Our country is like a patchwork tapestry- with many different colors, shades, and styles of people who come together to make a beautiful piece of art.
The main classifying groups among Jews are the Ashkenazi and the Sephardic Jews, who act according to different customs and traditions, hailing from different lineages around the world.
Sephardic Jews mostly originate from Spain, as Sepharad means Spain in Hebrew. During the Golden Age of Spain, Jews flourished in their land and even created their own Judeo-Spanish language, Ladino.
After the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, Jews spread out to Portugal, Greece, and many Arab lands. Many of these cultures and customs have made their way to Israel and have become part of who we are as Israelis!
The Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel is currently Rav Yitzhak Yosef, son of the influential and former Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, recipient of the Israel Prize.
Rav Yosef was born in Jerusalem, and began learning Torah from a very young age, helping his father compile his teachings, and publishing his first book of Jewish Law at only 18 years old! He went on to open up a famous yeshiva of Torah learning in Jerusalem with his father and ran the institution for many years. Today, Rav Yosef is seen as the highest authority of Jewish law rulings for the Sephardic community.
During Covid19, Rav Yosef has instilled within his community the value of life and responsibility to take care of our health above all and ruled for those observing Shabbat keep their phones on for updates and emergencies.
Rav Yosef has become a voice of wisdom and security within his community and is a respected Rabbi throughout Israel.