I enjoyed the section on “Sephardim In New York” (June 27). I have learned that while the Syrian Jews do have Sephardim in their past, including most Lebanese Jews, they form their own sub-group as Syrians. (The family of my wife of 42 years is from Aleppo.)
The same goes for the great Yemenite Jews — a wonderful culture and history but they are not Sephardic by a long shot. Yet we continue to use the term, for example: the Sephardic Center on Ocean Parkway. Knowledgeable Syrians will tell you, “we all pray more or less the same, as opposed to Central and East European Jews, but we are Syrians.”
I believe it’s more expedient to characterize all non-Ashkenazim as Sephardic, though in a sense it’s blurring what “Sephardic” actually means (Western European/Mediterranean Jews).