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Food and Drink - Modern Period - Yemen

(2,948 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
There are few sources detailing Jewish foodways in Yemen. European travelers sometimes mentioned food in their journals but rarely described prepared dishes, instead indicating what foodstuffs or agricultural products were available in the markets. Since Yemen has a less arid climate than the rest of Arabia because of its mountainous backbone and its location in the path of two monsoon systems, agriculture is possible in most areas. Coffee and qat have long been two of the most important crops. …

Orphans’ Decree (Gezerat ha-Yetomim)

(655 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
The Orphans’ Decree, the reinstatement by Imam Yaḥyā (r. 1918–1948) of an older Zaydī law, required the conversion to Islam of Jewish orphans in Yemen. It was enforced only sporadically during his reign. The term Orphans’ Decree (Heb. Gezerat ha-Yetomim) refers to the reinstatement of a Zaydī law in Yemen requiring the conversion of orphaned Jewish children to Islam. The law had been implemented in previous centuries but had not been enforced by the Ottomans during the period that they controlled the Yemeni highlands in the late nine…


(1,003 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
Located approximately 140 kilometers (87 miles) southwest of Ṣan‘ā, in Lower Yemen (Ar. al-Yaman al-Asfal), Ibb is the name of a town which lies on the southwestern spur of the Baʿadan massif, and also the name of the province composed of areas to its northwest and southeast. Ibb town is the administrative center of the province. The Indian Ocean monsoon system provides regular rainfall in the late spring and summer, and as a result Ibb’s climate is the wettest in southern Arabia and produces the highest per u…


(974 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
Taʿizz, the most important city in southwestern Yemen, is the country’s economic and industrial capital. It is located on an important historical crossroads with Ibb, Yarim, Dhamar, and Sanʿa, 195 kilometers (121 miles) to the north, Mocha to the southwest, and Aden, 140 kilometers (88 miles) to the southeast. Taʿizz sits on the northern foot of Mount Sabir, at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,593 feet), in the center of a highly productive agricultural area. Terraced cultivation is made possible …


(579 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
The town of Yarim(Ar. Yarīm), on the main road leading to Taʿizz, between Dhamar and Ibb, in the southern Yemeni highlands, is more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Sanʿa. It is situated on an upland plateau in the northernmost part of Ibb province at an altitude of approximately 2,400 meters (7,874 feet) and is dominated by two mountains, Jabal Yusbah to its northeast and Jabal Sharbub to its southwest. As with the rest of the province, Yarim is highly fertile thanks to the abundant rainfal…


(378 words)

Author(s): Ari Ariel
The region of Sharʿab occupies a highland plateau lying approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the northwest of the city of Taʿizz in the north-central part of Taʿizz province in southern Yemen, Sharʿab is today one of Yemen’s most densely populated areas. It is made up of two districts: Sharʿab as-Salam and Sharʿab ar-Rawna. According to the 2004 Yemeni census, the former has a population of 146,650, and the latter has 186,955 inhabitants. Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the Sharʿab region was heavily populated by Jews. According to some estimates there were …