Category: Blog, News and Events Post Date: July 15, 2023

5 Mind-Blowing Differences Between Sephardic & Ashkenazi Jews | Big Jewish Ideas | Unpacked

While about 93% of American Jews identify with Ashkenazi heritage, Israel and the globe are home to a diverse mix of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and other Jewish communities.

Yet, media often presents an Ashkenormative image, overshadowing the reality that a significant number of Jews worldwide don’t fit into this category.

In North America, the major Jewish communities are Ashkenazi – with ties to countries like Germany, France, and Eastern Europe – and Sephardic, from Portugal and Spain. But that’s just part of the story – globally, there exists a vibrant mosaic of other Jewish cultures, including Mizrahi Jews from the Middle East, Ethiopian Jews, and numerous others.

Despite their unique languages, cuisines, and even some Jewish customs, all these groups share the core connection of Judaism and are part of a singular, global peoplehood.

This series is part of a partnership with the Z3 Project. More about their work can be found at

00:00 US Jewish demography
00:37 What are Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews?
01:22 What is Jewish food?
02:36 What do Jewish prayers sound like?
03:52 Languages that Jews speaks
04:30 Laws & traditions
06:08 Movements (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox)
07:07 Outro

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Check out the other episodes here:

Recommended video— The Truth About Ashkenazi Jews

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Image and Footage credits:

National Library of Israel
Pexels – Lucie Liz/Magic K/VT Nor
Stanford University Press
Wikimedia – Calliopejen1/Csörföly Dániel/Horsch, Willy/Johnbod/Mushki Brichta/Peteravivangel/Universal Life/Radato/Davidbena/האגודה הישראלית למען יהודי אתיופיה/Universal Life
Kurman Communications, Inc. Flickr
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Rijksdienst voor het Cultuur Erfgoed, Amersfoort #336307
אפיק גבאי – השולחן
Israeli Government Press Office
YouTube – sahara695/StuTubed1/Pavol Kasala/קליאנטה החברה למוסיקה Caliente The Music Company/הפיוט – הערוץ הרישמי – שמעון סיבוני/הפיוט – הערוץ הרישמי/Aviad Tevel Studios/Central Synagogue/Online videos from Israel, Middle East & Jewish World/ערוץ היוטיוב של שוהם שמחי Shoham-Simchi/שרון מלכה יוטיובר sharon malka/Les Glassman/The Mizrahi Project – מאיר בן שבת – זיו יחזקאל/AishUK/Park Avenue Synagogue
Jeff Handel
The Gevatron
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Mushki Brichta Wikimedia
Calliopejen1 Wikimedia
About Big Jewish Ideas: Understand some “Big Jewish Ideas” through an examination of what it means to be Jewish in today’s world. This series raises crucial questions about peoplehood, Jewish identity, education and community, challenging anyone who’s curious to think about them deeply. We take a look into buzzword Jewish concepts like shabbat, Tikkun Olam, and more.

About Unpacked: We provide nuanced insights by unpacking all things Jewish. People are complex and complicated — yet we’re constantly being pushed to oversimplify our world. At Unpacked we know that being complex makes us more interesting. Because of this, we break the world down with nuance and insight to drive your curiosity and challenge your thinking.

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