do Sephardi Children go to Ashkenazi Schools in Israel?
18, 2010) In 1945 there were approximately 850,000 Jews
living in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.
Today, there are less than 7,000 in these 10 Arab countries,
with many migrating to Israel. The current Sephardi students
are from families which are mostly poor. Their parents
and grandparents were uprooted and dispossessed from large
old Jewish communities across North Africa and the Middle
East, leaving behind all of their (often great) wealth.
By the time they came to Israel, and by the time they
found decent housing, which was not in governmental established
tent farms, religious schools had, for the most part,
already been established.
children were sent to these established 'Ashkenazi' schools
because the families did not have the fiscal fortitude
or the Western world organizational skills to construct
new schools from scratch. A first generation result of
this can be seen by the Sephardic Jewish men wearing the
long black coat and black hat of the haredi Ashkenazim.
And while some Sephardim wear this clothing on the outside,
they have attempted to retain their method of prayer and
tradition as it was in their country of origin.
old Sephardic establishment in Israel with allegiance
and firsthand knowledge of the old Sephardic traditions
and daily ways of life started to fall apart when many
young men had to geographically flee for fear of being
drafted into the Ottoman Army during WWI. The Sephardic
establishment painfully eroded in the late 1940's when
the main surviving school for rabbinical students in Jerusalem
(Yeshiva Porat Yosef) was destroyed by the Arabs
during the start of the Israel War of Independence.
Porat Yosef employed teachers which knew the old Sephardi
pedagogy, one that existed from the time of the Jews in
Spain and as practiced throughout the Ottoman Empire.
Back then, the instructors hailed from Sephardic lands,
such as Rabbi Shelomo Laniado whose family came from Spain
via Turkey then Syria before arriving in Jerusalem. The
rabbis educated Sephardic young men in the ways of Jewish
law and tradition in the traditional Sephardic manner,
this included a great emphasis on Bible and ethical studies
(Tanakh) over concentrated legal arguments (Gemara)
which the Ashkenazim favored. Another death knell was
borne in the 1950's with the passing of one of the last
of the original Sephardic leaders, Chief Rabbi Ben-Zion
Meir Uziel, a descendant of the Jews of Spain and a master
of the 'Sephardic tradition.'
the generation of Sephardic leaders, both retired and
still active, often dress/look like Ashkenazim. This is
often for political reasons and due to the fact that they
feel they are apparently perceived as elevated and given
equal status as rabbinical leaders when dressed like the
majority. Why Sephardic yeshivot (schools) are scarce,
is because of population--there are just many more yeshivot
in the world educating the majority--Ashkenazi young men;
and of course during WWII, the Germans destroyed all of
the yeshivot, synagogues and libraries of the Jews from
Salonika, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Monastir, Rhodes, Gallipoli,
and other places which once had uniquely rich and vibrant
old-world Sephardic Jewish communities.
Against Sephardi Racism Lives
a comment in the Alfassa Guest Book