Sephardic Jews

The First Wave: Sephardic Jews- Ari Afilalo

The history of Jewish culture in America often begins with the immigration of Jews in three major waves. Each wave included the group that was vastly different from another. As the Jews were settled all over the world, their culture differentiated from each other, in terms of food, social and economic terms. The entry of majority of immigrants from these waves was through New York. While there were groups who began their journey in the different parts of the country, the major Jewish immigrant settlement is still present in New York. Some of the major Jew personalities settled in the state of New York are Ari Afilalo, Jack Warner, Woody Allen and more.


The First Wave


The first wave of Jew immigrants in the United States of America were the Sephardic Jewish. They came from Brazil fleeing from the Spanish Inquisition. In 1654, 23 Spanish-Portuguese adults came and settle in the Dutch port of New Amsterdam — the city now known as the New York City. In 1655, more Jews from Holland immigrated to the country and made their home in the New York City. While the governor of the New Amsterdam tried to deport the newly arrived immigrants, the Dutch West India Company (owner of the colony) overruled the decision and helped the immigrants to create a life in the new country.


For the next decade, the Jews worked hard and changed their fortune. In 1664, the Britishers assumed the role of the owners of the colony. They made no large-scale changes except renaming the city New York City. They let the city remain a racially and religiously diverse city that became a haven for immigrants around the world. All the Jews in the small community did not become huge successes with the exception of Asser Levy. However, with the advent of the Britishers, the Jews thrived and took part in the political as well as financial sectors of the country.


The process of naturalization in 1727 helped the Jews to become an integral part of America. They achieved their citizenship in 1740.


The present community of Sephardic Jews in the New York takes pride in their roots and still remain close to them. Want to know more about Sephardic Jews? Visit here.