Union of Sephardic Congregations, the

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UNION OF SEPHARDIC CONGREGATIONS, THE

The Union of Sephardic Congregations was established in 1929 by leaders of Sephardi communities in America to promote the religious interests of Sephardi Jews. Its primary aim was to give cohesion and the strength of union to the scattered and comparatively weak congregational units of the Sephardim. It also assisted Sephardi communities outside of the United States.

The main activity of the union was the preparation and publication of Sephardi prayer books with English translations by the union's first president, Dr. David de Sola Pool. These books were distributed to Sephardi communities throughout the world, including South America, Europe, Africa, India, Canada, Rhodesia, and Iraq. The union also assisted American Sephardi communities in finding and bringing to the United States trained Sephardi rabbis, cantors, and scholars, and it provided scholarships for religious training for promising Sephardim in yeshivot in the United States. During the 1930s and 1940s it assisted in the rescue of Sephardi scholars and religious leaders from Europe, was involved with the Sephardi refugees interred at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York, and collected financial support for the Marranos in Portugal. Additionally, the union supported the adoption of Sephardi Hebrew for use in Israel.

[Mark Angel (2nd ed.)]