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Monday, April 23, 2012

Mizrahi, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews and How They Came To Be

Nadene Goldfoot
Long ago there were two Jewish kingdoms; Israel and Judah. They came about when King Solomon died in 920 BCE. . The land was divided in half. Israel, in the north, sometimes called the kingdom of Samaria, was led in 933 BCE by King Jeroboam. It was ruled by King Hoshea who reigned from 730-721 BCE. Judah, also created in 933 BCE, and was led by King Rehoboam and later King Zedekiah from 597-586 BCE. Jerusalem was in Judah.

When Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 CE, many of the best of the men were
taken away as slaves, and others stayed, but finally many were dispersed as well. Those that remained in
 the area became known as Mizrahi (East) Jews. The term, Mizrahi, is used in Israel today to denote Jews from mostly Arab-ruled places like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Iran/Persia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kurdish areas, India, parts of Sudan and Ethiopia.

Jews that are called Sephardi are from Morocco, Algeria and Turkey though might be grouped into the Mizrahi lists for some historical reasons. Very often Sephardi includes the Mizrahi Jews as well. We connect Sephardi with Spanish as many lived in Spain. They speak Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.

The Judaism of both groups are generally identical . In Israel, Mizrahi are under the view of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, who usually is a Mizrahi Jew.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and establishment of Israel May 14, 1948, Most Mizrahi Jews numbering 900,000 were either expelled from their Arab countries or chose to leave and emigrated to Israel. About half of Israeli Jews are of Mizrahi origin.

Jews living in the northern regions called themselves  Ashkenazi Jews. Being the main centers of Jewish learning were in Germany, those Jews in Western and Central Europe also came to be called Ashkenazi. Yiddish that they speak is a mixture of Hebrew and German.

Many later migrated eastward Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and other places between the 11th and 19th centuries.

In the 11th century they were only 3% of the world’s Jewish population. By 1931, they made up 92% of the world’s Jews. Today they are 80% of the Jews in the world. Jews who migrated from Europe to other continents in the past two centuries are Ashkenazim, mainly Eastern Ashkenazim.

For the past 1,000 years, the Ashkenazim were isolated reproductively in Europe. There was little conversion or intermarriage with other groups, including other Jews. Since the middle of the 20th century, intermarriage has occurred. Conversion to Judaism has been rare for nearly 2,000 years, has become more common.

1 comment:

Mikey Tipsord said...

You neglected to tell the origin of the Ashkenazim, the Khazar's and Khazar history. Mizrahim and Sephardim are Semitic, and the Ashkenazim are descended from converts.

Michael from Champaign, IL.