The lands of South Arabia (modern Yemen) have fascinated the imagination of the outside world from ancient
times to the present. Geographically remote but rich in exotic substances – most importantly, the aromatic resins of frankincense and myrrh – those lands became an important node in the trade networks of the ancient Near East. In the Bible, the story of Solomon’s greatness culminates with a visit from the Queen of Sheba – one of the prominent South Arabian kingdoms – who brought him precious commodities and admired his wisdom. The kings of Assyria took pride in the tribute which the rulers of Sheba delivered to them. The mighty Roman Empire attempted to conquer South Arabia but failed. From ancient times, Yemen was home to a vibrant Jewish community, which maintained contacts with the wider Jewish world but also preserved its unique scholarship and customs, until the mass immigration to the emergent state of Israel in 1949.
The exhibition Yemen: From Sheba to Jerusalem brings into public view, the history of the ancient kingdoms of South Arabia and presents the history of the Yemenite Jewish community from antiquity to the modern times.