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Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg explains the difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews.
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Differences Between Ashkenazim and Sephardim
Shalom! What is the difference between Ashkenazic and Sephardic? All about 80% of the Jews in the world today are Ashkenazic but in Israel it is about 50/50. Ashkenazis refers to Germany but today it refers to any Jews whose origin comes from Eastern and Central Europe and Sephardic as far as the word for Spain. It refers to Jews who come from the Sephardic communities principally in Turkey, Greece, North Africa, Israel, England, Latin America and some of the United States but of course there are Ashkenazic Jews in a lot of those places too. So what are the differences? Well, the Sephardic claim that there pronunciation of Hebrew in the liturgy derived from the period of __ who lead the great Babylonian academies until the center of Jewish life shifted to Spain. And there prayer book order is based on the Siddur the prayer book of the distinguished Gaon of Babylonia Ama.
Now there are customs called Minhag Ashkenaz or Minhag Sephardic and they say the first like there was a few of them. For what I mean, in children despite they usually named their children after a living person where the Ashkenazi and by custom named the children after diseased persons. But I do now know this personally. I never seen it but I have read that reciting the commemorate prayer in the manner of the simple prayers among Ashkenazim were along the Sephardim but they are among the Ashkenazim that counter chance at our love alone.
Now I have seen Sephardic torah since a lot of them are kept they read it upright in a wooden case where in Ashkenazim endowed to put it in the case when you read it kind of about a slant on a flat surface which is perpendicular with the person reading. In the weddings as far as the couples and many traditions stand together or opt in the tower as well Ashkenazi weddings the couples stands up separately.
Another risk that the Ashkenazim, the annual anniversary of the death of love ones called a Yahrzeit and in Sephardim it is Angus. Also the language is different. The Ashkenazi language of Europe was called Yiddish which is in Hebrew letters and it has a lot of Germans in it where as the Sephardic Jews local language called Ladino, written Hebrew characters in Castilian mixed with many Hebrew idioms of expressions also they have some Turkish, Arabic, in Greek words in it. Now a lot of that Jews from the yellow border could start them but actually they got them into this rock oriental Jews who comes from various Muslim and Arabic speaking countries like Yemen, Iraq, Kurdistan, Persia, Iran, Afghanistan, Southern India, Kuching, and many of them had the status communities in Israel now, they fled from their countries in the 1950s thanks for discrimination and national oppression and 50% of the Jews in Israel today are oriental Jews and many of them have their own customs and different traditions also.
So those are the basic differences of Ashkenazi and Sephardic that go way back. One of the main differences is in Hebrew pronunciation, for example, Shabbat is Sephardic and that is because of its last letter behavioral alphabet that cough when the Ashkenazim reader that if it has a dot in the middle it is a hard T and if it does not have a dot it is a soft S. Whereas the Sephardim whether or not it has got a dot in the middle of that last letter, it is pronounced T. Also one of the Hebrew vowels that looks like a T Ashkenazi pronounced it “ua” and if you draw a straight line across you pronounce it A whereas the Sephardic basically pronounced them basically both A roughly and so the same word would be pronounced as Shabbat among the Ashkenazim and Shabbat among the Sephardic.
Many other difference like that but basically we are all Jews but there is a few differences in prayers too, for example on the Kurdish a few extra words. The basic word for their great religious leaders was Haham. They say something different within the Ashkenazim; we would say (foreign language) when they have an honor. Go say (foreign language) or other things, so there is a slight difference. One main difference that you might notice when you say in the Kurdish, Ashkenazi Jews because of that T letter which Y’s kadavi, Y’s kadash where as a Sephardim would say (foreign language)
Now most Americans consider it as Ashkenazi in origin but great Hebrews thwarted out today in the non-Orthodox schools and even in some orthodox schools is the Sephardic pronunciation, so you hear a lot of Ashkenazi organs at city gags using the Sephardic Hebrew pronunciation and as well confusing but those are basically some of the difference.