8 Aralık 2013 Pazar

Active Synagogues And Cemeteries


Ahrida Synagogue

According to a document dated 16 may 1693; the Ahrida synagogue is active since 1404. The synagogue was built by the Jewish community coming from Ohri, Macedonia. The name of the synagogue comes from the home town of its builders. The actual shape of the building has nothing to do with its original shape. According to a not very credible theory, the building of today is actually to buildings joined together.
The Ahrida synagogue was completely destroyed in the fire of 1690 and reconstructed. The last restoration took place between 1990 and 1992 by the Turkish architect Hüsrev Tayla. The temple was reopened on the 16th November 1992. This restoration was based on the plans of 1694 reconstruction and the decoration trends of the same period. The synagogue has two entrances. The south entrance is usually closed and the north entrance is used as the main gate.
The main building was constructed from bricks and stone. The floor is made from Marmara marble. The praying deck, called "Tevah" is at the center of the synagogue according to Sephardic traditions. (According to Sephardic traditions, the Tevah is built at the center of the synagogue. According to Ashkenazim traditions, the Tevah is constructed next to the Ehal. In most of the Sephardic synagogues constructed after the 18th century, the Tevah is built next to the Ehal like in an Ashkenazi synagogue. This is probably due to the fact that the Ashkenazi community was very small and in most of the neighborhood, there were no Ashkenazi synagogues. To honor the Ashkenazim, to make them feel at home, the Sephardim synagogues were constructed according Ashkenazim traditions.) The Tevah reached by two steps, has the shape of the back of a boat. According to some historian the Tevah represent the Arch of Noah. According to others, it represents the first ship coming from Spain during the Inquisition. The possibility of the Tevah being added to the synagogue during the restorations of 1694 makes both theories accurate. The Ehal of the Ahrida synagogue is reached by three steps. The wooden door of the Ehal is decorated with mother of pearl. The women section, the "Azara", of the temple is at the west. The fact that the Azara is separated by a glass from the rest of the synagogue proves that the community of the Ahrida synagogue was very orthodox.
The Ahrida synagogue burned down in the big fire of 1690 and was reconstructed by the order of the Sultan. It was reopened on the 10 May 1694. The synagogue was restored again in 1709, 1823, 1840, 1881, 1893, 1926 and 1955. During the restoration of 1840, the Midrash was added to the complex. The main entrance gate was renewed during the restoration of 1881.
The 16 September 1987, the Ahrida synagogue was declared "cultural asset worthy of protection", in 1989, a reproduction of the building was added to Miniatürk open air museum. Another reproduction of the synagogue is in Beth Hatefatsoth museum in Tel Aviv.
A tunnel was discovered under the synagogue in 1990. It is said the tunnel was constructed to allow the Jews living outside the city walls to come and pray in the Ahrida synagogue. During its existence of over 600 years, the Ahrida synagogue witnessed more than one historical event. It is said that in the 17th century, the famous Rabi, Sabetay Sevi (Zvi) preached in the Ahrida synagogue. On the 18 May 1877, during the Crimean war, a ceremony, with the participation of the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Ethem Pasa, for the Ottoman victory took place in this synagogue.
The Ahrida synagogue belonged to the Haci Isa congregation. It had a Jewish school and a charity foundation in its complex. Even several travelers who visited Balat in the 19th century described the neighborhoods as very poor; the district of Ahrida was different. The Balat neighborhood was divided into two as Interior Balat and Exterior Balat. The Interior Balat started from the area called "Konfofano" by the Jews, near the Balat gate. In the 19th century the gates of Balat were closed at night. During the Sabbath, the Gabby will control the neighborhood to make sure that everyone celebrated Sabbath. The Feruh Kahya hamami, called by the Jews "el banjo de Balat" was used as Mica.

Yanbol Synagogue

The Yanbol synagogue was founded by the Jewish congregation migrated from the Yanbol (Nigbolu or Necropolis) of Bulgaria. A document dated 21 May 1693 proves that the synagogue was active during the Byzantine period. There are still constructions from that period in the complex of the synagogue. The main building used as synagogue is made of wood. According to the traveler Schneider the synagogue was restored in 1709 by Yakov bin Yaseh. The ceiling of the main praying hall is decorated with landscape oil paintings. This ceiling was reconstructed at the end of the 19th century, in 1895 after the big Balat fire. The date 5655 (a895) marked at the main entrance shows that not only the ceiling the whole building was restored in 1895. The Ehal of the Yanbol synagogue, like the Ahrida synagogue was decorated with mother of pearl. The Ehal is reached by three small steps. The Women section, the Azara, is placed on top of wooden columns and is located on the north side of the synagogue. During the restoration of the Ahrida synagogue, the services were held in the Yanbol synagogue.

Çorapçı Han Synagogue

At the beginning, the ceremonies were held in a room which belonged to an Ashkenazi woman from Kuzguncuk. When a bigger space was needed, two more rooms were purchased and the whole complex was converted to a synagogue.

This temple was constructed inside the corapci business building belonging to Kaptan-i Derya Piyale Pasa. With the financial support of the Kamondo family, it was built in 1880 by the Russian immigrants. On the marble plate mounted on the wall the names of those who contributed to the construction of the temple are market. At the beginning, the ceremonies were held in a room which belonged to an Ashkenazi woman from Kuzguncuk. When a bigger space was needed, two more rooms were purchased and the whole complex was converted to a synagogueIn 1940 the synagogue was completely restored. During this restoration, the wooden Ehal was replaced by a marble Ehal. The synagogue was also restored in 1952 and in 1985. It has a capacity of 50 people. In 1918, a yeshiva was added to the complex.

Hesed Le Avraam Syangogue

Because of the donation made by Avraam Aslan Fresko, the synagogue was called Hesed Le Avraam.
Even need before, a temple could only be constructed on Buyukada at the beginning of the 20th century. The land of the synagogue was donated to the community by Avraam Aslan Efendi Fresko. Even the law for last names passed during the republic period, the Jews living in the Ottoman Empire had last names. But for those working for the Ottoman government, their title came before their last names. Like Jak Bey de Leon or Avraam Aslan Efendi Fresko.

Maalem Synagogue

The synagogue, still active today, was constructed at the end of the 17th century or at the beginning of the 18th century. It took its actual shape during the restoration works of the 19th century. The building was surrounded by high walls to protect it from fires.

Neve Salom Synagogue

The meaning of the name is Oasis of Peace. There was another synagogue with the same name in the history of Istanbul's Jewry. In 1923, during the opening ceremony of Apollon (Knesset) synagogue, the leader of Galata Jewish community, Abraham Botton made the promise to open a big and modern synagogue. A new land was bought for that purpose in 1926 on Refik Saydam Street by Elia Kadori and donated to the community.In 1931, the two temples of Galata, the Knesset and Zülfaris synagogues were insufficient for the community. Especially during big religious holidays, the community was obliged to rent big halls and convert them to temples to be able to have enough room for everyone to pray. In 1938, the leader of the Galata community, Marcel Franko, decided to close the Jewish Scholl for girls and convert it to a big temple. This temple was opened on the 26 September 1938 for Roshashana. All those changes were made without taking necessary authorizations from the ministry of education and Istanbul governorship. The community was warned and the temple was converted back to a Scholl. But the dining room of the school was converted to a small temple with the authorization of the Prime Minister. As there were no major constructions made, a small closet was converted to an Ehal. Those living close by to the temple, would bring, when they came to pray, their chairs with them. The rest of the chairs were rented from the coffeehouse of Madame Sara. The name of the temple was given 24 September 1948. On July 1949, with the proper authorizations finally taken, the decision to construct a new temple was taken. A committee was formed to supervise the construction of the new temple. First, the committee asked the Italian architect Denasi to give a project for the new temple. But two newly graduated Turkish Jewish architects, Elia Ventura and Bernard Motola, asked to give their own project to the committee. The project they prepared in 6 months was accepted. Elia Ventura says about those days: "We have done everything ourselves. We only left the construction site to get some rest. The biggest problem was the dome of the synagogue. The dome had to be grandiose and light and still strong enough to carry the giant chandelier. The dome was made by the craftsman Gabis. Only some of the windows on the dome could open. "The construction of the Neve salom synagogue almost stopped because of financial difficulties in December 1950. The members of the Galata Jewish community had to make a loan of 50 thousands liras to be able to continue the construction of the temple. The Etoile du vent newspaper was announcing on its issue of 8 September 1950 that the Jews of Istanbul will pray in the most beautiful synagogue of Europe. The construction of the Neve salom synagogue coasted a total 300 thousands liras. The temple was opened to service the 25 march 1951 with a magnificent ceremony. The Chief Rabbi Rafael Saban, the member of Beth Din, the Rabbis of all the synagogues of Istanbul the administrators of all the congregations and foundations of Istanbul were all present. Not only the temple but the street of the temple was full of people celebrating the opening of the temple.The ceremony started with a prayer by Izak Maçoro. Rabbis in white robes installed the Torahs in the Ehal. Izak Saban described the opening of the Neve salom synagogue as thirty years old dream come true. The continued by pointing that including the seats, the synagogue had many shortages. Izak Atabes shouted that every Jew should participate to the construction of the temple. In less than 10 minutes the money needed 280 sitting rows were collected.When first constructed, the Neve salom Synagogue had no façade to the front street. The synagogue main entrance was trough an alley. The wooden building in front of the synagogue was bought for 40 thousands liras in 1952. After necessary authorizations, in 1960 a proper façade was added to the temple.On the night of 8 October 1969, at 3 o clock, a bomb was thrown to the synagogue. That was the first attack made to the temple. Unfortunately, it was not the last. On 6 September 1986 Saturday morning at 9.17, 3 men entered the temple with hand grenades and machine guns. During this attack of 2 or 3 minutes, 23 men praying in the synagogue was massacred. Only 1 person, Gabriel saul, survived the attack of 1986. The funeral ceremonies of those killed in the attack were held 10 September 1986. During the reparation work of the Neve salom synagogue, the ceremonies were held in the Beth Israel synagogue. The Neve salom was reopened the 20 May 1987. At the front entrance hall, the clock of the temple, stopped at the time of the attack. Next to the clock, on the wall the names of those killed in the attack are marked. On top those killed in 1986 and on the bottom, those killed in 2003. On the 1st March 1992, the Neve salom synagogue was attacked once more by 2 armed men. But the attack was stopped by the security of the synagogue. No damage was done to the building or to those praying inside the temple. The fourth and saddest terrorist attack was made to the synagogue on the 15 October 2003 at 9:14. Even this attack did not hurt those praying inside, 2 Jewish Turkish entering the temple, the security guards, a police officer and many people on the street were killed. After the attack of 2003, the synagogue was reopened on the 29 July 2004. In 2009, 40 years after the first attack and 6 years after the last attack, the temple is protected like a fortress. During its history of half a century, the Neve salom synagogue witnessed many historical events. The most important ceremony was, most probably, the nomination ceremony of the first Chief Rabbi of the republic period, the 2 March 1953. On the 7 December 1961, the nomination of the Chief rabbi David Asseo and 15 December 2002, the nomination of the Chief Rabbi Izak Haleva was held in this temple. On 4 March 1992, the descendants of the Jews who came to Istanbul in 1492, celebrated in the Neve salom synagogue the 500th anniversary of their arrival. On 26 October 1998, the 75th anniversary of the Turkish Republic was also celebrated in this temple. When you enter the temple from the side entrance, the front entrance is closed for security reasons, after the security the Mikva of the temple. Until the end of the 19th century, there were no Mikva but the Turkish baths owned by the members of the community were used as Mikva. As today there are no Turkish baths owned by any members of the community, a Mikva was constructed in the Neve salom synagogue. On the way to the main praying room, the ceremonial hall of the synagogue is on the right. On the walls of the corridor, Ketubas from different periods are hanged. As until the declaration of the republic, there were no legal marriages only religious ceremonies, the Ketubas were the legal marriage license. On the fences of the Tevah and on some chairs bullet traces from the attack of the 1986 can still be seen. The helmets under the chairs are for the earthquakes. On the wall of the Ehal, the traces of hand grenades from 1986. On the Azara, there are 12 flower pots representing the twelve tribes. On the wall a tag in the memory of the Weinberg foundation who gave a considerable financial support to the restorations made after the attack of 2003. The Neve salom synagogue is the biggest temple of the Istanbul's Jewish community. Most of the ceremonies like circumcision, Bart Mitzvah, weddings and funerals were held in this temple. After the bombing, the Neve salom synagogue was closed to the daily prayers. It is only opened for Shabbat prayer and important ceremonies. Next to the Rabbi's room, there is a small office decorated as a small museum. Used Torahs, Mezuzahs, religious items from the closed synagogues are gathered here. There are in this room the written permissions given by the Sultans to construct a Jewish school, a synagogue and built a Jewish cemetery. On the way out from the office, there is a small art gallery where religious paintings made by the members of the Jewish community are exhibited. With the concentration of the Jewish population in Galata in the near past, most of the Jewish foundations are also located in this neighborhood.

Ashkenazi Synagogue

The Ehal made from ebony tree was donated by the Austrian businessman Carl Carlsmann in the memory of his late wife Rachel Carlsmann in 1904. The Ehal was made by the Austrian craftsman Fogel. As mentioned before, the synagogues of Istanbul have two domes. One round dome representing their peaceful life on Ottoman soil and one rectangular one representing the 40 years their ancestors spent in the desert. The roof of the Ehal represents the rectangular dome. In the 19th century the Ashkenazi community refused the authority of a Sephardi Chief Rabbi. The cultural differences were the main reason of this refusal. The growing population of the Ashkenazi community and the separation of the Italian congregation played also an important role. With the arrival of the Ashkenazi Jewish businessmen, the community became richer and this gave the strength to separate from the Chief Rabbinate.The synagogue was constructed by the Ashkenazi Jews who came to Istanbul from Austria. The architect of the synagogue was Gabriel Tedoschi. The biggest financial support to the construction of the temple was given by Herman Goldenberg. The synagogue was opened to service 23 September 1900. The opened prayers were told by the Hazan Valdovski. This temple was one of the three Ashkenazi synagogues in Istanbul. During the opening ceremony, according to European tradition, some champagne was served to those attending to the service. The Ambassador of the Austrian Empire, Baron de Kalaci also attended to the opening ceremony of the temple. The synagogue's construction coasted 60 thousands Francs. The exterior facade of the building is very European It almost looks like a church. The second floor of the exterior facade has a big arch in the middle and two smaller arches on the sides. There are rectangular windows below the arches. There is a dome on the roof very visible from the outside of the temple, in the middle of the roof.
The Ehal made from ebony tree was donated by the Austrian businessman Carl Carlsmann in the memory of his late wife Rachel Carlsmann in 1904. The Ehal was made by the Austrian craftsman Fogel. As mentioned before, the synagogues of Istanbul have two domes. One round dome representing their peaceful life on Ottoman soil and one rectangular one representing the 40 years their ancestors spent in the desert. The roof of the Ehal represents the rectangular dome. Built on seven floors, the upper two floors of the temple were used as Azara. The entrance floor is used as the main praying floor of the temple. There are four more floors under the entrance floor. The first floor below the entrance floor was used as the dining room. Now days this floor is used as an alternative praying room. If the main praying room is closed for any reason, the daily prayers are held in this room. There is a small closet in this room used as an Ehal, a desk used as a Tevah. The last two floors were used as the morgue of the synagogue. As the cemeteries were far away from the Jewish neighborhoods, every synagogue had a morgue and the burial ceremonies were held in the cemeteries were held in the synagogues. After the attacks of 2003, for security reasons, this tradition of the Turkish Jews was abandoned and the burial ceremonies were held in the cemeteries. The roots of the word Ashkenazi go back to the Jewish communities living in the northern and middle Europe. Those communities were kicked out of their countries because of the growing influence of the Catholic Church. Jew living in France, England and Germany started to move towards the eastern European countries. For example they formed over 60 different congregations in Poland. The first Ashkenazi migration to the Ottoman Empire was in the middle of the 19th centuries. They were before that Ashkenazi Jews living in the occupied areas. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Ashkenazi Jews continued to migrate to Istanbul. In 1542 the Ashkenazi kicked out from Bohemia, in 1650 those exiled from Macedonia, and those running away from the Crimean War settled to Istanbul. In the 19th century the Ashkenazi community refused the authority of a Sephardi Chief Rabbi. The cultural differences were the main reason of this refusal. The growing population of the Ashkenazi community and the separation of the Italian congregation played also an important role. With the arrival of the Ashkenazi Jewish businessmen, the community became richer and this gave the strength to separate from the Chief Rabbinate. As a result a treaty of ten articles was signed on 19 June 1890 between Leon Rosental, the leader of the Ashkenazi community and the Chief Rabbi of the period. According to this treaty the Ashkenazi congregation was separated from the Chief Rabbinate but they could not have their own administration or their own Chief Rabbi. This means, even inside the community they were separated from the Sephardi Chief Rabbinate, they could not have any official representation. In 1912, the Ashkenazi congregation pushed the Chief Rabbinate to sign a new treaty allowing them to have their own administration. But the congregation would depend to the Chief Rabbinate for official matters. The treaty was signed at the end of the same year between Dr. Markus and the Chief Rabbi. The congregation was called in 1954 Ashkenazi Jewish Community; in 1957 the name was changed to Jewish Ashkenazi Committee. Today there are only 700 Ashkenazi Jews in Istanbul. At the entrance of the temple, on top of the stairs, a marble tag in the memory of Austrian King Joseph 1st's visit in 1900. The stairs were restored and the metal doors added after the attacks of 2003. At the entrance of the main praying room, there are several tags for those who contributed to the synagogue. The first one is in the memory of Izidor Schnitter; one of the leaders of the Ashkenazi congregation who died in 1953.The second tag is in the memory of Carl Carlsman who donated the Ehal to the temple.

Italian Synagogue | Kal de los Francos | Le Synagogue des Etrangers
This synagogue, known as Kal de los Francos or le synagogue des etrangers, was constructed by the Italian Jewish community separated from the Sepharad community. The land of the temple used today was bought by the young members of the congregation for 1.050 Turkish liras.
This synagogue, known as Kal de los Francos or le synagogue des etrangers, was constructed by the Italian Jewish community separated from the Sepharad community. There are several different informations about the separation of the Italian Jewish congregation from the Istanbul Jewish community. According to a document dated 14 February 1858 in the achieves of the historian Abraham Elmalik, the separation is due a funeral. The community asked an outrageous amount of money from the Gestro family. The disagreement resulted the separation of the congregation.
Another document from the memoires of Leon Pepino points the fact that the Italian congregation was preparing the separation from the Chief rabbinate in 1862. According to Galante, the reason and the date of the separation is different. For Galante, the disagreement was because the money asked to Fernadez family for the weeding of their son in 1868. As the permission for the construction of the Italian cemetery was given in 1866, it is obvious that the Italian congregation was preparing this separation long before it actually happened.
It doesn't matter if the disagreement was because of a funeral or because of a wedding. Fernadez and Veneziane resigned from their duties in the Jewish community and decided to separate the Italian congregation from the Chief Rabbinate. The Italian congregation first rented a building on the same street than the Zülfaris synagogue and used it as a temple. The Rabbi of this temple was Bensiyon Levi. This building is used today as an office block but has still the Star of David on its façade.
The land of the temple used today was bought by the young members of the congregation for 1.050 Turkish liras. The 800 liras required for the construction was collected from the members of the congregation. The permission to construct the synagogue was given in 1885. The synagogue was restored in 1990; the central heating system was installed in 1998. The main praying hall is reached from the iron entrance door, trough a small courtyard. The Azara floor is reached by stairs from the northern side of the synagogue. The floor of the main praying hall is covered with hexagonal marble pieces. The concrete part in the middle shows that the Tevah was constructed at first in the middle of the temple according the Sepharad traditions and was moved later next to the Ehal.
After the Knesset synagogue was closed, until 1922, the concerts of the Naflirim Choir were held in the Italian synagogue. For many years the Italian synagogue was used as the cultural center of Istanbul's Jews. Starting from 1992, the Shavuot is celebrated in the Italian synagogue.

Etz A Hayim Synagogue

The synagogue was heavily damaged in the fire of 1703 and was restored by the order of the Sultan in 1707. It went through major restoration in 1825. The Etz A Hayim synagogue is located on the main street of Ortakoy. Its name, meaning the Tree of Life was used for several synagogues during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. A synagogue with the same name is still active in Bursa. Before the construction of this building, the synagogue was located in another building with the same name. Even some documents give the construction date of the synagogue as 1825, the Jewish population who lost their homes during the Bedesten fire of 1618, found refuge in the Etz A Hayim synagogue. The synagogue went through a major restoration in 1825. Some historians take this date as the construction date of the synagogue. The synagogue was heavily damaged in the fire of 1703 and was restored by the order of the Sultan in 1707. It went through major restoration in 1825. The cost of this restoration was covered by the Kamondo family. In 1903, the ceiling of the synagogue was repented by Avram Kohen. The main entrance gate renovated by Eliyahu Ben Yitsak is still used today as the main entrance gate of the temple. The first building constructed here and used as the Etz A Hayim synagogue was a two floor building. It had a dome, 10 windows and two entrances. In October 196, on the evening of Yom Kippur, a fire started from the gas lamp and burned the synagogue completely down. With the help of the whole neighborhood only the contains of the Ehal constructed in 1825 by the Kamondo family and a carpet could be saved from the flames. The complex, which burned down in 1916 had 3 Midrashes. In the complex of today only the Midrashes of Haverim and Teilim still exist. Around the Ehal constructed by the Kamondo family in 1825, a hall was built to be used in crowded days. This hall is used today as the dining room. The wooden Ehal as replaced in 1977 by a marble Ehal with the donations of Viktorya Azuz, in the loving memory of her late husband, Avram Azuz. The Haverim Midrash was used, after the restorations of 2003, by the Ashkenazi congregation. It was converted to a library in 2009. The Etz A Hayim complex had two temples, one Sepharad and one Ashkenazi. The Ehal of the Haverim Midrash or the Ashkenazi temple has inside 7 Torahs. This Midrash was constructed by the famous Rabbi Naftali Ben Isaac. There is a sign at the entrance of the Midrash in his memory. The Rabbi Naftali Ben Isaac was the most important Cabbalist Rabbi of the 18th century. He also was one of the most important religious authorities of the period. During his journey to the Promised Land, he got very sick in Istanbul and passed away here. He is buried in the Ortakoy cemetery. Every year, on the 24 Tevet, Rabbis from all around the World come to Istanbul and visit his grave. The contents wooden Ehal from the restorations of 1825 is exhibited nest to the main entrance door. After the attacks of Neve salom and Beth Israel synagogues in 2003, like every synagogue in Istanbul, the Etz A Hayim synagogue went through security restorations. During the period of those restorations, as every synagogue in Istanbul were shut down, there were no places left to pray. 43 families, from the Ortakoy congregation opened their homes for the Sabbath prayer. On the wall in front of the Rabbi room, the names and pictures of those families are placed on a memorial board. The Teilim Midrash, used as the Sepharad synagogue, was completely destroyed during the restorations of 2003 and was replaced by a much bigger temple. The marble Ehal of this temple was built by the Ennekave family in the memory of their son Hayim, in 1992. Before the restorations of 2003, the Etz A Hayim synagogue was last restored in 1994. During this restoration work, sea sand was found in the foundations of the complex. It is possible that the temple was constructed on an area obtained by filling the sea.

Kadıköy Neighborhood

The Jewish settlements started to move from Kuzguncuk in the middle of the 19th century. With the growth of the community in this area, a second synagogue was opened in this area in Caddebostan. The two synagogues directions were joined under the Hemdat Israel foundation. Later, a Talmud Torah school was opened by the Hemdat Israel foundation. The Talmud Torah teaches young Jewish children Hebrew and religion. The purpose is to increase the interest of the youngster to the religion. There are also two cemeteries under the control of the foundation. The Aci Badem Jewish cemetery and a section of the Nakkas Tepe cemetery in Kuzguncuk belong to the Kadikoy congregation.

1 Hemdat Israel synagogue

The temple located in the Yeldegirmeni district, was built in the 1880's to answer the needs of some 2000 Jewish families living in the area. The temple takes its name from the story behind its construction. The Greeks living in the neighborhood opposed violently to the construction of the synagogue and the construction could only start after the intervention of the Sultan Abdülhamid II's soldiers. To show their gratitude to the Sultan the temple was named Hemdat Israel (the gratitude of the sons of Israel).

The temple was designed by an Austrian architect. The 2000 Ottoman gold coins needed for the construction of the synagogue, were collected with donations. The synagogue opened on a Roshashana evening, the 3 September 1899. For the opening ceremony of the temple, a chandelier similar to the one in the Muayede hall of the Dolmabahçe palace was donated by the Chief Jewilmaker of the Sultan, Jak Bey de Leon. Baron de Rotchild and his family participated to the Yom Kippur praying in the Hemdat Israel synagogue in 1899.The synagogue was planed and constructed according to the Sepharad traditions. There are two entrances, one on the south and one on the north of the temple. The Tevah and the Ehal are face to face constructed towards the south. There is of course a space between the Tevah and the Ehal. The south entrance, used as the main gate of the temple is reached by large white marble stairs. The small hall on the left of the main entrance was constructed as a Yeshiva in 1920. Today the reunions of the board of directors are held in this room. The Ehal is reached, again according to Sepharad traditions, by three stairs. The door of the Ehal has mother of pearl ornaments like many synagogues in Istanbul. Like in the Ashkenazi synagogue, in this synagogue the roof of the Ehal represent the square dome.

                                                               Bülbülderesi  cementery

Hasköy Sepharad Cemetery

The Sepharads cemetery is the oldest active cemetery in Istanbul. This cemetery has been in use for over 400 years. In time the area occupied by the cemetery has changed and became smaller. During the construction of the Haliç Bridge and the highway, hundreds of graves have been moved. The Midrash of the cemetery was restored in 2005.

Kamando Mauseleum

There is also a mausoleum in Hasköy’s cemetery. The Kamondo mausoleum. The Kamondo were a rich Jewish family living in Istanbul. They came to Istanbul from Italy at the end of the 18th century. They played a very important role in the history of Istanbul’s Jews in the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, for political reasons the family was obliged to move to Paris. Abraham Salomon Kamondo never forgot Istanbul, his birth city. This is why he requested in his will to be buried in Istanbul. After his death a mausoleum was constructed in the Hasköy cemetery for him and his body was brought to Istanbul and buried in this mausoleum. Unfortunately, the mausoleum is in ruins today. Abraham Salomon Kamondo was buried here in 1873 by military ceremony with the participation of the Sultan Abdülaziz. The mausoleum, constructed in an eclectic style, has also a praying room. With the construction of the Golden Horn Bridge, the mausoleum was left outside the borders of the new Hasköy cemetery and the praying room was destroyed. The building is 10 meters large, 9 meters wide and 5 meters high. Despite all the protection measures, the marble and copper pieces were stolen. The mausoleum is once more being restored in 2010.

Hasköy Caraim Cemetery

The second cemetery in Hasköy is the only active Caraim cemetery in Istanbul. The two cemeteries are located next to each other. The Caraim cemetery was built by the order of Sultan Mahmud II. This proves that the Sultan accepted the Caraim Jews as a minority and not as a congregation belonging to the Jewish community.

Ortaköy Cemetery

From the municipality and insurance records, it appears that the cemetery is 3 or 4 centuries old. It was left unattended for a very long time. Parts of it were confiscated by the gated communities constructed around. Because of landslides, some graves collapsed, others were partially destroyed. In the last decade the cemetery was under restoration. . First the parts occupied by the communities were taken back, or sold away. Then with the control of the Israeli Rabbinate, the graves were reorganized. During those restoration works many old stones made from lime stone were discovered. There are in the Ortaköy cemetery grave stones from the 17th century. The old stones, made from limestone, and epigraphs are in Hebrew. On the newer ones, from the 18th or 19th centuries, the epigraphs are in French or Ladino. On the gravestones from the 20th century, the epigraphs are in Turkish.
The use of the Turkish in the Jewish community started at the end of the 20th century, mainly because the young generation lost their interest to the religion. By using books in Turkish, the community tried to attire the attention of the young generations. Among the older generation, ladino was still the common language used at home. So the prayers and books in Ladino could still be understood.
The grave of Naphtali Katz (also known Cohen) is located in Ortaköy Cemetery.
In 1663 Cohen fell into the hands of the Tatars, who kept him in servitude for several years. Escaping, he returned to Ostrowo, and was chosen to succeed his father as rabbi. In 1690 he was called toPosen, where he officiated as chief rabbi until 1704. There he devoted himself to the Cabala, and collected a large library of cabalistic literature. In 1704 he was called to Frankfurt am Main. On the occasion of a fire which, breaking out in his house on Jan. 14, 1711, spread to and consumed the entire Jewish quarter, it was charged that, relying on the efficacy of his cabalistic charms, he had prevented the extinction of the fire by the ordinary means. He was arrested and thrown into prison, and regained his liberty only upon renouncing his office. He then went to Prague, where many members of his family lived. There another misfortune, which embittered his life more than the loss of his wealth and position, befell him. The Shabbethaiancabalist Nehemiah Hayyun appeared in Prague, declaring himself a preacher or an emissary from Palestine, and by his duplicity gained the confidence of the credulous Cohen. Being a believer in practical Cabala, Cohen found no fault with Ḥayyun, even when the latter began to sell amulets. It is not astonishing, therefore, that when Ḥayyun asked for an approbation for his mystical work Mehemnuta de Kula,Cohen, to whom he had prudently submitted only the main text, but not the commentaries which accompanied it, and in which the author openly professed the doctrine of the Trinity, readily granted it, and gave him a glowing recommendation. Provided with this and with other recommendations secured in the same way, Ḥayyun traveled throughout Moravia and Silesia, propagating everywhere his Shabbethaian teachings. Cohen soon discovered his mistake, and endeavored, but without success, to recover his approbation, although he did not as yet realize the full import of the book. It was in 1713, while Cohen was staying atBreslau (where he acted as a rabbi until 1716), that Ḥakam Ẓebi Ashkenazi of Amsterdam informed him of its tenets. Cohen thereupon acted rigorously. He launched a ban against the author and his book, and became one of the most zealous supporters of Ḥakam Ẓebi in his campaign against Ḥayyun. In 1715 Cohen went to see August II., King of Poland, to secure reinstatement in his former rabbinate of Posen, at that time vacant; but failed because of the opposition of the leaders of the community. He then returned to the Ukraine, and in 1718 started for the Holy Land, but died on the way at İstanbul on Dec. 20, 1718.

Ulus Sepharad Cemetery

According to some historians the cemetery was opened to burial at the beginning of 1920's but the Jewish Community's records show that the cemetery was opened in 1901. The walls of the cemetery mark its borders and all the burials are located and mapped. But the graves are unorganized. Because of lack of space even the paths between the graves are being used.

Nakkastepe Jewish Cemetery 

The Nakkastepe cemetery has very old gravestones. Even Kuzguncuk became a major Jewish neighborhood at the beginning of the 17th century, there were Jewish settlements around the area at the beginning of the 15th century. There are stones in the cemetery with symbols from the Torah and from the Spanish Inquisition. The old stones from the 15ht and 16th century are in Hebrew of in ladino.

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