Family Origin: Yemen, Moshav Yishi, Israel 2007

Family Origin: Yemen, Moshav Yishi, Israel 2007

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Often framed as a monolithic society, Israel is in fact made up of the many stories of the immigrating families who have built their lives there, united under the values of a shared heritage and history. The Israeli family has a distinct blend of customs from their original home country and the homeland.

Immigration to Israel is known as aliyah (ascent) and a newcomer as an oleh, one who has risen up, as if having attained new heights arriving in the Biblical, historic, and religious homeland of the Jewish people. The elders in these photographs had reasons for aliyah as diverse as their backgrounds.

The reality for new arrivals to Israel was often more harsh than the promised dream of “a land flowing with milk and honey”. These challenges are a reminder of the complexity of building one nation that includes Jewish people from every corner of the earth.


According to various sources Jews lived in Yemen at least since the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem, some trace Jewish life to the first temple period. Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or lived, in Yemen. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen’s Jewish population was transported to Israel in operation “On Eagle Wings”. Most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, with some others in the United States, and fewer elsewhere; Only a handful remain in Yemen.

Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from Ashkenazi, Sephardi and other Jewish groups.

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