Sephardi [sə fär′dē, səfär΄dē′]n.pl. Sephardim [sə fär′dim, səfär΄dēm′] 〚Heb sefaradi, after sefarad, a region mentioned in Ob. 20, often identified with Spain, but prob. orig. an area in Asia Minor〛1. a member of the group of Jews that lived in Spain and Portugal before the Inquisition and, after expulsion, in the Ottoman Empire, Middle East, and N Africa2. a descendant of this group: Distinguished from ASHKENAZISephardicadj.
* * *Se·phar·di (sə-färʹdē) n. pl. Se·phar·dim (-dĭm)A descendent of the Jews who lived in Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages until persecution culminating in expulsion in 1492 forced them to leave.[Medieval Hebrew səpāraddî, Spaniard, from səpārad, Spain, adoption of Hebrew səpārad, placename of disputed location (mentioned at Obadiah 20).] Se·pharʹdic (-dĭk) adj.
* * *Any member of the Jewish community, or their descendants, who lived in Spain and Portugal from the Middle Ages until their expulsion in the late 15th century.They fled first to North Africa and other parts of the Ottoman Empire and eventually settled in countries such as France, Holland, England, Italy, and the Balkan states. They differ from the Ashkenazi Jews in their traditional language, Ladino, and in their preservation of Babylonian rather than Palestinian Jewish ritual traditions. Many now live in Israel.
* * *▪ peoplealso spelled Sefardi(from Hebrew Sefarad, Spain), plural Sephardim, or Sefardim, a member of the Jews, or their descendants, who lived in Spain and Portugal from the Middle Ages until their persecution and mass expulsion from those countries in the last decades of the 15th century. The Sephardim initially fled to North Africa and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, and many of these eventually settled in such countries as France, Holland, England, Italy, and the Balkans. Salonika (Thessaloníki) in Macedonia and the city of Amsterdam became major sites of Sephardic settlement. The transplanted Sephardim largely retained their native Judeo-Spanish language (Ladino), literature, and customs. They became noted for their cultural and intellectual achievements within the Mediterranean and northern European Jewish communities. The Sephardim differ notably from Ashkenazi (German-rite) Jews in preserving Babylonian rather than Palestinian Jewish ritual traditions. Of the estimated 700,000 Sephardic Jews in the world today (far fewer than the Ashkenazim), many now reside in the state of Israel. The chief rabbinate of Israel has both a Sephardic and an Ashkenazi chief rabbi.Though the term Oriental Jews is perhaps more properly applied to Jews of North Africa and the Middle East who had no ties with either Spain or Germany and who speak Arabic, Persian, or a variant of ancient Aramaic, the designation Sephardim frequently signifies all North African Jews and others who, under the influence of the “Spanish Jews,” have adopted the Sephardic rite.
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