Jews of Hadramaut

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The Jews of Hadramaut were an ancient Mizrahi community living in present-day Yemen.

History[edit]

The Hadhramaut Governorate in Yemen today. The traditional region was larger.

The community was very old, and, after the rise of Islam and the expulsion of the Hejazi Jews, the main centers of Jewish population in Arabia were in Hadhramaut and in Aden. However, the Jews of Hadhramaut were much more isolated than their counterparts in Aden, and the community only became known to the outside world in the 1940s. The community had distinctive religious traditions. Many of the Hadhrami Jews converted to Islam, but after the founding of the State of Israel, the community made Aliyah, and there are no more Hadhramaut Jews in Yemen today. The Jews of Hadhramaut lived in Seiyun, Tarim, Al-Mukalla and Al-Sheher. Among the well known Jewish families of the region in Al-Sheher and Mukalla are: Ben Haneen, Ben Haiem, Ben Yaze'a, Ben, Ben Ysra'ail and Ben Qatian. Most of these families converted to Islam in the time period from 1509 until the 1960s and few migrated to Israel after 1948. After the union between south and north and because of the strict tribal system most of these families melted in the tribal community by rename their family name after well-known tribe to avoid discrimination based on their former Jewish roots. The Ben Qattian family is famous in Hadhramaut as dagger-makers and gold-smiths, their handmade daggers are extremely desired.

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