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Ḥabshūsh family

(510 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
The Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) family, based in Ṣan‘ā, produced several prominent merchants and rabbis who made important contributions to Yemenite Jewish literature and religious life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The family name is probably derived from the Arabic noun ḥabash (Abyssinia) and might indicate that the family once had Abyssinian commercial contacts. Shalom ibn Yaḥyā Ḥabshūsh (1825–1905) was appointed head of the Ṣan‘ā yeshiva after the death of Yaḥyā Badīhī in 1887. As the yeshiva closed permanently during the Turkish siege of…

Ḥabshūsh, Ḥayyim

(815 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
Ḥayyim ben Yaḥyā (Yiḥye) Ḥabshūsh (Ḥibshūsh) al-Futayḥī was born in 1839 in Sanʿāʾ to a well-known Yemeni rabbinical family. His work as a coppersmith gave him an interest in the ancient Sabean copper inscriptions, which he initially collected for their magical properties. When the French orientalist Joseph Halévy went to Yemen in 1869 in search of these inscriptions, Ḥabshūsh offered to be his guide. His encounter with Halévy was transformational. Ḥabshūsh developed a lifelong fascination with European thought and the writing of history. He also came to believe that the fate of Yemeni…

Moses Ḥanokh ha-Levi

(536 words)

Author(s): Alan Verskin
Moses Ḥanokh ha-Levi was a Jewish leader, merchant, and international representative of Yemeni Jews during the second half of the nineteenth century. Little is known of his origins. He was probably born in Izmir, perhaps to a family originating from the Caucasus, then journeyed to Yemen as a young merchant supplying the Turkish legion. Settling originally in Taʿizz, he soon came to Sanʿa where he was rabbinically educated. He became involved in the India trade, before settling in Aden. Although …