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Literally, Spaniards. Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin. The customs, rituals, synagogue services, and Hebrew pronunciation of the Sephardim differ from those of the Ashkenazim, Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe. Expelled from Spain by the Inquisition of 1492, the Sephardim were scattered throughout the Mediterranean world, along the north coast of Africa, the Turkish Empire, and the Balkans. Wherever they went, they established the Sephardic ways and rituals. The Marranos, or secret Jews, transported their customs to the New World. When Zionists began to migrate to Palestine at the close of the 19th century, they adopted the Sephardic pronunciation of Hebrew for their daily use.

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