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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Istanbul 06: National republic 1923-1970

National changes - Turkish and French - no Zionism permitted - secularizations - tax and ruin 1942-1944 - new tolerance since 1949 - emigration to Herzl Israel - structures of the community 1945-1968

Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul, vol.
                      9, col. 1096: The Neveh Shalom Synagogue in
                      Beyoglu, Istanbul's largest synagogue, with a
                      seating capacity of 2,000. Built 1949. Courtesy
                      Istanbul Jewish community. Photo S. Blum,
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul, vol. 9, col. 1096: The Neveh Shalom Synagogue in Beyoglu, Istanbul's largest
synagogue, with a seating capacity of 2,000. Built 1949. Courtesy Istanbul Jewish community. Photo S. Blum, Beyoglu.

from: Istanbul; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 9

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)

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Under the Republic of Turkey (from 1923).

[[There is no indication in the Encyclopaedia Judaica about World War I and about the Greek invasion under the order of the League of Nations and the national fight under Atatürk against the Greek army 1919-1923]].

[National Turkish state and Ataturk's measures - Turkish and French - no Herzl Zionism allowed - secularization of all schools in 1932]

The national and secular nature of the Turkish state, which was created by Kemal Ataturk, severely affected the position of the Jews in Istanbul. As mentioned, the laws giving religious autonomy to the Jewish community were allowed to lapse and the millet system [[Ottoman minority protection system]] was abolished.

Matters such as personal status (e.g., marriage) were under civil jurisdiction. the community lost the right to levy its own taxes, causing communal institutions to depend for support on voluntary contributions. The measures of secularization affected not only the Jews but, in general, all non-Muslims. In accord with this policy Turkish became the language of instruction in the schools instead of French (which was used in the "Alliance Israélite Universelle schools as throughout the Middle East and North Africa); the use of French was allowed to continue for a time in the upper forms. The government proscribed the affiliation of any local groups with foreign organizations. Jews, therefore, were prohibited from being represented on such international Jewish bodies as the World Zionist Organization, the World Jewish Congress, etc.

In 1932 the schools in Turkey were secularized, in accordance with the character of the state, and religious instruction was prohibited.

[1942: non-Muslim tax regulation - many non-Muslims are ruined]

As other non-Muslim subjects, the Jews of Istanbul were most severly affected by the imposition of the capital levy (varlik vergisi) of 1942. Many of those who could not meet these levy payments were compelled to sell their property or have it auctioned.

[[In 1944 the tax regulation was abolished and the depths were abolished also, see *Turkey. And: Istanbul was an important stopover of Jewish refugees driven and organized by secret Jewish Zionist Herzl organizations from Eastern Europe over the Black Sea to Herzl Israel or overseas, which is not indicated]].

Contemporary Period (from 1948)

[New tolerance since 1949 - Jewish schools, Jewish students - Jewish positions - emigrations to Herzl Israel]

In 1949 the Turkish National Assembly passed a law which granted the Jewish community autonomy in its internal affairs. This law had been proposed by the Jewish delegate in the house of representatives, Solomon Adato. Religious instruction, which until then had been restricted exclusively to the synagogues, was permitted in schools as part of the normal (col. 1095)

curriculum. A large number of Jews attended the government schools and continued their studies at the universities. The general educational standard of the Jews of Istanbul was improved as a result of the powerful influence of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. Jewish physicians, lawyers, and engineers of the community played an important role in the life of the country and Jews were also well represented in its commerce. They were rarely employed in the civil services.

The number of Jews in Istanbul estimated at 55,000 in 1948, dropped to 32,946 and 30,831 in the 1955 and 1965 censuses as a result of the large-scale emigration to the State of [[Herzl]] Israel. In 1970 an estimated 30,000 Jews lived in Balat, Hasköy, Ortaköy, and other quarters. The wealthy lived in the Per'a and Sisli neighborhoods.

Table. Number of Jews in Istanbul
number of Jews
1906 approx.
Table by Michael Palomino; from: Istanbul; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 9, col. 1095 and 1096

[[A considerable part of the Jewish emigrants who emigrated to Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel remigrated back to Turkey because of several reasons: The conditions in Turkey had ameliorated, see *Turkey after 1945 (Vol. 15, col. 1460), or what the Encyclopaedia Judaica is not saying: The conditions in Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel were bad for the Sephardi Jews from Turkey and they had to live in desert tent camps for years, because Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe had first priority in Herzl Israel. So, lots of Turkish Jews came back]].

[Structures of the Jewish community in Istanbul after 1945]

The Achgaha ("congregation") in the above-mentioned and six other quarters elects a committee which constitutes the members of the city's general community council. This is comprised of 60 men, including a few members of the Ashkenazi congregation. The general council elects the president of the community and administrative and religious committees.

Each congregation also has a rabbi. The The council's income is derived from dues, synagogue contributions, and donations. By 1950 the general council numbered only 42 members, since for several years new members were not elected to replace those who had died or emigrated. In 1950 elections were held to fill the 18 vacancies. Samuel Abrevaya was elected president of the community, and held the post until his death in 1953. He was succeeded by Henri Soriano and, later, Israel Menase. Until 1953 Istanbul Jewry had no official chief rabbi recognized by the authorities. In that year R. Raphael Saban was chosen.

[Situation 1968]

In 1968 the following institutions were supervised by the community's general council: the Or Hayyim Hospital (built in 1885); an orphanage; the Zedakah u-Marpe charitable organization (founded in 1918), which was responsible for the education of underprivileged students; (col. 1096)

an old-age home (founded in 1899); a Mahzikei Torah organization, which provided training one day a week for cantors and mohalim [[ritual experts in circumcision]]; and the Mishneh Torah association, which helped poor students.

In 1968 the community also had three elementary schools and a high school. In 1966 the attendance figures at these schools were 950 pupils, most of them poor, since the wealthy Jews preferred to send their children to foreign schools. There were also Jewish youth organizations in Istanbul in 1968, such as Ne'oemanei Zion, Amical, and others, some of which undertook a certain amount of Hebrew education.

For further information, see *Turkey.

[H.J.C.]> (col. 1097)

[Jewish printing in Istanbul in gradual decline]

<In the 20th century, with the gradual decline of the Hebrew presses, Ladino literature was eventually published by Christian missionaries; French and (col. 1098)

English literature in Ladino was published by Greek and Armenian printers.

[A.H. / J.GEL.]

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-- M. Franco: Essai sur l'Histoire des Israélites de l'Empire Ottoman (1897), passim
-- Rosanes, Togarmah
-- A. Galanté: Histoire des Juifs d'Istanbul, 2 vols. (1941-42)
-- Yaari, Sheluhei, index
-- U. Heyd, in: Oriens, 6 (1953), 299-314
-- S. Landshut: Jewish Communities in the Muslim Countries of the Middle East (1950), 78-86
-- Scholem, Shabbetai Zevi, index
-- Y. Rofeh, in: Sefunot, 10 (1966), 621-32
-- H.Z. Hirschberg, in: Religion in the Middle East, 1 (1969), 119-225
-- D. Jacoby, in: Byzantion, 37 (1967), 167-227> (col. 1099)

Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul,
                            vol. 9, col. 1095-1096
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul, vol. 9, col. 1095-1096
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul,
                            vol. 9, col. 1097-1098
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul, vol. 9, col. 1097-1098
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul,
                            vol. 9, col. 1099
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Instanbul, vol. 9, col. 1099

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