(24S3) Jewish Yemenite Traditions in Israel (26 June 2024)

June 26th, 2024, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm


In many Jewish Arab traditions, a Henna ceremony is celebrated with the bride before her wedding, as a rite of passage to married life.  In this talk, Avia Halev, an Israeli of Yemenite descent, will share her family’s immigration story within the context of the Jewish Yemenite community in Israel.  Avia will share their traditions while she recounts her personal story of preparing for her own Henna ceremony in Israel.  Avia will further elaborate on Jewish Yemenite traditions and customs and the ways they are maintained by the community in Israel until this day. .


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Avia was born in Rosh Ha-Ayin to a traditional Yemenite family, as the middle child of five children.  Growing up, she was a counselor at B’nei Akiva and a tour guide in “Shelcah,” a hiking and nature youth movement.  After graduation, Avia spent a year as a Shin-Shinit (service volunteer) in an absorption center in Tzfat, working with olim (immigrants) of all ages and backgrounds. She served in the IDF Air Force as an NCO traffic controller, and currently serves as a reservist.

After her active IDF service, Avia moved to Ethiopia to live with the Jewish community in Gondar for several months.  She continued to travel throughout Africa, North and South America, and India, where she joined the staff of “HaChava Shel Adam,” a unique retreat intended for Israeli travelers.  During COVID, Avia married Avi and they moved to the Negev (southern Israel), as she always felt that the desert was home.

Avia is an artist. She enjoys exploring ancient crafts such as weaving and woodworking and believes that mutual creation is a great way to connect between individuals of different cultures.  In her pottery studio Tenn’e, Avia hosts art workshops inspired by the desert.  In her free time, Avia enjoys traveling around the world and is especially interested in ideas and cultural exchange.