So during Heritage Preservation Week we got a free guided tour of three older synagogues, all in the Alef neighborhood of Beer Sheva.
In the whole city there are over 200 synagogues.
Welcome to the Abba Shalom Shabazi Yemenite Synagogue.
Women sit in the upper balcony and can look down on the men below.
The pews are along the sides, and the reading desk for the Torah scroll is in the center.
The scroll is kept in a hard case, a tik, Sephardic-style, in contrast to the Ashkenazi custom of covering the scroll with a soft mantle, a me'il.
This Yemenite congregation has many beautiful Torahs,
all kept in the aron kodesh, the holy ark.
Jews lived in Yemen ever since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet.
So many of the new immigrants were directed to Beer Sheva that they needed to build two Yemenite synagogues in the city.
More about Yemenite Jews in Wikipedia.
UPDATE! -- In a secret mission at the end of March 2016 some of the last Jews who remained in Yemen were brought to Israel! Read the story here.
Only about fifty Jews still want to live in Yemen.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)