Sephardic Jews


Geographical and Cultural Roots

Ashkenazi, plural Ashkenazim, from Hebrew Ashkenaz (“Germany”), member of the Jews who lived in the Rhineland valley and in France before their migration eastward to Slavic lands (e.g., Poland, Lithuania, Russia) after the  Crusades  (11th–13th century) and their descendants. After the 17th-century persecutions in eastern Europe, large numbers of these Jews resettled in western Europe. Ashkenazim differ from Sepharim  in their pronunciation of  Hebrew, in cultural traditions, in synagogue chanting  in their widespread use of  Yiddish ), and especially in synagogue liturgy.

Mizrahi: Modern Hebrew term deriving from Edot'HaMizrah, Jews from the East. It denotes "eastern" or "oriental" Jews who have been settled in the Middle East and North Africa since Biblical times. It also refers to Jews of the greater Babylonian diaspora, (present day Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and the southern Ex-Soviet republics.) Nowadays it also encompasses Jews from Yemen, the subcontinent and Ethiopia- any Jew who is not Ashkenazi.

Sephardi- literally, Jews who were expelled from Spain (Seraphad) and Portugal after 1492. Most Midddle Eastern and North African communities are now mixed Sephardi and Miizrahi.

Lyn Julius, Uprooted: how 3000 Years of Jewish Civilization in the Arab World Vanished Overnight. (Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2018), v111.

Converso- A Jew who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal during the 14th and 15th centuries, or one of his or her descendants. The majority of Spain's Jews converted to Christianity as a result of the pogroms in 1391.


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