Sephardi Jews | Familypedia | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Posted By on August 16, 2018

Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population Sephardi Jews2,200,000up to 16% of world Jewish population Regions with significant populations Israel 1.4 million France 300,000400,000 United States 200,000300,000 Argentina 50,000 Turkey 26,000 United Kingdom 8,000 Colombia 7,000 Morocco 6,000 Greece 6,000 Tunisia 2,000 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2,000 Panama 8,000 Languages

Historical: Ladino, Arabic, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Berber, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Ladino, Arabic.

Judaism

Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Samaritans, other Levantines, other Near Eastern Semitic people, Spaniards, Portuguese and Hispanics/Latinos

Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or simply Sephardim (Hebrew: , Modern Hebrew: Sfaraddi, Tiberian: Spradd, lit. “The Jews of Spain”), are a Jewish ethnic division whose ethnogenesis and emergence as a distinct community of Jews coalesced in the Iberian Peninsula around the start of the 2nd millennium (i.e., about the year 1000). They established communities throughout Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity. Their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain’s Catholic Monarchs in the late 15th century, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.

Historically, the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been:

More broadly, the term Sephardim has today also come to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition.

The name Sephardi means “Spanish” or “Hispanic”, derived from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard TiberianSpr ), a Biblical location.[1] The location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by later Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad () still means “Spain” in modern Hebrew.

In other languages and scripts, “Sephardi” may be translated as plural Hebrew: , ModernSfaraddim TiberianSpraddm; sefard or Spanish: Sefardes; Portuguese: Sefarditas; sefardita or Catalan: Sefardites; Aragonese: Safards; Basque: Sefardiak; French: Sfarades; Galician: Sefards; Italian: Sefarditi; Greek: Sephardites; Bulgarian: Sefaradi; Template:Lang-bs; Serbian: Sefardi; Turkish: Sefarad, Judaeo-Spanish: Sefaradies/Sefaradim; and Arabic: Safrdiyyn.

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century, immediately prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, and the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I.

In Hebrew, the term “Sephardim Tehorim” ( , literally “Pure Sephardim”) is used to distinguish Sephardim proper “who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population” from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.[2] This distinction has also been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly[3]

The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that generally excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, “Sephardim” is most often used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews who are not ethnically Sephardi, but are in most instances of West Asian origin, but who nonetheless commonly use a Sephardic style of liturgy.

The term Sephardi in the broad sense, thus describes the nusach (Hebrew language, “liturgical tradition”) used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad. The term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim proper or even Sephardi in a broader sense, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim who are in fact Ashkenazi.

Additionally, Ethiopian Jews, whose branch of practiced Judaism is known as Haymanot, have recently come under the umbrella of Israel’s already broad Sephardic Chief Rabbinate. Furthermore, in modern times, the term Sephardi has also been applied to Jews who may not have even been born Jewish, but attend Sephardic synagogues and practice Sephardic traditions.

The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today is largely a result of the consequences of the royal edicts. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish populations to choose from one of three options:1) convert to Catholicism to be allowed to remain within the kingdom,2) remain Jews and be expelled by the stipulated deadline, or3) be subjected to death without trial for any Jew who did not convert or leave by the deadline.

In Spain, the Jews were only given four months from the time the decree was issued before the expiry of the set deadline. Under the edict, Jews were promised royal “protection and security” for the effective three-month window before the deadline. They were permitted to take their belongings with them except “gold or silver or minted money”. It has been argued by British scholar Henry Kamen, that “the real purpose of the 1492 edict likely was not expulsion, but compulsory conversion of all Spanish Jews. Yet in giving Jews a choice and three months to think about it, the plan backfired; many opted to leave the country rather than convert”,[4] which ultimately was to Spain’s detriment. Between a third to one half of Spain’s Jewish origin population opted for exile, many flooding into Portugal.

Foreseeing the economic aftermath of a similar Jewish flight from Portugal, King Manuel’s decree five years later was largely pro-forma to appease a precondition the Spanish monarchs had set for him if he wished to marry their daughter. While the stipulations were similar in the Portuguese decree, King Manuel then largely prevented Portugal’s Jews from leaving, by blocking Portugal’s ports of exit. This failure to leave Portugal was then reasoned by the king to signify a default acceptance of Catholicism by the Jews, and the king then proceeded to proclaim them New Christians. Actual physical forced conversions, however, were also experienced throughout Portugal.

Sephardi Jews, therefore, encompasses Jews descended from those Jews who left the Iberian Peninsula as Jews by the expiration of the respective decreed deadlines. This group is further divided between those who fled south to North Africa, as opposed to those who fled eastwards to the Balkans, West Asia and beyond. Also included among Sephardi Jews are those who descend from “New Christian” conversos, but then returned to Judaism after leaving Iberia, largely after reaching Central and Northern Europe. From these regions, many would again migrate, this time to the non-Iberian territories of the Americas. Additional to all these Sephardic Jewish groups are the descendants of those New Christian conversos who either remained in Iberia, or moved from Iberia directly to the Iberian colonial possessions across what are today the various Latin American countries. The descendants of this group of conversos, for historical reasons and circumstances, were never able to formally return to the Jewish religion.

All these sub-groups are defined by a combination of geography, identity, religious evolution, language evolution, and the timeframe of their reversion (for those who had in the interim undergone a temporary nominal conversion to Catholicism) or non-reversion back to Judaism.

It should be noted that these Sephardic sub-groups are separate from any pre-existing local Jewish communities they encountered in their new areas of settlement. From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups appeared to have developed as separate branches, each with its own traditions.

In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the 20th century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum. The Jewish community of Livorno acted as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions among the first three sub-groups; it also developed as the chief publishing centre.Template:Synthesis-inline.

The relationship between Sephardi-descended communities is illustrated in the following diagram:

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