Brits Saved Yemenite Sifrei Torah

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Fifty years ago, the last Jews of Yemen’s Aden district were escaping Arab wrath over Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. This happened at the same time Muslim terrorists were battling to end Britain’s 128-year protectorate of the area. Amid the turmoil, two British soldiers risked their lives to rescue three Sifrei Torah from hostile territory, Haaretz related.

By 1967, Aden’s Jews had dwindled to a few hundred from 4,500 in 1948. Jews in Aden’s safer Tawihi neighborhood begged British Sgt. Dougie Skilbeck to rescue three Sifrei Torah from the Crater neighborhood, which was already under terrorist control.

At nightfall, Skilbeck and another soldier set out in a minivan along with two Jews and a local rov. Speeding away from the shul after the rescue, they saw it was already in flames.

The most venerated of the three seforim, the El Farchi Sefer, is housed in the Ohel Moshe El Farchi Shul in Cholon.




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