Ḥaydān

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ḤAYDĀN

ḤAYDĀN. A town and a region in north *Yemen, after which all Jews living there were called Ḥayādinah, in about 40 small communities such as Ṣa'dah, Baraṭ, Qal'ah, Ghālib, Harāḍ, and Mashhad. Known also as Ḥaydān al-Shām (in the north), to distinguish it from another Ḥaydān in the south-west. The earliest information about the Jews of Ḥaydān is a document from 1670, dealing with the division of a house in Ṣanʿā (*Sanʿa) among three brothers of the Ḥaydānī family. The existence of the Jews of north Yemen among the Muslim majority was not based on the Muslim discriminatory rules (ghiyār) as in other places in Yemen and other Muslim countries, but on the tribal pre-Islamic system, where the Jews, as other weak segments of the society, were jārs (neighbors) whom the Sheikhs had to protect on behalf of their honor. There are many testmonies about wars waged by an Arab tribe, in consequence of killing or hurting a Jew protected by that tribe, against another tribe from which the killer came. As a result of their special status, the Jews of north Yemen did not wear sidelocks, the most distinctive sign in the appearance of the Yemenite Jew. Many of them were expert in the art of repairing the Arabs' weapons and could even carry weapons and sometimes took part in tribal wars. They also could live among the Muslims in more than two-story houses in contrast to the rule in other places. Another of their major occupations was silversmithing. Although we have scant information about the Jews of north Yemen in some sources like the account of the traveler R. Baruch b. Samuel of Pinsk (1833), they were first exposed to scholars only after Joseph Halévy and Ḥayyim Ḥibshūsh wrote the accounts of their travel to that area in 1870. Subsequently some of the Jews emigrated from N. Yemen, such as A. Tabib, Z. Glusqa, and M. Kappara, and published books about the Jews living there. These Jews began to immigrate to the Land of Israel in 1907, and two personalities later became prominent leaders of the Yemenite community: Abraham Tabib and Zekharyah Glusqa. They settled in Reḥovot and Rishon le-Zion and engaged in agriculture, playing a leading role in the promotion of Jewish labor. Another movement of aliyah took place in the mid-1940s, led by R. David Ẓadok ha-Levi. They wandered in Yemen for two years until they reached *Aden and later arrived in Israel on the "Magic Carpet" in 1949 with their countrymen. They settled in nearby Kiryat Ekron and Kefar Gevirol (near Reḥovot).

bibliography:

Y. Tobi, Jews of Yemen (1999), 142–156; idem, "The Jews in Ḥaydān and North Yemen," in: ʿA. Zindani, Yalkut Ovadia, 15–39; A. Tabib, Golat Teman (1931); idem, Shavei Teman (1932); Z. Glusqa, Le-Ma'an Yehudei Teman (1974); M. Kappara, Minni Teman U-ve-Sha'arayim (1978).

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]

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Ḥaydān

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