SHAR'AB

SHAR'AB, geographic region between Ibb and Tai'zz in southwest yemen , most of it a plain plateau, and on its east side the main san 'a-Dhamār-Yarīm route. There were scores of Jewish communities in the region. Their method of study consisted of the memorization of texts by continued repetition. The main subjects of study were aggadah and Midrash on the one hand, and Kabbalah, particularly the Zohar, on the other. The great Yemenite poets of the Mashtā family, Joseph b. Israel and Shalom Shabazī , were from Shar'ab, as was R. Shalom Sharabi , the kabbalist. Shabazī has been the most popular personality of Yemenite Jewry throughout all its long existence. There were many religious and kabbalist scholars among them who tended to deal with miraculous deeds. They preserved the correct emphatic pronunciation of the qof and had two other linguistic peculiarities: (a) the complete identification of ṣeri and ḥolam, as was common to the Jews of Babylon and the Jewish communities in the vicinity, but reflecting the ancient Hebrew pronunciation in the land of biblical Judea; the pronunciation of gimmel with a dagesh as g, unlike all other Yemenite Jews who pronounce it j (and in Arabic as well). Most of them were weavers, silversmiths, tailors, and shoemakers, but some were also landowners and coffee planters, whose fields were cultivated by Arabs. Their immigration to the Land of Israel commenced in 1911–12, following Sh. Yavne'eli's mission to Yemen. At first they were settled near the Kinneret, but they later moved to Kefar Marmorek. Many of them became residents of the Ha-Tikvah Quarter in Tel Aviv. In the moshavot they worked in agriculture and in the cities as manual laborers. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Ḥozeh, Sefer Toledot ha-Rav Shalom Shabazi u-Minhagei Yahadut Shar'ab be-Teiman (1973); Y. Tobi, in: Ḥozeh (1973), 19–21; idem, "Ṣeri ve-Ḥolam be-Mivta Yehudei Teiman," in: Y. Raztaby (1967), 52–57. (Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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