Arusi, Abraham ben Moses Ha-Levi

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ARUSI, ABRAHAM BEN MOSES HA-LEVI (1878–1934), prolific author and folklorist. Born in Kawkabān, north of San'a, Arusi immigrated to Ereẓ Israel in 1923 and settled in Maḥaneh Yehudah near Petaḥ Tikvah. In Yemen he had traveled from one place to another in order to look for employment. In this way he was able to collect traditional stories and legends about the first Jewish inhabitants of Yemen, of the miracles they had experienced throughout the generations and of Jewish historical personalities in general. After he immigrated to Israel he gathered 85 folklore stories as well as 300 Yemenite Jewish-Arabic proverbs in Kore ha-Dorot (Ben-Menaḥem, 1950; Ḥassid, 1956). On his way to Ereẓ Israel he had also stayed in Aden for a few years. His impressions also appeared as part of Kore ha-Dorot (Naḥum, 1986). He was talented not only in storytelling but in writing poetry as well, writing in the genre of traditional Yemenite poetry and Sephardi poetry. He left over 15 compositions, including numerous poems which were only partially published. He collected his poems in a special dīwān (manuscript), many of which were copied in other manuscripts. In his prose and poetry (detailed bibliography in Ratzaby, 1994, 401–2), Arusi tended to react to personal experience as well as to historical events such as the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the events of 1929 in Ereẓ Israel (Dam Ẓaddikim, 1930). He specifically wrote about the spiritual and social transformations which occurred in the Jewish settlement in Ereẓ Israel and especially among the Yemenite Jews. A significant part of his writings deal with the spiritual deterioration and secularization that became widespread among the Yemenite Jews who deserted their fathers' traditions (Azharot Yegar Sahauta, 1924). In spite of their importance, his essays were not used in the sociological research of the Yemenite Jewry of Ereẓ Israel.


N. Ben-Menaḥem, in: Minḥah li-Yehudah, (1950), 141–61; Y. Ḥassid (ed.), Kiẓẓat Yosef ha-Ẓaddik (1956), 56–86; Y.L. Naḥum, Mi-Yeẓirot Sifrutiyyot mi-Teiman (1981), 118–59; Y. Ratzaby, in: Yeda-Am, 9 (1964), 127–31; idem, in: Assufot, 8 (1994), 399–423.

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]