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Related to Sephardim: Ashkenazi


(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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Sephardim who followed them to the cities tended, in contrast, to became an urban proletariat, living in slums.
In both countries, the passing of the laws of return for Sephardim was described as an attempt to atone for the state and church-led mass expulsion, dispossession, torture and forced conversion into Christianity of Jews during the Inquisition -- a period that began in the 15th century and ended with the disappearance and dispersion of what used to be one of the world's largest Jewish communities.
As we shall see, this "push and pull" of post-World War II Sephardim toward the American Jewish majority shaped the motives of Sephardim who joined the Friends, as well as relations between Sephardim and Ashkenazim within the organization.
The author has served his people well and ensures that the Sephardim who gave their lives in the death camps and those who survived the Shoah will not be forgotten.
Tauris, 2010); and, "Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims" Social Text 19-20 (Fall 1988): 1-35.
The next section is entitled "Ideological Divergence: Zionism, Religion, and Transnationalism." According to Raanan Rein and Mollie Lewis Nouwen, Israel, published by Moroccan Jews in Argentina in the first half of the twentieth century, reported on Ashkenazim and Sephardim and sought out both as readers and contributors.
Based on her in-depth study of the activities of three representative Sephardim, as well as a random sample of non-Sephardim, the author argues that Sephardic fortunes were instead based on the cultivation of what she calls "loose ties"--multi-ethnic economic networks made up of non-Jewish merchants--that were formed as the result of movement, travel, and resettlement.
The phrase "I am Catholic, but I am Jewish" may seem contradictory, but in the Caribbean islands and the countries of the Caribbean periphery, there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals who identify themselves in this manner and can trace their ancestry back to the early Sephardim of the Dutch island of Curacao.
It is the author's view that the extension of these Spanish actions were the legal basis for Francisco Franco's future efforts to rescue especially Sephardim threatened during the Nazi Holocaust.
The Sephardim and Mizrahi (Arab-Jew) spread throughout North Africa, Spain, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and eventually to the farthest reaches of Latin America.
The first event involved leading Labourite Uri Orr, who completely undermined Barak's determined attempts to win over the support of Israel's immigrant communities, particularly the Sephardim, most of whom emigrated to the Jewish state from elsewhere in the Middle East in the 1950s.
"Dear Sephardim, thank you for your loyalty," the king told representatives of Sephardic Jews from different countries, at the royal palace.