JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen JGS Pittsburgh November Meeting #general

Rae Barent <RaeBarent@...>

JGS Pittsburgh November Meeting
Date: Monday, November 21, 2005
Time: 7:30 P.M.
Place: Rudolph Family Holocaust Ctr.of United Jewish Federation
JCC Robinson Bldg.
5738 Darlington Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Most of us are familiar with the major divisions of Jewry in America...
Orthodox, Conservative and Reform and the variations of these. Not as
many of us think about another division of Jewry.. that between the
Sephardim and the Ashkenazim. Sefarad is a Hebrew word meaning Spain.
So, in the strictest sense of the word the Sephardim (plural of Sephardi)
are the Jews who came >from the Iberian peninsula. Today however the word
Sephardim has taken a much wider meaning and includes Jewish
Communities in North Africa, Iraq (Babylon), Syria, Greece, Turkey and
most Jews who are not Ashkenazim. The word Ashkenazi has had a similar
broadening of its definition. Arising >from a Hebrew word meaning "German"
it has taken on a broader definition that includes not only German Jews
but those of Eastern Europe and Russia as well. Today the distinction
between Sephardim and Ashkenazim is primarily one of differing traditions
due to their backgrounds. Differing languages (Ladino and Arabic vs Yiddish
and Polish), religious melodies during the services, festival traditions,
Hebrew pronunciation are among the things that differ between Sephardim
and Ashkenazim although most Conservative synagogues now use the Sephardic
pronunciation... Bat Mitzvah and not Bas Mitzvah. While Ashkenazim can be
religiously subdivided into Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist,
etc, the Sephardim have remained largely homogeneous and more traditionally
religious in what, for lack of a better term, is called Orthodox. However it
is an Orthodoxy that encompasses the entire spectrum of Sephardim, with
obviously some Sephardim more religious than others. As genealogists and as
Jews it is important to explore all facets of Judaism. To that end, I urge
you to attend the November meeting at which Abe Anouchi will provide us with
an excellent program on Sephardism.

The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 but refreshments and conversation
will begin at 7:00.

Rae M. Barent

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