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Sefardi & “Orthodox”

I found this a very interesting article about perceptions, ethnicity, and religious divisiveness :

Sepharadim & The Label of ‘Orthodox’

By Rabbi Haim Ovadia

Once in a while I get a phone call from a traveler who plans on spending Shabbat in the vicinity of my synagogue. “So this is a Sephardic synagogue?”. “Yes”, I reply. “And are you Orthodox?” is usually the question that follows. Hearing the question I am torn between the urge to slam the phone down and the noble aspiration to teach the caller a lesson in Jewish history and Sephardic identity.
The brain, being practical, takes over at this point and answers “yes” and the pleased caller than goes on to finish up his travel plans. I on the other hand, remain deeply agitated, not only because I have to explain that Sephardim never categorized themselves under rubrics of Orthodox, Reform, Conservative etc., but because of my fear that this Ashkenazi trend, now enthusiastically embraced by the Sephardim, marks the end of Judaism and the Jewish people.

Once we have finished labeling all Jews and storing them carefully in their spiritual drawers, Judaism will be dead. Yes, there will many Jews and many opinions, but they will have nothing in common, because when one round of categorization and defining is over we start a new, more thorough cycle, which will eventually end up with each one being a brand of his or her own.
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