DHAMĀR


DHAMĀR, one of the historic cities of Yemen; located on the road between Yarīm and Sana. Dhamār, a large town, was the seat of a famous madrasa ("school") of the ruling Zaydiyya sect and had a large Jewish community. The Jewish name for the city was Hadoram, according to the Judeo-Arabic translation ascribed to Saadia Gaon (Gen. 10:27). Dhamār was the main spiritual center of Yemenite Jewry in the 15th century (see R. *Zechariah ben Solomon Rofe). The community numbered about 300 families before the immigration to Israel on 1949–50. The local Jewish community continued to be the spiritual center for the surrounding Jewish communities, having seven synagogues and a permanent rabbinical court with three dayyanim. Prior to the Mawza' expulsion, the old Jewish quarter was within the walls of the city, but after the Jews returned from exile they built their new quarter outside the walls, later enclosed by a wall connecting it to the city. Uncharacteristically the head of the bet din also served as the temporal leader ('āqil), in charge of the poll tax (jizyah) and the ṭuhֽna (compulsory milling of grain for the army). The Orphans Edict was strictly enforced, but community leaders managed to smuggle the young Jewish orphans via Sana to Aden. The socio-economic structure of the local Jewish community was the same as in other urban Jewish communities: silversmiths (about a third of all Jewish craftsmen), weavers, shoemakers, millers, tailors, builders, and wholesalers. The community possessed two famous Torah scrolls to which pilgrimages were made until the whole community immigrated to Israel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

S. Yavnieli, Massa Teman, 17–18; S.Greidi, Yamim Yedabberu (1995); Y. Tobi, Iyyunim bi-Megillat Teman (1986), 155–56; idem, "R. Hoter Ben Shlomo Ḥayyav u-Tekufato," in: D.R.Blumenthal, The Philosophical Questions and Answers of Hoter Ben Shlomo (1981), 279–93; M. Ẓaddok, Yehudei Teman, Toledotehem ve-Orḥot Ḥayyeihem (1967), 108–10.

[Yosef Tobi (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.