Posts tagged ‘Judaism’

More Photos from the Jewish Cemetery







July 12, 2008 at 12:32 pm 8 comments

A Jewish Cemetery in Aden

A Jewish cemetery in Aden

The following are pictures that were taken in what remains of a Jewish cemetery in the Ma’ala district of Aden, Yemen.

I have never taken any photos of a cemetery before, so I don’t know if doing so is offensive. I’m sorry if it is.

I don’t know much about Aden’s Jewish population, but there was a substantial Jewish minority in Yemen before 1948. Most emigrated to Israel or elsewhere after that, although a few Jewish communities stayed in Yemen, mostly in the north. There was a Jewish community living in tumultuous Sa’ada district, north of Sana’a, until quite recently. But they were pushed out of that area by the Houthi rebels, and relocated to a gated community adjacent to the American Embassy in Sana’a called Tourist City. I saw a few of them there when I was looking for a Russian bar.

The cemetery is situated on a slope, in between two roads, one that goes up and through a mountain ridge, and one that goes towards Ma’ala, along the sea, towards Tawahi, which was the seat of the British occupation. There is a tall brick wall separating the cemetery from the street on the lower side, and a flimsy guard railing separating it from the street on the higher side.

Like many other large, open spaces in Aden, this one is frequented, and seemingly inhabited by homeless men. On the far edge of the cemetery, which borders an area that is in the initial stages of some sort of development, there is a shack made of stones and cardboard. In that shack there are two or three more cushions, a radio, and a bushel of roses. The first time I went to the cemetery, there were a few men resting there. Next to the shack is a stone-enclosed area with a patch of grass (and a few cats).

If you walk from the shack towards the main area of the cemetery, past a deep and dry well, around a corner, you will find a crude two parallel stacks of cinderblocks which are used as a toilet. In between the stacks is a pile of feces. 

I used all caution and respect when walking around the cemetery. I didn’t move anything or in any other way alter the landscape. Most of the cemetery has been reduced to piles of rock, although some graves remain intact. One of the stones in the picture dates back to 1905, so it’s safe to say at least some of the damage has come from neglect. There are also signs of looting and vandalism throughout the cemetery, from stones that were obviously stripped of marble to marble engravings that were clearly smashed or desecrated for symbolic value.

I wrote this and took these pictures not to judge any one or to make a point.

So please don’t assume that these photos or words are meant to promote some socio-religious, politcal, or cultural idea or notion. Like the rest of you, I grew up with ideas and assumptions and all the rest. But I have tried my best to temper them. I try my best…





















July 11, 2008 at 6:58 am 11 comments

Cemetery in Blue

 A dry well.

July 10, 2008 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

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