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The Yemenite conference will bring academics and cultural leaders from 4 continents to explore the shared values and culture of Jews and Muslims in Yemen

(New York, NY) E’eleh BeTamar, The American Sephardi Federation, and the Institute of Semitic Studies announce the Yemenite Conference, the first-ever international conference dedicated to exploring the shared history, values, and culture of Yemenite Jews and their Muslim Arab neighbors in Yemen.

The keynote address, “Four Generations of my Family: Me, my Father Prince Mohammed, my Grandfather Prince Seif Ul Islam Ismail, and my Grandfather Imam Yahya. Their Relationship with the Jews and the Jewish Scholars 1913-1962” will be delivered by Mr. Yousef M. Hamidaddin. Following the keynote, over 35 scholars and artists from Yemen, Israel, the US, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, and other countries will deliver scholarly and cultural presentations.

The opening night ceremony will feature world-famous Yemenite artists, including Tsion Golan, Avihu Medina, Sagiv Cohen, Bat Nedivim, Rechovot Teiman, Mizmorei Teiman, and more.

“At a time of conflict, it is imperative to recall the much longer and fascinating history of cultural exchange between Yemenite Jews and their Arab Muslim neighbors,” says Jason Guberman, Executive Director of The American Sephardi Federation. He added: “The Yemenite Conference is a vibrant expression of this shared history, with sessions exploring the unique traditions and important roles Jews once had in Yemeni society as outstanding scholars, silversmiths, and singers. The American Sephardi Federation is proud to bring together 30 of the world’s top scholars as well as world-renowned artists for what will be an unforgettable, multi-sensory experience.”

“The study of Yemenite Jews is seminal to all aspects of Jewish studies. Yemenite Jews are known by scholars worldwide to be devotedly religious, having preserved a distinctive Jewish history and culture going back to the Late Second Temple period. As many scholars, Sholomo Goitein, Haim Rabin, and Shelomo Morag, among others, have maintained no other Jewish community has made such a distinctive contribution to the preservation of the language, religion, and literature of Judaism as Yemenite Jews. They are the only Jews who to this day still read the Torah and Haftorah in both Hebrew and Aramaic (Targum), as prescribed in the Mishnah, on Sabbath and festivals and pronounce every letter of Hebrew distinctively in their readings,” says Professor Ephraim Issac, Founder of the Institute for Semitic Studies.

On view now is The Teimani Experience, an interactive multi-sensory exploration of Jewish Yemenite history and culture, in the Rosenberg Gallery of the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History (15 W 16th St., NYC). Many of the artifacts on display are on loan from Conference participants and will be discussed during the Conference.

The Closing Ceremony, which will be at The United Nations, will be dedicated to the writing and songs of 17th-century Judeo-Arabic poet Rav Shalom Shabazi on the 400th anniversary of his birth.

At Center for Jewish History -- Opening Ceremony: 5:30 PM on 3 June. Conference: 9 AM-5:30 PM on 4 June; 9:AM-3:30 PM on 5 June.

At United Nations – Closing Ceremony: 6-8:00 PM

The conference will be open to the general public to learn, experience, and immerse themselves in the rich Yemenite cultural heritage. This cross-religion experience is aimed at exploring the rich history of Yemenite Jews and creating a better understanding leading to stronger relationships between Jews and Muslims in the US, Canada, and elsewhere.

For more information visit or contact Dr. Dawn Drora Arussy at

About the Organizers

E’eleh BeTamar was established in 1982 to commemorate 100 years since the first big emigration of Jews from Yemen to Israel. As a representative of Yemenite Jews living in Israel, E’eleh BeTamar’s goal is to expose people around the world to the joint cultural heritage of the Muslim majority and Jewish minority in Yemen despite their religious and historical differences. The organization encourages and funds research and distribution of materials highlighting the rich history, literature, education, music, cuisine, and culture of Yemenite Jewry from a spiritual and religious perspective The American Sephardi Federation, a Partner of the landmark Center for Jewish History, proudly preserves and promotes the history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture of Greater Sephardic communities as an integral part of the Jewish experience. ASF hosts high-profile events and exhibitions, produces widely-read online (Sephardi World Weekly and Sephardi Ideas Monthly) and print (The Sephardi Report) publications, supports research, scholarship (see: ASF’s 2018 Broome & Allen Fellowship and Scholarship Recipients), and the National Sephardic Library & Archives, and represents the Sephardi voice in diplomatic and Jewish communal affairs as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and World Jewish Congress Ephraim Isaac, B.D., Ph.D., D.H.L., D.Litt., is the Director of the Institute of Semitic Studies, in Princeton, New Jersey. Dr. Ephraim Isaac holds a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Music, and Chemistry from Concordia College, a BD from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages from Harvard. Three of his recent works pertain to the oldest known manuscripts of the Book of Enoch (Doubleday, 1983), An Ethiopic History of Joseph (Sheffield Press, 1990), and Proceedings of Second International Congress of Yemenite Jewish Studies (ISS, 1999). For the past 40 years, Ephraim has worked to reconcile religious and ethnic groups in his native Ethiopia and its neighbor to the north, Eritrea. Son of a Yemenite Jewish father and an Oromo Ethiopian mother, Ephraim’s diverse upbringing has enabled him to move among different people with ease. Thanks to his life experiences, his mediation efforts are colored by a deep-seated appreciation for the costs of war and the value of peace.

Conference Partners

  • Michlelet Beit Berel, Kfar Sava

  • Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel

  • Museum of Yemeni Jewish Heritage, Rechovot

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