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(səfär`dəm), one of the two major geographic divisions of the Jewish people, consisting of those Jews whose forebears in the Middle Ages resided in the Iberian Peninsula, as distinguished from those who lived in Germanic lands, who came to be known as the Ashkenazim (see AshkenazAshkenaz
, eponym of a people perhaps localized in Armenia. He was grandson of Japheth. Gen. 10.3. Ashchenaz: 1 Chron. 1.6; Jer. 51.27. In modern times the term Ashkenazim refers to the German Jews as distinguished from the Sephardim, the Jews of Spain and Portugal.
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). The name comes from the placename Sepharad (Obad. 20), which early biblical commentators identified with Iberia. With the migration of the Iberian Jews, particularly following their formal expulsion from Spain in 1492 (and Portugal in 1497), Sephardic communities were established throughout Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, in some cases absorbing smaller local Jewish populations. Smaller groups of Sephardim also settled in Holland and elsewhere in Western Europe. In many areas, Sephardic Jews retained many aspects of Judeo-Spanish culture, including a language called Judezmo (or Ladino, Judeo-Spanish, or Spanioli), which retained many characteristics of medieval Castilian combined with Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, and other elements. Literature in the language includes religious works (e.g., the Bible translations of the 14th and 15th cent.), as well as folktales, songs (romanceros), essays, and journalism.

Those Sephardim who were forced to convert to Christianity during the period lasting from the 1391 massacres in Spain to the 1497 forced baptisms in Portugal, and who secretly maintained a Jewish life, were given the pejorative title of Marrano [pig] by the Christian populace. As time passed, many made their way to more tolerant lands, where they openly returned to Judaism, ending their double lives. They or their descendants founded the Jewish communities of Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, and New Amsterdam (New York City), among others. Many Sephardic communities were decimated in the HolocaustHolocaust
, name given to the period of persecution and extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. Romani (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, and others were also victims of the Holocaust.
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, and others were depleted by emigration to Israel and elsewhere. A Portuguese law adopted in 2013 (effective 2015) allowed the descendants of Jews who had been expelled to apply (under certain conditions) for citizenship; Spain enacted (2015) a similar law, but imposed a more restrictive process.


See C. Roth, A History of the Marranos (1932, repr. 1966) and The Spanish Inquisition (1937, repr. 1964); D. De Sola Pool, An Old Faith in the New World (1955); I. J. Baer, The Jews in Christian Spain (2 vol., 1961); M. Lazar, ed., The Sephardic Tradition (1972); J. Prinz, The Secret Jews (1973); D. J. Elazar, The Other Jews: The Sephardim Today (1988); Y. Yovel, The Other Within: The Marranos: Split Identity and Emerging Modernity (2009).



a group of Jews using the Ladino (Sephardic) language, which is close to Spanish. The Sephardim are descendants of émigrés from the Iberian Peninsula. They live in North Africa, Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula, and Turkey.

References in periodicals archive ?
Ultimately, however sharp the divide between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews or religious and secular Jews, the groups remain part of a larger shared community: the Jewish people.
The camp was finally converted into a town for Sephardi Jews, Kiryat Malakhi.
Many Sephardi Jews who had already been granted full equality by the Dutch were active in establishing the sugar industry and served as administrators, bankers, merchants and helped established markets for the islands' products.
Dio" was a means by which conversos differentiated the Jewish belief in the unity of God with what they and Sephardi Jews considered to be the Trinitarian implications of the term "Dios.
As a generalisation, most Sephardi Jews are traditional rather than highly observant, but this did not stop Deri from tapping into a deep vein of frustration amongst many about the way they feel they have been mistreated by the country's (Ashkenazi) elite.
The relation of the Sephardi Jews vis a vis the Portuguese Estado da India and the Dutch and English chartered companies offers a fitting test-case for this hypothesis.
1990) Discord in Zion: Conflict between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in Israel London: Scorpion.
The Sephardi Jews blamed Labor for their low status in Israeli society and the destruction of their traditional family structure when they were absorbed into modern Israel.
Sephardi Jews are those who ended up settling in Spain and Portugal, until the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 and the Portuguese Inquisition shortly thereafter.
World Jewry is divided into two large ethno-cultural groupings - Ashkenazi Jews from Europe, and Sephardi Jews from the Mediterranean rim and Middle East.
Jews from these culturally distinctive centers formed sub-diasporas, which evolved over centuries, as in the case of Sephardi Jews, or over much shorter time periods as in the case of the former Soviet Union and Israel.
Sephardi Jews have a long history in Brazil, going back to the very beginnings of Portuguese arrival.