102-Year-Old Yemenite Rabbi, Spice Purveyor Chosen As Independence Day Torchbearer

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — 102-year-old Rabbi Yaish Giat, a resident of Ashkelon from the day it was founded in 1949 and an immigrant from Yemen, has been chosen to light a torch at the 73rd anniversary Independence Day celebrations.

Giat was a Mori (teacher) who taught children Torah as well as writing Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos without taking any money for them. He also has a spice store in Ashkelon, which he has had for the last 70 years after he left his first store in Yemen. Giat uses ancient methods received from previous generations to prepare natural remedies from his spices, which are based on the Rambam’s medical advice. Even during the period of coronavirus Giat continued to receive people and advise them based on his broad knowledge of different condiments and their effectiveness.

Education Minister Miri Regev praised Yaish as a member of the “trailblazing Aliyah  which brought the wonderful influence of Yemenite Jewry to Israel” adding that “his spices made of true love, together with his voluntary work as a Sofer Stam express Israeli brotherhood in its most profound way.”

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Ashkelon mayor Tomer Glam said that “102-year-old Giat symbolizes the older generation in the city, its builders and founders who are an indelible part of the cultural and ethical scene in Ashkelon. Like many residents in the city and outside it, I too merited getting to know from close up his special character, wisdom, humility, generosity and honesty which are an example and model for all of us. This is a great honor for Ashkelon in particular and for the state of Israel in general. Dear Yaish I wish you a long, good life as a paragon of the State of Israel.”

Giat himself said when told of the honor that “I am not worthy of this, I am embarrassed.”


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