although Arabic is now mainly used as a second language, especially by the older generation.
Most of the many notable philosophical, religious and literary works of the Jews in Spain, North Africa and Asia were written in Arabic using a modified Hebrew alphabet. Specific varieties of Aramaic are identified as "Jewish languages" since they are the languages of major Jewish texts such as the Talmud and Zohar, and many ritual recitations such as the Kaddish.
In Syria, most eventually intermarried with, and assimilated into, the larger established communities of Musta'rabim and Mizrahim.
In some North African countries, such as Morocco, Sephardi Jews came in greater numbers, and largely contributed to the Jewish settlements that the pre-existing Jews were assimilated by them.
In Talmudic and Geonic times, however, this word "ma'arav" referred to the land of Israel, as contrasted with Babylonia.
For this reason, many object to the use of "Mizrahi" to include Moroccan and other North African Jews.
Most of the "Mizrahi" activists actually originated from North African Jewish communities, traditionally called "Westerners" (Maghrebi), rather than "Easterners" (Mashreqi).
Many Jews originated from Arab and Muslim countries today reject "Mizrahi" (or any) umbrella description, and prefer to identify themselves by their particular country of origin, or that of their immediate ancestors, e.
The term Mizrahim is also sometimes applied to descendants of Maghrebi and Sephardi Jews, who had lived in North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco), the Sephardi-proper communities of Turkey, and the mixed Levantine communities of Lebanon, Old Yishuv, and Syria.
These various Jewish communities were first grouped into a single ethnic identity in an official sense in the Jewish Agency's 1944 One Million Plan.
For this reason, "Sephardim" has come to mean not only "Spanish Jews" proper but "Jews of the Spanish rite", just as "Ashkenazim" is used for "Jews of the German rite", whether or not their families originate in Germany.
Many of the Sephardi Jews exiled from Spain resettled in greater or lesser numbers in the Arab world, such as Syria and Morocco.
The term Mizrahim or Edot Hamizraḥ, Oriental communities, grew in Israel under the circumstances of the meeting of waves of Jewish immigrants from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, followers of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Temani (Yemenite) rites.