Sephardic Temple


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Northeast Georgia
Hi - I'm having a conversation with someone and don't want to seem ignorant. What is a Sephardic Temple? The sites I've found on the web tend to assume that I know what they are or I wouldn't be there! Thanks, Tim
depends on the site. if you mean "temple" as in "temple beth shalom, beverly hills" (ie, a modern building), then it just means a modern north american synagogue, probably reform or conservative, in which case probably not sephardic, because we still have synagogues. if that's not what they mean, then they must mean a sephardic view of the Temple - ie the Beit haMikdash in jerusalem, yet to be rebuilt a second time, b'mheirah be'yameinu (speedily in our time please G!D).

in other words, i don't quite get what they're on about either. would you mind posting a link to the site so i can understand your question better?


Thank you - Sorry - there's no link - this was in a telephone conversation with a friend of mine who's Jewish and I mentioned that going to church makes me feel connected to the history of the world and she said that she used to get that feeling about being connected to all the Jewish people througout history and throughout the world when she would go to Separdic Temple (guess how long it took me to figure out how to spell that) because they were all using the same language. So I wondered if it was a specific sect or a type of Judaism (like conservative or orthodox) Thank you. Tim

depending on the part of the US, temple has become synonymous with synagogue among all denominations. There are also people, like myself, who find calling a synagogue a temple to be confusing and unneccessary. It sounds like this person was talking about a sefardic shul (another pairing that makes less sense) they had at one time attended.

Originally posted by timrevis
Thank you - she may have said Sephardic Synagogue - but what does it mean?
What she probably meant was the members of that particular synagogue don't follow the practices of the Jewish population originally from outside the Mediterranian region/Middle East. bananabrain can elaborate further since he's Sephardic and I'm Ashkenazi (most of my ancestors were from the Russian steppes between the Volga and the Don rivers.)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
what phyllis said. the sephardim are basically the mediterranean and non-european jews. there are two main flavours - the sephardim properly whose ancestors were in the iberian peninsula, such as the moroccans and tunisians and those who never went to the iberian peninsula, who are actually properly known as the eidot mizrah (communities of the east), such as the yemenites, iraqis and persians.


"if you mean "temple" as in "temple beth shalom, beverly hills" (ie, a modern building), then it just means a modern north american synagogue, probably reform or conservative, in which case probably not sephardic, because we still have synagogues." --BB

Although, it is the case that Tifereth Israel is in Beverly Hills and is a Sephardic congregation and mostly identifies with the Conservative movement; although, not officially.

I think in this case of the original question, temple is just a synonym for synagogue. As a member of the Bulgarian Sephardic community, I must maintain that the distinctions of Reform or Conservative do not negate a
Sephardic affiliation. In Los Angeles large segments of the Persian community are affiliating with liberal synagogues and creating Sephardic prayer groups (minyanim) within the older established Ashkenazi communities. Sephardic and Ashkenazi designations are cultural distinctions as well as categories within Jewish Law (Halakhah). I am very committed to non-Orthodox, liberal Judaism and fiercely identify as a Sephardic Jew. Although i must apologize for going so far afield!

aha! a bulgarian - that's really cool, salonius, i don't know any of your lot, although in my band we do play bulgarian tunes - it's a sephardic folk band (i'm aggressively cultural!) - do you speak judeo-spanish at all?

interesting to hear about tifereth israel - this is actually news to me, albeit not very surprising news. i wonder what the beth din does - probably just copes with it without getting their knickers in a twist, i expect, unlike over here in the boondocks.

also interesting to hear about the persians in LA - it's an issue that has definitely impacted over here, but not as overtly because the community is so much smaller so there's not a critical mass for sephardic minyanim; it tends to be individuals. my own experience was shaped by growing up in the [UK] reform movement and then later moving over to masorti; although i always was aware of my sephardic background, it wasn't really obvious until i started getting more observant, because i started feeling that all the available routes took me down a path towards chassidut, which felt utterly wrong. then i started looking at sephardic stuff and that's where all the cultural things came in.... but i dare say if there had been a sephardic minyan within the masorti i might have stayed there - at least before i realised i had to go back into the halachic mainstream. much as i love the reform and masorti and what they've given me, i just don't buy the ideology any more.


Wow, do i hear you, BananaBrain... i just don't buy their ideology anymore either! Although, i just left Chovevei Torah, the Modern Orthodox flagship, for the Masorti school, JTS. I just found that here on this side of the pond, the OU is not too fond of allowing Sephardim to be Sephardi. I was not given any instruction in the Kaf HaChaim and yet I needed to memorize what the Rama wrote down; very disappointing. So at least at the Masorti Seminary i'll be allowed to be me on my own terms.

Tifereth Israel is a trip. Rabbi Bouskila is a real trip. You can check out the synagogue at:
They are not affiliated with any "denomination," although, their methodology is much like the Masorti (without the politics) and most members identify as such. And yet, they promote a great deal of Sephardic learning and culture. None-the-less, my wife and i were members of the local Iraqi synagogue as she is a Baghdadi. The case of the Persians is so interesting that we could devote an entire thread for it... The Persian Jewish community in Los Angeles is now the largest in the world, surpassing Israel and of course, Iran. They fall into two main categories: Folks that joined the Reform and Conservative synagogues and the ones that lined up their rabbis with the Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox. My academic mentor at the University of Judaism received his PhD from Daniel Matt and is focusing most of his energies into Sephardic mysticism; and has tried to get a lot of info from this large resource out in LA (in addition to the large Persian community they also have in LA a synagogue where they use the Sharabi Siddur with the Lurianic Kavvanot). Alas, i'm in NYC and unable to participate...

Well, all the best and i look forward to continued dialogue.

PS- i'd love to hear the band; how can i acquire a CD? And my family is also Romaniot (but NO ONE ever knows what that is), from Salonika as well, hence the name... But it sounds like our experiences of coming into our own might be very similar.