My name is Paul Avila (yea, I know, doesn't sound Jewish at all) I was born in the Azores Portugal and moved to the United States when I was 2. People always ask me if I am Persian. Never understood why. Especially with a Spanish, or what I thought was a Spanish last name. As I did a Google search for my last name, it came up as being Sephardic Jewish. I have no idea what Sephardic means and can't find to much about it on the net just tidbits here and there. My question is, has anyone here ever heard of a Sephardic Jew. If so, do you know where I can get more information about it? Very confused, never even knew there were Jews in Portugal. Please forgive me if this is not the right forum to ask this question.
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in 1492 by the Alhambra Decree. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy, or would otherwise define themselves in terms of Jewish customs and traditions from the Iberian Peninsula. (Wikipedia) Roughly most Jews are either Sephardi or Ashkenazi (descending from Germany). For further information, see the Wikipedia page about Sephardi Jews, and the one on the History of Jews from Portugal.
Jewish Encyclopedia (www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13430-sephardim) in a long online article defines Sephardim as 'descendants of the Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal and who settled in southern France, Italy, North Africa, Turkey, Asia Minor, Holland, England, North and South America, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Hungary.'
'Sephardim - Jewish Virtual Library' (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/sephardim) also is a link to a good article by Rebecca Wiener with information drawn from many sources, including Encyclopedia Judaica. Including the introduction, it is an eight-part article which discusses the Jewish presence in Spain from the time of King Solomon to the present.