U.C.F. Judaic Studies offers course on Sephardim
For the first time the University of Central Florida Judaic Studies Program will offer a course on the history, culture and folklore of the Sephardim. The course will be taught by Dr. Norman Berdichevsky, the author of "Spanish Vignettes" who lived seven years in Spain and is also the author of the forthcoming book "The Past, Present and Future of the Hebrew Language" (McFarland, February 2014). The course may be audited without charge for seniors (60 and over) who are Florida residents. The classes begin on Jan.7 and will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the visual arts building, room 109. The course will run through April 2014.
Many American Jews, who are at least 95 percent Ashkenazi by origin, often find it hard to relate to those Jews in Israel whose cultural background is so different. By origin, approximately 50 percent of the Israeli Jewish population identify themselves as "Eedot hamizrah" (the Eastern communities) and "Sephardim" (of Spanish-Portuguese descent) and are generally distinguishable by the many factors that are attributable to a different cultural heritage and separation by many centuries from the Ashkenazim-in their genetic make-up (often but not always skin complexion), and many traits such as male-female relationships, social conventions, attitudes toward child upbringing, dress, food preferences, music, use of language (pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar of both Hebrew and various Judeo-hybrid languages), courtship, marriage and divorce customs, sex attitudes, perception of time, attitudes toward literacy, learning and education, recreation and leisure pursuits, work ethic, attitudes towards public space, respect for authority, the rules by which status and rank are determined, prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, views of wealth, folklore and superstitions. Until about 1820, the Sephardim constituted a majority of the American Jewish community.
The course will examine the Sephardi Diasporah in Europe (especially England, Holland, Denmark, France, Italy, the Caribbean islands, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, North Africa and the Middle East.)