“Breaking the Barriers: Overcoming Ashkenazi and Sephardic Communication Conflicts”

Collina Binafard, Bina Gabbye, Shaina Sedaghat, Alex Tevonyan

Are you tired of hearing the same old “Ashkenazi versus Sephardic” debates in the Jewish community? While there’s no doubt that these two groups have rich cultural and religious differences, it’s finally time to address the elephant in the room: communication conflicts. Whether it’s differences in language, customs, or even humor, these barriers can often lead to misunderstandings, altercations, alienation, and ostracism. But fear not, by acknowledging and understanding these differences, we can foster a more inclusive and harmonious community. As a result of these differences, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews have often been segregated due to their varying communicative differences which isolate the two communities. The current body of knowledge focuses on their different religious practices, traditions, customs, and backgrounds. While this information is very interesting and important to take into account when considering the ostracism and alienation between the two groups, what about the specific linguistic differences that can be observed between these two groups? How exactly does their linguistic use differ? Are there any observable differences that can be analyzed in prayer to bridge this gap in information? In order to do so, our research tried to uncover these differences through the lens of prayer, using an observational approach, and pinpointing the exact methods and ways in which linguistic practices in prayer play a role in the separation between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews. By uncovering the aspects that change communication characteristics we can emphasize the importance of coming together and celebrating our culturally diverse backgrounds, instead of allowing them to divide us.

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