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January 14, 2014 12:02 pm

First Hebrew/Judeo-Yemeni Arabic Dictionary Published

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The Jerusalem Archaeological Park - Davidson Center. Photo: Nemo/Wikimedia Commons. The first Hebrew/Judeo-Yemeni Arabic dictionary was recently introduced by its editor, Rabbi Dr. Aharon Ben-David. The lexicon aims to offer the Hebrew equivalent for a popular North Yemeni dialect, once common in the Jewish communities of Hidan, Najran, and Higra.

The “Yar Yair Dictionary,” compiled by the late Assaf Yair Madar-Halevy over more than 50 years, comprises over 500 pages. Madar-Halevy died in 1991 and did not live to see his life’s work published.

“I will never forget coming to Israel in 1951, at the age of nine,” Ben-David told Israel Hayom. “A few years later, I watched ‘Roots’ [a miniseries based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel of the same name] and I decided that I wanted to find my own roots. Since that day, I have always sought ways to preserve the traditions and heritage of the North Yemeni Jewish community.”

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