Forward magazine has dedicated their entire Arts section this week to the fascinating subject of Sephardic Jews. The well intentioned but slightly patronizing article by Seth Rogovoy What the Klezmer Revival Can Teach Sephardic Music was more than balanced out by Sami Shalom Chetrit’s kinda offensive, but otherwise hilarious piece of poetry Who Is a Jew and What Kind of Jew?.

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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • No offense to all you Ashkenazis, but we sephardis can teach you a few things about damn good music. In fact, I prefer it. I am proud of my heritage, and anyone who looks down on us can… well, I’m not going to mention it here.

  • No offense to you but what constitues ‘good music’ is a matter of personal taste! There are good Jewish singers in both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews. C’mon are you telling me that Matisyahu or Sarit Hadad (an Ashkenazi) aren’t good singers? ­čśë

  • Shaul: Sarit Hadad is ashkenazic? Holy crap.

    But yeah, I get your point. And I agree.

  • On a vaguely related note — Ashkenazi institutions becoming less, well, Ashkenazi — this JTA piece on Holocaust education. The organisation responsible asks for letters of support.

    On an even more related note, the Rogovoy article’s title is very misleading. It turns out not to be about what Sephardi musics can learn musically from klezmer, but what they can learn marketing-wise. That’s hard to argue with: klezmer has had a kind of commercial success that no other Jewish music has, and that’s something worth replicating.

    (I think Rogovoy gets it wrong in talking about “Sephardic music” at all, though. I suspect that klezmer music is not the only form of Ashkenazi popular music, but widen it out to the musical genres played in the various communities which are today — rightly or wrongly — unified under the term “Sephardic”, and you’re talking, well, a lot of stuff.

    Mind you, Enrico Macias seems to be doing okay over France side. Maybe Rogovoy was just focussing too narrowly on the one country in the world where Ashkenazim are massively present and historically massively dominant — America.)

  • Hadad is definately a sepharadic name, so what’s the deal with Sarit?

  • Hadad is her stage name, I think. I don’t remember the original one (Google probably does though); I read somewhere that her family made aliyah from Chechenya when it was a country.

    Not just any country, either: the very cool sounding Ichkarian Autonomous Republic or some such.

    Whether that community of Jews was historically Ashkenazi or Bukharian or what, I have no idea.

  • Sarit Hadad is only her stage name which she adopted since she mostly sings Mizrahi songs. Her real name is Sara Hodedtov and she is originally from Georgia or some other former U.S.S.R. country. Changing her name was a marketing scheme that is also done by some other Jewish singers (i.e. Eyal Bitton a.k.a. Eyal Golan) somehow they think it will help them sell more records. :d

  • Oh, boy you Americans have a lot to learn. Although, it’s nice to see you trying.
    This is the real story. Sarit hadad, is Sarah Hadatov she is definatly not the first, nor the last to change her name. For g-ds sakes she’s in the entertainment business. And she is from Azerbaijan, which used to be part of the u.s.s.r.
    she comes from a conservative family and if you would know her personally(like I do) you will be very surprised how conservative she is. Especially, comparing to all the Israeli singers and actors.
    p.s. most of the famous and popular songs in Israel and Europe are Spharadic. No contest there.

  • You are all so funny. I just wanted to find a link on the net so I could listen to Sarit Hadad. And then this page came up with your wonderful discussion. You can clarly se a pattern in the discussion where you can read between the lines that you alla are jewish. And so am I that is why I’m laughing!

  • Sarit Hada is NOT an Ashki—she is originally from Azerbaijan!!!

  • I am quite sure that Sarit Hadad is Sephardic from Uzbekistan (per her bio. on Wikpedia). The vast majority of them are Bucharian and Bucharians originally come from Iran. She does have Persian features.

  • Sarit Hadad is not from Uzbekistan she is from Derbent, Dagestan. which is close to Azerbaijan but nowhere close to Uzbekistan, get your facts straight.

  • Actually Sarit Hadad was born in Israel, in Hadera. She wasn’t born in Europe at all.

  • Wait my bad. The interview said she was born in Afula. She moved to Hadera when she was three. Either way she was born in Israel. You can all check the interview out on youtube. Type in Sarit Hadad & click on the one that says Sarit Hadad: A star is born.

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