Difference Between Sephardic And Ashkenazi Jews In Modern Times

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For the most part, modern Jewish history deals with the political,

social and economic advancements achieved by the Ashkenazi communities

in Europe, America, and later -- Palestine. Because of it's relatively

small size and involvement in the affairs of "civilized" countries of

Europe and America, the Sephardi branch of Judaism is rerely dealt with in

the context of modern Jewish history. Their developement is however, though

not as influential upon the flow of the "mainstream" history as that of the

Ashkenazi jewry, is nevertheless an area of interest to anyone undertaking

a serious study of Jewish history.

The theological difference between the two movements, the Sefardi and

the Ashekenazi, lies in the
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With the walls of the ghetto gone, but full emancipation not yet granted,

many believed that if they had integrated themselves into the gentile

societies, they would gain acceptance. Secular education replaced religion,

rather than complementing it. This however was not the case with

Sephardim, whose less strict traditions were developed in the environment

of toleration. While the Ashkenazi Jews were restricted to the ghettos of

Europe, held at bay by the Catholic church, the Sephardim of Middle East,

North Africa and Ottoman Empire were living as "dhimmies", or "people of

the pact", and though not fully equal with their Muslim hosts, were to some

extent intregrated into their societies. For this reason, the traditional

laws of the Sephardim are less demanding, but more enduring.

Unlike the Ashkenazi population that has over a century of

immigration spread itself all over the world, The Sephardic communities

tend to concentrate mostly around a few areas. Today most of the Sephardic

Jews reside within Israel, amost other Middle-Eastern communities having

been reduced to virtual nonexistance by the migration of Jews out of Arabic

countries after the creation of Israel. A substantial community is still


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