Sephardic Jews - Religion

As with Ashkenazic Jews, Sephardim follow the Babylonian tradition, and they view the Babylonian Talmud as the ultimate guide to belief and practice. In matters involving Religious law, Sephardim follow Joseph Caro's codification, the Shulhan Arukh, which is more permissive in many ways than Ashkenazic religious law. Sephardim and Ashkenazim differ not only in degree of permissiveness on some matters (especially dietary rules) but also in religious practice. Differences involve variations in religious garb for rabbis, the use of ritual decorations, the internal organization of the synagogue, texts recited at specific times, terms used for ritual objects and practices, melodies in chants, and the pronunciation of Hebrew. While many of these distinctions are minor, adherence to them by Sephardic Jews is today an important marker of Sephardic identity in a Jewish world largely dominated by the Ashkenazim. In Israel today, there are both Sephardic and Ashkenazic chief rabbis.

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