Talk:Spanish and Portuguese Jews

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Portuguese or spanish jews, or simply Portuguese jews[edit]

Reading this article I´m convinced it as to do more with jews from Portugal then from both iberian countries. So, it´s should be called Portuguese Jews, I supose. Who else agrees ? User:Mistico

There should be an article like this, but this page belongs to the article Sephardi Jews. Marcus 22:49, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
An emphatic “no”: The topic here is a well-defined topic by its own and is clearly distinguished from both Sephardi Jews and Jews in Portugal. The history of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews includes the joining together of communities of former Spanish Conversos and communities of former Portuguese Conversos. The Spanish and Portuguese Jews]] are characterised by a liturgy which is different from that of other Sephardim — including those of our times’ Spain and Portugal in its relative absence of cabbalistic elements, the omission of the introductory psalms before Mizmor leDavid: Habu lA. in the ‘Arbit shel Shabbat; the ta‘amím for Torah (which are somewhat similar to the coastal Moroccan ta‘amim); the pronunciation of Hebrew (which includes the realisation of ע as a velar nasal (ng) and the realisation of בֿ) as b rather than v); the loss of Spanish or Portuguese as a first language (but keeping a mixture of the two in parts of the liturgy); various terminology (like reza book for ‘siddur’, esnoga for ‘synagogue’; Haggadáh for the ‘Passover seder’ (i.e., the meal itself)); a characteristic musical representation of the ritual in the form of flowing melodies with a more-or-less distinctive Renaissance through Classicism feel and with a (post-)Baroque solistic embellishment technique still preserved today; etc. -- Olve 01:32, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Please see the 18,200 Google hits for documentation that this topic exists. -- Olve 01:48, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

It is about as illogical to merge this article with Sephardi Jews as it would be to merge Mitnagdim with Ashkenazi Jews. Actually, it would be even more illogical, since Mitnagdim and Chasidim share their traditional everyday language (Yiddish), whereas Spanish and Portuguese Jews and other Sephardim do not. -- Olve 04:23, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree this should stay seperate. Sephardim specifically refers to the Jews that were expelled fomr the Iberian. This article's subject is clearly different.- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 08:07, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree with Olve and Moshe, who have explained it well. No need for the merge nor for the merge tag. IZAK 19:15, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't want to add a category without asking others -- what about some links here to notable S&P Jews (or those with S&P ancestry) -- I'm thinking specifically of Disraeli, Moses Montefiore, Menasseh ben Israel etc. Thoughts? Salut0 18:00, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I usually think that lists of people are easily abused and should be used with great care within Wikipedia. It often becomes an easy way to link to your favorite articles -- especially those which you have worked on and are partial to. I would suggest that You can add the category Spanish and Portuguese Jews to those people you would want to name in the list. Just musing here...Guedalia D'Montenegro 19:55, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Good point -- I agree! Salut0 20:19, 6 October 2006 (UTC)


The article says: "the Livorno (Leghorn) tradition, however, includes many of the cabbalistic additions found in most other Sephardi traditions. The current London minhag follows the Livorno tradition in this respect."

What is the authority for this proposition? In my experience the London minhag is very much within the Spanish and Portuguese mainstream and has relatively few cabbalistic additions, though it may be that a detailed comparison with, say, Amsterdam would reveal a few. A certain number of cabbalistic usages (e.g. the seder for Tu Bishvat) had crept into both the London and the Amsterdam traditions by the eighteenth century, and have since been dropped: some, like the custom of performing the Birkat Hakohanim every Shabbat, are now stronger in Amsterdam than in London.

I think the confusion may arise from the phrase "the Livorno tradition". It is important to distinguish between the usages of Livorno for home consumption, which were basically similar to other Spanish and Portuguese communities, and the "Livorno siddurim" which were printed in the nineteenth century for the use of the Sephardic world as a whole. These latter had a much more cabbalistic character, and most of the Oriental rites of today are based on them, with certain local variations. I do not know whether there was any special affinity between London and the domestic Livorno tradition, but certainly London has never adopted the "Livorno siddurim" for export.--Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 13:26, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

The main example I can think of right here and now is the text of the birkat hammazon, where the current London minhag as printed in, e.g., 1965, has (more-or-less) all of the cabbalistic additions otherwise found in the Livorno tradition and its offshoots. Compare it with the older Spanish and Portuguese version ([1]), and you will probably see what I mean. I agree that this is on a relatively detailed level, and I also agree that there are some (although seemingly less textually “dramatic”) examples going the other way. -- Olve 22:06, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
How does this look: “The current London minhag is generally close to the Amsterdam minhag, but follows the Livorno tradition in some details — most notably in the Birkat hammazon.”? -- Olve 22:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
Fine. I'll have to check on the Birkat Hamazon, as there are complications. For example, within the Oriental group there is a difference between the Livorno (for export) tradition, as found in Judaeo-Spanish communities and Syria, and the Baghdadi version, also used in the Jerusalem Sephardic tradition. Also the 16th c Venice print of the Sp & P version has some distinctively Italian features (such as the use of "Nahamenu") that do not figure in any other version. -- Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 08:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

History and Geography[edit]

I am not sure whether this is intended to be a list of all communities that ever existed, or of those that survive. Either way there are some inaccuracies.

I have never heard of a Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Leeds, though it is possible that one existed in the nineteenth century. (In the early nineteenth century there was even one in Dublin, though that since merged into the general Jewish community.)

We also need to distinguish between Spanish and Portuguese synagogues proper and those Reform and Conservative communities that have Sp & Port roots (such as some in the US South and the West Indies, and in a sense West London). -- Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 09:20, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Tricky one... It seems to me that there are at least four separate questions here:
  1. Which ones are still Sp&P by population?
  2. Which ones are still Sp&P by textual minhag?
  3. Which ones are still Sp&P by musical minhag?
  4. Which ones are Orthodox? Conservative? Reform? Reconstructionist?
The Touro synagogue is Orthodox, but mainly Ashkenazified, it seems. The Curaçao one is Sp&P by #1, mostly not by #2, mostly yes by #3 and is Reconstructionist. The NYC and Philadelphia ones are not by #1, in part by #2, yes by #3 and are Orthodox. The Caribbean ones vary greatly, between fully Ashkenazified ones, compromise ones (Kingston, Jamaica) etc. The Savannah, Georgia one is currently fully Ashkenazified in all elements but the singing of “El norá” during Ne‘iláh on Kippur. The West London one is a pretty interesting case... -- Olve 17:25, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I've been to Touro. The textual minhag and pronunciation of Hebrew are Sephardi (they use the Birnbaum book, which is a compromise between ethnic Sephardi and Hasidic), but the population and the musical rendition are so Ashkenazi that I wanted to jump up and say "let me show you the PROPER tunes"! Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 09:25, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Incidentally (Olve): are there still Sp & P communities in Scandinavia? I presume so, from your level of knowledge. Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 14:05, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Scandinavia? No — there are private family traditions, and some communities have some preserved elements, but there is not currently a single synagogue in Scandinavia that follows the Spanish and Portuguese minhag except for in those very occasional details... :( Olve 16:18, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

What about the current communities in Portugal? I know Belmonte is a special case, as they have only "come out" recently, and are being helped by the Masorti (Ashkenazi rite) community in London rather than by the established communities in Lisbon and Oporto. But I have an idea that Lisbon and Oporto were helped by Bevis Marks at the outset, and are therefore part of the Sp & Port family in some sense. Not having been there, I can't judge their present day flavour. Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 16:28, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I've added several things since I found this page yesterday and joined the NetEsnoga list, but I have only just created a Wikipedia account. Notwithstanding the discussion here, which shows the complexity of the issue, can we at least append a note to the list to show which of these communities are still functioning in the list of synagogues/places? I, for one, would like this page to be a practical resource for the preservation of the minhag and hence it is important for travellers to know whether a synagogue is functioning if they are planning on visiting somewhere abroad. salut0 4 October 2006

I agree with Salut0 that we should at the very least indicate which of the communities listed are still active. There are several communities and synagogues listed which are now defunct. On a second matter - I object to some of Olve's generalizations above. Specifically, the NY and Philadelphia congregations (Shearith Israel and Mikveh Israel) both follow S&P textual liturgy 100% unlike what he has implied above. Also, I do not think that there are any S&P synagogues which are populated by a majority of S&P Jews, with the possible exception of Gibraltar. I am certain, that like NY and Philadelphia, Montreal, London and Amsterdam too are populated in the main by other types of Jews (be it Ashkenazic, Iraqi, Algerian, Tunisian or Morroccan.)Guedalia D'Montenegro 05:26, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

To my knowledge, the Sp.&P. in NYC has included various elements from the Balkan Sephardim – such as the Tehillim before Mizmor leDavid in the Kabbalat Shabbat section. I have never been there for Friday night services in person, so I cannot vouch for this. -- Olve 03:01, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
This is wrong. NY and Philadelphia both begin the friday night service with Mizmor leDavid. You are perhaps confused by the Pool siddur which includes psalms 95-99 in the friday night service. You should note, however, that these psalms are preceeded by the following sentences "In some congregations Psalms 95-99 are read preceding the evening service. In others the service is opened by the chanting of Psalm 29." The reason for this and other inclusions like it, is that Dr. Pool envisioned his siddur as a universal siddur for American Sephardic Jewry. Indeed, in the introduction he states that "recognition has been given to the important later additions to the text introduced into the Oriental Sephardic rite." Indeed, for many years the Pool siddur was used in most sephardic congregations in the United States. Only in the last 20 years or so has the pool siddur been replaced with other siddurim in most non-S&P sephardic synagogues in the US. Also, while not directly on this point - I do not know exactly what Olve means by Balkan rite. The inclusion of the psalms 95-99 in the friday evening service is nearly universal, and Pool was not so much concerned with Balkan Jews as he was with Turkish and Syrian (and a little bit later, Morroccan Jews) who had emmigrated in large numbers to the US during the first half of the 20th Century.
Re: “I do not think that there are any S&P synagogues which are populated by a majority of S&P Jews”: Curaçao. -- Olve 03:03, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

To clarify the situation in Newport (Jeshuat Israel)I would like to add that the Rabbis there have been Ashkenazic for many decades now and that although they used to use the de Sola Pool Siddur until the 70's, in recent decades they have been using more Ashkenzic siddurim. Currently they use an Artscroll "nussach sefard" siddur which as is obvious is actually Hassidic - but I think it is used in order to satisfy the Congregations constitution which states that the services are to be conducted according to the Sephardic rite. (Just my impression of why they would use the "nussach Sfard" siddur, perhaps someone else can clarify.) In any event - you will not find an S&P service in Newport.Guedalia D'Montenegro 05:26, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Regarding comments by Guedalia and Sir Myles, what does "S&P by population" mean anyway? Does having maternal ancestry count you in, but an Ashkenazi father, or does your family name have to preserve an original S&P surname? --Salut0 18:42, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think we meant anything that precise: we just wanted to distinguish synagogues like Bevis Marks that still have significant numbers of the old families from those like Newport that are now almost 100% Ashkenazi.
As a matter of Jewish law, Sephardi or Ashkenazi identity passes through the father, like being a Levi or Cohen, and a wife is supposed to adopt her husband's minhag (the rule is by analogy with the original tribes of Israel). I don't suppose "S&P-ness" need be defined quite so accurately. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da)
I think the problem with the article is more fundamental, and that it needs to be better organised. The part about communities is a simple list organised by geography rather than history, with no room for comments, and this is why it is not clear whether it is a list of current communities or of all communities that have ever existed. The information about historical developments has therefore had to go under the heading "Synagogues", which was originally meant to be only about buildings.
Instead we should have three sections. One should be about history, and address first the departure from Portugal, then the formation of the Italian communities (Venice, Pisa and Livorno), then Amsterdam, then England, then America, Surinam etc.. All the details about "London minhag", "Amsterdam minhag", Philadelphia prayer books etc. should go here. Then there should be a section on synagogues, viewed purely architecturally. Finally there should be a list of current communities, with links and descriptions; and if necessary, a separate list of communities now defunct.
What do you think? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 09:20, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good...In addition, I think we should break out a new section on liturgy, with nussach / music being a sub-heading of that section. History, Synagogues, Liturgy, Current Communities - sounds like an improvement.Guedalia D'Montenegro 13:07, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with your comments here regarding a more streamlined structure, and would like to help but have too little time at the moment. Keep up the good work and thanks for the encouragement!--Salut0 16:03, 12 October 2006 (UTC)


And by the way, should we count Gibraltar as part of the Sp&P family? Or is it closer to the Spanish-Moroccan (Tetuan, Melilla etc.) family? Or are there some synagogues of each kind? Please enlighten me, someone who has been there! --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 14:30, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

As far as I am aware, there are 4 or 5 synagogues almost all of which are S&P. The ties between London and Gibraltar are great (E.g. Hazzan Beniso or Abraham Levy). Although, I have never been there, some of my family members have and my understanding is that Gibraltar is certainly an S&P community.Guedalia D'Montenegro 15:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. The links between London and Gibraltar are certainly close, but so are the links between London and the Spanish-Moroccan group generally (e.g. Halfon Benarroch); liturgically speaking, the S&P minhag is derived from the Spanish-Moroccan (that is, from an early form of it: the current Spanish-Moroccan rite has presumably been Lurianified in the same way as the Arab-Moroccan and Oriental Sephardic rites), with some Italian influence. We really need someone who has been to Tangier or Tetuan as well, to see just where Gib fits on the spectrum between the two groups. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 09:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


The article says: "The תֿ (Tav rafé) is pronounced like t in all traditions of Spanish and Portuguese Jews today, although the consistent transliteration as th in 17th century sources may suggest an earlier differentiation of תֿ and תּ."

I am not sure about the th/t point. Transliteration by "th" does not necessarily indicate a "theta" pronunciation, as in French, German and Dutch "th" is pronounced in the same way as "t". The concern to distinguish "tav rafe" in spelling may have been influenced by the spelling conventions of Bible translations and Hebrew grammars of Christian origin, which descend from the use of θ in the Septuagint.

I know of no Jewish community which pronounces tav rafe as theta except the Iraqis and the Yemenites. In this as in most matters, Hebrew pronunciation tends to follow the local Arabic vernacular, with only a limited influence from the formal rules of "tajwid" (the accepted pronunciation of classical Arabic, as laid down for the reading of the Quran): for example Syrian Jews, in their pronunciation of "qof", vary between the vernacular glottal stop and the tajwid guttural k (and Yemenites say "g"). Thus in most Arabic-speaking countries outside Arabia and Iraq, the letter "tha" is pronounced as t (or occasionally s) in the vernacular, and "th" is only used in tajwid.

Occasionally, Jews of recent Spanish or Italian origin pronounce a final tav as "d", though this is obsolescent. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:02, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I wrote that a bit vaguely for a reason... :) According to Idelsohn, Greek Sephardim still pronounced the תֿ as an unvoiced fricative. In Dutch Sephardi Hebrew, the form massos (מַצּוֹתֿ) has been taken as evidence for an earlier unvoiced fricative pronunciation. It seems that the voiced fricative is a more likely candidate as far as the pronunciation goes, though. This goes with the Sp&P pronunciation Sabá (Shabbat), with the non-Jewish Castilian form taled (טַלֵּיתֿ), with frequent use of d in Italian-Jewish transcriptions in 18th century musical scores, and with frequent use of d/ð in some Sephardi enclaves in the Maghreb. -- Olve 16:15, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Is the Dutch pronunciation of the Gimmel worthy of mention in this article? Guedalia D'Montenegro 04:36, 21 August 2006 (UTC) -- Perhaps it should go in Sephardic Jews in the Netherlands -- M na G

Thoughts on Hebrew transliteration as used on the wiki page: Perhaps we should use a standardised form of transliteration and not a historical one, notwithstanding the erudite (and very much welcome and enlightening) comments regarding the use of sibilants? It seems to me to make more sense to transliterate eg "Sha'ar haShamayim" rather than "Saar Asamaim", if only to be comprehensible to 21st century readers. Comments on the history of Hebrew transliteration in the S&P tradition in this language section are valuable as historical data, but perhaps it would behove us to adhere more to current practice in most transliterations here. Unless there is a significant contingent of S&P Jews nowadays who use the archaic transliteration for all Hebrew transliterated words, as opposed to somewhat fossilised proper terms such as "Mahamad" (=Ma'amad in Mod. Heb. transliteration) or "Heshaim" (=Etz Hayim)... User:salut0 Oct 5th 2006

That "Heshaim" is very irritating. There is a Medrash de Heshaim, based on a Mishnaic word meaning something like "watchmen" or "observant" (and possibly connected to "Essenes"), and in this context the spelling is correct. On the other hand, the blessing "que fara Heshaim do Sefer Torah" is pure folk etymology, and should be "Es Haim" or "Ngets Hhayím" (!) even according to the old systems: there is no justification for collapsing the s + h to a [sh].
Otherwise I think we should maintain the idiosyncratic transliterations for historical interest. We do need to distinguish 17th-18th century Spanish transliterations such as "Sahar Asamaim" and "Ros Asana" that no one uses except as proper names from 19th-20th century English transliterations such as "Shabungoth" which are still found in current prayer books. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 11:48, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the first h in Heshaim is a pretty standard early rendering of what is now read as ng. The rest of it is also a letter-by-letter rendering of what American (mainly Ashkenazi-)Jewish popular spelling gives as Eytz Chayim or the like. Nothing folk-etymology about it at all, just an older way of transcribing it. Please remember, though, that the s and the h next to each other were never meant to vbe pronounced like English sh. As far as the choice of transcription system goes, I for one would strongly prefer to keep to the main outline of the historical pronunciation — that is, consistently representing the ע — whether it be as ng or or something else; consistently giving the b variety of ב (and not v); giving the s, ḥ or ts representation of צ; giving the monophthong e rather than the Ashkenazi style ey and the like; always spelling out the sheva na‘ as e: etc. A lot of this is actually pretty standard in scholarly circles. -- Olve 02:55, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Point taken. However, I have actually heard that "Heshaim" pronounced with a "sh" sound through ignorance, and I am sure that this is by confusion with the Medrash do Heshaim. (Unless indeed the Medrash itself was originally "Ets Hhayim" as well, like the Amsterdam one, and the association with "Hhashshaim", Essenes, came later or is indeed an error of mine.) --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:41, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
I have checked, and the Medrash do Heshaim is indeed " 'Ets Hhayim" in Hebrew: the confusion with Essenes was my own. All the less excuse, then, for the commonly heard pronunciation with "sh"! --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:14, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

For too long I have been ignorant as to why S&P Jews pronounce "Kal Nidre" on Kippur and "Kal Ngatzmotai" in the Shacharit of Shabbat. Perhaps someone with a bit more grammatical expertise than I can explain it. I believe it is nearly unique to S&P (I think the Northern Moroccans may also use this pronunciation, but I am not sure). Similarly, Dutch S&P'ers pronounce the phrase "Hashibenu Ado-nai elecha vAnashuba" In NY we pronounce the last word as "vEnashuba" as most others would as well. Does anyone have any insight? I assume that both these rare pronunciations have some grammatical explanation. Can anyone comment? Guedalia D'Montenegro 01:59, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

The "kal" examples are spelling pronunciations, that is to say over-mechanical applications of normal phonetic rules which ignore the etymology of the word. In these two instances, the word "kol"/"kal" is spelled with a kamats, but there is no hyphen. So following the normal rule that a kamats in a stressed final syllable is "a", it is read as "kal".
The same explanation applies to the pronunciations "tsahorayim", "fangolecha", "Nangomi" etc. Etymologically these should be "tsohorayim" etc., as the vowel in the root word is "holam", and the hataf vowel etymologically represents a silent shevá and has only acquired sound because the preceding consonant is a guttural. But as phonetically the hataf is a form of vocal shevá, S&Pers and other Sephardim apply the normal rule that a kamats followed by vocal shevá is "a" ("achelah" versus "ochlah").
I had not come across (or noticed) "vanashuvah": it is at least twenty years since I have attended synagogue in Amsterdam. There are several Biblical instances in which "and" is spelled "va" (with a full patahh or kamats) rather than "ve" or "u", probably for emphasis, but I don't think this is one of them. I am wondering whether it might be a hangover from a Germanic tendency to occasionally replace vocal shevá with hataf patahh (e.g. "hallalu" instead of "hallelu"). This is in turn a hangover from the Aleppo Codex, in which all vocal shevá's are so spelled (except for the occasional use of hataf kamats, as in "Mordochai"). But again this is just speculation, and I don't know. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:12, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

In answer to your message on my talk page: I wonder what the Pereira/Cardozo "grammatical rule" was. Did it have anything to do with the fact that the shevá of "venashuba" has a meteg (ga'ya) and therefore requires extra emphasis? If so, this might be related to my explanation. The root cause of the whole vocal shevá/hataf patahh confusion is the fact that in Arabic there is no distinction between "a" and "e": so Babylonian Jews (and maybe others) pronounced patahh, segol and vocal shevá as /æ/ (like the a in "cat"), as Yemenite Jews do to this day; and this also explains the Aleppo Codex's convention. So if the S&P pronunciation of vocal shevá oscillates between a and e (it is certainly never the indistinct sound of English "the", as in Ashkenazi and Israeli Hebrew) this is highly significant. Any further thoughts welcome. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 17:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Didn't notice this one before. The shevá with an a sound may reflect that many (most?) cases of initial shevá is in fact a reduced a — compare the conjunction וְ־, which varies with a full a when emphasised, and which corresponds to the Arabic wa-. All this is more-or-less unrelated to the Babylonian merger of short e and short a. -- Olve Utne (talk) 15:33, 22 May 2009 (UTC)


In the section on Synagogues, the article maintains that in the 19th century the Philadelphia and London Communites published identical prayer books. What is the source for this. As far as I am aware, the Philadelphia congregation published the Leeser prayerbooks (he was their Hazzan at the time) and London used the De Sola books (De Sola was the Hazzan in Montreal at the time). In England the De Sola books were eventually replaced with Gaster. Perhaps some confusion has develpoed as a result of the re-printed Leeser fast-day books. In the 1960's a reprinting of the Leeser book for fast-days was co-published by NY and London communities. If there was a ninteenth century collaboration does anyone have a source?Guedalia D'Montenegro 05:48, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

The Montreal de Sola volumes were based on the Leeser books (see title page) and printed in Philadelphia. I have some of these and have no difficulty whatever in following the present London service: except for the names of the Royal Family, the text of the prayers is identical. This would not be the case if I used them while attending New York or Amsterdam. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 11:33, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Very interesting indeed. Some more work should be done in this area. Isaac Leeser (Philadelphia) and David Aaron de Sola (London) came out with their translations and editions of the S&P siddur at roughly the same time. Leeser's came out just after D.A. de Sola's and his introduction is very critical of de Sola's edition. A generation or two later Abraham de Sola (Montreal) published his edition of the Siddur and excoriates Leeser in his introduction, although it should be noted at the same time that D.A. de Sola was his father. Then Gaster came out with his siddur (largely based on D.A. de Sola). And finally, David de Sola Pool published his siddurim in the 1930's.
I am still curious about the Abraham de Sola books - Why were these published in Philadelphia? How did this come about? Were these books ever used in London? Or was this strictly a North American arrangement? I know that in NY before the Dr. Pool's edition came out, Shearith Israel used the A. de Sola edition, and prior to that Leeser's siddurim were in the pews. I have never looked closely enough at the differences in Nussach. I can say from personal experience that I have on occasion used the Gaster books here in NY and find that there are relatively few differences in the nussach.
I would be interested to know more about the Prayerbooks used in Holland and Hamburg and in the Bayonne and Bordeaux communities. Can anyone tell us more about them? Guedalia D'Montenegro 12:59, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I bought my A de Sola books second hand in England, and presume they must have been used here (I have traced the original owner to Manchester); as I have only the Ros Asana and Kipúr volumes (OK, I'm using the spelling to be provocative) I have not seen his comments on Leeser. I have certainly seen other dog-eared Philadelphia copies in the pews at BM, though I have not looked to see if they are Leeser or de Sola (for that matter I have seen Alexander ones, and ones that pray for William IV).
Gaster and de Sola Pool are similar enough for both to be used in Manchester. However, de Sola Pool adds a few bits like Eshet Hhayil that do not occur in traditional S&P books, and this may be what Olve means by saying that NY and Philly are S&P by textual minhag "in part". I too would like to see more about Amsterdam; what I meant about Dutch influence in New York was partly about the musical minhag (Cardozo et al). --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 13:53, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I have no idea what's done in Amsterdam, although my recent experience at Shearith Israel is that the text of the prayers seems mostly the same as London (except for the American/British variations and special things like the thansgiving prayer for the synagogues that supported the New York community in its early days) but it is the order that differs. More another time -- yom tov is soon and must go. Salut0 20:24, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, my making a point about NY & Philly was primarily based on that they tend to include the tehillim before Mizmor leDavid in the Friday night service — at least as an option — something that cannot be seen, e.g., in the Gaster volumes — or in the versions of the West London or Savannah siddurim from the late 1800s (even though those sources are mainly Sephardi Reform (yes, Sephardi Reform) at THAT time). History is sometimes more complex than we may be comfortable with, right? :] Olve 16:28, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Birkat Cohanim[edit]

"A certain number of cabbalistic usages (e.g. the seder for Tu Bishvat) had crept into both the London and the Amsterdam traditions by the eighteenth century, and have since been dropped: some, like the custom of performing the Birkat Hakohanim every Shabbat, are now stronger in Amsterdam than in London." .--Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 13:26, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I just read the comment on Birkat Kohanim. Actually this is done every shabbat in Lauderdale Rd (London) now after a (not uncontentious) vote of the yehidim on the matter a few years ago. -- 18:38, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

This is a very interesting and significant development by the Lauderdale Rd. Synagogue. Can you give us some more details? The Priestly Benediction is a biblical commandment, and should most likely be performed everyday. Many Eastern Sephardic and Levantine communities do so still and the custom in Israel (among all groups) is to pronounce the blessings everyday. For a variety of religious, cultural and envrionmental reasons European Jews (Ashkenazic, Italian and Sephardic) limited the custom to pronounce the Priestly Blessing to Holy-days alone. S&P communities thus originally performed the priestly blessings only on Holidays, just as their Ashkenazic neighbors. In 1666, the Messianic movement of Shabbetai Tzebi exploded throughout the Jewish world. In Amsterdam it was decided that in response to the news of the messiah they would institute the saying of the priestly blessing on Shabbat. This new minhag was not stopped after Tzebi converted to Islam and it continues to this very day in Amsterdam. This minahg was NOT adopted in other communities. Thus in London and New York the Priestly blessing remained only on the holidays (as it still is done in NY). In the Philadelphia congregation (Mikveh Israel) the priestly benediction is now performed on Sabbaths. This was an innovation and accomodation for other Sephardic groups. If the news reported above is true regarding the adoption of this minhag in London it is very interesting and probably reflects a concession on the part of the Rabbinate and Mahamad to the growing influence of the Iraqi community. For a fuller discussion of the historical background see Gaguine, Keter Shem Tob, pp. 222-226.Guedalia D'Montenegro 20:28, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

"If the news reported above is true regarding the adoption of this minhag in London [sc. in Lauderdale Rd] it is very interesting and probably reflects a concession on the part of the Rabbinate and Mahamad to the growing influence of the Iraqi community." -- Exactly. This is what happened, but the irony was that several of the (mainly Iraqi) movers and shakers behind the change have since left to form their own breakaway synagogue due to other concerns, although the practice of birkat kohanim every shabbat has remained despite their departure. Salut0 02:42, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Do any other British S&P synagogues (other than Lauderdale Rd.)do the Birkat Cohanim on Shabbat as well? Also, as I am not sure of the relationship between the synagogues...are the various S&P congregations related organizationally? is there still a Sephardic Chief Rabbi? Does Abraham Levy have the title Haham? Or was the last Haham of the community Solomon Gaon?Guedalia D'Montenegro 16:19, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

No idea about other British S&P birkat kohanim. The last Haham was Dr Gaon -- the succession was sadly a contentious matter and thus no new Haham was declared. What do you mean by a Sephardic Chief Rabbi? Jonathan Sacks is the only official chief rabbi in England of whom I know. Organizationally, this is quite complicated -- not entirely sure myself of the intricacies. Best for you to get hold of a copy of the London community's Ascamot and read through them. But this is really not my remit and I'd like to stay away from antagonising anyone! --Salut0 20:17, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

There was never a post of "Chief Rabbi" in the Sp & Port community. The official head is the Haham, but you will see from Hyamson's book that this post has frequently been left vacant because of inability to agree on a candidate: today's situation is not exceptional. Abraham Levy is "Spiritual Head and Communal Rabbi", while Pinchas Toledano is "Ab Beth Din". (The description "spiritual head" is taken from the constitution of the Board of Deputies, which names as joint rabbinic authorities the Chief Rabbi and the "spiritual head of the Sp & Port congregation", meaning whoever is in charge for the time being, whether with the title of Haham or not: this was never an official title before.)
Bevis Marks, Lauderdale Road and Wembley constitute only one community, with one Mahamad and one team of rabbis. I don't know whether this means that BM and Wembley have perforce had to go along with the decision on birkat hakohanim. Holland Park is affiliated through some sort of deed of association, though it is ethnically Greek/Turkish and the minhag is a compromise between Sp & Port and Oriental-Sephardic. The two Manchester synagogues are under some sort of supervision from the London community, but I think count as separate communities. There has been considerable argument about whether the newer Sephardic communities (mostly Baghdadi Indian) should come under the nominal control of the Sp & Port community or should form a federation of their own, and I don't know the current situation. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 09:12, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Pipe Organs[edit]

Does anyone know the source for the claims in this section? I do not beleive that S&P jewry can be said to have been more accepting of Organ music as a whole. Each community should be examined individually. Certianly, in the US there was no consensus...Newport, New York and Philadelphia never permitted the use of an Organ on Shabbat. New York does keep a free standing organ in its choir loft - it is used (and has only ever been used) at weddings or other weekday ceremonies. The communities in the south (namely Richmond and Savannah) were heavily influenced by reform in the 19th century and adopted the use of organs among other reforms which eventually resulted in both communities aligning with the Reform movement.

In France, we must remember that Chief Rabbinate permitted the use of Organs with certain restrictions (only gentile organists could be employed, etc.) France had (and to some degree continues to have) a unique consistory system with an organized rabbinate (I beleive that Rabbis are still government employees on France). Therefore the adoption of Organs in Bayonne and Bordeaux would have been in keeping with other synagogues throughout France and not reflective of any S&P attitude.

As to Curacao, I am not sure of its trajectory, but its merger with the reform Emmanuel Synagogue and subsequent adoption of reconstructionist Judaism is probably more at play than any Spanish and Portuguese attitude toward organ music.

In light of the above, I do not beleive that this section is quite accurate. It probably should be re-written. Any comments?Guedalia D'Montenegro 04:31, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed 100%. Some of the historical material comes through Seroussi, who was using early (Dutch and Hamburg) Reform practice as evidence for what S&P practice might have been like at the same time. This is perfectly legitimate, but we should be careful in deciding which features are genuinely there in the S&P substrate and which are marks on the Reform lens. And plenty of Ashkenazi synagogues (in England anyway) also have organs, for use on weekday services such as weddings.
Incidentally, did you know that the early Church objected to the use of the then equivalent of the organ on the ground that it was a "Jewish instrument"? How history comes full circle!--Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 12:12, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Seroussi, Dobrinsky and Swerling are amongst the sources — along with primary sources from Hamburg, West London, Savannah etc. The Reform movement started out with a lot of inspiration from Spanish and Portuguese communities; and the West London and Charleston communities were mainly initiated by Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Separating between Sephardi and Reform elements in such cases is not very easy... We know that keyboard instruments (harpsichord) were used by Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Hamburg already in the early 1600s. We know that several Sephardi rabbis of 17th century NW Europe enjoyed playing the harp. We know that polyphonic music with or without instruments were used in Sp&P synagogues on and off in various places from the 1600s onwards. The inspiration is likely to have been Italy — which is pretty much the cradle of post-expulsion Western European Iberian Jewry.
As for the Curaçao organ situation, please note that this happened a long time before there relatively recent merger between the traditional and the Reform congregation.
Please do not rewrite without a very careful review of the sources at hand here.
Respectfully, Olve 21:29, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

With all due respect to Olve - he is way off here. Organ music was not a feature of Spanish and Portuguese synagogues or S&P judaism in general. If anything can be said on this subject it is that some S&P communities adopted the use of the organ to varying degrees during the spread of reform Judaism. I will look up Serussi who seems to the main source for this section. Olve - please provide an exact source for Dobrinsky and Swerling (I have been looking through Dobrinsky's "treasury of Sephardic laws" and the only thing on the subject is on p. 60-61 where it states that "There was also controversy about whether or not one could have musical accompaniment (an organ) for the was approved that [Shearith Israel in NY] would allow an organ for the musical accompaniment to the ceremony." A careful review of this source, Olve, tells you that the organ is NOT used at other services. Furthermore - This entire controversy (about weekday usage of an organ) took place after the Reform usage of the organ became commonplacein the nineteenth century. Any mention of the Charleston congregation is completely misguided as well. Beth Elohim was a Spanish and Portuguese congregation founded in the mid 18th century in Charleston, South Carolina. NO ORGAN WAS EVER USED IN THE U.S.A. until 1840 when an Organ was instituted with great controversy in Congregation Beth Elohim. The Organ was only one of many reforms that were instituted at that time in Beth Elohim. The traditionalists objected vehemently and sued the Adjunta. The result of the litigation was that the traditionalists, who were outnumbered by the reformers, seceded and formed their own congregation (named Shearith Israel) where NO organ was played. This entire controversy was only a result of religious reform being introduced in the US. Any asserion that S&P congregations have or once had a tradition that instrumental music (organ or otherwise) is played in the synagogue is simply false. As to Curacao - The article itself indicates (without saying it) that the introduction was a religious reform - being that it was only introduced in the late nineteenth century. West London Synagogue is Ashkenazic Reform. The three largest S&P communties historically and today (Amsterdam, London and New York) do not use an Organ during prayer services on Sabbaths or Holidays - nor have they ever.

"The Reform movement started out with a lot of inspiration from Spanish and Portuguese communities; and the West London and Charleston communities were mainly initiated by Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Separating between Sephardi and Reform elements in such cases is not very easy..." This is not true. Religious reformers did idealize Spanish Jewry - but this has very little to do with Spanish and Portuguese liturgical practice or Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Organ usage within S&P synagogues, to the extent that there is any, is the result of the Religious reform movement of the nineteenth century - with the one possible exception being the Hamburg community. That instrumental music was used in Italy and Prague (albeit not on sabbaths unless played by gentiles) and was the source for the reformers introduction of the organ has no significance for an article about S&P Jews. The only thing that can be said, perhaps, is that some isolated S&P communities adopted religious reforms during the rise of the reform movement. Is this reason enough to have a section entitled "Organ Music"? Should we also have a section entitled "Sermons" as the preaching of a sermon in the vernacular was a reform innovation adopted by many S&P synagogues? Obviously not - my point is that this section should perhaps be in an article about Synagogue music and not Spanish and Portuguese Jews. I hope that others will give their opinions here. I still think this section should be eliminated entirely - alternativlely it should be altered significantly.Guedalia D'Montenegro 00:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Obvious lack of respect apart: Please read your history, and then we'll talk. It is true that West London is currently mainly Ashkenazi. Please read about how it started & who started it before you ascribe ignorance to my points. Thank you. Olve 16:16, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
By the way: I never claimed Charleston had an organ. I pointed out that it is an example of Sephardi and Reform being two entities with shady borders in certain parts of the world at a certain time. I never claimed that they used an organ at that point. -- Olve 16:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I think this may be a good time for me to leave this article. I fought very hard for its — and its category’s — inclusion, and I am happy to see that a number of editors have joined in and put a great deal of effort into expanding and improving this article. However, there seems to be a wish amongst the other active editors to work with the article on an ideological basis that I cannot share, and the readiness by some to discredit first and do the research afterwards (which seems to keep happening here) is not something that I have the energy for. It is not our job to prove that x brand of Judaism is or is not Reform or Orthodox or whatever else. But it is our job to include the historical links and to describe the views at hand. We cannot as an encyclopaedia edit away history that we as this or that denomination may not be comfortable with. (In connection with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, this does include its instrumental rôle in the shaping of Reform Judaism as well as the shaping of the Orthodox Union. This is a field where I have done a great deal of studying — including both primary and secondary sources. But all the time some of the article’s most active editors find wholesale deletion better than working together on a version that is as factual, inclusive and non-partisan as possible, I cannot defend my investing (wasting?) time on it. Maybe there’ll arise a better environment here later... :] Olve 20:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
You are not the only one who has done a lot of research into primary and secondary sources. The claims which you advocate as "factual" are indeed debatable. I am not a religious fanatic - nor am I a revisionist. I simply feel that in an article about Spanish and Portuguese Jews the inclusion of a section regarding pipe organs is misleading. It implies that there is something unique or important about the Spanish and Portuguese use of organs. I don't beleive there is. If there is, I would like to hear it. I have looked up Dobrinsky and Seroussi and neither of them mention any S&P usage of organs other than tangentially ( I have not seen the Swerling book.) And I am offended that you claim I have not read into the sources carefully. All this being said - The article gets better only with the partication of many editors and not fewer. You have not yet articulated why this section is important or appropriate for this article. Perhaps a section about the Spanish and Portuguese Jewry to Reform Judaism might be more appropriate to your points here. But the use of an organ is not a distinguishing feature of Spanish and Portuguese Jewry. And that is my main objection. It would be sad if you left over this issue.Guedalia D'Montenegro 22:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
First of all, we do not seem to disagree about the "90%" version of "the truth" here. It's clearly the minority practice/view we have been debating. .
I never claimed that no-one else here has done research on the topic. You were the one ready to declare: “... Olve - he is way off here ...”, remember? And then you then got offended for my getting defensive...
Truth is complicated, you know. In history, conflicting evidence and conflicting while sometimes equally valid interpretations are normal and expected. I do not mind the controversy (truth matters more than opinions, and neither you nor I nor anyone else has "the truth"), but I just started to feel that the tone of the discussion was getting less-than-constructive and that my efforts would be better spent elsewhere... I still feel that way, mostly. :-( Olve 19:47, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
We certainly need a non-biased account of the use of organs in synagogues generally; perhaps in an article on "Jewish Music" rather than here. On the Ashkenazi side, they were (as I believe) first used in nineteenth-century Reform synagogues in Germany. In this as in many other respects, the Anglo-Jewish (Ashkenazi) musical practice was based on Germanic "Moderate Reform" (as defined by Idelsohn), but tweaked to conform with Orthodox requirements; witness the continued disagreement about choirs with women.
So our question is this. Certainly many early Reform communities (West London, Holland, Hamburg, southern US) took many traditions from S&P. But there was also influence in the reverse direction: see those tunes by Mendelssohn and Verrinder printed in the back of the current English S&P prayer book "by permission of the West London Synagogue". So were organs first used by S&P (albeit not on Shabbat) and then by Reform? Or were they first used by Reform and then introduced for limited purposes by S&P, as in the case of the Ashkenazim? Or does this differ from country to country? Any evidence welcome.
So far as instrumental music generally is concerned, I think there is some confusion between the question of its popularity in the overall culture of C17-18 Spanish and Portuguese Jews, which was obviously considerable, and the question of specifically liturgical use, which was probably always fairly limited. Syrian Jews, for example, have a very strong tradition of extra-liturgical pizmonim, which are sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments such as the oud, but these instruments are never used in synagogue services (even on weekdays); and maybe the S&P position was similar. Again, I wait for enlightenment from those who know more than I do. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:17, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I cannot seem to find the exact source for this, but I have seen at least one article which referred to the use of a harpsichord specifically in connection w/services in Hamburg around 1605 (+/- 2 years). -- Olve 18:49, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
As for instrumental music, the organ was used in at least one Prague synagogue a long time before Reform Judaism was even thought of, BTW. But I am refusing to get further into this discussion here again... :-p Have fun! Olve 19:47, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Sephardi Kippoth[edit]

Does anyone here knows about the cultural resistance of some S&P communities to avoid wearing yarmujke as being an Askhenazi custom? I've seen pictures of S&P Synagogues even into in the 1970's with men wearing top and fedora hats, and even today birettas are common in Eastern Sephardi communities, or those fancy chef-like hats used in the Rome community.

My father grew up in Manchester (Queenston Road) in the 1920s and in his time kippot were completely unheard of: everyone wore hats. Even in the late 1970s when I visited there, there was a notice on the door saying that everyone should wear hats and that a kippah was not sufficient. On more recent visits, I have noticed the kippot creeping in.
As concerns London, I have been attending Lauderdale Road and Bevis Marks on and off since the mid-1970s. Rabbis, parnasim and many of the more regular attenders always wear top hats, and keep them in the synagogue vestry for the purpose; though when they take their hats off you will usually find a kippah underneath. The remaining attenders are divided about equally between Homburg hats and kippot.
I don't know whether this is a specifically Sephardi thing or just old-fashioned Anglo-Jewish. Until the War, top hats were the rule in Ashkenazi synagogues as well (even in strictly Orthodox ones like Adath Israel), and in the 70s and 80s it was still normal for wardens to wear morning dress including top hats. At Eastern Sephardi and Mizrahi services I have attended, kippot now seem fairly normal. Some people (in all communities, including Reform) like those embroidered pill-box affairs used by the Bokharans in Jerusalem. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 15:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject Portugal & WikiProject Spain[edit]

Hello Guedalia D'Montenegro! Why did you revert my addition of WikiProject Portugal & WikiProject Spain to this article? The connection seems obvious...The Ogre 13:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I imagine because the article has nothing to do with the history of either Spain or Portugal: it is about the descendants of Jews who left those countries. There are already separate articles on History of the Jews in Spain and History of the Jews in Portugal. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:27, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe it's connected or related, even if only lateraly, to the history, culture and languages (to say the least...) of the countries in the Iberian Peninsula. WikiProject tags are not a way of asserting propriety, they are just a way of flagging to the participants in each project that a specific article may concern them and should need some attention. Therefore I ask for the tags of WikiProject Portugal & WikiProject Spain be maintained. The Ogre 16:43, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Hello The Ogre, I dislike tags in general, it is true. I find them distracting and pointless. That is when they are attached to an appropriate subject matter. In this case Attaching Spain and Portugal project tags is innappropriate. If you read the begining of the article you will see that this article is not about spain or portugal. Rather, this article is about a particular ethnic/liturgical sect of Jews. S&P Jews have had little or nothing to do with Spain or Portugal in 400 years. And, at the time that they did live in Spain or Portugal, there was no such thing as "Spanish and Portuguese" Jewry. I feel that the tags you placed on this discussion page are a)pointless b) distracting and c)innappropriate. I will probably remove them again soon - after allowing time for people to comment.Guedalia D'Montenegro 03:20, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Hello Guedalia D'Montenegro! I see your point, but couldn't one argue that the fate and history of any group departing from certain area or country, even if it disconnects itlsefl from that area of origin, still, in a way, pertains or interests that area or country? Particularly when that group carries and changes cultural traits, such as language, adquired in the area of origin? Furthermore, disconnecting Spanish and Portuguese Jews from Spain and Portugal is a bit accepting the sucess of those who, historically, tried to make them go way... I personaly was touched when, in the Amsterdam Esnoga, saw an inscription refering to the comunity as We Portuguese of the Nation of Israel! Again I say, "WikiProject tags are not a way of asserting propriety, they are just a way of flagging to the participants in each project that a specific article may concern them and should need some attention." And again I plead "I ask for the tags of WikiProject Portugal & WikiProject Spain be maintained." The Ogre 23:55, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the tags - again. I repeat my belief that tags are a distraction. How does one decide whether a "tag" is appropriate or not? This article could conceivably have 10 or 20 tags (Every place where an S&P community exists or existed, not to mention Judaism, Sefardim, etc.) all claiming a relevence of the article and tagging it. No, I think the best thing is to keep all tags off. Guedalia D'Montenegro 01:42, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

And certainly I see no point in having a tag for Spain and not for Portugal: all Sephardim (in the strict sense) have a link with Spain, but the distinguishing characteristic of our group is the link with Portugal: see next section. We should have both tags or neither. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 16:53, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Portuguese nation[edit]

The following:

"The use of the terms Portuguese Jews and Jews of the Portuguese nation in some areas (mainly in the Netherlands and Hamburg/Scandinavia) seems to have arisen primarily as a way for the Spanish and Portuguese Jews to distance themselves from Spain in the times of political tension and war between Spain and the Netherlands in the 17th century."

... might be true for the Netherlands. The comunities of Hamburg an Altona were of Portuguese heritage. They used Portuguese as langugage in the records of the synagogue and the epitaphs of the Altona cemetery are Portugese an Hebrew. There was also a considerable number of Portuguese christians in Hamburg (in the 17. century). --Catrin 03:57, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, very much so. And even for the Netherlands, one must say that in the Amsterdam Esnoga you find writing in Hebrew and Portuguese, not Spanish, and somewhere in there it is written in perfect Portuguese "Nós, os Portugueses da Nação", meaning, "We, the Portuguese of the Nation", Nation meaning Israel. The Ogre 15:00, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
In the early history of all these communities, the Portuguese element had the whip hand: the by-laws of the Pisa and Livorno communities were all written in (not very good) Portuguese. One could even posit that the expression "Spanish AND Portuguese" is meant literally: Jews of Spanish background who later left the Iberian peninsula via Portugal. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 16:49, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
Touché. -- Olve 18:43, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Epitaphs in Livorno were in Spanish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Heartfelt plea[edit]

Can someone please stop correcting "Spanish and Portuguese" to "Portuguese and Spanish". "Spanish and Portuguese Jews" is the accepted term of art for the ethno-religious group to which this article relates. It is not a case of "Spanish Jews" plus "Portuguese Jews", where neutrality requires alphabetical precedence. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 10:33, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Livorno Jewry had the so-called "Portuguese and Spanish community of Livorno".

Commercial Recordings[edit]

There have been several commercially available recordings of S&P music released over the past few years. [In fact one was released by Hazzan Daniel Halfon just a few weeks ago.] I wonder if we could add a section about these recordings to the article, or, whether that would be an improper commercialization of this article. I can think of 7, in print, commercially available recordings that have been released in the past 5 years or so. Several more if we include the communities of Florence / Leghorn. These recordings may be of use to people interested in this article. Any thoughts?Guedalia D'Montenegro —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 06:21, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Odd, that. Logically it should be just as acceptable to cite a particular CD with relevant information as to cite a particular book, as books too are commercial products. But except for articles about particular artists we never see "Discography" on Wikipedia. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 10:50, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I'll take this as encouragement and post a discography tonight. Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 16:30, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
The right approach would probably be to give titles and reference details of recordings, but not links to organisations selling them. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:51, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Recently there was a short back and forth about the transliteration of the Ayin in this article. This got me thinking about the S&P Ngayin. The article mentions that this pronunciation is shared with Italian Jews. No mention, however, is made of the curious crossover with certain other rites. In Yiddish, for example, the name Jacob is frequently pronounced as "Yankov" or "Yankele." There are some other examples as well. Does anyone have any info about this S&P - Yiddish cross-over? Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 17:01, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Odd, that. We are always told that this only happened in a few specific German communities such as Frankfurt, under Dutch influence. But I cannot help wondering whether there was a more widespread linguistic influence on Ashkenaz from Italy in late Renaissance times (many Yiddish books were first published in Italy, such as Levita's Bovo Buch), parallel to the intellectual Kabbalistic-Platonic influence that gave rise to the Maharal of Prague, Shene Luhhot ha-Berit etc., and the Italian influence on German culture generally (as in the reception of Roman law).
Another Italian oddity is that Ayin can sometimes become "ny" rather than "ng". This is a feature of Roman dialect (not just Jewish Roman), in which "gn" and "ng" are frequently confused. Could this be behind a certain Yiddish tendency to pronounce Ayin as "y" (as in "myseh" for "ma'aseh")? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 14:04, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The mainstream Yiddish occasional reflection of ע as n or y is the same as the Yiddish reflection of א as n or y. These are a result of vowel + hiatus + shevá, rather than whether there is a ע at hand. The SW Germany Yiddish dialects with ng from ע seem to be part of a different story. -- Olve Utne (talk) 15:42, 22 May 2009 (UTC)


This article is continually getting better. Kudos to Sir Myles. One area I think should be expanded. S&P cantillation deserves to be described. I will start something - but hopefully those who know more will help me.Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 03:45, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Very well done. Can you give me some more information?
1. When you say "the Shirah" (in connection with the high ta'amim) do you mean the Shirat ha-Yam, the Shirat Mosheh in Ha'azinu, or both? I have a trace memory of hearing that some communities (not necessarily S&P ones) do the Shirat ha-Yam in accordance with the melodic tune and not with the cantillation marks at all.
2. When you speak of a separate melody for Shir ha-Shirim, when is this used? There is no custom of reading it on Pesach as the Ashkenazim do, and I assumed, without knowing, that if it were read at all it would have the melody for Ruth (as the "default" melody for Ketubim generally). If there is a separate melody, I'd love to know about it. (Syrian Jews do have a separate melody for Shir ha-Shirim, as they read this on Friday nights: it is on the website.)
3. When you speak of "parts" of Job, presumably you mean the beginning and end bits that have the normal accentuation. (Syrians, by the way, read these in Ruth cantillation, not Shir ha-Shirim cantillation.) Is there a special tune used for the main part with the "emet" accentuation, and if so does this actually follow the accents or is it a plain chant like some of the Psalms?
Best wishes. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:55, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
1. I meant Shirat haYam. I beleive it is also used for Haazinu - but I cannot recall offhand. I will check.
2. The melody for Shir haShirim can be heard in small bits of the service. I.e. There is a special mi-sheberach read for naming a baby girl. The introduction to this mi-sheberach contains a few pesukim from Shir-Hashirim. ("Yonati beHagvei haSelah") Also from the first of Nissan through the eve of Passover several verses from shir ha-shirim are read at the conclusion of the daily shacharit. The same is done for Ruth before Shavuot, Esther before Purim and Eichah before Tishnga beAb. Indicating that Shir HaShirim may once have been read on Passover. In NY effort has been made to re-introduce Shir haShirim on Passover albeit in the afternoon (like Ruth). The melody (for Shir haShirim) is distinct from that of Ruth, although they do sound similar -- especially to an untrained ear-- they are probably related, so I wouldn't say that your hunch is untrue. Being a layman, I would not know if the two melodies were originally distinct and sort of merged over time, or vice versa one melody for both which morphed over time. Both are plausible. It is easiest to distinguish the two melodies if you first listen to the sof pasuk. It is not read on Friday nights.
3. Parts of Job - you are correct it is the begining and end. I had always (ignorantly) assumed that the custom of reading the begining and end had to do with the length of the book of Job. I did not realize that the masoretic trope was different for the middle chapters.
Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) is not read. When verses appear in other prayers they are subsumed to the melody in those prayers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Guedalia D'Montenegro (talkcontribs) 12:44, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks very much. I'm pretty sure the Shirat Mosheh, or maybe the whole of Ha'azinu, is read in high na'um (given the short verse lengths it would sound extremely dull otherwise), but my source for this (Hochmat Shelomoh) relates to Amsterdam and usage may not be absolutely uniform. Hochmat Shelomoh indicates odd verses in other places, and sometimes even single words, that are so read, but I don't remember this happening in London.
Yes - in this regard NY follows the same or similar traditions as Amsterdam.
Sometimes there are very short phrases in the High Teamim, at other times long passages of high te'amim are interupted by a single verse in the regular trope.Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 17:46, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
On Job, are you saying that the middle part is read to a different chant? or that it is not read at all? Shabbat shalom.--Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 15:18, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
The middle parts are not read at all.Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 17:46, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


As you can see, I've been cleaning up the section on particular communities. But there are several loose ends concerning the communities of Suriname and the Caribbean; can someone give me some more information?

  1. Suriname. I'd always understood that Sedek Ve Shalom was still a functioning Spanish and Portuguese community. But when I Googled recently, it appeared that there were so few Jews left that it had merged with Neve Shalom and that the services now took place there; what kind of services it didn't say. Another site suggested that Neve Shalom is now Conservative. But as these were both the equivalent of personal blogs I didn't feel I could amend the article on this basis.
  2. Barbados. The article on Nidhe Israel Synagogue has an infobox saying that the synagogue is functioning, that it is Conservative but uses the Sephardi rite. On searching elsewhere all I find is that it was restored at the instance of the local Jewish community (which had previously formed a congregation, but I don't know whether it had a synagogue elsewhere) and sometimes used for services; but it doesn't say whether it is now a separate congregation, and if so of what kind.
  3. Cayman Islands. The list of communities originally included an entry "Cayman Islands" without more. So far as I can discover, the only synagogue on the Caymans is Beth Shalom on Cayman Brac, which appears to be little more than a family chapel, and has a Sephardi Sefer Torah; but whether there is a congregation, and if so whether this is Spanish and Portuguese, or Orthodox/Conservative/Reform, does not appear.

None of these synagogues appears to have its own website. Has anyone been in any of these places recently enough to know the current position? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 13:32, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

northern coastal europe[edit]

Spanish & Portuguese Jews weren't only found in Holland, but also in Hamburg (a Hansestadt in now Germany, along with its satellites, Rostock, Lübeck, and Kiel), in Christiania, København and later also in Brandenburg and Stockholm. Indeed it is these communities that formed what would eventually become the core of this community (as distinct, essentially, as the "European" Sfaradim, as opposed to those who found refuge from the Expulsion, in the Muslim lands, later esp. under the Ottomans), even though by a century ago already, their influence was already undergoing Ashkenazi obliteration. Tomertalk 07:19, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, some of these communities are mentioned in the article, but, more could be written. It is unclear to me where the best place for these communities to be described is. Perhaps the "Netherlands" section should be renamed "Northern Europe" and then a paragraph added there.
Alternatively, a seperate paragraph could be added for "Hamburg & Northern Europe". More work needs to be done on describing the relationship between the Hamburg and Amsterdam communities. Did the Hamburg community have a Haham of its own. I know that many of its Hazanim came from Holland. I have been told that their prayer-books came from Amsterdam. Some work has been done regarding their music which was transcribed in the 19th Century as the community turned toward Reform. (See Serrousi's book "Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue Music in Nineteenth-Century Reform Sources from Hamburg".)Guedalia D'Montenegro (talk) 15:58, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Quite so. When I wrote the part on the history of different countries, I intended a section about Hamburg etc. to go after the Netherlands, but could not write it as I know almost nothing about those communities. I did leave hidden text to flag it up. Can someone have a go at writing something on these lines? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:42, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Now done in relation to Hamburg, by incorporating the Jewish Encyclopedia article. Can anyone help on Scandinavia? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 11:23, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll try to find the time to fill in the Scandinavia section a bit. (Life is very busy these days....) -- Olve Utne (talk) 15:34, 22 May 2009 (UTC)


The main synagogue in Madrid describes itself as "Sephardi". But is it Spanish and Portuguese in the same sense as the others described? If so, it should be included.

Also, there is the case of Ceuta and Melilla. Demographically and liturgically they occupy a mid-point between Gibraltar (which is generally counted as Spanish and Portuguese) and Tetuan/Tangiers (which is generally counted as Spanish-Moroccan), though all three are pretty similar; and they regard themselves as the sole surviving continuation of the pre-expulsion community of Spain. Do we include them? --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 11:23, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Present communities - Portugal[edit]

I have some serious doubts that the present communities in Portugal presented in the article are of "Spanish and Portuguese Jews" in the narrow sense defined here. The Lisbon Synagogue has its origin in the Sephardi Jews from Morocco and Gibraltar; the Porto sinagogue was founded by Marranos coming back to mainstream Judaism; The Belmonte community is of Marrano origin, only recently having come out of crypto-judaism into mainstream one. Should these 3 communities be here? The Ogre (talk) 15:05, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

What you say about Lisbon is correct, but the same is true of many of the congregants in London: the old converso families are by now a minority. Certainly when the Lisbon community was set up, it was with the help of Bevis Marks, and the ritual had an Anglo-Jewish flavour: I haven't been there, and don't know if this is still true. (Interesting as an illustration of Anglo-Portuguese links: equally, the ritual in Lisbon Cathedral was based on the Sarum rite!) I once knew an Ashkenazi who visited Lisbon, and one of the congregants refused to shake hands with him, saying "As far as I am concerned, Jews live between Gibraltar to the south and Amsterdam to the north, Lisbon to the west and Italy to the east". That sounds entirely S&P in the sense intended!
Porto does consist of recent crypto-Jews, but since S&P Jews are simply crypto-Jews from rather longer ago, that is not a decisive distinction. The question is to what shade of Judaism they reverted. The community was sponsored by the Kadoorie family, of Baghdadi origin, but again I imagine (without knowing) that it was moulded on London lines. Belmonte is different, as they have consciously rejected the guidance of Lisbon and chosen the sponsorship of the Shavei Israel organisation. (Another community of recent crypto-Jews, also in Lisbon, is under the guidance of the London Masorti (Ashkenazi) community.) --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

People in Sephardi or S-P categories[edit]

Could someone explain the correct use of these, as it seems somewhat confusing

which categories should Daniel Mendoza and Isaac Bitton (boxer) be in?

Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jarrowsky (talkcontribs) 00:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

"Spanish and Portuguese Jews" is a subset of "Sephardi Jews". Both descriptions are therefore correct for Mendoza and Bitton, but S&P is more precise.
The difference is that "Spanish and Portuguese Jews" refers to the communities of Western Europe and the Americas descended from Spanish and Portuguese converts to Catholicism who later reverted to Judaism. "Sephardim" includes these, but also includes Judaeo-Spanish communities from Greece, Turkey, the Balkans and North Africa; and in a looser sense, the Jewish communities of Asia and Africa generally. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 13:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Thankyou, so Sephardim are those not descended from conversos etc., anyone who is descended from an unbroken line of those that followed Judaism is a Sephardim, is this correct? Jarrowsky (talk) 21:41, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
BOTH groups are Sephardim. A Sephardi is any Jew with origins in the Iberian Peninsula (or, in a looser sense, anyone following the Sephardic rite), whether or not there are conversos in the line of descent.
The point about conversos exists to define communities rather than individuals. The Spanish and Portuguese communities of Amsterdam, London etc were founded by conversos or their descendants, and that is what marks off these communities from other Sephardic communities. But many individuals from North Africa and the Near East, without converso roots, later assimilated to these communities and in that sense became "Spanish and Portuguese" (while not ceasing to be Sephardim). In the result, "Spanish and Portuguese" is not a precise status, but just a handy label for the Western branch of the overall Sephardic family. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 14:50, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, so is it debatable whethere there should be a categories specifically for Spanish & Portuguese Jews then, would it be safer to just have Sephardi categories? Is it correct for example that David Ricardo is in the S-P category, and not a Sephardi category? Jarrowsky (talk) 17:54, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Source needed for use of kippot[edit]

Hello, I have been told by congregants at S&P synagogue that it is the S&P minhag to discourage use of kippot outside of synagogue/ritual practices, in order to maintain the difference between kedusha and not. Does anyone have a source for this so I can post it in this wiki article? Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:38, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Necessary connection with Anusim[edit]

I have not heard that the term 'Spanish and Portuguese Jews' is restricted to those Sephardim whose family histories included an interlude of forced conversion. Does anyone have a source for this claim?CharlesMartel (talk) 16:33, 27 April 2014 (UTC)CharlesMartel

Spanish and portuguese Jews refer to any one that follows the Spanish and Portuguese minhag. If you attend these synagogues most people do not descend from the original Jews from Spain or Portugal but DO keep their minhag. --Daniel E Romero (talk) 04:51, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Exactly. The mention of anusim was to explain the origin of the communities, not their present membership. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 16:46, 28 April 2014 (UTC)