TeaRoses (rosehiptea) wrote in egal_jews,
TeaRoses
rosehiptea
egal_jews

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Introducing myself... and pronunciation question...

Hello!

I'm a 37-year-old Jewish woman who spent years in right-wing Orthodoxy (following an Orthodox conversion) and now is going in an entirely different direction.

Currently I'm davening in a Conservative shul. They do have a female cantor and call women up for aliyos (It's a big place though, with a bar or bas mitzvah every week, so there's no question of me getting one). They also include the imahos in Shemoneh Esrei.

I'm considering buying a tallis for Shabbos use, though I don't want to jump into all this feet-first. Plus, my idea of a tallis is a 60-inch one with black stripes "just like the guys," so maybe I need to reconsider.

One question I have though is this: Some years ago I trained myself to use an Ashkenazic pronunciation. While that had a lot to do with where I was at the time, and where I thought any children would end up in school (that wasn't how it happened, in the end...) I don't regret it. I rather consider it an honor, to carry on the pronunciation that so many communities used for such a long time, plus the fact that so many of them were lost. Yet, I think I may be the only one in the shul, so I'm not sure how I feel about that.
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I don't know too much about linguistics, but I think I learned a basic standard Hebrew pronunciation: tav and sav are both pronounced as T sounds, kamatz is usually Ah as in fAther, unless it's kamatz katan, then it's oh (like kol). But I pronounce ayins and chets the way they're done in Ashkenaz. In Israel there's a big movement to go back to traditional Sephardi pronunciation, with the ayin and chet being really throaty (I have no clue how to type what it sounds like). And I'm assuming this trend is not prevelent in the Ultra Orthodox and Haredi communities. My Modern Orthodox Israeli friend pronounces Hebrew the way I do, but he said he's one of the few who doesn't do the Sephardic pronunciations at his minyan.

Ashkenazi pronunciation is definitely full of its own history and flavor, but I heard the Sephardi way is even older, and probably closer to how the ancient Israelites spoke. Some people also don't like Ashkenaz because it's too reminiscent of Eastern European Jewry and a history of persecution, or it's too old worldly. But Sephardi Jews have been persecuted also, and as I said, their pronunciation is even older.

Read Hebrew the way you feel most comfortable. Some people don't like certain accents, but I think even more people just really hate hearing a fake accent. Saying "Avot and Imahot" in a forced/fake way is more annoying than saying "Avos and imahos" naturally
Some people also don't like Ashkenaz because it's too reminiscent of Eastern European Jewry and a history of persecution, or it's too old worldly.

See, I don't see that particular argument at all. What on earth is there to disrespect about all the greatness that was in Eastern Europe or the "Old World"? As for persecution, denying that that is a fact of Jewish life seems off-base to me.

But Sephardi Jews have been persecuted also, and as I said, their pronunciation is even older.

An interesting point to consider, from both points of view.

Read Hebrew the way you feel most comfortable. Some people don't like certain accents, but I think even more people just really hate hearing a fake accent. Saying "Avot and Imahot" in a forced/fake way is more annoying than saying "Avos and imahos" naturally

Good point. I suppose I did originally "take it on" but at this point it is what comes naturally to me.

Thanks very much!