Beit Baws is an old Jewish town perched on a rocky outcrop in the mountains that surround Sana’a. According one of my Arabic teachers (from whom all the following information came), the town was named after its founder, a prominent Jewish trader (beit means house). Like the rest of Yemen’s Jews, most of the inhabitants of Beit Baws had moved to Israel by 1950. The town now sits abandoned save for 14-22 inhabitants, likely unrelated to the original Jewish population.
According to my teacher, Yemen was a majority Jewish country prior to Islam. Jewish communities remained and lived integrated in Yemeni society up until the great majority immigrated to Israel after 1948. Today an extremely tiny co
mmunity remains. Estimates of Jews living in Sana’a range from 20 to 0. The total population remaining in all of Yemen is estimated between 350 and 370, most of whom live in Raydah where they have a rabbi and functioning synagogue.
Some pictures from Bayt Baws: