The Crimean Karaites or Krymkaraylar known as Karaims and Qarays, are an ethnic group derived from Turkic-speaking adherents of Karaite Judaism in Central and Eastern Europe in the territory of the former Russian Empire. "Karaim" is a Russian, Ukrainian and Polish name for the community. Turkic-speaking Karaites have lived in Crimea for centuries, their origin is a matter of great controversy. Some regard them as descendants of Karaite Jews who settled in Crimea and adopted a form of the Kypchak tongue. Others view them as descendants of Khazar or Cuman, Kipchak converts to Karaite Judaism. Today many Crimean Karaites identify as descendants of the Khazars; some specialists in Khazar history question the Khazar theory of Karaim origins, noting the following: the Karaim language belongs to the Kipchak linguistic group, the Khazar language belongs to the Bulgar group. The tradition of Karaite Judaism ranks only the Tanakh as a holy book and does not recognize the Talmud. But, the first written mention of the Crimean Karaites was in the 14th century.
These entreaties were successful, in large part due to the czars’ wariness of the Talmud, in 1863 Karaites were granted the same rights as their Christian and Tatar neighbors. Exempted from the Pale of Settlement they were considered non Jews by Nazis; this left the community untouched by Holocaust, unlike other Turkic-speaking Jews, like the Krymchak Jews that were wiped out. Modern Karaim resist being identified as Jews, emphasizing their Turkic heritage and claiming they are Turkic practitioners of a "Mosaic religion" separate and distinct from Judaism. Miller says that Crimean Karaites did not start claiming a distinct identity apart from the Jewish people before the 19th century, that such leaders as Avraham Firkovich and Sima Babovich encouraged this position to avoid the strong anti-Semitism of the period. From the time of the Golden Horde onward, Karaites were present in many towns and villages throughout Crimea and around the Black Sea. During the period of the Crimean Khanate, they had major communities in the towns of Çufut Qale, Sudak and Bakhchisaray.
According to most opinions, the upper stratum of the Khazar society converted to Judaism in the 8th–9th centuries CE. The extent of this conversion and its scope is not known. With the collapse of the Khazar Khanate, a group of the Khazars who took part in a failed rebellion, joined the Magyars in the invasion of Hungary. An archeological relic of this Khazar settlement was discovered in Transylvania in the 20th century. Known as the Alsószentmihály Rovas inscription, it was transcribed by the archaeologist-historian Gábor Vékony. According to the transcription, the two-row inscription means the following: "His mansion is famous." "Jüedi Kür Karaite." or "Jüedi Kür the Karaite." Scholars take this as evidence. According to Karaite tradition, Grand Duke Vytautas of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania relocated one branch of the Crimean Karaites to Lithuania. There they continued to speak their own language, but the Lithuanian dialect of the Karaim language differs from the Crimean one. The Lithuanian Karaites settled in Vilnius and Trakai, as well as in Biržai, Pasvalys and Upytė – smaller settlements throughout Lithuania proper.
The Lithuanian Karaites settled in lands of modern Belarus and Ukraine, which were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Karaite communities emerged in Halicz and Kokizow in Galicia, as well as in Łuck and Derazhne in Volhynia. Jews in Lithuanian territory were granted a measure of autonomy under Michel Ezofovich Senior's management; the Trakai Karaim refused citing differences in faith. All Jews, including Karaites, were submitted to Rabbinite "Council of Four Lands" and "Council of the Land of Lithuania" taxation; the Yiddish-speaking Rabbinites considered the Turkic-speaking Karaites to be apostates, kept them in a subordinate and depressed position. The Karaites resented this treatment. In 1646 the Karaites gained expulsion of the Rabbinites from Trakai. Despite such tensions, in 1680 Rabbinite community leaders defended the Karaites of Shaty against blood accusation. Representatives of both groups signed an agreement in 1714 to respect the mutual privileges and resolve disputes without involving the Gentile administration.
According to Crimean Karaite tradition, which developed in the 20th century inter-war Poland their forefathers were farmers and members of the community who served in the military forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as in the Crimean Khanate. But according to the historical documents of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the chief occupation of the Crimean Karaites was usury, they were granted special privileges, including exemption from the military service. In the Crimean Khanate, the Karaites
Bukharan Jews Bukharian Jews or Bukhari Jews, are Jews of the Mizrahi branch from Central Asia who spoke Bukhori, a Tajik dialect of the Persian language. Their name comes from the former Central Asian Emirate of Bukhara, which once had a sizable Jewish community. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the great majority have immigrated to Israel or to the United States, while others have immigrated to Europe or Australia; the term Bukharan was coined by European travelers. Since most of the Jewish community at the time lived under the Emirate of Bukhara, they came to be known as Bukharan Jews; the name by which the community called itself is "Isro'il". The appellative Bukharian was adopted by Bukharan Jews who moved to English-speaking countries, in an anglicisation of the Hebrew Bukhari. However, Bukharan was the term used by English writers, as it was for other aspects of Bukhara. Bukharan Jews used the Persian language to communicate among themselves and developed Bukhori, a Tajik dialect of the Persian language with small linguistic traces of Hebrew.
This language provided easier communication with their neighboring communities and was used for all cultural and educational life among the Jews. It was used until the area was "Russified" by the Russians and the dissemination of "religious" information was halted; the elderly Bukharan generation use Bukhori as their primary language but speak Russian with a slight Bukharan accent. The younger generation do understand or speak Bukhori; the Bukharan Jews have been introduced to and practice Sephardic Judaism. The first primary written account of Jews in Central Asia dates to the beginning of the 4th century CE, it is recalled in the Talmud by Rabbi Shmuel bar Bisna, a member of the Talmudic academy in Pumbeditha, who traveled to Margiana and feared that the wine and alcohol produced by local Jews was not kosher. The presence of Jewish communities in Merv is proven by Jewish writings on ossuaries from the 5th and 6th centuries, uncovered between 1954 and 1956. According to some ancient texts, there were Israelites that began traveling to Central Asia to work as traders during the reign of King David of Jerusalem as far back as the 10th century B.
C. E; when Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon, he encouraged the Jews he liberated to settle in his empire, which included areas of Central Asia. In the Middle Ages, the largest Jewish settlement in Central Asia was in the Emirate of Bukhara. Among Bukharan Jews, there are two ancient theories of. One theory is that Bukharan Jews may be descended from the Tribe of Naphtali and the Tribe of Issachar of the Lost Tribes of Israel who may have been exiled during the Assyrian captivity of Israel in the 7th century BCE. Isakharov is a common surname. Modern sources have described the Bukhara Jews as, for example, "an ethnic and linguistic group in Central Asia, claiming descent from 5th-century exiles from Persia"; the Bukharan Jews are considered one of the oldest ethno-religious groups of Central Asia and over the years they have developed their own distinct culture. Throughout the years, Jews from other Eastern countries such as Iraq, Yemen and Morocco migrated into Central Asia. In the beginning of the 16th century, the area was invaded and occupied by nomadic Uzbek tribes who established strict observance of Islamic religion.
Around 1620, the first synagogue was constructed at Bukhara city. This was done in contravention of the law prescribed to Caliph Omar who forbade the construction of new non-Muslim places of worship including synagogues as well as forbade the destruction of those that existed in the pre-Islamic period. There was a case when Caliph Umar had ordered the destruction of a mosque, built illegally on Jewish land. Before the construction of the first synagogue, Jews had shared a place in a mosque with Muslims; this mosque was called the Magoki Attoron. Some say that Muslims worshipped alongside each other in the same place at the same time. Other sources insist; the construction of the first Bukhara synagogue was credited to two people: Nodir Divan-Begi, an important grandee, an anonymous widow, who outwitted an official. During the 18th century, Bukharan Jews faced considerable persecution. Jewish centers were closed down, the Muslims of the region forced conversion on the Jews, the Bukharan Jewish population decreased to the point where they were extinct.
Due to pressures to convert to Islam and isolation from the rest of the Jewish world, the Jews of Bukhara began to lack knowledge and practice of their Jewish religion. By the middle of the 18th century all Bukharan Jews lived in the Bukharan Emirate. In 1793, Rabbi Yosef Maimon, a Sephardic Jew from Tetuan and prominent kabbalist in Safed, traveled to Bukhara and found the local Jews in a bad state, he decided to settle there. Maimon was disappointed to see so many Jews lacking knowledge and observance of their religious customs and Jewish law, he became a spiritual leader, aiming to educate and revive the Jewish community's observance and faith in Judaism. He changed their Persian religious tradition to Sephardic Jewish tradition. M
Yemenite Jews or Yemeni Jews or Teimanim are those Jews who live, or once lived, in Yemen. The term may refer to the descendants of the Yemenite Jewish community. Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. After several waves of persecution throughout Yemen, most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, while smaller communities live in the United States and elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen; the few remaining Jews experience intense, at times violent, anti-Semitism on a daily basis. Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from Ashkenazi and other Jewish groups, they have been described as "the most Jewish of all Jews" and the same with Yemeni Arabs who are described as pure Arabs. Yemenite Jews are described as belonging to "Mizrahi Jews", though they differ from the general trend of Mizrahi groups in Israel, which have undergone a process of total or partial assimilation to Sephardic culture and Sephardic liturgy.
While the Shami sub-group of Yemenite Jews did adopt a Sephardic-influenced rite, this was in no small part due to it being forced upon them, did not reflect a demographic or cultural shift. Some Jewish families have preserved traditions relating to their tribal affiliation, based on partial genealogical records passed down generation after generation. In Yemen, for example, some Jews trace their lineage to Judah, others to Benjamin, while yet others to Levi and Reuben. Of particular interest is one distinguished Jewish family of Yemen who traced their lineage to Bani, one of the sons of Peretz, the son of Judah. There are numerous accounts and traditions concerning the arrival of Jews in various regions in Southern Arabia. One tradition suggests that King Solomon sent Jewish merchant marines to Yemen to prospect for gold and silver with which to adorn his Temple in Jerusalem. In 1881, the French vice consulate in Yemen wrote to the leaders of the Alliance in France, that he read in a book by the Arab historian Abu-Alfada that the Jews of Yemen settled in the area in 1451 BCE.
Another legend says that Yemeni tribes converted to Judaism after the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. The Sanaite Jews have a tradition that their ancestors settled in Yemen forty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple, it is said that under the prophet Jeremiah some 75,000 Jews, including priests and Levites, traveled to Yemen. Another legend states that when Ezra commanded the Jews to return to Jerusalem they disobeyed, whereupon he pronounced a ban upon them. According to this legend, as a punishment for this hasty action, Ezra was denied burial in Israel; as a result of this local tradition, which can not be validated it is said that no Jew of Yemen gives the name of Ezra to a child, although all other Biblical appellatives are used. The Yemenite Jews claim; this seems to have come true in the eyes of some Yemenites, as Yemen is poor. However, some Yemenite sages in Israel today emphatically reject this story as myth, if not outright blasphemy. Archaeological records referring to Judaism in Yemen started to appear during the rule of the Himyarite Kingdom, established in Yemen in 110 BCE.
Various inscription in Musnad script in the second century CE refer to constructions of synagogues approved by Himyarite Kings. According to local legends, the kingdom's aristocracy converted to Judaism in the 6th century CE; the Christian missionary, who came to Yemen in the mid-fourth century, complained that he had found great numbers of Jews. By 380 CE, Himyarites religious practices had undergone fundamental changes; the inscriptions were no longer addressed to El Maqah or'Athtar, but to a single deity called Rahman. Debate among scholars continues as to whether the Himyarite monotheism was influenced by Judaism or Christianity. Jews became numerous and powerful in the southern part of Arabia, a rich and fertile land of incense and spices and a way station on the routes to Africa and East Asia; the Yemeni tribes did not oppose Jewish presence in their country. By 516, tribal unrest broke out, several tribal elites fought for power. One of those elites was Joseph Dhu Nuwas or "Yûsuf'As'ar Yaṯ'ar" as mentioned in ancient south Arabian inscriptions.
The actual story of Joseph is murky. Greek and Ethiopian accounts, portray him as a Jewish zealot; some scholars suggest. Nestorian accounts claim that his mother was a Jew taken captive from Nisibis and bought by a king in Yemen, whose ancestors had converted to Judaism. Syriac and Byzantine sources maintain that Yûsuf ’As’ar sought to convert other Yemeni Christians, but they refused to renounce Christianity; the actual picture, remains unclear. Some scholars believe. In 2009 a BBC broadcast defended a claim that Yûsuf ’As’ar offered villagers the choice between conversion to Judaism or death and massacred 20,000 Christians; the program's producers stated that, "The production team spoke to many historians over 18 months, among them Nigel Groom, our consultant, Professor Abdul Rahman Al-Ansary." Inscriptions attributed to Yûsuf ’As’ar himself show the great pride he expressed after killing more than 22,000 Christians in Ẓafār and Najran. According to Jamme, Sabaean inscriptions reveal that the combined war booty from campaigns waged against the Abyssinians in Ẓafār, the fighters in ’Ašʻarān, Rakbān, Farasān, Muḥwān (Moch
Jewish ethnic divisions
Jewish ethnic divisions refers to a number of distinctive communities within the world's ethnically Jewish population. Although considered one single self-identifying ethnicity, there are distinctive ethnic subdivisions among Jews, most of which are the result of geographic branching from an originating Israelite population, mixing with local populations, subsequent independent evolutions; as long ago as Biblical times and linguistic differences between Jewish communities within the area of Ancient Israel and Judea, are observed both within the Bible itself as well as from archeological remains. In more recent human history, an array of Jewish communities were established by Jewish settlers in various places around the Old World at great distances from one another resulting in effective and long-term isolation from each other. During the millennia of the Jewish diaspora the communities would develop under the influence of their local environments. Today, manifestation of these differences among the Jews can be observed in Jewish cultural expressions of each community, including Jewish linguistic diversity, culinary preferences, liturgical practices, religious interpretations, as well as degrees and sources of genetic admixture.
The full extent of the cultural, religious or other differences among the Israelites in antiquity is unknown. Following the defeat of the Kingdom of Israel in the 720s BCE and the Kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE, the Jewish people became dispersed throughout much of the Middle East and Africa in Egypt and North Africa to the west, as well as in Yemen to the south, in Mesopotamia to the east; the Jewish population in ancient Israel was reduced by the Jewish–Roman wars and by the hostile policies of the Christian emperors, against non-Christians, but the Jews always retained a presence in the Levant. Paul Johnson writes of this time: "Wherever towns survived, or urban communities sprang up, Jews would sooner or establish themselves; the near-destruction of Palestinian Jewry in the second century turned the survivors of Jewish rural communities into marginal town-dwellers. After the Arab conquest in the seventh century, the large Jewish agricultural communities in Babylonia were progressively wrecked by high taxation, so that there too the Jews drifted into towns and became craftsmen and dealers.
Everywhere these urban Jews, the vast majority literate and numerate, managed to settle, unless penal laws or physical violence made it impossible."Jewish communities continued to exist in Palestine in small numbers: during the early Byzantine 6th century there were 43 communities. The majority of the Jewish population during the High Middle Ages lived in Iberia and in the region of Mesopotamia and Persia, the former known as the Sefardim and the latter known as the Mizrahim. A substantial population existed in central Europe, the so-called Ashkenazim. Following the expulsion of Sephardim from Iberia during the 15th century, a mass migration into the Ottoman Empire swelled the size of many eastern communities including those in Palestine; the 16th century saw many Ashkenazi Kabbalists drawn to the mystical aura and teachings of the Jewish holy city. Johnson notes that in the Arab-Muslim territories, which included most of Spain, all of North Africa, the Near East south of Anatolia in the Middle Ages, the Jewish condition was easier as a rule, than it was in Europe.
Over the centuries following the Crusades and Inquisition, Jews from around the world began emigrating in increasing numbers. Upon arrival, these Jews adopted the customs of the Mizrahi and Sephardi communities into which they moved. With Baron von Rothschild's land purchases and subsequent efforts to turn Palestine into a verdant Jewish homeland, the subsequent rise of Zionism, a flood of Ashkenazi immigration brought the Jewish population of the region to several hundred thousand. Following the failure of the second revolt against the Romans and the exile, Jewish communities could be found in nearly every notable center throughout the Roman Empire, as well as scattered communities found in centers beyond the Empire's borders in northern Europe, in eastern Europe, in southwestern Asia, in Africa. Farther to the east along trade routes, Jewish communities could be found throughout Persia and in empires farther east including in India and China. In the Early Middle Ages of the 6th to 11th centuries, the Radhanites traded along the overland routes between Europe and Asia earlier established by the Romans, dominated trade between the Christian and the Islamic worlds, used a trade network that covered most areas of Jewish settlement.
In the middle Byzantine period, the khan of Khazaria in the northern Caucasus and his court converted to Judaism in order to maintain neutrality between Christian Byzantium and the Islamic world. This event forms the framework for Yehuda Halevi's work The Kuzari, but how much these traces of Judaism within this group survived the collapse of the Khazar empire is a matter of scholarly debate. In western Europe, following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476, after the re-orientation of trade caused by the Moorish conquest of Iberia in the early 8th century, communications between the Jewish communities in northern parts of the former western empire became sporadic. At the s
The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the centerpiece of Jewish cultural life and was foundational to "all Jewish thought and aspirations", serving as "the guide for the daily life" of Jews; the term "Talmud" refers to the collection of writings named the Babylonian Talmud, although there is an earlier collection known as the Jerusalem Talmud. It may traditionally be called Shas, a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, or the "six orders" of the Mishnah; the Talmud has two components. The term "Talmud" may refer to either the Gemara alone; the entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, in standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Mishnaic Hebrew and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including halakha, Jewish ethics, customs, history and many other topics.
The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law, is quoted in rabbinic literature. Talmud translates as "instruction, learning", from a root LMD "teach, study". Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the Torah and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works, though some may have made private notes, for example of court decisions; this situation changed drastically as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth and the Second Temple in the year 70 and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple and Judea without at least partial autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained, it is during this period. The oldest full manuscript of the Talmud, known as the Munich Talmud, dates from 1342 and is available online; the process of "Gemara" proceeded in what were the two major centers of Jewish scholarship and Babylonia.
Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Talmud Yerushalmi, it was compiled in the 4th century in Galilee. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500; the word "Talmud", when used without qualification refers to the Babylonian Talmud. While the editors of Jerusalem Talmud and Babylonian Talmud each mention the other community, most scholars believe these documents were written independently. Here the argument from silence is convincing." The Jerusalem Talmud known as the Palestinian Talmud, or Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary, transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in the Land of Israel. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias and Caesarea, it is written in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, a Western Aramaic language that differs from its Babylonian counterpart. This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah, developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Galilee Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel.
Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi, but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem, it has more been called "The Talmud of the Land of Israel". Its final redaction belongs to the end of the 4th century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, said "let us have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd." This policy made a Jew an pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended; the text is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the 5th century has been associated with the decision of Theodosius II in 425 to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of semikhah, formal scholarly ordination.
Some modern scholars have questioned this connection. Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land, it was an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Chana
The Romaniote Jews or Romaniotes are an ethnic Jewish community native to the Eastern Mediterranean. They are one of the oldest Jewish communities in existence and the oldest Jewish community in Europe, their distinct language was Judaeo-Greek, a Greek dialect that contained Hebrew along with some Aramaic and Turkish words but now speak modern Greek or the languages of their new home countries. They derived their name from the old name for the people of Romaioi. Large communities were located in Thebes, Chalcis, Arta, Volos, Corinth, on the islands of Zakynthos, Chios, Samos and Cyprus, among others; the Romaniotes are distinct and still remain distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Ottoman Greece after the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain. A majority of the Jewish population of Greece was killed in the Holocaust after Axis powers occupied Greece during World War II, they deported most of the Jews to Nazi concentration camps. After the war, a majority of the survivors emigrated to Israel, the United States, Western Europe.
Today there are still functioning Romaniote Synagogues in Chalkis which represents the oldest Jewish congregation on European ground, in Ioannina, New York and Israel. The name Romaniote refers to the medieval Eastern Roman Empire, which included the territory of modern Greece, was for centuries the homeland of this Jewish group; the Empire was referred to as Rhomania and its Christian citizens as Rhomaioi, while the Greek-speaking Jews were called Romaniotes. Further Information: Ῥωμαῖοι. Jews have lived in Greece long before the Second Temple era; the Greek Judaism dates back over 2,300 years to the time of Alexander the Great. The earliest reference to a Greek Jew is an inscription dated c. 300–250 BC, found in Oropos, a small coastal town between Athens and Boeotia, which refers to "Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew", who may have been a slave. On the Island Aegina a Hellenistic Jewish synagogue was discovered in 1829 in the capital of the Island, near the ancient military port; the synagogue was discovered by the Scottish German historian Ludwig Ross, from the royal court of King Otto of Greece.
The floor was covered in order to be protected and was studied again by Thiersch in 1901, Furtwängler in 1904, E. Sukenik in 1928, by the German archaeologist Dr. G. Welter, in 1932; the studies were completed by the National Archaeological Service. Based on the quality of the floor's mosaic, the building is believed to have been constructed in the 4th century AD and was used until the 7th century AD; the mosaic floor of the synagogue still survives and is made up of multi-colored tesserae, that create the impression of a carpet, in a geometric pattern of blue, gray and white. Two Greek inscriptions were found in front of the synagogue's entrance, on the western side of the building. Today, only part of the synagogue's mosaic floor is extant, it has been moved from its original location to the courtyard of the island's Archaeological Museum. In 1977 an other ancient Synagogue has been discovered in Athens, the Synagogue in the Agora of Athens, which may be the Synagogue that Paul the Apostle preached.
Inscriptions in the Samaritan and the Greek alphabet found in Thessaloniki may originate from Samaritan synagogues. Concurrently the oldest synagogue found in the diaspora is the oldest Samaritan synagogue. A Romaniote oral tradition tells that the first Jews arrived in Ioannina shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Before the migration of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews into the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the Jewish culture in these areas consisted of Romaniote Jews; the Romaniote Rites represent those of the Greek-speaking Jews of the Byzantine empire, ranging from southern Italy in the west, to much of Turkey in the East, Crete to the south, Crimea to the north and the Jews of the early medieval Balkans and Eastern Europe. The Sefer Yosippon was written down in the 10th century in Byzantine Southern Italy by the Greek-speaking Jewish community there. Judah Leon ben Moses Mosconi, a Romaniote Jew from Achrida edited and expanded the Sefer Josippon later.
This community of Byzantine Jews of southern Italy produced such prominent works like the Sefer Ahimaaz of Ahimaaz ben Paltiel, the Sefer Hachmoni of Shabbethai Donnolo, the Aggadath Bereshit and many Piyyutim. The liturgical writings of these Romaniote Jews the piyyut were eminent for the development of the Ashkenazi Mahzor, as they found their way through Italy to Ashkenaz and are preserved to this day in the most Ashkenazi mahzorim; the Jews of Southern Italy continued to be Greek-speakers until the 15th century. When they were expelled and went to different regions of Greece Corfu and Thessaloniki, they could continue speak their Greek language if this language was somewhat different from that of Greece. In the 12th century, Ben
Sephardi Jews known as Sephardic Jews or Sephardim from Sepharad, Spain, or the Iberian peninsula, are a Jewish ethnic division. They established communities throughout areas of modern Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity, which they took with them in their exile from Iberia beginning in the late 15th century to North Africa, the Levant and Southern Europe, as well as the Americas, all other places of their exiled settlement, either alongside pre-existing co-religionists, or alone as the first Jews in new frontiers, their millennial residence as an open and organised Jewish community in Iberia began to decline with the Reconquista and was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain's Catholic Monarchs in 1492, by the edict of expulsion of Jews and Muslims by Portuguese king Manuel I in 1496, which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions.
More broadly, the term Sephardim has today come sometimes to refer to traditionally Eastern Jewish communities of West Asia and beyond who, although not having genealogical roots in the Jewish communities of Iberia, have adopted a Sephardic style of liturgy and Sephardic law and customs imparted to them by the Iberian Jewish exiles over the course of the last few centuries. This article deals with Sephardim within the narrower ethnic definition; the vernacular languages of Sephardim and their descendants have been variants of either Spanish or Portuguese, though other tongues had been adopted and adapted throughout their history. The historical forms of Spanish or Portuguese that differing Sephardic communities spoke communally was determined by the date of their departure from Iberia, their condition of departure as Jews or New Christians. Judaeo-Spanish, sometimes called "Ladino Oriental", was a Romance language derived from Old Spanish, incorporating elements from all the old Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula and Aramaic, was spoken by what became the Eastern Sephardim, who settled in the Eastern Mediterranean, taken with them in the 15th century after the expulsion from Spain in 1492.
This dialect was further influenced by Ottoman Turkish, Levantine Arabic, Greek and Serbo-Croatian vocabulary in the differing lands of their exile. Haketia, an Arabic-influenced Judaeo-Spanish variety derived from Old Spanish, with numerous Hebrew and Aramaic terms was spoken by North African Sephardim, taken with them in the 15th century after the expulsion from Spain in 1492; the main feature of this dialect is the heavy influence of the Jebli Arabic dialect of northern Morocco. Early Modern Spanish and Early Modern Portuguese, including in a mixture of the two was traditionally spoken or used liturgically by the ex-converso Western Sephardim, taken with them during their migration out of Iberia between the 16th and 18th centuries as conversos, after which they reverted to Judaism. Modern Spanish and Modern Portuguese varieties, traditionally spoken by the Sephardic Bnei Anusim of Iberia and Ibero-America, including some recent returnees to Judaism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
In this latter case, these varieties have incorporated loanwords from the indigenous languages of the Americas introduced following the Spanish conquest. The name Sephardi means "Spanish" or "Hispanic", derived from a Biblical location; the location of the biblical Sepharad is disputed, but Sepharad was identified by Jews as Hispania, that is, the Iberian Peninsula. Sepharad still means "Spain" in modern Hebrew. In other languages and scripts, "Sephardi" may be translated as plural Hebrew: סְפָרַדִּים, Modern: Sfaraddim, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm. In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century prior to the issuance of the Alhambra Decree of 1492 by order of the Catholic Monarchs in Spain, the decree of 1496 in Portugal by order of King Manuel I. In Hebrew, the term "Sephardim Tehorim", derived from a misunderstanding of the initials ס"ט "Samekh Tet" traditionally used with some proper names, has in recent times come to be used in some quarters to distinguish Sephardim proper "who trace their lineage back to the Iberian/Spanish population" from Sephardim in the broader religious sense.
This distinction has been made in reference to genetic findings in research on Sephardim proper in contrast to other communities of Jews today termed Sephardi more broadly The modern Israeli Hebrew definition of Sephardi is a much broader, religious based, definition that excludes ethnic considerations. In its most basic form, this broad religious definition of a Sephardi refers to any Jew, of any ethnic background, who follows the customs and traditions of Sepharad. For religious purposes, in modern Israel, "Sephardim" is most used in this wider sense which encompasses most non-Ashkenazi Jews