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But in Israel we hardly ever used the term Sephardic, lumping together all Jews from Arab lands. from Spain and Portugal — does not apply to Iraqi Jews who, like most Mizrahi Jews from other Arab countries, were never persecuted and exiled during the Spanish Inquisition.
The Iraqi experience was different from the Moroccan, Tunisian, Yemenite, Egyptian, Spanish and Greek ones.
In fact I bet you many people feel exactly like I do, I kind of wish I knew more so I could write about it.
One trip to Forest Hills or Pico Robertson just isn’t good enough for really making fun of them.
“Iraqis are like the Ashkenazim of the Sephardim,” she would add, explaining how her people were educated and modern, not like the others — implying how backwards other groups were.
As a 44-year-old secular Israeli who had moved recently to New York City after my divorce, I didn’t have much experience with American Jews.
Jews of European descent used the term Sephardic to denote anyone who wasn’t like them: the non-Ashkenazi.
The category may have been helpful for religious Jews, who followed either Ashkenazi or Sephardi customs in prayers and Jewish law, but it had no relevance among the secular.
We had several Bucharians, Syrians and Moroccans who wore those white talesim and were mistaken to be Spaniards by the locals.
I remember several things about this group of tough outcasts, they all wore wife beaters, loved beating each other up and listened to the worst Israeli techno you could find, they were also the only 14 year old boys I knew that could grow a full beard in 3 days.