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Mizrachi (Mizra'hi)  Definition

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Mizrachi - (Hebrew) (pronounced "Miz ra' 'hi, with the accent on the penultimate syllable).

1. Religious Zionist movement founded in 1902 to encourage Zionism among Orthodox Jews and promote religious and cultural ideas among its constituents. Mizrachi are followers of the first Zionist chief Rabbi of the Yishuv in the land of Israel, Rabbi Kook. Its motto was: "The Land of Israel for the people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel."

Mizrachi is a Hebrew acronym of merkaz ruchani – “spiritual center” (also means "Eastern). Religious Zionism is an ideology based on the synthesis of a Jewish religious and national outlook and is dedicated to the preservation of Jewish political freedom, the enhancement of Jewish religious life in the land of Israel, and the promotion of Aliyah (immigration to Israel). Its principles include: “The Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, According to the Torah of Israel,” and “Torah Va’Avodah” (Torah and Labor).

The National Religious Party is the representative of the Mizrachi movement in Israeli political life, and Bnei Akiva is its youth movement.

2. (Hebrew) (pronounced Mizrah 'hi' with the accent on the last syllable). Also "aydot hamizrah". Refers to Sephardic Jews (Jews who originated in Spain) and Jews from various Muslim and Arab countries collectively, including Egypt, the Maghreb, Iraq, Persia, Turkey, Palestine, Central Asia (Georgia, Uzbekistan, Bukhara) etc. Mizrahi Jews are of varied backgrounds and histories. The Jewish communities of Iraq and Persia existed there since the destruction of the first temple, about 2,500 years ago.  Some of the Jews of Muslim countries, especially those of Turkey and Palestine are Sephardic Jews who migrated from Europe at the invitation of the Turkish Sultans after they were expelled by the Spanish Inquisition. 

Synonyms and alternate spellings:  Sephardic Jews, Mizrachi, Mizrahi

Further Information:  Political Parties, Israel

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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