At Purim, Yemen native unfurls ancestral tradition

For Yemen native Tzadock Nachshoni, his centuries-old family megilahs are a continuation of a special tradition.

By MORDECHAI I. TWERSKY
March 21, 2011 18:46
1 minute read.
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Sixty-year old Tzadok Nachshoni becomes emotional when he unfurls two megilah scrolls that belonged to his parents and grandparents in Yemen.

The retired educator from Israel's central city of Nes Tziona recently allowed the Jerusalem Post to photograph the scrolls, which were then examined by experts at the Jewish National and University Library at Hebrew University.

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The first, estimated to be between  200 and 300 years old, was written in Yemen on a specially prepared red, leather-like parchment known in Hebrew as Gvil.  The first panel of the megillah consists of a prayer, preceding the megilah text, which begins on the following panel.

The second megilah, written on white parchment, is thought to have been written in Israel at the end of the 19th century following the aliyah of Yemenite Jews to the Holy Land.

Nachshoni comes from a family of rabbis and scholars. His father, Rabbi Shalom, his mother, Shoshana, and  a grandmother, Yafa, immigrated to Israel from Yemen in 1949 as part of the massive Yemenite airlift known as Operation Magic carpet. They brought with them the megilahs and a Torah. Shalom was 110 years old when he died. Shoshana was 107. And grandmother Yafa was lived to be 119.

Nachshoni is a deeply religious man. He expressed his gratitude to the Almighty for, in his words, entrusting him with the responsibility of safeguarding these scrolls.


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