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amyrpk, Beloved Bird et al - Question

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was listening to a local NPR show last noght and they were talking about Ashekenasi (sp?) and Sephardic jews. I have heard the terms before but am ashamed to say I know nothing about what this is. Can you explain? Are they types of sects? Are there more different sects then those two?
post #2 of 26
Hi, Rene ...

The Ashkenazi/Sephardi divide is racial/regional, aka geographic.

Ashkenazi Jews spent their diaspora wanderings through Germany, Eastern Europe.

Sephardi Jews are from the Muslim countries (middle east & elsewhere). And the name "Sepharad" refers to Spain (lot of Jews in Spain 'til they were thrown out in the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century).

The Ashkenazi Jews are more divided into various philosophically diverse sects, and Sephardi Jews are, by and large, more traditionally minded (eg., even the least religious of them retains some religious connection).

There are some differences in the prayer liturgy between Sephardi and Ashkenazi, but if you go into either one's synagogue, the prayers are essentially the same, with the differences being additional words here & there.

There's more, and I've made some overarching generalizations there ... but hey, gotta start somewhere ...



- Amy
post #3 of 26
It is basicly a difference of traditions. The basic halacha (law) is usually the same- with a few exceptions. But there are many differences in tradition.

-BelovedBird
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

They were talking about religious traditions and someone called to say that she came from both and there were a differences in how families celebrated i.e.: the naming and somethng else.

Can you tell the differences in names? Like the spelling of Cohn vs. Cohen? In Indian names you can tell when somone comes from simply by their last name, s. Indian names sometimes end in swamy/swami and Bengali names end in ji/jii.

Do they include Russian jews in Ashkenazi? What about Ethiopians?

Pretty interesting.
post #5 of 26
Name-spelling in English is purely that, names spelled in English. Family choice. (Or the guy at Ellis Island who took the name down on the paperwork )

Sephardi Jews have names that sound more ... eastern. Your basic Goldberg & Stein are Ashkenazi.

Cohen is one of the names that is either/or, since it generally denotes someone whose ancestry is from the priestly tribe, they usually kept that same name through the millenia.

Sometimes the difference is visible physically ... ie., many (but not all) Sephardi Jews are darker skinned.

Ethiopians, I believe, are considered Sephardi by some, but they have their own traditions and their community was separate from the rest of the Jewish community for two millenia, so are usually considered "their own."

Russian Jews are Ashkenazi.

There's gotta be a clear link somewhere about different traditions, will dig around later if I can ...



- Amy
post #6 of 26
The Ethiopian Jewish community calls itself "Beita Yisrael" as far as I know they are neither sephardi or ashkenazi.

Sephardim believe that it is very respectful to name after living relatives. Ashkenazim avoid naming after relatives unless they have already passed away - it honors the person and is a zechus (merit) to the child to inheret the good traits of the one they are named after. My friend marryed a sephardi guy and her 4 children have the exact names of her parents and her inlaws. Some the names of my kids are named for deceased relatives.

Here are some links:

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Jud...shkenazim.html


http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Judaism/Sephardim.html

http://www.jewfaq.org/ashkseph.htm

Sephardi links page:
http://www.jewish.com/page.php?do=page&cat_id=702

-BelovedBird
post #7 of 26
Re: the naming (Sephardi after the living, Ashkenazi after the no-longer-living) ... there's an old joke about a "mixed marriage" (he's Ashkenazi, she's Sephardi), and he named his first child after his (very much alive) MIL ...

Takes a minute. Sick joke.

Sorry.

:LOL

- Amy
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
It is evil - but funny.
post #9 of 26
Is it too late to jump in here?

I also believe the Ashkenazi don't name children after living relatives because of superstition -- if the angel of death comes looking for the "named" (presumed to be old) then they might get confused and take the child by mistake.

P.S. BelovedBird - every time I see your name I smile -- our dd's hebrew name is Sara Zipporah...and Beloved is exactly how I think of her!
post #10 of 26
On the name tangent - I always thought it funny that "Ashkenazi" is a common Sephardic last name!
post #11 of 26
my friend went to a sephardic wedding and she said the language sounded like ancient spanish.
post #12 of 26
That would be "Ladino", the Sephardic equivalent to "Yiddish". I once had a roommate in Israel who's first language was Ladino, and yes, it sounds much like Spanish.
post #13 of 26
a sephardic synagogue in the carribean (oldest in the new world I think) had sand sprinkled on the floor...which they said was a common tradition for sephardic synagogues? it was a very cool place.
post #14 of 26
when i lived in NYC I went snooping around to find some interesting sights and the one I enjoyed tremendously was a little jewish cemetary not far from chinatown. It had the oldest jewish gravestone from the 1680's. they were portugese and spanish and they got the hell out of the iberian pennisula because of the inquistion...which techinally lasted until the early 1800's.
post #15 of 26
M26m (), I always found that funny, too, how "Ashkenazi" is a Sephardi name. Now, why is that? I guess some Ashkenazi fellow moved to a Middle Eastern community and because known as "that Ashkenazi guy" and the name stuck with his descendents ... :LOL



- Amy
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by amyrpk
M26m (), I always found that funny, too, how "Ashkenazi" is a Sephardi name. Now, why is that? I guess some Ashkenazi fellow moved to a Middle Eastern community and because known as "that Ashkenazi guy" and the name stuck with his descendents ... :LOL
Actually, I think you are correct. Much in the same way that people with names like "Hollander" and "Londoner" are usually from places like Poland. But their ancestors moved there from some place else and became known as the "Hollanders", etc.
post #17 of 26
We joke in my family that dd must be Sephardic, although we are Ashkenazi, because her father is Puerto Rican. This, ultimately, makes us hope we can have rice at passover . The rabbi at our wedding also convinced himself that dh's family is actually Murano, saying exiled Jews from Spain ended up in P.R. -- strangely, we all sort of bought it as my husband's uncle looked exactly like the rabbi -- more eastern eur. Jew than Latino. But who knows???
post #18 of 26
Quote:
... by Pom
... This, ultimately, makes us hope we can have rice at passover .
:LOL :LOL :LOL :LOL

- Amy
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Another question - what's the difference between a rebbe and a rabbi?

Also what's Murano? I thought that was the glass people.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
... by 3boys4us
... what's the difference between a rebbe and a rabbi?
A rabbi is kind of like a lawyer. He is expert in intricacies of Jewish law. He talks to your head.

A rebbe is kind of like a spiritual therapist. He talks to your heart.

Rebbes are almost always rabbis. But not necessarily the other way around.

My Rebbe z'l died 8 years ago, and I don't have a living one anymore. But he's still my Rebbe, because I try to live in his ... path, I guess is the right word for it, with his worldview still making the most sense to me. We go to lots of shuls in our community, have rabbis to ask various questions of, but don't have a living rebbe at this point.

Though there's a particular woman I know whom I also consider a "rebbe" to me. But I use the term meaning that she is someone to emulate and someone who is spiritually and "motheringly" where I hope to be when I grow up. So sometimes the term is figurative.

Quote:
... what's Murano? I thought that was the glass people.
That is the glass people. :LOL But when people refer to maranos they are also referring to the "secret Jews" who converted to Christianity on threat of death during the Spanish Inquisition, but secretly continued Jewish practices. There are stories of their descendents, living thoroughly Christian lives, who, for example, light candles in their closets or basements on Friday night. Why? Well, their grandmothers and greatgrandmothers, etc., etc., did. And their greatgrandmothers etc. did it because their ancestress down the line, who converted to save her life, continued lighting Shabbos candles as a Jew, but had to hide it to survive.

Here's a link about maranos, probably too much information, or more than you would want, anyway, but I'm getting into this linking thing ...

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/vi...d=169&letter=M
- Amy
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