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Recent Content

Re: Research Query: Pronunciation of tsere

There was actually a second major exception in the US: Schools continued to pronounce the cholam as in a diphthong [ou], e.g. [sukout], rather than adopt the Israeli ‘pure vowel’ [o]. Schools in the UK managed to shift towards the Israeli [o] , and as a Brit in the US, I am always struck by this American-Jewish [ou].

The only explanation I can offer is that there is no standard US equivalent of the Israeli [o].

Re: Research Query: Pronunciation of tsere

My Liberal synagogue in London switched from Ashkenazi to Sephardi pronunciation around 1963. The teachers became confused and as a result I and my contemporaries never learned to read Hebrew properly as children, thrown by the inconsistency of approach. Despite my searches, I have not been able to find any documentation of the switch in the UK. My only knowledge of it is from my own dim memories. I would be really interested to know if any research has been done on this in the USA, particularly on what effect it had on children and how teachers and children coped with the switch.

Re: Research Query: Pronunciation of tsere

I recall the day in the fall of 1963 when the suburban Conservative synagogue school where I spent several hours each week switched from "Ashkenazi" pronunciation to "Sephardi" pronunciation... more or less. The changes involved only some consonants. It did not encompass the true Sephardi pronunciation of 'ayin, of course; that was not in the phoneme collection of anyone around. And it didn't begin to touch the vowels. What was being taught, of course, was (mostly Ashkenazi) Israeli Hebrew.