The Last Of The Pure Sephardic Poskim

In a 2008 lecture for Torah in Motion on Rabbi Ben Zion Uzziel (former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel), history professor Marc B. Shapiro says: He’s one of the last of the few Sephardic poskim (deciders of Jewish law). The Sephardic world has been Ashkenazied. If you go to their yeshivas, they’ve adapted the black-and-white Ashkenazi dress, which comes from the Hasidic world. Into the 1960s, you did not have this uniform.”

“For many years, the Sephardim did not have yeshivas of their own. To this day, they don’t have quality girls schools. They send them to the Ashkenazi schools like Bais Yaakov.”

“Rabbi Uziel was operating from a Sephardic curriculum. They did not know of and they did not quote [the Ashkenazi cannon like the Mishna Brura]. Now the Sephardim quote all the Ashkenazim.”

“There’s a rising tide of extremism [among the Sephardim] which did not exist until the last 20 years. Anti-Zionism was never found in the Sephardic world.”

“Now you can’t be a Zionist and haredi and you can’t be Modern Orthodox and not a Zionist.”

“The Sephardic world never had a problem with secular learning except in extreme areas like Aleppo, Syria. They never had a problem with working.”

Only the Sephardim have things like holy water. Not the Ashkenazim, not the Hasidim.

JB Soloveitchik’s father did not want to give him any secular education. His mother made sure JB got a good secular education.

Sephardic sages were more likely to have relationships with non-Jews.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Ashkenazim, Marc B. Shapiro, Orthodoxy, R. J. B. Soloveitchik, Sephardim, Yeshiva. Bookmark the permalink.