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Since immigrating to the U.S. in the early 20th century, Sephardic Jews have struggled to gain acceptance as both Americans and Jews. In the Ashkenormative American Jewish society, where Ashkenazi culture is the norm, their Sephardic roots were often a source of embarrassment. Even today, at Jewish day schools and college campuses, Sephardic students say that they feel marginalized because of the absence of Sephardic minyanim and programming or acknowledgment of their cultural and religious heritage—and even when it is recognized, they feel patronized because the context is often limited to food, rather than Sephardic contributions to Jewish literature, philosophy, and the arts, or rabbinic approaches to contemporary Jewish issues.
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021