Sephardic Songs Add Merriment to Purim | Jewish& – My …

And what is a drinking party without drinking songs? As in other Jewish communities, drinking alcohol was part of the celebration of Purim, and an extensive corpus of rhymed, Ladino poems known askoplas(orkomplas) developed by Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Arranged in stanzas, often with refrains, sometimes as acrostics, and intended to be memorized and sung in groups during moments of recreation and celebration, mourning and lamentation,koplasdealt with myriad Jewish themes, including holidays, faith, history, morality, life cycle events, religious practices, folkways, hopes and fears, and politics and satire. Initially composed by rabbis, who sought to make traditional Jewish knowledge more accessible to the Jewish masses in their spoken language, and later by popular authors, koplasserved as a foundation of Sephardic Jewish culture for generations.

Perhaps the most famous genre ofkoplasdealt with the holiday of Purim.

At the Sephardic Studies Program of the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies,, we are fortunate to draw on our large Sephardic collection as well as the personal recollections from first-generation Seattle Sephardim whose families came to the United States from the Ottoman Empire todays Turkey and Rhodes during the early 20thcentury, to learn more about the songs and their role in the Purim celebrations.

Several forgotten drinking songs for Purim are preserved in two books in our Sephardic Studies collection. Notably, several copies of each of the two books have surfaced a testament to how widespread thesekoplasonce were.

Isaac Azose, Hazzan (Cantor) Emeritus of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, shared with usKomplas de Purim: Saludar el Purim,printed in Istanbul in the Hebrew year 5683 (1922 or 1923). Published by Benjamin Raphael ben Yosef, one the most prolific printers of religious and secular books in Ladino and Hebrew in the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury,Komplas de Purim, with its bright pink cover, introduces readers to its contents in an equally colorful manner:

And what is a drinking party without drinking songs? As in other Jewish communities, drinking alcohol was part of the celebration of Purim, and an extensive corpus of rhymed, Ladino poems known askoplas(orkomplas) developed by Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire. Arranged in stanzas, often with refrains, sometimes as acrostics, and intended to be memorized and sung in groups during moments of recreation and celebration, mourning and lamentation,koplasdealt with myriad Jewish themes, including holidays, faith, history, morality, life cycle events, religious practices, folkways, hopes and fears, and politics and satire. Initially composed by rabbis, who sought to make traditional Jewish knowledge more accessible to the Jewish masses in their spoken language, and later by popular authors, koplasserved as a foundation of Sephardic Jewish culture for generations.

Perhaps the most famous genre ofkoplasdealt with the holiday of Purim.

At the Sephardic Studies Program of the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies,, we are fortunate to draw on our large Sephardic collection as well as the personal recollections from first-generation Seattle Sephardim whose families came to the United States from the Ottoman Empire todays Turkey and Rhodes during the early 20thcentury, to learn more about the songs and their role in the Purim celebrations.

Several forgotten drinking songs for Purim are preserved in two books in our Sephardic Studies collection. Notably, several copies of each of the two books have surfaced a testament to how widespread thesekoplasonce were.

Isaac Azose, Hazzan (Cantor) Emeritus of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth, shared with usKomplas de Purim: Saludar el Purim,printed in Istanbul in the Hebrew year 5683 (1922 or 1923). Published by Benjamin Raphael ben Yosef, one the most prolific printers of religious and secular books in Ladino and Hebrew in the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury,Komplas de Purim, with its bright pink cover, introduces readers to its contents in an equally colorful manner:

Saludar al Purim Buen Purim, buenos anyos sinyores, ke gozen kon gusto kon todo el deredor kon kondjas amores. Porke kanten estas komplas por Ester una de las flores, beved vino viejo i de todo modo de kolores, i al dio baruh u dar las loares, ke mos regmio de mano de angustiadores, por mano de Mordehai uno de los sinyores

Purim Greetings

Happy Purim, good year, sirs, may you delight with gusto, Together with those all around, with flower buds of love. Sing thesekomplasfor Esther, one of the flowers. Drink old wine of all varieties, and to God, blessed be he, give praise, for he redeemed us from the hands of our persecutors, through the hand of Mordechai, one of the men

The Sephardic Studies Digital Library also has several copies ofSefer Alegria de Purim, published in Livorno in 1902 by the well-known printing house established in the nineteenth century by Solomon Belforte (1806-1869). That such a book was published in Italy demonstrates that cultural links tied together Sephardic Jews in Italy and the Ottoman Empire during the early 20thcentury.

Rabbi Solomon Maimon of Congregation Sephardic Bikur Holim donated one copy of Sefer Alegria de Purimwhereas another comes from the library of the late Sam Bension Maimon. An inscription in the latter book reads, The material, poems, and prose-like compositions here were authored mostly by a certain Ribi Yaakov Uziel and by Ribi Yom Tov Magula and others. Uziel and Magula numbered among the most famous composers ofkoplasin the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century and their verses continued to accompany the celebration of Purim into the twentieth century.

Here are some other little ditties fromAlegria de Purim(See Sam Bension Maimon,The Beauty of Sephardic Lifefor additional examples):

(53) La vizindad adjuntavos, Beve i enborachavos, A baylar alevantavos Ke ansina eseldever. [Refrain:] Bivaelrey, Biva yo, Bivan todos los djudios, Biva la reyna Esther, Ke tanto plazer mos dyo (56) Beveelvinoa okas, Munchos biskochos i roskas, Ke no esten kedas las bokas, De komer i de bever. [Refrain] (58) No bevesh vino aguado, Preto, puro i kolorado i blanko muy alavado No lo deshesh de bever. [Refrain] (63) Los Frankos uzan pedrizes, Buen tabako de narizes De afera bilibizes, Ke es meze para bever


Get the neighborhood together, Drink and get drunk, Get up to dance, For thus is our duty.

Refrain: Long live the king, Long live I, Long live all the Jews, Long live Esther the queen, That she gave us so much pleasure.

Drink the wine by the gallons, Many cookies and pastries, That the mouths should not be still, From eating and drinking


Dont drink diluted wine. Dark, pure and red And white are praiseworthy. Dont stop drinking.


The Europeans make partridges, Good snuff To enjoy dried chickpeas, Which is an appetizer for drinking.


This Purim as you add a little cheer to your celebration, bring in a bit of Sephardic culture too!

A version of this piece appeared on the UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies blog.

Photo credit Meryl Schenker Photography.

Sephardic Songs Add Merriment to Purim | Jewish& – My …

Ancient Synagogue at Capernaum (Bible History Online)

Ancient Capernaum Synagogue Painted Sketch of the Synagogue at Capernaum

The Synagogue at Capernaum

This magnificent synagogue was made of white limestone and wonderfully ornamented. Archeologists have determined that the 2-story synagogue was built around the beginning of the third century A.D., because of its architectural style, decorations, and inscriptions. Therefore it was not the synagogue in which Jesus taught, although it was most likely built upon the same site as the first century synagogue.

The gospel of John reveals that it was here in which Jesus taught that he was the true bread of life coming down out of heaven, after feeding the 5000 (John 6:59). Shortly after he was rejected in Capernaum because he had healed on the Sabbath day, which the Jewish authorities considered blasphemy. He often taught on their hillsides and near the sea of Galilee. But it was at Capernaum where Jesus and his disciples loved to come. It was probably here at Capernaum were Jesus raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Mark 5:21-43), and it was also here that Jesus taught his disciples about being childlike and he brought a child into the midst of them (Mark 9: 33-37). Also at Capernaum Jesus spoke with Peter about paying the Temple tax sending him to catch a fish to pay for it (Matthew 17:24-27).

Ruins of the Capernaum Synagogue

Decorations found at the Capernaum Synagogue

“The remains of Capernaum of the New Testament are located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The town was a center of Jesus’ activities in the Jewish Galilee (Matthew 4:13, 8:5) and became known as “His own city” (Matthew 9:1), where he performed several miracles (Luke 4:31-35; Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 5:21-42), and visited the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28). Capernaum is also mentioned by Josephus Flavius (Life 72), who was brought there after being wounded in battle. Christian sources of the Byzantine period describe Capernaum as a village inhabited by Jews and Christians. In the Early Muslim period (7th-8th centuries), Capernaum continued to prosper, then declined and was abandoned in the 11th century. Its ruins were known in Arabic as Tel Hum, preserving the ancient Hebrew name Kfar Nahum (the village of Nahum). The remains of the buildings and of the synagogue were identified in 1838 by Eduard Robinson as Capernaum of the New Testament period and have since then attracted many researchers, primarily Christians…” Read more at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“The ruins of this building, among the Oldest synagogues in the world were identified by Charles William Wilson. The large, ornately carved, white building stones of the synagogue stood out prominently among the smaller, plain blocks of local black basalt used for the towns other buildings, almost all residential. The synagogue was built almost entirely of white blocks of calcareous stone brought from distant quarries. The building consists of four parts: the praying hall, the western patio, a southern balustrade and a small room at the northwest of the building. The praying hall measured 24.40 ms by 18.65 m, with the southern face looking toward Jerusalem. The internal walls were covered with painted plaster and fine stucco work found during the excavations. Watzinger, like Orfali, believed that there had been an upper floor reserved for women, with access by means of an external staircase located in the small room. But this opinion was not substantiated by the later excavations of the site. The synagogue appears to have been built around the fourth or 5th century. Beneath the foundation of this synagogue lies another foundation made of basalt, and Loffreda suggests that this is the foundation of a synagogue from the 1st century, perhaps the one mentioned in the Gospels (Loffreda, 1974). Later excavation work was attempted underneath the synagogue floor, but while Loffreda claimed to have found a paved surface, others are of the opinion that this was an open, paved market area. [1] The ancient synagogue has two inscriptions, one in Greek and the other in Aramaic, that remember the benefactors that helped in the construction of the building. There are also carvings of five- and six-pointed stars and of palm trees. In 1926, the Franciscan Orfali began the restoration of the synagogue. After his death, this work was continued by Virgilio Corbo beginning in 1976. A mosaic uncovered in 1991 shows an image of the Woman and Dragon motif mentioned in the Christian biblical book Revelation of St.John. It shows a woman about to give birth to a child as a dragon waits to devour it. The mosaic is not mentioned in any articles to date. Two possibilities seem possible: the mosaic is a Christian addition at some point when the synagogue became a Christian church, or that this was a Jewish motif indicating the dangers facing any Messiah who might come in those dangerous times of Christian predominance in Roman-ruled Palestine. The Egged tour guide who led a tour of the area dismissed it as a “pagan” theme.” [Wikipedia]

Synagogues in the Bible

It is doubtful, whether the Old Testament contains any references to synagogues, though it is possible that Ps. 74:8 refers to them. They owed their origin to the desire of the Jews to familiarize themselves with the law, and probably arose immediately after the exile. In a comparatively short time they were erected in all the cities of the Jews in Palestine and throughout the diaspora. The synagogue was commonly a rectangular building, so constructed that on entering it the worshiper faced Jerusalem, and that the interior corresponded somewhat to the temple with its divisions. The part nearest the door represented the court and was a large space where the people stood or (in later times) sat during the services, men and women being separated by a partition. A little beyond the center of the synagogue rose the platform or bima on which the pulpit or lectern stood, from where the law and the prophets were read and the people were addressed, the reader standing and the preacher sitting down, cf . Luke 4:20. This bima represented the Holy Place, while the ark or chest that contained the sacred rolls, built near the rear wall and covered by a veil, corresponded to the Holy of Holies. A board of elders managed the affairs of the synagogue; yet there were also special officers, such as (1) the ruler (or rulers) of the synagogue, who directed the worship by appointing or requesting some of those present to pray, read, speak, etc.; (2) one or more attendants (chazan), who brought the rolls to the reader and again replaced them in the sacred depository, inflicted the corporal punishment on persons sentenced by the authorities, taught the youth of the congregation, opened and closed the synagogue, etc.; (3) dispensers of alms; and (4) ten or more wealthy men of leisure, who represented the congregation at every service.

The order of the services in the synagogue was as follows : (1) Reciting the Shema, Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21 ; Num. 15:37-41 (2) Prayer (3) Reading the law (4) Reading the prophets (5) Discourse by anyone who desired to speak, Acts 13:15 (6) the Benediction.

The synagogues in the dispersion had great significance for the spread of Christianity, since Paul on his missionary journeys always resorted to them first, where he could reach both Jews and gentiles. [Archaeology]

The City of Capernaum

Capernaum in Easton’s Bible Dictionary Nahum’s town, a Galilean city frequently mentioned in the history of our Lord. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament. After our Lord’s expulsion from Nazareth (Matt. 4:13-16; Luke 4:16-31), Capernaum became his “own city.” It was the scene of many acts and incidents of his life (Matt. 8:5, 14, 15; 9:2-6, 10-17; 15:1-20; Mark 1:32-34, etc.). The impenitence and unbelief of its inhabitants after the many evidences our Lord gave among them of the truth of his mission, brought down upon them a heavy denunciation of judgement (Matt. 11:23). It stood on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The “land of Gennesaret,” near, if not in, which it was situated, was one of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Israel. This city lay on the great highway from Damascus to Acco and Tyre. It has been identified with Tell Hum, about two miles south-west of where the Jordan flows into the lake. Here are extensive ruins of walls and foundations, and also the remains of what must have been a beautiful synagogue, which it is conjectured may have been the one built by the centurion (Luke 7:5), in which our Lord frequently taught (John 6:59; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:33). Others have conjectured that the ruins of the city are to be found at Khan Minyeh, some three miles further to the south on the shore of the lake. “If Tell Hum be Capernaum, the remains spoken of are without doubt the ruins of the synagogue built by the Roman centurion, and one of the most sacred places on earth. It was in this building that our Lord gave the well-known discourse in John 6; and it was not without a certain strange feeling that on turning over a large block we found the pot of manna engraved on its face, and remembered the words, ‘I am that bread of life: your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.’”, (The Recovery of Jerusalem.)

Capernaum in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary (“the village of Nachum”.) N.W. of sea of Tiberius, in the land of Gennesaret (now El Ghuweir. compare Matthew 14:34 with John 6:17; John 6:21-24), a most populous and prosperous region. By some identified now with the mound at Khan Minyeh; by others with Tell Hum. Visited by Jesus for a few days (John 2:12); afterward “His own city” and home, to which He retired from Nazareth (where He was reared, as in Bethlehem He was born), when He heard that Herod Antipas, who often resided at Sepphoris, or Diocaesarea, near Nazareth, had imprisoned John the Baptist. Capernaum was less conspicuous, and more suited to be the center of the unobtrusive but energetic ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Remains of ancient potteries, tanneries, etc., still are seen at Tabiga, the manufacturing suburb of Capernaum The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:2) had foretold that this region, namely, Zabulon and Nephthalim, the one most bordering on Gentile darkness, was to be the first to see the great light (Matthew 4:12-16). Designated “His own city” (Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1, “at home,” KJV “in the house”.) The scene of most of His mighty words, and therefore the most guilty in its impenitence. Matthew 11:20-24; “exalted unto heaven” in privileges, it was doomed for neglect of them to be “brought down to hell.” Josephus mentions a fountain in Gennesaret, “Capharnaum,” identified by some with Ain et Tin (the spring of the fig tree) near Khan Minyeh. The “round fountain” is three miles southward. Tell Hum is three or four miles more to the N. than Khan Minyeh, and so more convenient for the people to run round the N. end of the lake afoot to the E. side while Jesus crossed there by water (Mark 6:32-33). Hum is the last. syllable of Kefr na hum, and was used as an abbreviation. Tell Hum is the site, according to Arab and Jewish tradition. It is on a point…

Capernaum in Hitchcock’s Bible Names the field of repentance; city of comfort

Capernaum in Naves Topical Bible (A city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) -Jesus chose, as the place of his abode Mt 4:13; Lu 4:31 -Miracles of Jesus performed at Mt 9:1-26; 17:24; 27; Mr 1:21-45; 2; 3:1-6; Lu 7:1-10; Joh 4:46-53; 6:17-25,59 -His prophecy against Mt 11:23; Lu 10:15

Capernaum in Smiths Bible Dictionary (village of Nahum) was on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Mt 4:13 comp. John 6:24 It was in the “land of Gennesaret,” [ Mt 14:34 comp. John 6:17,21,24 ] It was of sufficient size to be always called a “city,” Mt 9:1; Mr 1:33 had its own synagogue, in which our Lord frequently taught, Mr 1:21; Lu 4:33,38; Joh 6:59 and there was also a customs station, where the dues were gathered both by stationary and by itinerant officers. Mt 9:9; 17:24; Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27 The only interest attaching to Capernaum is as the residence of our Lord and his apostles, the scene of so many miracles and “gracious words.” It was when he returned thither that he is said to have been “in the house.” Mr 2:1 The spots which lay claim to its site are, 1. Kahn Minyeh, a mound of ruins which takes its name from an old khan hard by. This mound is situated close upon the seashore at the northwestern extremity of the plain (now El Ghuweir). 2. Three miles north of Khan Minyeh is the other claimant, Tell Hum, –ruins of walls and foundations covering a space of half a mile long by a quarter wide, on a point of the shore projecting into the lake and backed by a very gently-rising ground. It is impossible to locate it with certainty, but the probability is in favor of Tell Hum.

Capernaum in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE ka-per’-na-um (Kapernaoum (Textus Receptus), Kapharnaoum (Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Bezae; etc.)): The woe spoken by the Master against this great city has been fulfilled to the uttermost (Mt 11:23; Lk 10:15). So completely has it perished that the very site is a matter of dispute today. In Scripture Capernaum is not mentioned outside the Gospels. When Jesus finally departed from Nazareth, He dwelt in Capernaum (Mt 4:13) and made it the main center of His activity during a large part of His public ministry. Near by He called the fishermen to follow Him (Mk 1:16), and the publican from the receipt of custom (Mt 9:9, etc.). It was the scene of many “mighty works” (Mt 11:23; Mk 1:34). Here Jesus healed the centurion’s son (Mt 8:5, etc.), the nobleman’s son (Jn 4:46), Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:31, etc.), and the paralytic (Mt 9:1, etc.); cast out the unclean spirit (Mk 1:23, etc.); and here also, probably, He raised Jairus’ daughter to life (Mk 5:22, etc.). In Capernaum the little child was used to teach the disciples humility, while in the synagogue Jesus delivered His ever-memorable discourse on the bread of life (Jn 6). From the notices in the Gospels we gather that Capernaum was a city of considerable importance. Some think that the words “shalt thou be exalted,” etc. (Mt 11:23; Lk 10:15), mean that it stood on an elevated site. Perhaps more naturally they refer to the excessive pride of the inhabitants in their city. It was a customs station, and the residence of a high officer of the king (Mt 9:9; Jn 4:46, etc.). It was occupied by a detachment of Roman soldiers, whose commander thought the good will of the people worth securing at the expense of building for them a synagogue (Mt 8:5; Lk 7:5). It stood by the sea (Mt 4:13) and from Jn 6:17 ff (compare Mt 14:34; Mk 6:53), we see that it was either in or near the plain of Gennesaret. Josephus twice mentions Capernaum. It played no great part in the history of his time, and seems to have declined in importance, as he refers to it as a “village.” In battle in el-BaTeichah his horse fell into a quagmire, and he suffered injury which disabled him for further fighting. His soldiers carried him to the village of Capernaum (this reference is however doubtful; the name as it stands is Kepharnomon which Niese corrects to Kepharnokon), whence he was removed to Tarichea (Vita, 72). Again he eulogizes the plain of Gennesaret for its wonderful fruits, and says it is watered by a most fertile fountain which the people of the country call Capharnaum. In the water of this fountain the Coracinus is found (BJ, III, x, 8). Josephus therefore corroborates the Biblical data, and adds the information as to the fountain and the Coracinus fish. The fish however is found in other fountains near the lake, and is therefore no help toward identification. The two chief rivals for the honor of representing Capernaum are Tell Chum, a ruined site on the lake shore, nearly 2 1/2 miles West of the mouth of the Jordan; and Khan Minyeh fully 2 1/2 miles farther west, at the Northeast corner of the plain of Gennesaret. Dr. Tristram suggested `Ain El- Madowwerah, a large spring enclosed by a circular wall, on the western edge of the plain. But it stands about a mile from the sea; there are no ruins to indicate that any considerable village ever stood here; and the water is available for only a small part of the plain….

The Bible mentions much about the Synagogue:

Revelation 3:9 – Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Luke 13:14 – And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

Luke 4:38 – And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

Acts 18:7 – And he departed thence, and entered into a certain [man's] house, named Justus, [one] that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

Acts 18:8 – And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

John 9:22 – These [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

Acts 14:1 – And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.

Mark 6:2 – And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

John 18:20 – Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.

Acts 18:17 – Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat [him] before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Luke 8:41 – And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

Acts 17:10 – And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Matthew 13:54 – And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this [man] this wisdom, and [these] mighty works?

Mark 5:38 – And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

Acts 18:26 – And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto [them], and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Acts 19:8 – And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Revelation 2:9 – I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.

Mark 1:29 – And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

Mark 5:36 – As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

Acts 13:15 – And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, [Ye] men [and] brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

Acts 26:11 – And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled [them] to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted [them] even unto strange cities.

Mark 5:22 – And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

Luke 4:16 – And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Luke 4:20 – And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Luke 4:33 – And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,

Luke 6:6 – And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.

Acts 13:42 – And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Acts 17:17 – Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Mark 1:21 – And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

John 12:42 – Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

The Bible also mentions Capernaum:

John 6:24 – When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

Matthew 17:24 – And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute [money] came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Matthew 11:23 – And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Luke 4:23 – And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

John 4:46 – So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

Matthew 4:13 – And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

Luke 10:15 – And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Mark 1:21 – And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Luke 4:31 – And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

Luke 7:1 – Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

John 2:12 – After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.

Matthew 8:5 – And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

Mark 2:1 – And again he entered into Capernaum after [some] days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

John 6:17 – And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

Mark 9:33 – And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

John 6:59 – These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Reconstructions & Sketches of the Ancient World

New Illustrated Bible History A growing database of images and sketches of the ancient world.

Paintings and Sketches by Bjanikka Ben, Galina Nelson, Maliyah Weston and more

Ancient Customs

Ancient Patriarch’s Clothing in the Time of Abraham

The Name Jesus in Ancient Hebrew Script

The Watchtower in the Vineyard

Ancient Seals or Signets

Bronze Mirrors

Dining in Ancient Rome

Ancient Sun Dial

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Ancient Cuneiform Writing

Ancient Harp from Ur

Jewish Captives Playing the Lyre

Ancient Beards and Styles

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Tax Collector

Ancient Israelite House

First Century Israelite Houses

Wealthy Israelite House

Ancient Sheep Fold

Ancient Ox Carts

Ancient Women Traveling

Ancient Waterpot

Egyptian Procession Carrying an Ark

Jesus Reading Isaiah Scroll

Ancient Torah Scroll

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Ancient Synagogue at Capernaum (Bible History Online)

Torah – ReligionFacts

Although the word “Torah” is sometimes used to refer to the entire Tanakh or even the whole body of Jewish writings, it technically means the first five books of the Tanakh. These books are also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch. In English, the names for the books of the Torah are derived from Greek and describe the general topic of the book:

– Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers – Deuteronomy (“Second Law”)

The Hebrew names of the books of the Torah reflect not the subject, but the first major word of each book:

– Bereisheet (“In the beginning”) – Sh’mot (“Names”) – Vayikra (“And he called”) – BaMidbar (“In the wilderness”) – D’varim (“Words”)

Among other things, the Torah contains important events in the history of Judaism, like the account of the creation of the world, God’s special call to Abraham, the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and the conquering of Canaan, the Promised Land. The Torah is by far the most important part of the Tanakh because, in addition to including these important stories, it also details the commandments (mitzvot) God gave the Jewish people through Moses.

Accordingly, the Torah scroll (Sefer Torah) is the most important object in a synagogue. The text is carefully handwritten in Hebrew calligraphy on a parchment made of animal skins, and the scroll is kept in an ark (short for aron kodesh, “holy cabinet”). The Torah has been read publically since the time of Ezra (c. 450 BCE). Today, a portion of the Torah (parashiyot) is read in the synagogue on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and holidays. (See The Synagogue.)


– Essential Judiasm: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs and Rituals by George Robinson (Pocket Books, 2000). – “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Unfolding of a Tradition.” Judaism for Dummies (Hungry Minds, 2001). – Tracey R. Rich, “Torah.” Judaism 101 (1995-99).

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Torah – ReligionFacts

Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Torah (also the name of the first reading) is Bamidbar (), which means In the wilderness. It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is Numbers, which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Torah. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israels trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generations triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.

The first reading from Bamidbar and the thirty-fourth reading from the Torah begin with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai.

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Torah PORTIONS | This Week’s Portion

Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

What is Torah?

The word Torah is both a name and a general concept. Nowadays Torah is name of the first five Books of the Bible (a.k.a. the Books of Moses, or Pentateuch), and that tradition probably stems from the time just after the return from the Babylonian exile. The Torahic concept encompasses some stipulations that might be comparable to what we presently call law but that fraction is certainly not representative of the whole. In stead, the word Torah appears to reflect “the way things are” much rather than “the way things are supposed to be”.

The narrative stories of the Pentateuch, therefore, are not so much (legendary, folkloristic or even sentimental) histories but much rather archetypes of processes through which everything that evolves either will evolve or will be annihilated (read our article on Evolution and the Bible for more on this). Fulfilling the Torah is thus not so much a forced obedience to stipulations but rather a having developed into an entity that corresponds to the way the physical universe works; something that is stable in the physics sense of the word. Since that stability is a requisite for further growth, that stability must be reached before anything else can come about. In a passage that could easily spawn a few gigabytes worth of commentary, Paul teaches that love fulfills the Torah (Romans 13:8-10) but Jesus makes it clear that the entire law must be fulfilled before the state in which people can actually love their neighbor is achieved (Matthew 5:18). And that ties Torah firmly to Wisdom.

The creation account of Genesis 1 is not so much a primitive myth, but rather the most rudimentary blueprint of how evolution works (see for more details our Introduction to Scripture Theory or our article on Evolution and the Bible). The story of the Father and the Three Sons for instance (in which one son dies or diminishes and the lowly second son joins the glorified third) is told in its most basic form in the account of Adam and Cain, Abel and Seth, and is repeated in various nuances from Noah and Shem, Ham and Japheth all the way up to Jesus’ parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14), the image of Jesus on the cross with His one neighbor rejected and the other one joined with Him in Paradise (Luke 23:43), the breach between the lost northern kingdom of Israel and the saved southern Judah which contained the temple of YHWH, and might even establish the rough outline of the New Creation (in which satan is irrelevant and the nations of the earth attach themselves to the elect living in the New Jerusalem; Revelation 21:24).

All these narrative forms (also known as narrative cycles) are obvious continuations, or self-similar reproductions (geneticists would speak of homologous structures), of the second creation day, where one watery continuum is breached in two by a third (namely the heavenly firmament). The waters over the firmament are heard from no more, and the waters below the firmament produce dry land, vegetation and life; federated with and governed by lights placed in the dividing firmament (Genesis 1:1-19).

This image may even apply to the structure of a living cell, in which the cell-body body distinguished itself from the world at large, organized around a nucleus that contains the cell’s genetic code (see our article on the Household Set), and obviously also applies to the organization of Israel around the tabernacle, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the two tablets with the Ten Commandments. This tabernacle, in turn, provided the blue print for the Temple and the Temple became the Body of Christ; all formed after fundamental patterns which were shown to Moses (Exodus 25:40, Hebrews 8:5). And that is why the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ follows the human reproductive cycle, and the standard model of elementary particles appears obviously embedded in the structure of the family of Abraham.

The name Torah and the general word torah are usually translated with either law or teaching, and that would work on the proviso that what is taught is actually true (i.e. a reflection or adaptation of “natural” law). And it should be noted that covenant precedes formal law (covenant: Genesis 6:18; deposition of formal law: Exodus 20, but note man’s natural knowledge of law: Genesis 26:5, Romans 2:15); meaning that the relationship of God and mankind is not brought about by wisdom (God is not “discovered” or found by looking for Him; Luke 17:20), but that wisdom is brought about by the relationship of God and mankind (God is found because He looked for us; 1 John 4:19).

Quite tellingly, the first time that the word (torah) is used is in the statement: “The same law applies to the native [Israelite] as to the foreigner who lives in Israel” (Exodus 12:49). The second time our word appears is in Exodus 24:12, where the Lord instructs Moses to approach Him on the mountain in order to receive the famous stone tables that He had prepared for him (Exodus 24:12).

Even though the existence of Torah also resulted in rules and regulations that people needed to learn by heart and carefully observe, Torah itself was regarded as something delectable (Psalm 19:10), desirable (Psalm 119:92) and loveable (Psalm 119:97).

The Hebrew word for Law (Torah) is a derivation of the verb (yara), meaning to throw, cast or shoot:

The letter in front of a root has somewhat the same function as an integral sign in front of an equation: it sums up the whole of different variations of the root. But when we do that with the root (yara) in order to create the word (Torah), something that seems like a regular female form of the word emerges:

To anyone who is not familiar with these things, seeing a dove descend on someone (Matthew 3:16) is cute at best. For someone who sees the linguistic connection between Law and dove, this is all quite a bit more profound.

Jesus summed up the Law by stating what the “larger and unified objective” of all God’s instructions are: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind & You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

These words sum up the true purpose of man. If this purpose is obtained, sin is without effect and the Law is fulfilled. See for a more in depth study of law, sin and forgiveness our article The Skinny on Sin Romans 7

Also note that the first occurrence of the first letter of our word (torah) is the last letter of the first word of the Bible, namely (bersheet), meaning “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). Fifty letters later (or forty-nine, depending how you count), we find the second letter of our word (torah), namely in the word (tehom), meaning “the deep” (Genesis 1:2). Another fifty letters down, there’s the in (w’yra’), meaning “and He saw” (Genesis 1:4). Fifty letters after that sits the in the word (‘elohim), meaning God.

Whoever placed this marvelous little gem in the text of the creation account seems to have figured that Torah = In The Beginning The Deep Saw God. Whether this delightful letter-trick was known to the sons of Korah isn’t clear, but read our article on Psalm 42:7 for something to ponder (and also see John 1:1-5 and Colossians 1:16).

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Torah | The amazing name Torah: meaning and etymology

What Is Torah? –

No word in the Jewish religion is so indefinable and yet so indispensable as the word Torah. Torah is the most comprehensive term for the substance of Judaism. Torah is Teaching. Torah is Law. No one can hope to achieve even a minimal appreciation of the Jewish religion without learning, and then reflecting on, the idea of Torah and its place in the life of the Jew.

Will Herberg describes the multifaceted brilliance of this crown jewel of world literature:

It is a book, an idea, a quality of life. It is the Pentateuch; the Bible in all its parts; the Bible and the rabbinical writings; all writings dealing with revelation; all reflection and tradition dealing with God, man and the world. It is represented as a bride, the “daughter” of God, as a crown, a jewel, a sword; as fire and water; as life, but to those who are unworthy, as poison and death. It is the pre-existent Wisdom or Word of God, present at creation and acting as the “architect” of the creative work.

It preserves the world from destruction; without it, all creation would lapse into chaos; it is the harmony and law of the universe. It is all this and much more, for the exaltation of the Torah in Jewish tradition is a theme which no words can exhaust. Torah is the reason man was created. It is the equivalent of the Temple sacrifices.

Torah has been for ages the sum and substance of Jewish scholarship. But it would be utterly wrong to conclude from this emphasis on study that Jewish spirituality runs dry in the sands of intellectualism.

In reality, the study of Torah is something very different. It is an authentic spiritual exercise, the Jewish equivalent of mystical communion with God. Indeed, it is more likely to run into mysticism than into intellectualism.

Photo archives from the Warsaw ghetto show a door of an inn that read, “Society of Wagon Drivers for the Study of Talmud in Warsaw.” This referred to coachmen who seized a few moments from their work to gather in a group to “nosh” (grab a tasty morsel of) a page of Talmud, as was noted earlier. These were not intellectuals, concerned only with the intricacies of scholastic dialectics; they were deeply religious men thirsting for spiritual refreshment and they found it, as countless generations of Jews before them, in the study of Torah.

“Oh, how I love Thy Torah; it is my meditation all day long” (Psalms 119:97). With Torah understood in its fullest sense, this may be taken as the authentic attitude of the believing Jew to Torah. Torah is law, but it is much, much more than law.

But what, after all, is a system of law doing in the midst of a religion? Looked at through the eyes of western civilization, law should not function in the arena of faith. Law should be confined to the governance of society, relating to affairs of state; faith should apply to affairs of the soul, the domain of the individual. How then do these widely disparate elements coalesce in Judaism? What is the relation of “faith” to “deed”?

Man Cannot Live By Faith Alone

Judaism maintains, as a cardinal principle in its approach to religion and to all of life, that faith and deeds are inseparable. Modern man finds this difficult to understand because he has been schooled in a western frame of reference which looks at “religion” solely as a matter of the soul, residing in that which is inward. The emphasis of religion is attitude rather than obedience, belief over action.

Judaism considers a person who lives by faith alone not translated into deeds to be living with vague, puffy spiritual generalities.

To visualize the picture perfect ideal of an earthly life achieved in the heavens, imagine Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, walking down Wilhelmstrasse with his hands behind his back and his mind contemplating the firmament. In Christian terms, this setting might change a monk meditating about the universal God in his tiny cell in a remote mountaintop monastery.

The picture of the Jew, on the other hand, is for all time inscribed on the tablet of his imagination by the narrative in Genesis which portrays Abraham searching for “a righteous man in the center of the city”; Jacob building roads and public bathhouses to foster community hygiene in every city he visits; Moses leaving the isolation of Pharaoh’s palace to enter the fray on behalf of his enslaved people.

In Judaism, there is no real question as to the superiority of right action or right intention; its only question is “What is right living?”

Healing, helping, concrete betterment have their own intrinsic meaning regardless of the intentions that motivated them. Intention is important, of course, but it can be reflected only in tangible reality. Providing shelter for a homeless teenager has meaning that is independent of the intention behind the deed.

Judaism is averse to spiritual generalities, to looking for meaning in a life detached from doing, as if meaning existed as a separate entity. Its penchant is to convert ideas into deeds, to transform metaphysical principles into patterns for action, to endow the most sublime principles with bearing upon everyday conduct and, conversely, to sanctify the mundane.

But how do we know which deeds are called for? And how do we determine the difference between right and wrong if we are not guided by faith?

The answer is: Keeping the Law.

God’s will is given as a gift to man encased in a body of commandments, “to do’s,” what Jews call mitzvot (mitzvah, in singular). Mitzvot constitute the fixed religious standards of action that do not change with every impulse of society. The reasons for these commandments are not often self-evident and go beyond the reach of human beings, although they do depend on the stable understanding and steady interpretation of the teachers of every generation and on their application of these laws to daily realities. The ultimate obligation is not to believe in God, but to do the will of God.

Mitzvah is the irreducible, organic matter of the Jewish religion. In popular usage, it refers simply to “a good deed.” But its significance and force stem from its original, formal, and correct usage: commandment. God, the issuer of the mitzvah, is the metzaveh, “He who commands.” The engine of Jewish law and observance is the keeping of the mitzvot, the commandments given by God.

Acting Out One’s Faith

By living as Jews, we act out our faith as Jews.

Doing a mitzvah is not simply doing a “good deed”; it is, in fact, keeping God’s law in its specific detail. The will of God is revealed in the mandates of Torah, primarily in the form of Halachah literally “the way” that is, the way to fulfill the commandments.

Halachah, like Torah itself, is one of Judaism’s most important and elusive terms and, without comprehending it, Judaism is not comprehensible. It is, more than any other single entity, the quintessence of Judaism.

The Torah provides for an oral interpretation that is dynamic and progressive and is absolutely necessary to understanding the written Torah. The Oral Law, is not only an interpretation of the law, but its application to the changing circumstances of reality by logical and traditional principles that the Torah itself establishes.

The law is decided by learned rabbis in response to questions put to them by individuals and whole communities. Their decisions eventually get enacted and then written down as codes of law. The codes then get studied, interpreted and applied by the same system. All of these, in addition to a variety of regulations and decrees, form the body of the Oral Law.

Herman Wouk, in This is My God, described the process eloquently:

What we have then is a system of amendment originating with “the wise” and subject to ratification or annulment by the law abiding community at large, in a quiet referendum that is continuous and effective.

The question straightway arises: who are these “wise,” and by what power are they ordained?

They are the students who receive their ordination from the heads of the great yeshivot, the academies of Torah learning, who are not formally elected or officially appointed, but are simply acknowledged by the communities who keep the law. In a sense, then, the community of those who keep the law is the informal supreme court of Judaism. They decide who the religious authorities are. They do this by directing their religious questions to the few scholars in each generation, and by following or not following their rulings.

Law: The Elixir of Life

In fact, far from being enslaved by the law, Jews were enamored of it. We cannot take our leave of the subject of Torah without expressing this most characteristic sentiment of Jewish literature the love of Torah.

You may ask: can a people “love” a law? Yet, that is the exquisite paradox inherent in the concept of Torah it is respected and studied and feared, while it is loved and embraced and kissed. All at once. There is no good in this world no ideal, no blessing, no perfection, no glory unless it is associated with the law.

To Jews, the Torah is “light”; it is the “glory of the sons of man”; it is the energizing sap of life for “the dry bones” (Ezekiel 37:4) which symbolize the “people in whom there is not the sap of the commandment.”

To Jews, the law is mayim chayim, refreshing, life-restoring, living waters to Jews; the sweetness of honey and milk, the joy and strength of wine, and the healing power of oil. It is an “elixir of life” that brings healing to all.

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What Is Torah? –

Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

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The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.


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Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”


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The writer and historian grew up perhaps 100 yards from Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era, before escaping Germany.


A new comedy about anti-Semitism questions what it means to be Jewish in France.


A stunned employee wonders how, or even whether, to respond after a superior makes an offensive and bigoted remark.


How I became the target of a hate-filled campaign.


The group, heavily financed by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, issued its statement amid a torrent of Twitter posts and comments against Jewish journalists.


Some dialogue can be tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to exist despite history.

The village was once known as Castrillo Matajudos, or Little Hill Fort of Jew Killers. Its mayor believes that the vandals are members of extremist groups with no direct connection to the village.


The Labour Party has been forced to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks, but the malaise goes deeper.


The suspension of Ken Livingstone came a day after Labours leader, Jeremy Corbyn, disciplined another party member over anti-Israel posts on social media.


Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, suspended Ms. Shah for endorsing anti-Israel posts on social media before she joined Parliament.


As the country engages in fierce debates centered on national identity, it is also confronting challenges to traditional norms of political discourse.


Institutions in Hamburg, Lneburg and Tbingen said that their networks may have been hacked, and that many of the leaflets were printed on the anniversary of Hitlers birth.


As France grapples with radical Islam and a rise in anti-Semitic acts, a growing number of Jews are choosing to settle in the British capital.


Princeton High School has contended with a flood of scrutiny since a blog post revealed that students had played a game called Jews vs. Nazis.


As a CUNY professor, I disagree with calls to boycott Israel, but those calls shouldnt be suppressed.


A computer hacker who goes by the name of Weev said he sent the fliers last week to all publicly accessible printers in North America, but it is not clear whether he could face charges.

The measure was an attempt to combat hostility toward Jewish students amid growing opposition on campuses to Israeli policies.


Overheard at Oberlin: The Holocaust was mere “white on white crime.”


Leni Riefenstahls largely staged documentary about the 1934 Nazi Party Congress inspired American filmmakers to address its imagery.


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Anti-Semitism – The New York Times

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Genentech: Avi Ashkenazi | Senior Staff Scientist, Cancer …

Sephardic Genealogy The Western Sephardim A Nao …

In 1492 the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, captured the last Muslim stronghold in the Iberian peninsula. Isabella sent Christopher Columbus sailing west to find a new route to Asia. The king and queen also gave their Jewish subjects a choice convert or leave.

Many converted, as had other Jews during previous generations of persecution. Some took ship to North Africa, Italy and eventually the Ottoman Empire. A smaller group tramped west, across the Portuguese border. There they found an established Portuguese Jewish community. Just five years later in 1497, the King of Portugal demanded that all Jews convert, without the right of emigration (except for a handful of families).Many of these New Christians received little or no formal instruction in Roman Catholicism and continued to secretly adhere to Judaism, or what they could remember of it.

This site addresses the genealogy of these New Christians, some or all of whom are also know to history asWestern Sephardim,A Nao Portuguesa, Men of the Nation,Spanish &Portuguese Jews. Other names have been applied and misapplied including: anusim, bnei anusim, crypto-Jewsandmarranos. On this site I will use Sephardic as shorthand for descendants of New Christians. This single word covers a wide and fluctuating set of identities from fervent Catholic to fervent Jew, everything in between, and eventually even Enlightenment philosophers. It is anerror to imagine our ancestors as normative Ashkenazi Jews forced to adopt a public cloak of Catholicism. This was a group of people on a temporal journey from medieval Iberian Judaism to what we would recognise as a modern identity. This site will focus on what historians call the Early Modern period, roughly from 1492 to 1750. The reality is that there is little genealogical evidence before the Council of Trent (1545-1563) instructed Catholic parishes to maintain baptism, marriage and death records.

I recognise that other communitiesare also called Sephardic, including the Eastern Sephardim of the former Ottoman Empire (our kinsmen who went east, when our ancestors went to Portugal) and many Jews from the Near East and Middle East who share our core religious traditions. In Israel Sephardic can often mean not Ashkenazi. I have included a Terminology page.

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Sephardic Genealogy The Western Sephardim A Nao …

Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

To be clear, there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about the proclamation itself, and Im not accusing the president or his staff in any way of promoting anti-Semitism. But I do note that the proclamations discussion of Jews contributions to American society is consistent with a particular left-wing view of Jewswhich is that Jews have two predominant roles to play in the world, either as victims or as advocates for progressive causes.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the proclamation:

At Americas birth, our Founders fought off tyranny and declared a set of idealsincluding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinessthat would forever guide our countrys course. For generations since, Jewish Americans, having shared in the struggle for freedom, have been instrumental in ensuring our Nation stays true to the principles enshrined in our founding documents. They have helped bring about enduring progress in every aspect of our society, shaping our countrys character and embodying the values we hold dear. This month, as we pay tribute to their indelible contributions, we recommit to ridding our world of bigotry and injustice and reflect on the extraordinary ways in which Jewish Americans have made our Union more perfect.

Many of the Jewish people who reached our Nations shores throughout our history did so fleeing the oppression they encountered in areas around the world. Driven by the possibility of charting a freer future, they endeavored, on their own and as a community, to make real the promise of American their individual lives and in the life of our country. Determined to confront the racism that kept this promise from being fully realized, many Jewish Americans found a cause in the Civil Rights Movement thatin its call for freedom and justiceechoed the timeless message of Exodus and the Jewish peoples journey through the ages. Reflecting on the march in Selma, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once noted, I felt my legs were praying. From the fight for womens rights to LGBT rights to workers rights, many in the Jewish American community, drawing on lessons from their own past, have trumpeted a clarion call for equality and justice.

Its no secret that many liberal American Jews emphasize the social justice part of their identity. But this doesnt preclude also recognizing, as part of Jewish Heritage Month, that Jews have contributed disproportionately to the arts, business, medicine, academia, science, and so forth. Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have successfully created unique and innovative Jewish communal charities, educational institutions, and internal religious movements (such as Conservative Judaism). Nor does it preclude recognizing that American Jews have been at the forefront of helping to establish and defend Israel and in rescuing persecuted Jews from Ethiopia to the USSR.

Im sure if you asked whoever drafted the presidents proclamation about these other matters, he would say something along the lines of, yeah, that stuff is nice, too.

But for some progressives on the far left, including some progressives of Jewish descent, that other stuff isnt nice too. To them, Jews exist only for the role assigned to them by the progressive mythosto use their experience of oppression and their privilege to fight for the rights of others, and then to assimilate or disappear.

Ever since Karl Marx himself stated as much, there has been a significant strand of left-wing thought suggesting that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group, but simply forlorn Asiatic/European nomads who came to exist as a group solely to serve the class interests first of feudal rulers and than of capitalists, possessing neither a legitimate religion (because no religion is legitimate) nor a legitimate culture (because Jews) nor any claim to self-determination.

Indeed, this is sometimes explained in a way that makes anti-Semitism understandable as a reaction to the fact that Gentile rulers use Jews to exploit their subjects. Consider the following recent open letter from a group of leftist Jewish Oberlin students:

We agree with the definition of anti-Semitism laid out by Aurora Levins Morales, a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist; she writes that anti-Semitism, writing about European Jewry under Christianity, functions by creating a vulnerable buffer group that can be bribed with some privileges into managing the exploitation of others, and then, when social pressure builds, be blamed and scapegoated, distracting those at the bottom from the crimes of those at the top.

Because Jews have no corporate legitimacy unless they are gathering to demand rights for others, it is deemed reactionary to suggest that Jews should have intragroup solidarity. Indeed it has long been a defining attribute of many Jews on the far left to go out of their way to express their disinterest in Jewish causes. Consider Rosa Luxemburgs classic statement: What do you want with these special Jewish pains? I feel as close to the wretched victims of the rubber plantations in Putamayo and the blacks of Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play ball I have no special corner in my heart for the [Jewish] ghetto: I am at home in the entire world, where there are clouds and birds and human tears.

Moreover, it would be reactionary to recognize disproportionate Jews contributions to various fields of endeavor. Good left-wingers, after all, believe that all groups would be exactly equal in every way but for societal oppression Indeed, given that relevant ethos, Jewish success suggests that Jews have somehow gamed the system at the expense of disadvantaged minorities, something that is rather overtly suggested every time a self-proclaimed spokesperson for a minority group suggests that his group must exhibit more solidarity like the Jews so they can be successful like the Jews. (Anyone who thinks that intragroup solidarity is a defining aspect of American Jewish culture doesnt know much about American Jewish culture).

So for some fraction of the far left, the Jewish contribution to various liberation movements is not simply the Jews most important contribution to the world, and is not simply the only one worth mentioning if you have limited space, as with President Obamas proclamation. It is, rather, the only legitimate praise one can give to the Jews.

Meanwhile, Jewish support for Israel, or sometimes even for fellow Jews suffering elsewhere, is nothing but reactionary nationalism based on at best foolish sentimentality and at worst racist notions of Jewish superiority. Exactly why Jewish solidarity is racist, but not solidarity among other groups, is never clearly explained, but it seems to have something to do with the fact that Jews arent a legitimate ethnic group to begin with.

Once we understand that there are those who believe that the existence of Jews as a recognizable entity, is only justified (and only temporarily) to the extent Jews rely on their residual memories of collective oppression to aid left-wing liberation movements, one can begin to understand the far lefts problem with the Jews. Their ideology leaves no room for anything but revulsion with Zionism, dismissal of claims of anti-Semitism (in ways they would never dismiss accusations of other forms of racism), nor for considering the Holocaust to have any more significance than as an unfortunate example of white on white crime.

In short, to many on the far left, the only good Jew is a secular left-wing internationalist political activist with no particular interest in the well-being of his fellow Jews. (Consider again the Oberlin students: We urge all Jewish students concerned about anti-Semitism to fight with equal passion for Palestinian liberation, Black liberation, and an end to all forms of oppression, on and off campus. Others, but not Jews, are permitted to be especially concerned with the fate of their own group.) Given that only a small fraction of Jews fit that model, anti-Semitism is therefore a natural consequence.

Jews have a specific heritage worth celebrating. It would have been proper if the White House had recognized it, no matter what the far Left thinks.

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Obama and ‘Jewish Heritage Month’ – Commentary Magazine

Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

From Metapedia

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a powerful Jewish lobby organization primarily based in the United States but with offices in some other countries. It was founded in 1913 as a branch of B’nai B’rith. In 1930 they had only three fulltime employees. By 1938 the organization expanded to two-hundred and fifty workers.[1]

The organization describes itself as a civil rights organization that fights antisemitism and bigotry more generally.

Critics of Jewish influence and how it is used have often been highly critical of the ADL.

The ADL states that it was founded in 1913 in response to the perceived antisemitism against the Jew Leo Frank who was convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan that year. Controversy has continued regarding the case with continued attempts to turn Leo Frank into an innocent martyr.

In the 1950s the ADL campaigned to free the Jew Morton Sobell from charges of espionage. In 2008 Sobell admitted to spying for the Soviet Union.[2]

The ADL claims to be an international civil rights organization working for equal civil rights for all but the organization supports Israel and its often Jewish supremacist policies.

ADL undercover agents such as Abraham Feinberg have been stated to have been investigated by the FBI as agents of a foreign government and for stopping investigations regarding illegal arms-smuggling from the US to Israel. Feinberg became well known as financing Harry Truman and helping him to victory in the 1948 presidential elections. Truman recognized Israel minutes after the declaration of independence. Feinberg was also one of the financiers of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.[3][4]

One of the earliest activities was the establishment of what has been described as a private intelligence agency, and sending spies, infiltrators, disruptors, and agents provocateurs against perceived opponents (including other Jews). In the early 1940s they had over 50,000 files on American citizens and their political associations. Declassified FBI files state that in 1940, the ADL supplied contact information of nearly 1,600 ADL members to the FBI to serve as informants and undercover sources. A FBI letter advised that “the Anti-Defamation League does not wish it to become generally known that they do employ private investigators”. A 1947 Congressional hearing revealed that the ADL had begun providing information to the original House Committee on Un-American Activities.[2][3][5][6]

See also the article on the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

“An ADL operative using illicit press credentials was arrested at a Madison Square Garden disrupting an anti-war rally in 1941. “The ADL had then brought ‘tremendous pressure to bear on Commissioner Seery and the Mayor’s Committee on Press Cards to drop the Forster incident the preceding night.” The effort to quash prosecution included offering payoffs and planting hostile news reports, according to the FBI report.”[2]

“In 1993, Roy Bullock, was exposed as an ADL agent. He was San Francisco art dealer who was fairly well-known in the homosexual community and whose specialty was the infiltration of patriotic, Arab-American, and other organizations on behalf of the League. Bullock was found to have in his possession illegally obtained and highly private and personal data on his targets data which could only have been obtained from police and other confidential government files. These data were also discovered in the files of the ADL itself when police raided ADL headquarters in San Francisco and Los Angeles as result of Bullocks exposure…seizing evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people…operatives of the Anti-Defamation League searched through trash and infiltrated organizations to gather intelligence an Arab-American, right-wing, and what they called pinko organizations…the organization maintains undercover operatives to gather political intelligence in at least seven cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco”. Jewish organizations that had taken positions critical of Israeli policies were included in the Pinko section. There were also files on members of Congress. The ADL or persons working for the ADL also tapped into phone systems, worked closely and likely often illegally with several police officers, and from police sources obtained privileged and personal information on thousands of people. 75% of the information was estimated to had been obtained illegally. It has been alleged that the DA in charge dropped the charges due to needing Jewish support in coming elections. Sensitive information is stated to have been shared with Israel.[3][6][7]

Organizations that the ADL kept files on in 1993 span the political spectrum and included Ku Klux Klan,the White Aryan Resistance, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United Farm Workers, the Jewish Defense League, the American Civil Liberties Union, Earth Island Institute, the United Auto Workers, Jews for Jesus, Mother Jones magazine, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Bo Gritz for President Committee, the Asian Law Caucus, the AIDS activist group ACT UP, Centro Legal de la Raza, Irish Northern Aid, National Indian Treaty Council, and Japanese-and American Citizens League.[3][6][7]

While the ADL has publicly focused on US “neo-Nazi” groups without any power, it has been argued that this has been mainly in order to scare rich Jewish fund-raisers, while many of the ADL’s more clandestine activities has also targeted perceived enemies of Israel such as Palestinians, their solidarity groups, Arab-Americans, Arab students, and Arab delegations to the United Nations.[3]

In 1951 the FBI judged material regarding the Arab League and activities of Egypt and Saudi Arabia that the ADL brought to the FBI “to be absolutely unreliable”.[2]

The National Director of the ADL in 1961 stated that “[T]he Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important, confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda.Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each that we were the source” and “we have maintained an information-gathering operation since 1948 relating to activities emanating from the Arab Consular Offices, Arab United Nations Delegations, Arab Information Center, Arab Refugee Office and the Organization of Arab Students”.[3]

In 1969 the FBI proposed investigating the ADL as an Israeli foreign agent after three ADL undercover operatives infiltrated and strategized the takeover of the Organization of Arab Students.[2]

In 1983 the ADL published a 49 page “confidential” booklet for use by Jewish students listing the names of individuals such as Arab-American professors and organizations classified as pro-Arab propagandists. After it became public the ADL stated that the booklet was an unfortunate incident.[3]

Jeffrey Blankfort has argued that the above mentioned Bullock “succeeded in not only becoming a member of the local chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee but, because of his size and weight, he would be in charge of security at all its events” and that “One of the targets Bullock befriended was Palestinian-American Alex Odeh, the head of the Orange County chapter of the ADC who would be killed by a terrorist bomb when he opened the door to his Santa Ana office on October 11, 1985. In Bullocks files, police found a key to Odehs office as well as the floor plan.” Bullock has not officially been linked with the unresolved murder.[3]

The ADL kept files on 48 anti-apartheid organizations, possibly due to fear that they would make comparisons between apartheid and Israeli policies. ADL agents were also paid by South Africa to supply information regarding anti-apartheid organizations in the USA.[3]

“One individual the South African agents were particularly interested in was Chris Hani, the man who was expected to succeed Nelson Mandela as the countrys president. Hani was assassinated in South Africa shortly after a speaking tour in California during which he was trailed by Bullock who prepared a lengthy report on it for the South African government, a copy of which was found in his files.”[3]

The NAACP was one of the organizations that the ADL kept files on 1993.[3]

Jews have been stated to be a major source of funding also in the post civil rights era which prevented the NAACP from taking political positions that would offend the Jewish establishment, such as expressing sympathy with the Palestinian cause or criticizing Israels arms sales to South Africa. “This was typified by the attitude of long-time NAACP Director Roy Wilkins, widely characterized as an Uncle Tom by black activists, who withdrew the NAACP from the National Black Political Convention in 1972, taking exception to a resolution that condemned Israel for “expansionist policies and forceful occupation of the sovereign territories of another state.”"[3]

In 1992 ADL issued a 50-page ADL Research Report” entitled The Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues and Extremists. Heading the list were Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, Illinois Congressman Gus Savage, Rev. Al Sharpton, Kwame Ture (the former Stokely Carmichael), poet Amiri Baraka, and rappers Ice Cube and Professor Griff and Public Enemy. Certain black newspapers and radio stations were also criticized.[3]

When the NAACP installed Benjamin Chavis as new director and he reached out to Farrakhan, the ADL responded by causing the NAACPs major Jewish funders cut of funding until Chavis resigned.[3]

One debated passage in the Talmud states “A heathen who studies the Torah deserves death”. The Anti-Defamation League has criticized David Duke for allegedly using this quote out of context by omitting important surrounding parts. However, this has in turn been criticized with the full surrounding context stated to be supporting David Duke. The Anti-Defamation League has been criticized for using very selective citations and selectively omitting important parts in order to create a misleading impression.[8]

The ADL has attacked the Christian New Testament as responsible for persecutions of Jews and being historically false. The ADL were at the forefront of attacking the Mel Gibson film the Passion of the Christ.[9][10][11][12]

One example is in the small town of Oberammergau, Germany. Every ten years since 1635, the locals come together to put on a six-hour Passion Play about the final hours of Jesus Christ. They carry out the vow of their ancestors to produce the play, believing that he delivered them from the bubonic plague. The ADL have through a campaign of intimidated the locals into rewriting the play and have argued for more changes.[9]

The ADL also lobbies against Christianity being favored in public schools in the United States and against other forms of favoritism for Christianity by the state (but does not lobby against Judaism in Israel).

The ADL played an ongoing role in censoring books they disagreed with including the Shakespearian play the “Merchant of Venice”.[13]

The ADL for a long time opposed recognition of the Armenian Genocide that took place 1915-1917 since this could negatively affect the situation for Jews in Turkey and Israeli-Turkish relations. Turkey was one of Israel’s few regional allies. The ADL reversed their official position in 2007 after a public outcry but still refused to support a resolution in Congress formally acknowledging the Armenian genocide.[14]

Even some Jews have criticized the ADL for hypocrisy, for false charges of antisemitism for political purposes, and for attacking some Jews with not politically correct opinions. Even Jewish community leaders with dissenting views have been stated to fear speaking out lest the ADL accuse them of some crime against the Jewish people. The ADL has also been accused of trying to scare rich Jews with false threats (such as from American Christians) in order to receive large donations. The criticisms against Christians have been seen as instead being harmful to Jewish interests since Christian Zionists often support neoconservatism.[15][16]

In 2013, the ADL told YouTube (colloquially known as JewTube) to disable PressTV’s YouTube account which also occurred.[17]

In 2014, the ADL has been accused of contributing to false leaflets stating that Jews in the Ukraine must register with a non-existent government agency.[18][19]

In addition to earlier mentioned information sharing the ADL has ties with police across the country through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network) in which it trains police in dealing with extremist groups and hate crimes.[3]

Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion, 1956.

Jack Tenney, U.S. Senator for California.

John Rarick , U.S. Congressman for Louisiana.

Originally posted here:
Anti-Defamation League – Metapedia

Kemp Mill Synagogue

Toddler Playground Dedication

Join us Sunday, May 29, at 11 a.m. for the dedication of our new Toddler Playground., which was built with support from the Ilan Rasooly, z”l, Playground Fund.

Sunday, June 5, is the 49th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Celebrate this milestone at KMS. The program begins at with an Israeli breakfast (Shakshuka, Fatoush, Burekas, and more). Led by Rena and Chaim Fruchter, we will rejoice with songs and stories about Jerusalem. This program is recommended for ages 8 through adult. More details about the program can be found here. Reservations are required for breakfast and must be made by May 27. Space is limited so make your plans now.

The Cheryl Stern Community Kelim Mikvah is now officially open. There are still plenty of bricks on the path that may be dedicated. Please see the attached form or go to to dedicate a brick.Single bricks cost $180. Double bricks cost $500. Payment may be made by check or credit card (see form for details) or online using PayPal.

Please click here for a copy of the 2016 KMS Gala Journal.

View the current issue of Kol Mevaser.

Click here to donate to the Keren Hasefer Fund to repair and upkeep KMS’ Sifrei Torah.

Many interesting new events are coming in the spring, along with our continuing menu of great weekly classes. Please click here for a complete schedule.

Kemp Mill Sababa

Sababa is the Hebrew slang word for cool and wonderful! We want everyone who visits Israel to be inspired, amazed, and to have FUN. Kemp Mill Sababa is a great way to refer your friends to your favorite unique and off the beaten path places in Israel. If you have visited Israel recently (in the past two years), we want you to list your favorite places and experiences that dont usually make it into the tour books. Click here to make a recommendation. (It will take you less than 5 minutes!)

Read more here:
Kemp Mill Synagogue

Curaao’s Sand-Floored Synagogue | Atlas Obscura

Mikv Israel-Emanuel Synagogueoften referred to as the Snoa, another term for synagogueis the oldest surviving synagogue and Jewish congregation in the Americas. This is more than enough to make it a place of historical significance but it has another element that makes it unusual. The floor is entirely covered in sand.

Founded in Curaao in 1651, the congregations original name translates to The Hope of Israel. The Mikv Israel-Emanuel Synagogue itself began construction in 1729, was completed in 1732, and has been in continuous use ever since.

The synagogue is tucked into a quiet street in the Punda neighborhoodof Willemstad, the historic capital city of Curaao. Though it has an inconspicuous exterior, once you step inside, youll find rows of pews, towering chandeliers, and a shining mahogany bemah. As you walk around, your feet sink softly into the floor of sand.

Spanish and Portuguese Jewsfrom the Netherlands and Brazil were early settlers in the Caribbean islands, taking on influential roles in the local communities, and the Jewish community in Curaao was notable among those in the New World. (Nearby the Hendrickplein Jewish Temple built in 1865 is also well worth a visit.)

The reasons for the Jewish migration to the islands and the reason for the sand floor may beconnectedan attempt to avoid persecution. As Jews made their new home in the Caribbean, fears of persecution lingered. The sand floor is said to have been there tomuffle the sound of steps as a reminder of the secret Jewish servicesperformed in the recent past. While that is one interpretation,the true origin of the sand-floored synagogue is largely mysterious. Nonetheless, the tradition has carried on in other far flung Jewish communities. Sand floor synagoguescan be found in four other locations, in Jamaica, in Surinam, in Saint Thomas,and in thePortuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam.

The building is in very good condition, and guests can attend the regular services. You can also check out their Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, which contains information on the islands Jewish community and history as well as artifacts such as old scrolls and spice boxes.

The city of Willemstad, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, looks at first glance like an Amsterdam lookalike, though it has a population of only around 150,000. Curaao, an island in the Caribbean just off the coast of South America, only gained autonomy from the Netherlands on October 10, 2010,which was the first time since the arrival of the Spanish in 1499 that the islanders regained political control.

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Curaao’s Sand-Floored Synagogue | Atlas Obscura

Ashkenazi Jews, as well as the Yiddish language, came from …

In an effort to discover the origin of the Yiddish language, researchers say that they have found evidence that proves that Ashkenazi Jews are descended predominately from four villages in northeastern Turkey.

The study, titled Localizing Ashkenazic Jews to primeval villages in the ancient Iranian lands of Ashkenaz was conducted by researchers from three universities in the U.K., U.S., and Israel. It was published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution.

Using a Geographic Population Structure device, Dr Eran Elhaik, a geneticist from the University of Sheffield who led the study, was able to convert the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews into geographic coordinates.

The data showed that 90 percent of Ashkenazi Jews have links to the ancient villages of Iskenaz, Eskenaz, Ashanaz, and Ashkuz that sit near ancient Silk Road trade routes.

We traced nearly all AJs to major primeval trade routes in northeastern Turkey adjacent to primeval villages, whose names may be derived from Ashkenaz. We conclude that AJs probably originated during the first millennium when Iranian Jews Judaized Greco-Roman, Turk, Iranian, southern Caucasus, and Slavic populations inhabiting the lands of Ashkenaz in Turkey, the researchers wrote.

They say this is evidence that Yiddish is a Slavic language that was created by Irano-Turko-Slavic Jewish merchants, and is not of German origin as is commonly thought.

They suggest that it was devised as a cryptic trade language, and was used to gain its creators an advantage in trades along the Silk Roads.

Language, geography and genetics are all connected, Dr Eran Elhaik told

Today, half the worlds 10 million 11.2 million Ashkenazi Jews live in the United States, with another 2.8 million residing in Israel. They make up approximately 75 per cent of Jews, while Sephardi Jews comprising the remaining 25 per cent.

See the article here:
Ashkenazi Jews, as well as the Yiddish language, came from …

The Jews of New York – WLIW21 Pressroom

THE JEWS OF NEW YORK profiles Jewish individuals and institutions that changed the face of New York, woven together with expert commentary, to present a broad spectrum of the ways in which the Jewish community has impacted secular New York life from the earliest immigrants through today. These slices of Jewish life in New York reflect the larger community experience what one people did for a city, and what the city did for them from medicine to politics; from finance to Broadway; from real estate to retail, including a business that truly represents the quintessential flavor of New York delicatessen. Award-winning actor Tovah Feldshuh (Goldas Balcony) narrates.


CUTLINE: THE JEWS OF NEW YORK profiles iconic Jewish individuals and institutions that made an impact on New York City’s culture, including Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof and Russ & Daughters Appetizers. Pictured, Fiddler’s Zero Mostel ordering at the Lower East Side delicatessen landmark.

PHOTO: 5.9 MB (24.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 12 X 8 CREDIT: Courtesy of Mark Russ Federman

UTLINE: THE JEWS OF NEW YORK profiles iconic Jewish individuals and institutions that made an impact on New York City’s culture, including Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof and Russ & Daughters Appetizers. Pictured, Fiddler’s Zero Mostel ordering at the Lower East Side delicatessen landmark.

PHOTO: 5.9 MB (24.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 12 X 8 CREDIT: Courtesy of Mark Russ Federman

CUTLINE: Dr. Arthur Aufses, a second-generation surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital and chief of surgery there for 21 years, talks about his personal experience and the history of the institution founded in 1852 as “The Jews Hospital in New York.”

PHOTO: 1.4 MB (15 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 6 X 9 CREDIT: Courtesy of The Mount Sinai Archives

CUTLINE: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch put his “Jewishness” front and center throughout his political career. Pictured July 25, 1989 at a United Jewish Coalition endorsement.

PHOTO: 4.5 MB (33.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 14 X 9 CREDIT: Courtesy of NYC Municipal Archives.

CUTLINE: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch brought the gregarious spirit of the Jewish culture to his work in the city and beyond during his 12 years in office. Pictured April 7, 1989 at a Yankees game.

PHOTO: 1.7 MB (35.8 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 14 X 9 CREDIT: Courtesy of NYC Municipal Archives.

CUTLINE: Based on a Shalom Aleichem story, the overtly Jewish themes in Fiddler on the Roof were considered a risk even by the primarily Jewish theater community, but the show became the longest running show on Broadway and the most honored with Tony awards at the time. Pictured: The Imperial Theatre, the day after the show’s opening. September 23, 1964.

PHOTO: 100 KB (72 KB uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 1.25 X 1.75 Credit: Photofest

CUTLINE: Rabbi Haskel Besser, the leader of Hasidic B’nai Israel Ch’aim on the Upper West Side, helped shape New York’s spiritual community and is one of many Jews who shaped the city following the Talmud’s advice to invest in real estate. Pictured at his son’s bris.

PHOTO: 4.6 MB (28.8 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 8 X 12 CREDIT: Courtesy of Rabbi Haskel Besser

CUTLINE: Second-generation owner Anne Russ Federman and her late husband Herb Federman behind the counter at Russ & Daughters Appetizers on the Lower East Side.

PHOTO: 2.7 MB (25.9 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 12 X 8 CREDIT: Courtesy of Anne Russ Federman

CUTLINE: Joel Russ (second from left), a Polish emigre, started the now-famous Russ & Daughters Appetizers on New York’s Lower East Side selling herring from a pushcart in 1905. Pictured with the store’s namesake daughters (l to r) Hattie, Ida & Anne in the 1950s.

PHOTO: 1.4 MB (28.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 11 X 10 CREDIT: Courtesy of Mark Russ Federman

CUTLINE: Jacob Schiff (seated, bottom right with white mustache and beard) supported Jewish and non-Jewish institutions in New York, including the 92nd St Y and the New York Zoological Society, a legacy his family continues today.

PHOTO: 5.9 MB (32.9 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 13 X 9 CREDIT: New York Public Library

UTLINE: THE JEWS OF NEW YORK profiles iconic Jewish individuals and institutions that made an impact on New York City’s culture, including Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof and Russ & Daughters Appetizers. Pictured, Fiddler’s Zero Mostel ordering at the Lower East Side delicatessen landmark.

PHOTO: 5.9 MB (24.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 12 X 8 CREDIT: Courtesy of Mark Russ Federman

UTLINE: THE JEWS OF NEW YORK profiles iconic Jewish individuals and institutions that made an impact on New York City’s culture, including Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof and Russ & Daughters Appetizers. Pictured, Fiddler’s Zero Mostel ordering at the Lower East Side delicatessen landmark.

PHOTO: 5.9 MB (24.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 12 X 8 CREDIT: Courtesy of Mark Russ Federman

CUTLINE: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch put his “Jewishness” front and center throughout his political career. Pictured July 25, 1989 at a United Jewish Coalition endorsement.

PHOTO: 4.5 MB (33.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 14 X 9 CREDIT: Courtesy of NYC Municipal Archives.

CUTLINE: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch put his “Jewishness” front and center throughout his political career. Pictured July 25, 1989 at a United Jewish Coalition endorsement.

PHOTO: 4.5 MB (33.4 megs uncompressed) at 300 dpi JPEG at 14 X 9 CREDIT: Courtesy of NYC Municipal Archives.

CUTLINE: Joel Russ (second from left), a Polish emigre, started the now-famous Russ & Daughters Appetizers on New York’s Lower East Side selling herring from a pushcart in 1905. Pictured with the store’s namesake daughters (l to r) Hattie, Ida & Anne in the 1950s.

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The Jews of New York – WLIW21 Pressroom

Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

By James M. Dorsey (Lecture at MEI Conference: The Middle East Peace Process After the Arab Uprisings) When Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East edit…

James Dorsey

Senior fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

She, Samantha Montgomery, is a 39-year-old who works a 9-5 at a nursing home in a rough section of New Orleans. On her own time, she takes on the pers…

While the privileged gays in developed countries fight for surrogates and marriage, as a gay Palestinian living inside of Israel, we’re still fighting for the acknowledgement of our nationality, our sexuality and the legitimate right to be called Palestinians while still holding Israeli citizenship.

Khader Abu-Seif

is a writer from Jaffa, Israel and most recently was featured in the documentary Oriented about gay Palestinians living in Israel.

As we look at how to address the great challenges facing the Jewish people in America, it is clear that engaging Israeli-Americans and the next generation of Jewish-Americans in new ways must be part of the solution.

Adam Milstein

Active Philanthropist and National Chairman of the Israeli-American Council

By Mohammed Alhammami, Gaza project manager, We Are Not Numbers When I was a kid, my father used to tell me stories of past Jewish-Palestinian coexis…

The mainstream media and politicians have emphasized Iran’s hard power, military capacity and its army’s role in the Middle East, which is part of Teh…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been engaged in public negotiations designed to bring Isaac Herzog into his coalition government. And then, out of the blue, Netanyahu did a complete reversal, dropping Herzog and instead bringing the far right Avigdor Lieberman into his government.

James Zogby

President, Arab American Institute; author, ‘Arab Voices’

If you count yourself among the folks who might be willing occasionally to engage Congress to try to help protect Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military occupation if there were a plausible story that your action could have a positive impact, I have some good news.

As Palestinians commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nakba — literally “catastrophe” in Arabic, when the indigenous people of Palestine were driven out of Palestine into exile — there is a new Nakba taking place: the political division between Hamas and Fatah.

Abdalhadi Alijla

Director of Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada; Consultant on Countering Extremism for Adyan Institute in Beirut

If foreign policy had a soundtrack, it would be the opposite of easy listening.

John Feffer

Director, Foreign Policy In Focus and Editor, LobeLog

Nearly 75 years ago, the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, in which 4.5 million Axis soldiers surprised the Soviets with blitzkrieg attacks across the 2,900-kilometer border.

Despite concerns over political tensions, Israeli tourism remains steady – and I can see why. Once you arrive and sit yourself down at the beach for a beer, any anxiety you might bring with you will melt away. I feel safer walking the city streets in Tel Aviv than when I was living in New York City last summer.

Iranian leaders have breached both the resolutions and the nuclear agreement for the third time since the nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016. Iran has repeatedly test-fired, long-range ballistic missiles and laser-guided surface-to-surface missiles.

My junior colleague’s email, titled “time-sensitive” and sent from her gmail account, was oblique – something important, she intimated, and best not p…

Jennifer S. Hirsch

NYC-based Professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Jewish activist and former OpEd Project Public Voices Fellow.

This IS propaganda campaign shows that any counterterrorism support for Egypt cannot be given in isolation from domestic affairs, local grievances, and continuous political issues–terror groups know very well how to play on these to attract recruits.

Nancy Okail

Dr. Okail is a scholar and democracy advocate. She is the Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. In 2013, she was sentenced to prison in absentia in the widely publicized case known as the #NGOtrial in Egypt.

Admittedly, it is unfair to lay at Mr. Rhodes’ doorstep all that Mr. Obama has wrought upon himself. The buck ultimately stops at the Oval Office.

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Israel: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News – Huffington Post

Israelis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As of 2013, Israel’s population is 8million, of which the Israeli civil government records 75.3% as Jews, 20.7% as non-Jewish Arabs, and 4.0% other.[19] Israel’s official census includes Israeli settlers in the occupied territories[20] (referred to as “disputed” by Israel). 280,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements in the Judea and Samaria Area,[20] 190,000 in East Jerusalem,[20] and 20,000 in the Golan Heights.[21]

Among Jews, 70.3% were born in Israel (sabras), mostly from the second or third generation of their family in the country, and the rest are Jewish immigrants. Of the Jewish immigrants, 20.5% were from Europe and the Americas, and 9.2% were from Asia, Africa, and Middle Eastern countries.[19] Nearly half of all Israeli Jews are descended from immigrants from the European Jewish diaspora. Approximately the same number are descended from immigrants from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia. Over 200,000 are of Ethiopian and Indian-Jewish descent.[22]

The official Israel Central Bureau of Statistics estimate of the Israeli Jewish population does not include those Israeli citizens, mostly descended from immigrants from the Soviet Union, who are registered as “others”, or their immediate family members. Defined as non-Jews and non-Arabs, they make up about 3.5% of Israelis (350,000),[23] and were eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.[24][25]

Israel’s two official languages are Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew is the primary language of government and is spoken by the majority of the population. Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority and by some members of the Mizrahi Jewish community. English is studied in school and is spoken by the majority of the population as a second language. Other languages spoken in Israel include Russian, Yiddish, Spanish, Ladino, Amharic, Armenian, Romanian, and French.[26]

In recent decades, between 650,000 and 1,300,000 Israelis have emigrated,[27] a phenomenon known in Hebrew as yerida (“descent”, in contrast to aliyah, which means “ascent”). Emigrants have various reasons for leaving, but there is generally a combination of economic and political concerns. Los Angeles is home to the largest community of Israelis outside Israel.[citation needed]

The main Israeli ethnic and religious groups are as follows:

The CBS traces the paternal country of origin of Israeli Jews (including nonHalachically Jewish immigrants who arrived on the Law of Return) as of 2010 is as follows.[28]

A fraction of Palestinians remained within Israel’s borders following the 1948 Palestinian exodus and are the largest group of Arabic-speaking and culturally Arab citizens of Israel. The vast majority of the Arab citizens of Israel are Sunni Muslim, while 9% of them are Christian.[29]

As of 2013, the Arab population of Israel amounts to 1,658,000, about 20.7% of the population.[19] This figure include 209,000 Arabs (14% of the Israeli Arab population) in East Jerusalem, also counted in the Palestinian statistics, although 98 percent of East Jerusalem Palestinians have either Israeli residency or Israeli citizenship.[30]

The Arab citizens of Israel also include the Bedouin. Israeli Bedouin include those who live in the north of the country, for the most part in villages and towns, and the Bedouin in the Negev, who are semi-nomadic or live in towns or unrecognized Bedouin villages. In 1999, 110,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev, 50,000 in the Galilee and 10,000 in the central region of Israel.[31] As of 2013, the Negev Bedouin number 200,000-210,000.[32][33][34]

There is also a significant population of Israeli Druze, estimated at about 117,500 at the end of 2006.[35] All Druze in British Mandate Palestine became Israeli citizens upon the foundation of the State of Israel.[citation needed]

There are about 7,000 Maronite Christian Israelis, living mostly in the Galilee but also in Haifa, Nazareth, and Jerusalem. They are mostly pro-Israeli Lebanese former militia members and their families who fled Lebanon after the 2000 withdrawal of IDF from South Lebanon. Some, however, are from local Galilean communities such as Jish.[citation needed]

There are about 1,000 Coptic Israeli citizens.[citation needed]

In September 2014, Israel recognized the “Aramean” ethnic identity of hundreds of the Christian citizens of Israel. This recognition comes after about seven years of activity by the Aramean Christian Foundation in Israel Aram, led by IDF Major Shadi Khalloul Risho and the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, headed by Father Gabriel Naddaf of the Greek-Orthodox Church and Major Ihab Shlayan. The Aramean ethnic identity will now encompass all the Christian Eastern Syriac churches in Israel, including the Maronite Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Greek Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic Church and Syriac Orthodox Church.[36][37][38]

There are about 4,000 Armenian citizens of Israel. They live mostly in Jerusalem, including the Armenian Quarter), but also in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jaffa. Their religious activities center around the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem as well as churches in Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa. Although Armenians of Old Jerusalem have Israeli identity cards, they are officially holders of Jordanian passports.[39]

There are around 1,000 Assyrians living in Israel, mostly in Jerusalem and Nazareth. Assyrians are an Aramaic speaking, Eastern Rite Christian minority who are descended from the ancient Mesopotamians. The old Syriac Orthodox monastery of Saint Mark lies in Jerusalem. Other than followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church, there are also followers of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church living in Israel.[citation needed]

In Israel, there are also a few thousand Circassians, living mostly in Kfar Kama (2,000) and Reyhaniye (1,000).[citation needed] These two villages were a part of a greater group of Circassian villages around the Golan Heights. The Circassians in Israel enjoy, like Druzes, a status aparte. Male Circassians (at their leader’s request) are mandated for military service, while females are not.[citation needed]

The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Ancestrally, they claim descent from a group of Israelite inhabitants who have connections to ancient Samaria from the beginning of the Babylonian captivity up to the beginning of the Common Era.[citation needed] Population estimates made in 2007 show that of the 712 Samaritans, half live in Holon in Israel and half at Mount Gerizim in the West Bank. The Holon community holds Israeli citizenship, while the Gerizim community resides at an Israeli-controlled enclave (Kiryat Luza), holding dual Israeli-Palestinian citizenship.[citation needed]

The African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem is a small religious community whose members believe they are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Most of the over 5,000 members live in Dimona, Israel although there are additional, smaller, groups in Arad, Mitzpe Ramon, and the Tiberias area. At least some of them consider themselves to be Jewish, but Israeli authorities do not accept them as such, nor are their religious practices consistent with “mainstream Jewish tradition.”[40] The group, which consists of African Americans and their descendants, originated in Chicago in the early 1960s, moved to Liberia for a few years, and then emigrated to Israel.[citation needed]

Non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union many of whom are ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans and Belarusians, who were eligible to immigrate due to having, or being married to somebody who has, at least one Jewish grandparent. A very small number of these immigrants also belong to various non-Slavic ethnic groups from the Former Soviet Union such as Tatars. In addition, a certain number of former Soviet citizens, primarily women of Russian and Ukrainian ethnicity, immigrated to Israel after marrying Arab citizens of Israel who went to study in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s. The total number of those primarily of Slavic ancestry among Israeli citizens is around 300,000.[citation needed]

Although most Finns in Israel are either Finnish Jews or their descendents, a small number of Finnish Christians moved to Israel in the 1940s before the independence of the state and have since gained citizenship. For the most part the original Finnish settlers intermarried with other Israeli communities, and therefore remain very small in number. A moshav near Jerusalem named “Yad HaShmona”, meaning the Memorial for the eight, was established in 1971 by a group of Finnish Christian Israelis, though today most members are Israeli, and predominantly Hebrew-speaking.[41][42]

The number of Vietnamese people in Israel is estimated at 200400.[citation needed] Most of them came to Israel between 1976 and 1979, after the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin granted them political asylum.[citation needed] The Vietnamese people living in Israel are Israeli citizens who also serve in the Israel Defense Forces.[citation needed] Today, the majority of the community lives in the Gush Dan area in the center of Israel but also a few dozen Vietnamese-Israelis or Israelis of Vietnamese origin live in Haifa, Jerusalem and Ofakim.[citation needed]

Israel’s residents include some naturalized foreign workers and their children born in Israel, predominantly from the Philippines, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Romania, China, Cyprus, Turkey, Thailand and Latin America.[citation needed]

The number and status of African refugees in Israel is disputed and controversial, but it is estimated that at least 16,000 refugees, mainly from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast, reside and work in Israel. A check in late 2011, published in Ynet reported that the number just in Tel Aviv is 40,000, which represents 10 percent of the city’s population. The vast majority lives in the southern parts of the city. There is also a significant African population in the southern Israeli cities of Eilat, Arad and Beer Sheva.[citation needed]

There are around 300,000 foreign workers, residing in Israel under temporary work visas. Most of these foreign workers engage in agriculture and constructionthey are mostly from China, Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, Romania and Latin America.[citation needed]

Approximately 100200 refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo, Kurdistan and North Korea live in Israel as refugees, most of them with Israeli resident status.[43]

Through the years, the majority of Israelis who emigrated from Israel went to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

It is currently estimated that there are 330,000 native-born Israelis, including 230,000 Jews, living abroad, or even more.[44] The number of immigrants to Israel who later returned to their home countries or moved elsewhere is more difficult to calculate.

For many years definitive data on Israeli emigration was unavailable.[45] In The Israeli Diaspora sociologist Stephen J. Gold maintains that calculation of Jewish emigration has been a contentious issue, explaining, “Since Zionism, the philosophy that underlies the existence of the Jewish state, calls for return home of the world’s Jews, the opposite movement – Israelis leaving the Jewish state to reside elsewhere – clearly presents an ideological and demographic problem.”[46]

Among the most common reasons for emigration of Israelis from Israel are most often due to Israel’s ongoing security Issues, economic constraints, economic characteristics, disappointment in the Israeli government, as well as the excessive role of religion in the lives of Israelis.[citation needed]

Many Israelis emigrated to the United States throughout the period of the declaration of the state of Israel and until today. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli-Americans.[citation needed] According to the 2000 United States Census, 106,839 Americans also hold Israeli citizenship, but the number of Americans of Israeli descent is around half a million.[4][5][6]

Many Israelis emigrated to Canada throughout the period of the declaration of the state of Israel and until today. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli-Canadians.[citation needed] According to the Canada 2006 Census as many as 21,320 Israelis lived in Canada in 2006.[8]

Many Israelis emigrated to the United Kingdom throughout and since the period of the declaration of the state of Israel. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Israeli-British.[citation needed] According to the United Kingdom 2001 Census, as many as 11,892 Israelis lived in the United Kingdom in 2001. The majority live in London.[citation needed]

In 2013 a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of Israel’s headed by Court President Asher Grunis rejected an appeal requesting that state-issued identification cards state the nationality of citizens as “Israeli” rather than their religion of origin. In his opinion, Grunis stated that it was not within the courts purview to determine new categories of ethnicity or nationhood. The court’s decision responded to a petition by Uzzi Ornan, who refused to be identified as Jewish in 1948 at the foundation of the state of Israel, claiming instead that he was “Hebrew.” This was permitted by Israeli authorities at the time. However, by 2000, Ornan wanted to register his nationality as “Israeli”. The Interior Ministry refused to allow this, prompting Ornan to file a suit. In 2007, Ornan’s suit was joined by former minister Shulamit Aloni and other activists.[47] In the ruling, Justice Hanan Melcer noted Israel currently considers “citizenship and nationality [to be] separate.”[48]

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Israelis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

I would like to start by stating that I am not a professional genealogist. As I worked at developing the family tree on my Sephardic side I gradually discovered that there were fertile areas of research that were different from the sources I used for my Ashkenazi half. Furthermore, these sources were far less known than the sources for Ashkenazi genealogy. The purpose of this article is to help others also attempting to research their Sephardic ancestry and maybe reduce their frustration levels in discovering these sources. By no means is this an exhaustive list of sources. It is just a sampling to get you started and encourage others to share their knowledge as we all grow and learn together. For a much more complete treatment of Sephardic Genealogy, with country by country resources, see my book on the subject.

Differences in Sephardic and Ashkenazi genealogy

Areas of the world Among the most obvious differences in researching Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry is that they lived in different areas of the world. Ashkenazim lived primarily in Europe and eastern Europe whereas Sephardim lived in countries around the Mediterranean, the Ottoman empire, which welcomed them after their expulsion from Spain, and in the Americas particularly south America. A lot of Jewish genealogists have focussed on researching eastern European government records and US naturalization related records. Though sometimes helpful, these sources are of relatively less value to Sephardic researchers who would be more interested in early Iberian notarial records, Inquisition records in Spain, in the Americas and the Caribbean.

Old family names Whereas most Ashkenazi surnames are of relatively recent origin, many, though not all, Sephardic surnames go back many centuries and sometimes a millennium or more. Whereas it is dictum in Ashkenazi research that a family name is of less importance than the name of the ancestral shtetl, this is not true when dealing with Sephardic names. Sephardic family names do suggest kinship, though the common ancestral link may have lived 5 or 600 years earlier. As such, the implication is that as we go further back in the centuries it becomes more likely that the person found bearing that surname is a common though distant ancestor but this does not hold true for contemporaries or in the recent past. Although one needs to strictly follow the genealogist’s rule of going from known to unknown when building a personal family tree, there is some validity in researching an ancient Sephardic family name and this coupled to the fact that many Sephardim can list several generations in their family, sometimes back to 1492 the date of the expulsion from Spain, makes such research of added interest.

Researchers of Sephardic genealogy also need to be aware of the differences in child naming patterns among Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The most singular difference being the Sephardic tradition of naming children after their grandparents, especially if alive to honor the grandparent whereas Ashkenazim avoid naming children after living relatives. For more information on naming patterns go to my page on this topic.

SourcesTraditional Sources

So how does one go about researching Sephardic ancestry. Some of the traditional sources used by Ashkenazi genealogists still apply here. Among these are:

Interviewing the eldest members of your family is definitely where to start. Not only can names of previous and related generations be obtained in this manner but also information on countries they resided in and hints about other sources for documentation. As usual and especially here, one must be careful of family legends and try to document and verify the information received.

Marriage registers, cemetery records, old letters, diaries and photographs are other classic sources for Jewish genealogic information that are just as useful for Sephardic genealogists as they are for Ashkenazim. Since these are detailed in great depth elsewhere (such as on Jewishgen), I will not discuss them here.

US naturalization records, turn of the century passenger lists and similar are just as useful for Sephardim. During the large Jewish immigration to the U.S. from eastern Europe around the turn of the century, many Sephardim came to the US at that time and that is the period when such records are of the most value. Sephardim also came many centuries earlier or in the mid 20th century as part of the exodus from Arab countries resulting from the Arab Israeli wars.

Holocaust records such as the Arolsen records at the International Red Cross or Yad Vashem and the Pages of Testimony at Yad Vashem can be useful for Sephardim too because a significant number of Sephardim from places like Salonika and elsewhere were also victims of the Nazis. The recent decision by Yad Vashem to finally create a listing of the names they have of Holocaust victims and making it available in an electronically accessible database possible is therefore excellent news to genealogists. It is a great shame that Arolsen records at the International Red Cross are not yet available to searching families unless these families can provide the exact first and last names (reminiscent of the recent Swiss banks stance to release records to relatives). Let’s hope this will change sometime soon. Again these sources are well discussed in forums such as Jewishgen and I will not get into it further here. However I would like to mention Serge Karlsfeld’s “Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, 1942-1944″. Paris, 1978.

Sephardic Sources Sephardic researchers have many other sources to draw upon and I will discuss some of these in more detail here.

Notarial records in Spain These are extremely voluminous and useful. I have discussed them extensively in another section to which the reader is referred.

Inquisition Archives in Spain I have discussed in another section to which the reader is referred. Inquisition Archives in South America I have also described these elsewhere and would refer the interested reader there.

Ketubbot (Jewish marriage contracts) are obviously of great value in Jewish genealogy. Sephardic Ketubbot frequently, though not always, may document several generations on both sides. Such finds are obviously of wonderful value to the genealogist. An interesting example of the value of Sephardic ketubot can be found in my description of the Sephardic “Grana” community from Leghorn (Livorno) that settled in Tunis in the 16th century.

Alliance Israelite archives In the 19th and early 20th century the Alliance Israelite made a massive effort in setting up schools and aiding Jews in North Africa, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Palestine and wherever the need was noted. It’s archives in Paris (49 rue Labruyere, 75009 Paris) therefore hold tremendous and, until recently, relatively little tapped genealogic data and is a fertile field for researchers.

Synagogue records are obviously of great value to the genealogist. Those of Jews in Sephardic countries are no exception and in countries like Egypt can go back many centuries. Unfortunately access to these records is often hampered by political and other considerations.

Cemetery tombstones can also yield information of great value and a systematic listing of this information would be of great value. Such an effort is in process through Jewishgen and Sephardim who have access to cemeteries in Sephardic countries need to provide what information they can provide before time and politics ravages this source further.

Passengers to the Indies. The passenger lists of Spaniards who left for the Americas from 1500 to 1800 is preserved in an archive in Seville, the Archivo General de Indias. Besides listing all passengers who sailed in every ship to America up to 1800 but they provide such data as the passenger name and place of birth, name of parents and their brithplaces, the job and destination of the passenger after arrival in the Americas.

This information is electronically searchable databases which can be easily searched by the archivists. Requests for information should include the passenger name and the approximate date of the trip to America and should be addressed to: Archivo General de Indias, Avda. Constitucion s/n, SEVILLA – SPAIN Phone: +34-95-4500530. Fax: +34-95-4219485.

A partial List of passengers has been published in about 12 volumes, but not in searchable electronic format so far.

Books and Journals It is essential to know the history of the period one is researching. Not only does the knowledge of the history allow an understanding of the why of the events that occurred to the families researched but it also points one in directions one would not otherwise have considered. This is true both in Ashkenazi and Sephardic research. The difference is Sephardic history is often more ancient and thus less likely to be known without study.. The reader is therefore advised to acquire a good working history of the period and may wish to peruse the section on Sephardic books and my brief history of Sephardim before the expulsion.

Selections of Notarial records Although only a tiny portion of Notarial and Inquisition records can be accessed through books, there are some books that contain excerpts of these documents. I have listed some of them in my section on books. Among these that can be of considerable value to the armchair genealogist are books such as:

Assis: Jews in the Crown of Aragon (Part II 1328-1493); Regesta of the Cartas Reales in Archivo de la Corona de Aragon. Ginzei am olam:Central Arch Hist of Jewish People, Jerusalem

Beinart: Conversos on Trial. The Inquisition in Ciudad Real. Magnes Press, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1981

Raphael: Expulsion 1492 Chronicles. Carmi House Press

Tello: Judios de Toledo – 2 Vols. Instituto B Arias Montano. Consejo Sup de inverstigacions Cientificas.

The reader is encouraged to review my section on books.

Sephardic names studies I have already pointed out the value of researching ancient Sephardic family names. It is important to differentiate between contemporary or recent past individuals who share your researched ancient family name as compared to an individual who carried that same family name 700 years ago. Assuming we are dealing with an ancient Jewish name rather than an area name, the recent individuals are usually not related closely enough to matter, whereas the individual 1,000 years ago has a mathematically high chance of being a legitimate ancestor.

Some of the most useful books in Sephardic genealogy are some of the books on onomastics (the study of names). Prominent among these is Abraham Laredo’s book “Les Noms des Juifs du Maroc”. This terrific work lists names of Jews from Morocco with explanation of the origins and variants of the name and provides information extensive lists about rabbis, authors and other notables who had carried the name and complete source references.. Similar but less extensive are such books as Toledano’s “La Saga des Familles”, Moissis’s “Les noms des Juifs de Grece”, Abecassis’s “Genealogia hebraica: Portugal e Gibraltar, secs XVII a XX”,, Eisenbeth’s “Les Juifs de l’Afrique du nord”, etc. Extensive name lists giving sources can also be found in this website and on the internet.

ETSI Just like Avotaynu is the premier Jewish genealogy journal, ETSI is a new journal dedicated to Sephardic genealogy and history. Published in Paris by a group of Sephardic genealogists that include Abensur, past president of the French Jewish genealogy Society, and his wife Laurence Abensur-Hazan, organization chair of the 1997 Paris seminar on Jewish genealogy, and several others, it is the only journal dedicated specifically to Sephardic genealogy and a must for Sephardic genealogists and Jewish genealogy libraries.

Information about subscription can be obtained at the ETSI site.

Internet The internet is a great resource for information about Jewish and Sephardic genealogy but it is important to verify information obtained in this manner by checking out the sources of the information. That said, among these resources are:

Jewishgen at is a tremendous resource for the Jewish genealogist and a great resource to learn proper techniques for genealogy.

Websites There was a time when it was difficult to find anything of use to a Sephardic researcher. This has fortunately changed and there are now numerous sites of interest to Sephardim if one knows where to look. I have made a listing of such sites on my Websites by Country pages (see index at bottom of this page).

Family Finder (JGFF) Jewishgen has an extremely useful database listing researchers and the families they are researching. Listing the family names and towns you are researching allows other genealogists researching these families to discover you and share resources. It is therefore highly recommended that you register there which can be done very easily at their site.

Namelists Namelists giving you sources where these family names are mentioned can also be very useful while remembering the importance to work methodically in developing your family tree. Such lists exist at:

Newslists Newslists are internet discussion groups where questions can be asked and answered in a spirit of helping each other. A list of Sephardic newslists can be found in my newslist page.

Name lookups. There are several sites on the internet (like that allow you to find peoples’ names and email or snail mail addresses. This is a good way to find the addresses and phone numbers of people having your family name. Usually these people are unrelated, but occasionally one can be lucky and discover an unknown distant cousin. I have not found it useful but some have.

Israel Sephardic Jews had lived in Palestine long before the European Zionist movement. They have therefore left traces of their lives in the cemeteries, chevrot kadisha (burial society) records, books written, etc and this too can be a fruitful source of research. For settlers in the more recent past Batya Untershatz is an invaluable resource. She can be reached at Batya Unterschatz, Director, Jewish Agency Bureau of Missing Relative, P.O.Box 92, Jerusalem 91000 and can be of tremendous help because she has access to the government immigration records back to the early 20th century. Resources in Israel can be found in my Israel page.

Specific country resources. Obviously it would be of great value to research the local resources of the countries where your ancestors had lived. I have discussed the resources in Spain, but there are resources in many other countries where Sephardim have lived such as countries in North Africa and the Ottoman empire. I discuss this information in my recent book on Sephardic Genealogy.

Shalom and good hunting.

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Sephardic Jewish Names and Genealogies, How to start

Jews Are NOT The Chosen People | Real Jew News

Christians Are God’s Chosen People NOT Jews!, Jews & Their Guilt Of Deicide, State Of Israel: Not Biblical Prophecy!, Jews Are NOT The “Chosen People”, Why The Jews Hate Jesus Christ

Jews Are NOT The Chosen People

HOW CAN THE JEWS who oppose their own Messiah, Jesus Christ, be the Chosen People?

Did not St Paul, the Hebrew of Hebrews, say that the Jews are the enemies of the Cross? (Philippians 3 )

When St Paul said, The Jews killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets; they please not God but are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath of God is come unto them to the uttermost, did he not make it crystal clear that the Jews are not the Chosen People?

And did not Jesus Christ Himself reveal that the Jews are of the Synagogue of Satan? (Revelations 2). Jesus Christ also revealed that the Jews are not true Jews when He said to the Christians of Asia Minor, I will make them who say they are Jews but are not, but do lie, to come and worship before thy feet. (Revelations 3).

How then can the so-called Jews who are now the enemies of the Cross and of the Synagogue of Satan, and who must worship at the feet of Christians, be the Chosen People?

Jesus Christ the Messiah of Israel denounced the Jews for rejecting Him when He said, Behold your house is left unto you desolate. And you shall not see Me until you say, Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord. (St Matthew 23) How then can the Jews whose house is now desolate be the Chosen People?

How then can the Jews whose house is now desolate be the Chosen People? When the Jews cast in their teeth that they were the seed of Abraham, Jesus replied, You are of your father of the devil who was a murderer from the beginning. (St John 8).

Indeed the Jews committed the crime of all crimes, namely, Deicide, when they brought Jesus Christ to Pontius Pilate demanding that Jesus Christ be crucified even when Pilate judged Christ innocent and desired to set Him free. (St Matthew 27).

How then can the Jews, whose father is the devil, and they being murderers like the devil himself by crucifying the Lord of Glory, be the Chosen People?

DID NOT JESUS CHRIST say, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees! For you compass sea and land to make one proselyte. And when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves? (St Matthew 23).

Even secular Jews defer to the rabbis as their leaders when it comes to interpreting Jewish dogma. How then can the Jews who are children of hell be the Chosen People?

How could the Jews to whom Jesus Christ said, Because you do not believe, you are not of my sheep be the Chosen People? (St John 10). For to this day the majority of the Jews do not believe in Jesus Christ. What then is their chosen-ness if they are not of the Messiahs sheep?

St John the apostle said, Many deceivers are gone out into the world who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and Anti Christ. (II John 1).

How then can the Jews who to this day deny that Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God became man for our salvation be the Chosen People? Will we be deceived by the Jews that they are the Chosen People? What then is the Jews chosen-ness?

In the book of Revelations it is written: But the fearful and the unbelieving and the liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire. This is the second death.

1. The Jews are fearful of death.

2. They do not believe in the God of the Bible but in the god of the Talmud.

3. The Jews are liars. For they say that they are Gods chosen people when God says that they are an accursed people because of their sins. (Isaiah 66:20).

Thus the only chosen-ness of the Jews is their being chosen to experience the second death, that is, the lake of fire.

MOSES WHOM THE JEWS boast as being their hero pronounced a blessing and a curse on the Jews. God, said Moses, would bless the Jews if they showed their love for Him by accepting the Prophet Whose teachings would be required of the Jews. (Deuteronomy 13).

But the Jews crucified the Prophet rather than receiving His teachings on repentance and confession of his Divine right to demand obedience. Thus the curses that Moses pronounced upon the Jews have been the Jews experience over the last 2000 years. (Deuteronomy 28).

Hated, persecuted, censured, (rightly so), wandering from nation to nation when expelled from their host nations, and wreaking havoc wherever they go in their hatred of Christianity, the Jews have indeed experienced the curses predicted of them by Moses and the desolation that Jesus Christ predicted of the Jews for rejecting Him.

JEWS ARE NOT THE Chosen People. Christians are the Chosen People. God said to Abraham, I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee. And in thy seed all of the nations shall be blessed. (Genesis 12:26).

What blessings have the Jews brought to the world since 33 A.D.? Just read todays headlines and one can clearly see that curses have been brought upon society by the Jews.

The War in Iraq serves only the interests of the Jews and their promotion of the Christ-hating State of Israel. The tragedy of the World Trade Center was a result of the Zionist agenda.

The secularization of Western society is caused by the Jews, which has debased the morals of once Christian nations, now rife with the abominations of anal sex of homosexuals and the perverse sexual conduct of lesbians. Jews are on the forefront of promoting these perverse alternate life-styles.

Are all of these things blessings from the so-called, seed of Abraham, the Jews? No. These are all curses brought upon us by the seed of the devil, the Jews.

Christians ARE Gods Chosen People Not Jews. Christians are the seed of Abraham. This is what St Paul the Hebrew of Hebrews said over and over again. Here is one instance of St Pauls many assertions that Christians NOT JEWS are the seed of Abraham: If ye be Christs then are ye Abrahams seed. (Galatians 3:29).

WHEN JESUS CHRIST said to his disciples, I have chosen you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, Christians were sealed as Gods Chosen Peoplefor all time. Jews can share in the Christians chosen-ness.

Jews can share in the Christians chosen-ness. Jews do not have to continue in a state of accursedness and desolation. Jesus Christ offers the Jews the chance to embrace Him and have His blessed name called upon them. Yes Jews if they will repent can be called Christians too!

Yes Jews, like myself, a former-Jew, and thousands of others like me, can say, Blessed is He Who Comes in the name of the Lord! Then the Jews can look forward to heaven and not the lake of fire.

Brother NathanaelStreet Evangelist!

Brother Nathanael @ November 9, 2007

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Jews Are NOT The Chosen People | Real Jew News

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