Due to the exile, Jewish civilization ended up splintering off into various sub-groups.

  • Ashkenazim
  • Sephardim/Mizrahim
  • etc.

Through this division, Judaism developed a series of "flavors" with regards to common practices and Minhags to each community. The downside of this is we sometimes have cultural conflicts which divide communities from having true universal worship.

Even in a country like Israel, which is supposed to be the focal point of Jewish civilization, the Chief Rabbinate is shared between two different meta-communities (a Sephardic and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi subdivisions)

Has there been any real push by the various sub-communities to try and bridge the gaps into a new universal center? Or is the topic considered closed off until Mashiach?

  • It comes up in Israeli rabbis' writings often enough. Some more than others, obviously. – Double AA Oct 7 at 5:28
  • If you are truly interested in this subject, investigate Rabbi Dovid Bar Chaim of Machon Shilo. Here’s a link to one talk. youtu.be/-zHfi9jjxNI – Yaacov Deane Oct 7 at 5:57
  • Your assumption, that the differences stem from the exile is wrong. The different schools in Judaism are as old as Yaakov's sons (the Tribes!). – Al Berko Oct 7 at 9:20
  • Why would they even bother? It's SO much more a better use of time looking down their noses at other group's mistakes regarding the veracity of other groups' Rebbes'/Rabbis' teachings and traditions. What WOULD we do with total agreement among our different groups and all malochets resolved? All that extra time and energy to....???..do good things en masse, with one voice? – Gary Oct 7 at 17:34
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    Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai say 'hi' – Orangesandlemons Oct 8 at 11:48

I think there are two aspects that turn this idea to truly impossible till the coming of the Messiah (and probably even later):

  1. You probably underestimate the power of the Halachic tradition. There's no Ashkenazi Beyt Din (or other authority) that can possibly turn down the Psikah of Rem"o in favor of the Mechaber. And vice verse. It is not only single Halochos (eating Kitnios on Pesach) but the whole method and tradition of Pesikah. That's why R' Ovadiah and R' Elyashiv Ztz"L could not possibly sit in the same court.
    .
    This is so serious, we can't make the Litvaks and the Hassidim to sit together, let alone Ashkenazi and Sefardi.

  2. Don't underestimate the [political and ] social power of every community authority. Nobody will willingly give up on their power and make one Rabanut (or one Beyt Din). That's a lot of money, jobs, influence etc. The tendency is exactly the opposite - to create as much divergence as possible to let as many families as possible to make their living (as King Dovid said "לכו והתפרנסו זה מזה).

Bonus point: At least in Israel (it is less pronounced abroad) each community represents a completely different mentality (hierarchy of values) within the same Halachic compendium (they all keep Shu"A in full). Just like intermarriages are almost non-existent because of this point, even if we could agree on the Halachah we couldn't bridge this problem.

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    "That's why R' Ovadiah and R' Elyashiv Ztz"L could not possibly sit in the same court." But they did. They sat together on the בית הדין הגדול הרבני between 1965 and 1973. Relevant (Hebrew) wikipedia page here – Joel K Oct 7 at 10:40
  • @JoelK They weren't R"O and R"E back then. Also they represented the Rabanut, not their communities. – Al Berko Oct 7 at 11:27

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