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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 13.11:
Who are the Edot Mizraxi?

Answer:

There were two communities in countries like Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The first are communities that were there since the fall of the Temple. In the case of Iraq's Babylonian Jewery, since the fall of the First Temple. These are the people who maintained the institutions that gave us the Talmud. For example, the acadamy of Sura, in which half the debates of the Talmud occured (along with Pupedisa/Naharda'ah, the other half) was founded in the Hasmonian period and was closed in 1958 CE!

The other community are the exiles from Spain in 1942, who were largely absorbed into the older communities.

Technically, Edot haMizrach refer to the former, Sepharadi -- the latter. Of course, the communities pretty well blended. Still, we see customs particular to these communities that originated in the local traditions rather than the Spanish ones. Including pronunciation, diferences in prayer texts, etc… There are far more than one or two differences in pronunciation, cantillation and services.

The Ben Ish Hai, and later R' Ovadia Yosef, has done much to unify Sefaradi and Edot haMizrach practice to some fusion of Sepharadi and Iraqi traditions.


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