Ethnic Division and the Quest for Unity
One of the main challenges encountered by the rabbinic emissaries was the rivalry between different ethnic groups within the Jewish world. This chapter focuses on the tension between the quest for Jewish solidarity and unity, as represented by the emissaries and the Jewish elites in Istanbul, and the reality of a Jewish diaspora divided along ethnic lines. The main example studied here, the visit of a Sephardic emissary to Germany, involves the enduring tension between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. The chapter looks at how social conflicts of class were expressed through the language of ethnic difference, and it traces this dynamic into the nineteenth century and beyond the Ashkenazi-Sephardic rivalry to tensions between Sephardic and Maghrebi Jews.
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