Ashkenazi

Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi [äsh΄kə näz′ē; ash΄kə naz′ē]
n.
pl. Ashkenazim [äsh΄kənäz′im, ash΄kənaz′im]Heb, a German Jew; earlier, a German, after ashkenaz, name of an ancient kingdom (see Jer. 51:27), after ashkenaz, second son of Gomer (see Gen. 10:3); prob. akin to Akkadian ishkuzai (> Gr Skythoi, the Scythians)
1. a member of the group of Jews that, after the Diaspora, settled in central, northern, and, later, eastern Europe and developed Yiddish as their spoken language
2. a descendant of this group: Distinguished from SEPHARDI
Ashkenazic
adj.

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Ash·ke·naz·i (äsh'kə-näʹzē) n. pl. Ash·ke·naz·im (-năzʹĭm, -näʹzĭm)
A member of the branch of European Jews, historically Yiddish-speaking, who settled in central and northern Europe.
  [Medieval Hebrew ’aškənāzî, from ’aškənaz, Germany, adoption of Hebrew ’aškənaz, name of one of Noah's grandsons and of a neighboring people, perhaps alteration of earlier *’aškûz, Scythians; akin to Akkadian ašguzai, iškuzai, from Old Persian Saka-, Skūča-.]   Ash'ke·nazʹic (-näʹzĭk) adj.

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Any of the historically Yiddish-speaking European Jews who settled in central and northern Europe, or their descendants.

They lived originally in the Rhineland valley, and their name is derived from the Hebrew word Ashkenaz ("Germany"). After the start of the Crusades in the late 11th century, many migrated east to Poland, Lithuania, and Russia to escape persecution. In later centuries Jews who adopted the German-rite synagogue ritual were called Ashkenazim to differentiate them from the Sephardic, or Spanish-rite, Jews (see Sephardi), from whom they differ in cultural traditions, pronunciation of Hebrew, and synagogue chanting as well as in the use of the Yiddish language (until the 20th century). Today they constitute more than 80% of the world's Jews.

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people
      (from Hebrew Ashkenaz, “Germany”), plural Ashkenazim, any of the Jews who lived in the Rhineland valley and in neighbouring France before their migration eastward to Slavic lands (e.g., Poland, Lithuania, Russia) after the Crusades (11th–13th century). After the 17th-century persecutions in eastern Europe, large numbers of these Jews resettled in western Europe, where they assimilated, as they had done in eastern Europe, with other Jewish communities. In time, all Jews who had adopted the “German rite” synagogue ritual were referred to as Ashkenazim to distinguish them from Sephardic (Sephardi) (Spanish rite) Jews. Ashkenazim differ from Sephardim in their pronunciation of Hebrew, in cultural traditions, in synagogue cantillation (chanting), in their widespread use of Yiddish (until the 20th century), and especially in synagogue liturgy.

      Today Ashkenazim constitute more than 80 percent of all the Jews in the world, vastly outnumbering Sephardic Jews. In the late 20th century, Ashkenazic Jews numbered more than 11,000,000. In Israel the numbers of Ashkenazim and Sephardim are roughly equal, and the chief rabbinate has both an Ashkenazic and a Sephardic chief rabbi on equal footing. All Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations belong to the Ashkenazic tradition. Compare Sephardi.

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Universalium. 2010.

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