drora Zandani: Internalization of tradition values on northern Yemenite Jews by the third generation -
Every generation aspires to transfer and absorb its values and customs to the next generation. Usually, the transfer of cultural values is carried out ordinary ways. However, during the time of immigration, the first generation strictly keeps its root values. Whereas, part of the second generation relinquishes many of these values, while the third generation returns to keep them and to live according to the values of the first generation in order to keep the values. This is what has happened to various ethnic community in Israel - among them the Jewish Community from Northern Yemen.
This Article summarized the preliminary research which tries to describe and explain the process of the third generation of people from Northern Yemenite origin return to their roots.
Yosef Shaar: History of the Bible Quiz -
Yosef Shaar serves as a member of the universal directorate of the Bible Quiz, author of the questions, and judge. In his article, he reviews the history of the Bible Quiz.
The first Quiz took place in 1958, the 10th anniversary of the State, in the form of an international Bible Quiz for adults. In 1963, this became the International Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth. It has taken place as such continuously, each year, for the past 38 years (2001).
The bible Quiz contributes a spiritual dimension to Independence Day. It emphasizes the peace-loving image of the People of Israel as the People of the Book.
Rabbi Dr. Aharon Ben David: Reading the Torah in the dwellings of the Jews in the North of Yemen -
Learning Torah in the dwellings of the Jews in the North of Yemen is a main value. If someone takes from the northern Yemenite Jews this value they feel that their soul was taken from them. One of the aspects of this learning is the reading of the Torah in public in the synagogue, and this reading was a special highlight in ones routine life. Reading the torah in the dwellings of the Jews in the North of Yemen was fulfilled with a great respect. Two old customs - the person reads the Torah in the Pentateuch by himself and reading the translation in Aramaic - were preserved well, with some addition.
Until the Northern Yemenite Jew arrived to the expecting moment, reading the Torah in public, he had to work hard by preparing himself. This preparation is called "Thenayah." A person who succeeded in this reading was very satisfied, and his friends, together with the worshipers appreciated him by special and well-known expressions. But if one failed and did number of mistakes during reading he was ashamed and the worshippers denounced him. The Cantor (the man who helps those who read the torah in public in the synagogue) used to keep a main role in reading the Torah in the synagogue. He has to be an expert in reading the Torah and knowing all the cantillation signs. The order of readers, which was habitual in the North of Yemen, is based on the Halakha with some additions.
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