Should The Sephardim Go To The Back Of The Bus?

Orthodox rabbi and history professor Marc B. Shapiro blogs Nov. 7, 2007:

I read about the outrage taking place in Emanuel, where in the local Beit Yaakov Sephardi students are being segregated from Ashkenazim to the extent that the two are not even permitted to play together. The Shas party has referred to this as nothing less than Apartheid, which it surely is.[22] What’s next? Mehadrin buses where the Sephardim sit in the back? Of course, when this happens the justification given will once again be that Ashkenazim are on a higher spiritual level and that’s why they can’t sit with Sephardim, not that they are racist, chas ve-shalom.

I mention this because R. Mazuz has made a comment that is relevant in this regard. Speaking to Ashkenazim who like to imagine the tannaim as “white”, he has called attention to Negaim 2:1, where R. Yishmael states that Jews are neither black nor white, but in between. In other words, the tannaim looked like Sephardim.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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