Project Genesis

Family and Relationships

Sephardim, Ashkenazim, and Racism

Question: I come from a Sephardi family in Mexico and what I have seen in America is that Ashkenazim consider Sephardi people as 2nd class? Why is their so much racism between Sephardim and Ashkenazim if we all are descended from Abraham?

Answer: Thank you for your thoughtful question. There is no excuse for racism amongst Jews of any kind, at anytime or in any place. It is well known that the Rabbis attribute the destruction of the Holy Temple to be a result of baseless hatred. How can we imagine G-d’s pain when He sees some of His children hating others for no reason? It is therefore easy to understand how inconsistent the racism which you describe is with Torah values.

I live in an out-of-town setting where no such divide is felt. In our Orthodox synagogue there are Sephardic services which I personally attend form time to time. I have never heard a Rabbinic personality defending or promoting such racist behavior. I am sorry that this phenomena exits but do not see how it can be reflective of any Torah value.

As we pray from the coming of Mashiach (the Messiah) we have in mind that the Jewish people should be worthy of a Temple. This would include the abolishment of all hatred or animosity that exists within the Jewish people.

Best Wishes,
Rabbi Yerachmiel Garfield

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