In my curiosity of possibly attending a Yemenite minyan on Shabbat, I viewed this directory of Yemenite congregations in the U.S.

The last column lists 2 nuscha'ot - Shami and Baladi

As I am a neophyte in this area, can someone explain what these terms mean and highlight or summarize some of the differences in prayers, specifically Shabbat prayers or any other differences?

Specifically, if I were to enter one of these shuls on Shabbat, what idfferences would I notice? I am Ashkenazi Orthodox and daven Nusach Ashkenaz. My Hebrew is fluent. Entering this type of shul is a new experience for me. Would I have an easier time "adjusting" or feeling comfortable / following along in one nusach of the other one?

For the curious, I may try the Ymenite minyan in Boca Raton in a few weeks, as I may be in that area visiting someone.

  • FWIW, Sham is a region of the Middle East including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and other nearby countries. Baladi is a term in Arabic which essentially means traditional. That would go nicely with Yaacov Deane's answer below for Baladi, but I don't know what connection Sham has to the Yemenite nusach.
    – Daniel
    Jan 18, 2016 at 19:23
  • 1
    balad means country. baladi means my country. baladi nosah means nosah of my country ie teimon. nosah shaami is called shaami because it comes from shaam mixed with traditional teimoni nosah. it incorporates the qabbalisitic nosah of the north which came to teimon through zakhariyo al dhahiri. he met with beith yoseif and brought these books to teimon. unfortunately so. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zechariah_Dhahiri Jan 18, 2016 at 19:29
  • @MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Balad does mean country, but baladi also means traditional or rustic (domestic). Here the i suffix doesn't mean "mine" but rather it turns a noun into an adjective (like temani)
    – Daniel
    Jan 18, 2016 at 19:42
  • @Daniel puu.sh/mABb4/c1e1672b28.png Jan 18, 2016 at 19:52
  • @MoriDoweedhYaa3qob As I said, baladi does indeed mean "my country." But it also means traditional (and this is the common usage of the word). I am rather sure that this is the usage here. See Wikipedia
    – Daniel
    Jan 18, 2016 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


The Shami nusach is accepting concepts brought from the Ari z"l. The Baladi nusach follows the older Yemenite tradition.

For many Jews from Yemen, they do not want any innovations from their older tradition. Their tradition is that their community originated from soldiers sent to Yemen by Shlomo HaMelech. When the Rambam moved to Egypt from Spain he had contact with the Yemenite community and helped to preserve their practice. That is the source of the Baladi nusach.

The Shami nusach has a relationship to Rabbi Shalom Sharabi who was a Yemenite Kabbalist who followed the Ari z"l.



The main difference is that the Shami use the almost the same "nusach" like the sepharadic Jews. While Baladi have a very different Nusach mainly they have a shorter "nusach". In any case both are pretty different from all the rest especially due to the accent and the special ways to read the Torah.

Sorry is the answer is not elaborated due to the hour.

שבוע טוב!

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