The Photographs That Brought Yemenite Jewry to Europeans’ Attention

At the age of thirty, a well-to-do German Jew named Hermann Burchardt set off for Damascus and began searching for exotic peoples he could learn about and photograph. This quest brought him, in 1901, to Sana’a in Yemen, as Chen Malul writes. (Includes photographs.)

On his wanderings around the hilly capital city, [Burchardt] was stunned by a group of people he encountered: members of the Sana’a Jewish community, whose ties to other Jewish communities worldwide had been almost completely severed for generations. Together with his large entourage, Burchardt spent nearly a year with the community. He got to know them personally, to study and document their customs, and listen to their unique life stories—transcribing almost every word in his diary.

And, for the first time in history, he photographed them. The article he published in the [German Jewish] journal Ost und West included the spectacularly beautiful, first-ever photographs of the Yemenite Jewish community.

The images were nothing short of a revelation for European Jewry. . . . It seemed as if the world’s most authentic Jews, who had lived completely isolated from any foreign influence, had finally been found—at least, this is what they believed in Europe. The article so excited the journal’s readership that the photographs were turned into postcards, which were sold and circulated by the thousands.

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Read more at Haaretz

More about: German Jewry, History & Ideas, Photography, Yemenite Jewry

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror