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sephardic jews

  • When the Sultan took in Jewish refugees

    Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, saved my family's life during the Spanish Inquisition. The Israeli government could learn a thing or two from him. By Tom Pessah I am a Jew of Sephardic origin, which means the defining moment of my family's history was their expulsion from Spain in 1492. I still have relatives who speak Ladino, the Jewish language that evolved out of medieval Spanish and was preserved in the countries the Jews arrived in. We have our own dietary customs and liturgical traditions. [tmwinpost] For years, I only heard about the villains in this story — Ferdinand…

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  • Unraveling Netanyahu's Sephardic spin

    Netanyahu knows that even in 2016, Mizrahim have the ability to kick him out of power. Benjamin Netanyahu has seen better weeks. Between being strong-armed by members of his cabinet over the confirmation of Avigdor Liberman as defense minister, and the fact that his wife, Sara, may soon be indicted over her unscrupulous handling of the prime minister's households, the past few days have been rough. But amid the turbulence, Bibi was able to find a golden calf and, true to form, milk it for all its worth. [tmwinpost] On paper the story seems both simple and innocuous: early last…

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  • Israel's education minister wants to reduce Jewish history to pogroms

    A new committee is tasked with exposing Israeli students to Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish history. The problem? There is more than one narrative. By Gil Gertel A committee in Israel's Education Ministry meant to "expose Israeli students to the cultural, philosophical, social, and historical wealth of Jewish communities of the East and Spain" began its work last week. The Bitton Committee, appointed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, is headed by poet and Israel Prize winner Erez Bitton. It is supposed to find ways for integrating content on this topic in the existing school curriculum. So far the plan sounds great. The…

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  • Sephardic spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef passes away at 93

    Former Sephardic chief rabbi and spiritual leader of Shas was known for efforts to reconcile Jewish law with modernity, advance the status of Mizrahi Jews in the Israeli religious establishment and in Israeli politics and society. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Sephardic-Haredi Shas party passed away Monday at the age of 93. Yosef recently suffered from a series of health problems, specifically with his heart and lungs. He was hospitalized several times in the last month. Yosef was a complex and not always well understood figure. He was know for his groundbreaking rulings which tried to incorporate…

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  • Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees

    Calls to define Jews from Arab countries as refugees were silenced in the past by Israeli governments. The change of policy has to do with the relatively new recognition that Israel will not be able to escape its responsibility for the Nakba. But leaders of the new campaign should first learn the history of their unfounded idea. By Yehouda Shenhav In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as "refugees." The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and…

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