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Friday, April 03, 2020

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Joel Davidi Weisberger’s feature article about my piece “The Ashke-Sefard Dilemma” (A Response to “The Ashke-Sefard Dilemma,” February 6, 2020) delineates various nuances in Hebrew pronunciation about which there is no argument. However, my usage of the term Sephardic Hebrew, as opposed to Israeli Hebrew, is simply a literal translation of the expression הברה ספרדית as opposed to הברה  אשכנזית, which refers to the generic differences in pronunciation. The key issue raised in my article, however, is not addressed. Granted that spoken Hebrew follows Israeli pronunciation. If all limudei kodesh instruction is Ivrit B’Ivrit, there is less of an issue. However, children are learning to read Hebrew in a manner unlike their parents, grandparents, synagogues and many of their rebbeim. This linguistic schizophrenia still needs to be addressed.

Rabbi Dr. Wallace Greene
Fair Lawn