Are there fewer Sephardi shuls on the East Coast?

Home Coffeeroom Local & Neighborhood Issues Are there fewer Sephardi shuls on the East Coast?

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  • #1677059

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Are sephardi shuls harder to find on the East Coast, compared to Ashkenazi ones?

    Is this a thing: Fewer Sephardi shuls in the US, or at least along the East Coast?

    It seems that way, at least when I look at the community/shul options in my area and in previous places along the East Coast (albeit only really in two states, and not NY). Or maybe Sephardi shuls are found more by word of mouth versus online? Or another secret?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    #1677075

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    Yes, it’s not just an East Coast thing. A pretty simple search will show you that the overwhelming majority of Jews in America are Ashkenazi today.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that Sphardim seem to prefer bigger shuls, therefore there doesn’t need to be as many. Ashkenazim split into a bunch of little stiebels/basement shuls so that even in a town with a 50/50 split of Ashkenazim and Sphardim, the number of Ashkenazi minyanim might be higher. I’m totally generalizing, but I think it’s a pretty uncontroversial observation.

    #1677084

    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Are there FEWER, not less.

    #1677142

    Joseph
    Participant

    I think it’s about 90% of American Jews that are Ashkenazi.

    Of course among the frum community the percentage is somewhat lower since the Sephardim don’t have a Reform/Conservative problem/element. (A phenomenon that’s almost exclusively Ashkenazi, and unfortunately represents a majority of American Jewry.)

    #1677161

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “A phenomenon that’s almost exclusively Ashkenazi”
    No it’s not. Just because Sphardi shuls tend to be Orthodox doesn’t mean all of the people who go there are. Plenty of them are still effectively Conservative/Reform even if they don’t belong to a Conservative/Reform institution.

    #1677166

    Joseph
    Participant

    Someone affiliated with an Orthodox shul, even if he isn’t Orthodox in personal practice in his life, is much better off than someone affiliated with a Reform or Conservative “synagogue”.

    The Reform and Conservatives are kofrim. Better to be irreligious affiliated with a real shul or even no synagogue than to be affiliated with heretics.

    So the difference between the two scenarios is notable, qualitative and palpable.

    #1677231

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Quite simply, American immigration policy prior to the 1970s assigned most of the quota to northern European countries…those likely to send white skinned emigrants.
    The WASPs running the State Department were not interested in dark skinned, olive complected residents from the Med, North Africa or the Levant.
    My maternal line had no problems getting visas to enter from Germany in 1868. My paternal line came in 1872 and 3 from what is now Belarus. They were forced to split the family as the quota for 1872 had filled and the mother and youngest two children followed using the 1873 quota.
    The only Sephardim I know whose families came between 1880 and 1924 are Dutch. This is different from old time Spanish Portugese colonial family descendants

    #1677251

    Joseph
    Participant

    CTL, if you go back to the 1800s, at one time there were no real quota system altogether.

    #1677261

    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Don’t ever ever compare Sephardic people who are less-than-frum (and go to Orthodox synagogue) to Reform Ashkenazim. Chas veshalom that you should ever compare them.

    #1677266

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    I’ve traveled all over the country and have actually found sephardeshe minyanim in unexpected places and always with a warm welcome. Obviously, there are fewer sephardim but what they lack in numbers, they certainly make up for warmth and welcoming.

    #1677271

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @joseph
    Why do you think I specified a time period of the 1880s to 1924?
    This was after the economic collapse following the Civil War and Reconstruction and the first Red scare after the Russian Revolution.
    Things did not open up for non-white immigration until the 1970s.

    #1677273

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “Someone affiliated with an Orthodox shul, even if he isn’t Orthodox in personal practice in his life, is much better off than someone affiliated with a Reform or Conservative “synagogue”.”
    Why? All they’re doing is gaining knowledge of how things should be so that instead of not knowing any better, they’re now doing everything b’meizid.

    So, if an Ashkenazi guy goes to Avi Weiss’ then he’s not truly frum, but if a Sphardi guy eats ham he still is? Jewish political correctness much?

    #1677343

    Joseph
    Participant

    Unrealistic comparison, Neville. In your example both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi are eating ham. The major difference is the Ashkenazi is part of a heretical group whereas the Sephardi is not. That’s a major distinction as heresy is a special category in Torah Judaism.

    #1677337

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Neville: Just to confirm. So if a guy is Litvish by his mother and Chassidish by his father but davens nusach ari and only eats treifus with a plumba from Rav Weiss’ “Hashgacha Tzedek”, he is considered to be a tinok sh’nishba??

    #1677384

    DovidBT
    Participant

    In this context, is Chabad considered to be Ashkenaz?

    #1677389

    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    The difference is that when a Sephardi does something contrary to the Torah it’s because he is Tinok shenishba, or because he grew up that way, or because he knows what he should do but doesn’t feel ready, etc etc. But the Reform movement was BESHITA.

    #1677434

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “The difference is that when a Sephardi does something contrary to the Torah it’s because he is Tinok shenishba, or because he grew up that way, or because he knows what he should do but doesn’t feel ready, etc etc. But the Reform movement was BESHITA.”
    You could easily argue the complete opposite and say the Sphardi guy knows better because he goes to a real shul, but the Con/Reform is a tinok shenisba.

    The point is, Joseph’s claim is completely untrue. There are non-observant Sphardim in America. It might be less of a majority than it is with Ashkenazim, but it’s not “almost exclusively” an Ashkenaz problem. That’s just frum white apologism.

    #1677489

    Joseph
    Participant

    Neveille, you not only completely ignored what I said but you actually put words in my mouth. Nowhere have I said there aren’t non-observant/non-frum Sephardim. Au contraire.

    The point I did make is that Reform and Conservative are kofrim. And heresy is a much worse state of sinfulness than being non-observant but believing in the Hashem/Torah (even if one fails to live up to the Torah’s laws.) Like how most non-frum Sephardim are, especially being affiliated with a frum community/shul. Whereas the Reform/Conservative actively deny the divine authority of the Torah, explicitly as their theology and/or as their personal (lack of) belief. And the Reform and Conservative movements themselves are effectively rebels against Hashem and His Torah.

    Comprehendo?

    #1677496

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Neville….I thought a “real shul” is one where they say vayatzmach purkanei in kaddish and where the tzibur listens to the kariyah rather than making lachayim in the hallway closet used for the kiddush club.

    #1677935

    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    Joseph explained it well. I would probably just not agree with the word Kofrim because I think for the most part Reform and Conservative Jews aren’t trying to anger Hashem bedavka, it’s just how they were raised.

    #1677977

    Not commenting
    Participant

    So to answer the original question off the top of my head I counted over 65 Sephardic shuls just in Flatbush
    And to resolve this argument I would add that the sepharadim never got affected by the haskala and therefore you could easily see that a Sephardic guy that goes off the D would possibly have a lot of complaints and anger towards Hashem where in most cases where an Ashkenazi guy goes off he just denies the existence of Hashem. This makes it easier for the sepharadi guy to come back to the one he had taynos on, where the Ashkenazi guy totally removed Hashem from existence.

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