Ashkenazic - Sephardic Marriages in England #general


Lewis Stein <sinamos_1@...>
 

On 25 Oct 1820, Henry Solomons (later Parker) married Maria Da Costa
at the Hambro Synagogue in London. Henry was a member of the
synagogue. Presumably he was of ashkenazic origin since the Hambro
Synagogue was split off >from the Great Synagogue. (Henry and Maria
were my wife's great great grandparents.) Presumably, Maria, the
daughter of Jacob da Costa, was of sephardic origin. Growing up in the
New York area, I was always told that the sephardim and the ashkenazim
did not marry. While this is certainly a thing of the past today, what
were the practices in England in the early 1800s?

Lewis Stein
Boynton Beach, FL


HPOLLINS@...
 

In a message dated 08/04/2008 04:18:13 GMT Standard Time, sinamos_1@mac.com
writes:
Growing up in the
New York area, I was always told that the sephardim and the ashkenazim
did not marry. While this is certainly a thing of the past today, what
were the practices in England in the early 1800s?

---
There is a published study of marriages in the Sephardic synagogue at Bevis
Marks in London, byG.H. Whitehill, as Bevis Marks Records Part III, (1973).
They refer to the period 1837-1901.
He states, page 5, that 'Marriages between Sephardi men and Ashkenazi women
were more frequent in the Victorian age than is generally supposed'. Some
1.250 marriages took place of which about 600 were 'mixed'. His analysis is
based on names and he says that since a numnber of surnmaes were common to both
groups these figures have a margin or error.

He also states that when Ashkenazi men married Sephardi women the ceremony
would, as in the case you mentioned, take place in an Ashkenazi synagogue. He
does not investiagte this.
Harold Pollins
Oxford, England


MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 08/04/2008 04:18:13 GMT Standard Time, sinamos_1@mac.com
writes:
<< I was always told that the sephardim and the ashkenazim
did not marry. While this is certainly a thing of the past today, what
were the practices in England in the early 1800s?

==Always avoid saying "always." During the last year there was a long
article in a prominent New York magazine (I can't recall if it was New
York Times Magazine or The New Yorker) about the Syrian-Jewish community
in Brooklyn, which emphasized the abhorrence in that community against
marrying an Ashkenazi.

==Israel Zangwill's hilarious "King of Schnorrers" deals with the brouhaha in
London surrounding the marriage of a Sefardi daughter and an Ashkenazi,
around the year 1800. Get an originally illustrated copy if you can.

==In 1951, I sought the help of the Bevis Marks congregation in London, the
central authority of Britain's Sefardi community, to issue a letter saying
that I was planning to wed my Israeli girlfriend at their synagogue. She had
been conscripted into the Israeli army and I was pining for her in England.

==I was called to Bevis Marks where I underwent a grilling that was a virtual
repeat of the travails in "King of Schnorrers." The conference room, with
its chairs, drapes and portraits was exactly as I had seen it a century and a
half earlier, and I was grilled by the same officials (some still wearing the
original clothes, so I could have sworn), and the language was identical.

==First I was thoroughly scolded for having initially directed my request to
the London Beth Din. My foolish explanation that I thought one Beth Din should
be enough for all the Jews of England produced apoplexy.

==Eventually, we reached a feint or faint compromise. I had to sign a document
(Probably in Spanish or Portuguese--I didn't have the opportunity to read it)
in which I swore never ever to request, demand or expect any help >from the
community for myself or my children, nor any dowry for my bride. I was told
we would have to go to a branch synagogue in Maida Vale because mixed
marriages are never permitted at Bevis Marks.

==The marriage was great and successful. It produced two lovely children
whom I love and of whom I am very proud, and it lasted for all of five years.
We got divorced in Israel at a Bet Din which had both Sefardi and Ashkenazi
judges, and when I remarried (an Ashkenazi woman) in Eilat, a cousin of the
Sefardi judge officiated at the wedding. He, (like his relative the judge,
and like the ancestors of my first wife, and like the community in Brooklyn)
were alldescended >from the powerful Sefardi community of Aleppo (Haleb) in
northern Syria, close to the Turkish border, who really were Sefardim,
descendants of the community driven out of Spain into the Ottoman empire
in 1492.

==My German-Jewish mother said of my bride (with a tight mouth) "Well! at
least she's Jewish." I heard no other demurrers or put-downs. I guess that,
whatever may be in the hearts of community stalwarts, the barriers
between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews have been breached, at least in Israel
where similar barriers against Jews of darker colors are also vanishing.

Michael Bernet, New York
mbernet@aol.com