What is the difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewry? This is a question that has puzzled historians for centuries. While both groups share a common tradition, there are some significant distinctions between them. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at these two communities and explore the factors that have led to their distinct identities. Stay tuned!
What is Sephardic?
Sephardic is a term used to describe the Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal prior to the expulsion in 1492. Sephardic Jews are distinguished from Ashkenazi Jews, who come from Central and Eastern Europe. Sephardim are also sometimes referred to as Hispanic Jews or Iberian Jews. Today, Sephardic Jews make up approximately 15% of the Jewish population worldwide. The Sephardic Jewish community has its own customs and traditions, which are based on the region in which they live. For example, Sephardic Jews in Israel follow the rites of the Sephardi chief rabbi, while Sephardic Jews in Morocco practice the customs of the Moroccan rabbinate. distinctions between Sephardic Jewry and Ashkenazic Jewry go beyond regional differences. Sephardim tend to be more traditionally observant than Ashkenazim and have a different approach to Jewish law. Sephardim also have their own unique liturgy, which includes prayers and chants that are not found in the Ashkenazi tradition. In addition, Sephardic cuisine has been influenced by the foods of the countries where Sephardim have lived over the centuries.
What is Ashkenazic?
Ashkenazic Jews are a group of Ashkenazi Jews who concentrate in Central and Eastern Europe. Ashkenazim are the Jews who migrated from German-speaking areas such as Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and down into Slavic countries such as Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Lithuania. Ashkenazic Judaism is the Ashkenazi Jewish religious tradition. Ashkenazi culture has its roots in medieval Germany, but Ashkenazi Jewry emerged only after the Crusades in the 11th and 12th centuries when Ashkenazi Jews settled in central and eastern Europe en masse. Although Ashkenazim make up only about 10 percent of the world’s Jews, they established most of the world’s major Jewish religious movements including Hasidism, Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism. The word Ashkenazic is Hebrew for “German.” It comes from Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer and grandson of Noah in the Biblical book of Genesis. (Genesis 10:3). Ashkenaz was the founder of the nation of Ashkenaz that is mentioned in Scripture (Jeremiah 51:27).
Difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazic
In terms of difference, Sephardic Jews are those who lived in Spain and Portugal before the 1492 expulsion, while Ashkenazic Jews are those of Central and Eastern European descent. Both groups have many similarities, such as their shared love for matzo ball soup and gefilte fish. However, there are also several key differences between the two groups. For example, Sephardic Jews typically use olive oil in their cooking, while Ashkenazic Jews favor chicken fat. Additionally, Sephardic Jews often include rice and beans in their dishes, while Ashkenazic cuisine typically features potatoes. Nonetheless, both groups are united by their rich cultural heritage and delicious food.
The Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish communities have different customs, foods, and religious practices. While they share some similarities, there are also distinct differences between the two groups. It’s important to understand the difference between these two groups in order to create an inclusive environment for all Jews.