TURKEY

An unforgettable Tefilla at Parmakkapi Synagogue

Closed to worship in 1960 and leased to a manufacturing plant, Abudaram Synagogue, known as Parmakkapi Synagogue reopened its doors after a long time for morning prayer. Numerous members of Turkish Jewish Community attended the Tefilla.
An unforgettable Tefilla at Parmakkapi Synagogue

On Sunday morning, April 2nd, the people gathered at Haskoy Mahluk Street and looked around with great interest at the neighborhood that once hosted a large population of Jews and the synagogue that was once open for worship.

Haskoy Community Leader Moiz Behar speaking after the morning prayer, explained how only five of the 11 synagogues were restored after the huge fire in 1804. He added that those five synagogues had to shut down their doors since the Jewish population rapidly decreased at Haskoy. Today, only Maalem Synagogue is open on Saturday mornings for Shabbat prayer.

Speaking after Behar, Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva talked about the significance of the synagogue and the upcoming Passover holiday. He finished his speech by wishing everyone a happy Passover.

Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, leader of Turkish Jewish Community at his speech said that he first visited this synagogue when he was studying at college. He said he was looking for a synagogue, but was shocked to find a shop, instead. He also explained how throughout the years, together with other leaders of Jewish Community they planned to restore the dignity of the synagogue. Ibrahimzadeh also gave an advice to everyone in the synagogue: to always cherish what’s at hand and teach the new generations to sustain their own heritage.

Among the people in the synagogue was Isak Abudaram, a member of the Abudaram Family, the family the synagogue was named after. He joyfully shared a few of his memories regarding his family who used to live in Haskoy. The guests were served breakfast catered by La Casa Catering after the prayer and the speeches.

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Shai Cohen: “To be able to keep on the rituals in a historic synagogue is significant” 

Abudaram (Parmakkapi) Synagogue in Hasköy, Istanbul was rented in 1960s to be used as a workshop as a result of the diminished number of inhabitants in the neighborhood. The historic synagogue reopened its doors on Sunday morning with prayers and songs, surviving decades of negligence. Community members attended the prayer service in the dilapidated building with joy, ahead of planned restoration efforts to restore to its former glory.

Among the crowd witnessing this emotional and historic day, was Shai Cohen, Consul General of Israel in Istanbul, shared his feelings with Ţalom:

It is a very emotional event. It is very historic from this perspective. It is important to note the ability of the community to restore all properties like this one. It also shows the positive attitude of the authorities, restoring back properties of the minorities in Turkey in general, and of the Jewish community in particular. It is a very good sign for what can be achieved in terms of tolerance, and solidarity within society. From the point of view as an Israeli diplomat, it is very emotional. It has a lot of meanings to us, as the Israeli people. I hope it will be possible to restore the synagogue and to make it active. It is a very historic building. The meaning is very important; to be able to keep on the rituals in a five hundred years’ synagogue. This would be very significant.”

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