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Ash•kᵊnazim Jews Forcibly Shave Off Tei•mân•im Jews' Pei•yot

Paqid Yirmeyahu (Paqid 16, the Netzarim)
Pâ•qidꞋ  Yi•rᵊmᵊyâhu

From: Y.M., Brunswick, N.J., USA
Shalom Yirmeyahu,
…do all Teimanim have peyot? Will you be accepted into the Teimani community without Peyot? Thank you very much. I am looking forward to your reply.

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Not all Tei•mân•im in Israel wear pei•yot. In fact, most don’t. In appearance, aside from their kip•âh, most Tei•mân•im in Israel today would be indistinguishable from an American businessman.

All of the photos I've seen of Tei•mân•im in Tei•mân had pei•yot.  When they made a•liy•âh to Israel, secular Ash•kᵊnazim Jews forcibly cut off their pei•yot and settled them in secular communities, trying to forcibly secularize those they regarded as "superstitious darkies" – even to the point of kidnapping their babies and giving them to Ash•kᵊnazim parents to raise. That is, perhaps, the most shameful chapter in all of Jewish history.

I was accepted in the Tei•mân•im community before I grew pei•yot.

Israelis-Hebrews 3060-BCE701 Assyrian Sennacherib Lakhish Relief hair beard dress
Click to enlargeIsraelis-Hebrews: B.C.E. 701 Assyrian Sennacherib Lakhish Relief; note haircut, beard length, dress details

The historical perspective, however, doesn't end with the practice in Tei•mân.  There are a number of post-135 C.E. changes from ancient Judaism of Har Sin•ai that found their way even to the Jews of Tei•mân, despite their isolation from non-Jewish influences.  The most notable external connection was with Ram•ba"m, in which the Tei•mân•im and the Sᵊphâ•râd•i Ram•ba"m found themselves in agreement on various points of Ha•lâkh•âh vis-à-vis the Ash•kᵊnazim.  (I've stated this in an over-simplified form to avoid extensive details.)

In any case, I've found no post-135 C.E. pre-Ram•ba"m era history of the Jews in Tei•mân. So I don't know what changes may have been introduced during that period, nor what changes may have resulted from the interchange with Ram•ba"m.

What is known is that drawings of (supposedly) Jews in more ancient (B.C.E.) times, found by archeologists, depicts the ancient Jews without pei•yot (and also without kip•ot), but with a headband which may have been an early form of tᵊphil•in and with a sash-belt which may have been an early form of tzitz•it.

So the question of whether the Tei•mân•im may picked up the tradition of pei•yot from Ram•ba"m or some other influence from other Jewish communities is, at present, unanswerable.  It is clear, however, that the Jews in Tei•mân wore pei•yot in the earliest photographs (early 20th century).

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