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Turkish Jewry Today Early History At midnight August 2,when Columbus embarked on what would become his most famous expedition to the New World, his fleet departed from the relatively unknown seaport of Palos because the shipping lanes of Cadiz and Seville were clogged with Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain by the Edict of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.
The Jews forced either to convert to Christianity or to "leave" the country under menace "they dare not return The history of the Jews in Anatolia, however, started many centuries before the migration of Sephardic Jews. Remnants of Jewish settlement from the 4th century B. The historian Josephus Flavius relates that Aristotle "met Jewish people with whom he had an exchange of views during his trip across Asia Minor.
Ancient synagogue ruins have also been found in Sardis, near Izmir, dating from B. Jewish communities in Anatolia flourished and continued to prosper through the Turkish conquest.
When the Ottomans captured Bursa in and made it their capital, they found a Jewish community oppressed under Byzantine rule. The Jews welcomed the Ottomans as saviors.
Sultan Orhan gave them permission to build the Etz ha-Hayyim Tree of Life synagogue which remained in service until 50 years ago.
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Early in the 14th century, when the Ottomans had established their capital at Edirne, Jews from Europe, including Karaitesmigrated there. In the s, Jews from Salonika then under Venetian control fled to Edirne.
In fact, from the early 15th century on, the Ottomans actively encouraged Jewish immigration. Western European Jews received three invitations to settle in the Ottoman Empire. The third came in a letter sent by Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati from Edirne in to Jewish communities in Europe in the first part of the century that "invited his coreligionists to leave the torments they were enduring in Christiandom and to seek safety and prosperity in Turkey.
Sultan Mehmet II issued a proclamation to all Jews " Inthe Sultan ordered the governors of the provinces of the Ottoman Empire "not to refuse the Jews entry or cause them difficulties, but to receive them cordially. Immanual Aboab attributes to Bayazid II the famous remark that "the Catholic monarch Ferdinand was wrongly considered as wise, since he impoverished Spain by the expulsion of the Jews, and enriched Turkey.
The arrival of the Sephardim altered the structure of the community and the original group of Romaniote Jews descendants of Greek-speaking Jews was totally absorbed. Over the centuries an increasing number of European Jews, escaping persecution in their native countries, settled in the Ottoman Empire.
In the Jews expelled from Apulia Italy after the city fell under Papal control, in those expelled from Bohemia by King Ferdinand found a safe haven in the Ottoman Empire. The Pope had no other alternative than to release them, the Ottoman Empire being the "Super Power" of those days.
Half a century later, 8, Jewish houses were listed in the city. The creator may have been Shabetai Zvithe pseudo Messiah and founder of the Sabbatean movement.
In reaction to Zvi, Izmir's Jews withdrew from any secular pursuits. One of the most significant innovations that Jews brought to the Ottoman Empire was the printing press. Ottoman diplomacy was often carried out by Jews.
Salamon ben Nathan Eskenazi arranged the first diplomatic ties with the British Empire. In the free air of the Ottoman Empire, Jewish literature flourished. Joseph Caro compiled the Shulkhan Arukh. Jacob Culi began to write the famous MeAm Loez.
Under Ottoman tradition, each non-Muslim religious community was responsible for its own institutions, including schools. In the early 19th century, Abraham de Camondo established a modern school, "La Escola", causing a serious conflict between conservative and secular rabbis which was only settled by the intervention of Sultan Abdulaziz in The same year the Takkanot haKehilla By-laws of the Jewish Community was published, defining the structure of the Jewish community.
As a result, leadership of the community began to shift away from the religious figure to secular forces.
World War I brought to an end the glory of the Ottoman Empire. In its place rose the young Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was elected president, the Caliphate was abolished and a secular constitution was adopted.
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Recognized in by the Treaty of Lausanne as a fully independent state within its present-day borders, Turkey accorded minority rights to the three principal non-Muslim religious minorities and permitted them to carry on with their own schools, social institutions and funds.
Inon the eve of Turkey's adoption of the Swiss Civil Code, the Jewish Community renounced its minority status on personal rights. Visit of late Chief Rabbi Haim Bedjerano. As early as Ataturk invited numbers of prominent German Jewish professors to flee Nazi Germany and settle in Turkey.
Before and during the war years, these scholars contributed a great deal to the development of the Turkish university system. While the Jewish communities of Greece were wiped out almost completely by Hitlerthe Turkish Jews remained secure.
Turkey continues to be a shelter, a haven for all those who have to flee dogmatism, intolerance and persecution. Additionally, the Community maintains a primary school for pupils and a secondary school for students in Istanbul, and an elementary school for children in Izmir. Turkish is the language of instruction, and Hebrew is taught 35 hours a week. While younger Jews speak Turkish as their native language, the older generation is more at home speaking in French or Judeo-Spanish Ladino.
A conscious effort is spent to preserve the heritage of Judeo-Spanish For long years Turkish Jews have had their own press.
Now one newspaper survives: We look forward to many more fruitful years of research collaboration. Edwin, who often visits New Hampshire, is a longtime friend and informal collaborator and advisor to the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive.
Link to the announcement from YnetNews. The feature that users liked most in our previous interface, namely the "Quick Search" window, is still here, unchanged.
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