Monday, April 1, 2013

Jew against Jew -- Ashkenazis vs. Sephardim -- Hatred between Jewish Immigrants to USA
That community grew slowly, as did the colonial population in general, even after the British replaced the Dutch in 1664, when New Amsterdam became New York. By 1776, although hundreds were fighting in George Washington's armies, there were fewer than three thousand Jews in the newly independent United States, and most of them were Sephardim. After the Revolution, however, there was a steady trickle of Jews from central and eastern Europe, the Ashkenazim, whose ancestors had not come from Spain, but the Sephardim remained the dominant element. They were religious traditionalists, aristocratic and proud of their ancient lineage, which dated back to the golden age of Spain. Even in colonial America they were among the aristoc-racy, with the already ancient date of 1654 as the time of their beginning, and they looked down upon their Ashkenazic brethren not only because they were newcomers, ignorant of the language and customs of the land, but because they worshiped differently in their synagogues, and because they were mostly poor and humble. Nevertheless they permitted a few of them, here and there, to join their congregations, although they never really accepted them, and the Ashkenazim usually broke away and formed their own congregations as immigration from central Europe continued.
As the nineteenth century got under way, the number of Ashkenazim slowly increased, while the number of Sephardim remained constant and later even decreased, since all their traditional religious observances did not save some of their children from intermarriage and as-similation. As time went on, something of the same process occurred among the so-called German Jews after they had been here for a generation or two and had acquired property and social ambitions. --B'NAI B'RITH: The Story of a Covenant, by Edward E. Grusd, Editor of National Jewish Monthly, Appleton-Century/Affiliate of Meredith Press, 1966, New York, p. 4.

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