Good idea, but…

Rabbi Avraham Yosef: Gefilte Fish? No!

Rabbi Avraham Yosef, Chief Rabbi of Holon and the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef recently stirred up some controversy when he declared that any newly religious Jew must follow Sephardic tradition, even if the person is originally of Ashkenazic descent. Rabbi Avraham Yosef is considered by most to be the son most likely to inherit his father’s mantle as head of Shas. Shas, Hebrew acronym for Sephardi Torah Guardians, currently holds eleven seats in the Knesset as well as 4 Cabinet posts.

Now, ordinarily, I would wholeheartedly support Rabbi Avraham Yosef’s ruling. And why not? Sephardic Jews eat better food, are far less neurotic, have a refreshing lack of insane cultural chumras and dance better than our holy Ashkenazic brothers and sisters. Sephardim can eat rice and legumes on Passover, never eat Geffilte fish, and we have not suffered the detrimental consequences of Emancipation. No Sephardic Rabbi ever said “Casablanca is the new Jerusalem.” Sorry Moses Mendelsohn.

That having been said however, this message would resonate A LOT more with me if it didn’t come from a guy who, for all intents and purposes, looks like a Litvack rosh yeshivah. What the heck is up with that??

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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.


  • Hey, he lives in Israel, where you ain’t seen as legit if you’re not Askenazi. So if you’re Sephardi, you must play dress up

  • To provoke a little reaction from you for a change, it seems to me, all cultural implications considered, that Sefardi / Mizrachi Jews are basically like Muslim Arabs except for the separation of milk and meat?

    (Blame my partly Southern European ancestry for my cheekiness if you so wish.)

  • I said cultural implications, not dogma. That’s practice vs theory. I was watching a documentary (rather a series of documentaries) on various brands of Judaism the other day, and it appears that in practice, Ashkenazim have been able to preserve a more distinctly Jewish (or what they perceive as Jewish) identity than Mizrachi and Sefardi Jews despite comparatively many liberties for the latter. In conclusion, that would suggest that pressure has been key to tradition, whether it be in congruence or in reaction to the surrounding cultural majorities.

  • froylein: LIES!
    Though I am sure that in Sinai we wore Shtreimels. Moses was a Satmer.

  • On the upside, this ruling provides a loophole for Ashkenazim who want to wear fitted pastel satin shirts opened to there – and gold chains…

    • I don’t wear fitted pastel satin shirts, or gold chains but seriously? Anything is better than:
      1) The ubiquitous black “suit” and white “shirt” outfits worn by Haredim
      2) Patchouli scented multi-colored invariably dirty hippy clothing worn by Carlebach followers
      3) and this is the worst: unimaginative preppy clothing made to make one look like a WASP, but with a kippah on

      and why on earth do you encourage your women to straighten their gorgeous curly hair? Is that like the next best thing to being with a non-Jewish woman? I have news for all y’all. Nothing screams “JEWESS” more than artificially straightened hair. I’m sure the ladies have better things to do with the 45 minutes wasted on a process that makes them look WAY less interesting.

  • I’m perfectly OK with no beans and rice on Pesach, ck, since in exchange for that I don’t have to do Selichot for a whole friggin’ month. A week is just about all I can take.

    Was at a Moroccan bar mitzvah simcha tonight. The food just KILLED. Awesome Persian pilaf with the crunchy brown bottom crust, among other things.

    I will say, however, that whatever other food you guys may have, you do not have pflaumenkuchen. The season for the Italian prune plums for making the pflaumenkuchen is over, but I baked up a storm and laid in a supply. And I made a DELICIOUS compote with the rest.

    So there.

    Totally with you on the hair thing, though. When Julia-Louis Dreyfus started straightening her hair on Seinfeld, I totally lost interest in her. She was so beautiful with that nappy wall of curls. Afterwards, she just looked like some chick. Not ugly, but all of her beautiful Jewyness was gone.

  • 2) Patchouli scented multi-colored invariably dirty hippy clothing worn by Carlebach followers
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    I don’t think it’s patchouli… whew!

    Nothing screams “JEWESS” more than artificially straightened hair
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Uh, I think the hair itself it artificial… at least in some circles…

  • As was mentioned before. I like the statement but why the very Eastern European garb? Is he confused?