It’s likely that most non-Jews don’t know a thing about the difference between “Ashkenazi” and “Sephardic” or even what they label. But those labels enfold vast differences. The Ashkenazi Jews are what the world mostly knows about Judaism. The majority of those Jews came from countries around Russia and inside the U.S.S.R. and Europe. These are the people who brought Yiddish (a blend of Hebrew and German) and cooking with chicken fat (schmaltz) and the thick, funny, New York-Yiddish accents that people associate with Jews in movies.
The Sepharadim (a plural of Sepharad) came from Spain and
Portugal and after the “diaspora” (you know, the Inquisition that no one expected
– sorry, Monty Python), Morocco, and Northern Africa, and Mediterranean
countries like Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Iran/Iraq (Persia). They spoke
Ladino (a blend of Hebrew and Old Spanish). The diet differences of the two sets of Jews are also very
different. Ashkenazis eat a lot of wheat, for instance, and the holiday of
Passover focuses on matzah, an unleavened (wheat) bread. Sepharadim eat a lot
of rice dishes and have a very “Mediterranean” diet – lots of olive oil. While
the Jewish religion stayed relatively intact in either group, the us/them
growth of prejudice between them made “community” non-existent even in the face
of the same racism that all Jews faced.