Forewordby Albert E. Gabbai
This handbook for the Hazzan has been a long time needed by the congregations. The work has been mostly by the Rev. Abraham Lopes Cardozo. It is from his handwritten and oral transmission that I have put down in this form the content of his long and cherished work. It has been a labor of true Ahabah, the love of Judaism Lishmah, the love of our Sephardi heritage with a most faithful adherence to its tradition.
The Hazzan or the Reader, would have to have a modicum of knowledge of the regular prayer, its structure and the different Halakhot pertaining to each part of the service. Since the Sephardi service follows closely but not always the text of the Shulhan Arukh, a thorough knowledge of the latter will be very helpful. Nonetheless, the best way of acquiring this knowledge is to first hand experience it. The Sephardi service has many similarities to the Ashkenazi one, but very often differentiate itself in many ways that sometimes it seems that to the trained eye, two different worlds exist. These differences become very prominent if one is familiar with one text and suddenly finds himself in another tradition.
This handbook becomes much more relevant to the student of the particular tradition that is the Spanish and Portuguese one. Today only a handful of Congregations follows meticulously and to some degree the same Minhag. To my present knowledge the following Congregations follow this Minhag with some degrees of variations:
- Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, USA
- Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, USA
- Congregation Sha'ar Hashamayim (Bevis Marks, also Lauderdale Rd.) in London, UK
- Congregation Talmud Torah in Amsterdam, Holland
- Congregation Nefutsot Yehuda in Gibraltar.
The following Congregations have a substantial variation in the Minhag even though they started in the same tradition:
- Congregation Synagogue Rue Buffaut Paris, France
- Congregation Synagogue de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
- Congregation Nefousot Yehoudah, Bayonne, France
- Congregation Bet Kenesset Stambuli, Jerusalem, Israel
- Congregation Bruxelle, Belgium
- Congregation Shearith Israel, Montreal, Canada
The following Congregations has started with the Spanish & Portuguese tradition and have today only vestiges of the Minhag or have done away completely.
Curacao, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Tomas, Barbados, Colombia, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, Newport, Salonica, Cairo, Cochin, Lisbon, Livorno.
Albert E. Gabbai
Marheshvan 16, 5758