Sunday, June 20, 2010

What's in a nusach?--re the Sefardi admission fight

To understand the controversy, start with my previous post.

Questions, questions, but answers . . . ?

  • My rabbi said that there's no difference between a school requiring Ashkenazi children to speak Hebrew with havarah Sefardit (Sefardi pronounciation) and a school requiring Sefardi children to speak Hebrew with havarah Ashkenazit (Ashkenazi pronunciation)--one must follow the school's rules. I think there is a difference: Sefardi Hebrew is the official havarah of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel), so it does make sense for a Zionist school to insist on conducting classes in havarah Sefardi. I see no reason whatsoever for a school to force Sefardi children to speak havarah Ashkenazit (unless the school is anti-Zionist, in which case I question why those hypocrites are living in, and benefiting from, Medinat Yisrael).
  • Should a child be forced to give up the nusach (prayer arrangement and melodies), which differ somewhat from one community to another, and adopt that of the school? This happens in the US as well, where kids whose parents davven (pray) in accordance with Nusach Ashkenaz are forced to switch to (the Chassidic Ashkenazi) Nusach Sefard (a combination of Nusach Ashkenaz and the true Nusach of the Sefardim). Honestly, would it really be a disaster if the kids learned more than one nusach? At my office, some of the men (sadly, the room's too small for a women's section) who usually davven in our Nusach Ashkenaz minyan do davven with the Nusach Sefard minyan when their schedule(s) necessitate(s) a temporary switch.


Blogger elf's DH said...

The school segregation issue has little to do with nusach tefillah or minhag. As far as I can tell (mostly from news reports), the Ashkenazi charedim think that the Sephardim are culturally "less religious" than they are and don't want their kids to be exposed to any outside cultural influences.

Mon Jun 21, 01:19:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elf's DH, that depends on whom you ask. Half the folks seem to think that this is a clear-cut case of discrimination; the other half thinks that it's a case of parents wanting control over how strict their daughters' religious education is. On the plus side, at least the protests have been peaceful. Let's hope that the resolution of this dispute brings peace to all, and ends the diviseness.

Mon Jun 21, 01:45:00 PM 2010  

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