The difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews is primarily based on their historical origins. Ashkenaz is the old Hebrew word for Germany. Thus, the term “Ashkenazi Jews” initially referred to Jews residing in Germany, where Ashkenazi Jewry began — and later to Jews who settled in other parts of northern and eastern Europe. “Sephardi Jews” literally means Spanish Jews, as Sepharad means Spain in Hebrew. But this term is less accurate as today it is loosely applied (especially by non-Sephardim) to all non-Ashkenazi Jews. The main lands associated with Sephardic Jewry are Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of south-east Europe. The two groups have many things in common but there are some interesting differences as well.
Quote: “Historically, Sephardic Jews have been more integrated into the local non-Jewish culture than Ashkenazic Jews. In the Christian lands where Ashkenazic Judaism flourished, the tension between Christians and Jews was great, and Jews tended to be isolated from their non-Jewish neighbors either voluntarily or involuntarily. In the Islamic lands where Sephardic Judaism developed, there was less segregation and oppression. Sephardic Jewish thought and culture was strongly influenced by Arabic and Greek philosophy and science.”
— Judaism 101
Learn more about Sephardi Jews from Wikipedia. ►
Learn more about Ashkenazi Jews from Wikipedia. ►
Watch “5 Surprising Differences Between Ashkenazi & Sephardic Jews | Big Jewish Ideas | Unpacked” [8:26]. ►
Read “Ashkenazi versus Sephardic Jews” ►
Read “Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews” ►
Photo: The Times of Israel (a Sephadi chief rabbi of Israel, left, and an Ashkenazi chief rabbi)
We welcome your comments. Click here.