14 NovemberA Journey with 1,300 people from Turkey to Jewish Culture
26 OctoberWe are all borderline narcissists
19 OctoberIrreplaceable Klara
November 14, 2017 A Journey with 1,300 people from Turkey to Jewish Culture
October 26, 2017 We are all borderline narcissists
October 24, 2017 Your body and soul surrender to DJ Gadi Mitranis music
October 23, 2017 A Journey with Postcards to the History of Levant
October 19, 2017 Irreplaceable Klara
Buyukada, Once The Jewish Island Of Turkey, Still Keeps Its Traditions
July 13, 2017 768
When I first visited the island of Buyukada, about an hour from Istanbul, it was on a ferry chartered by the Jewish community. That was about 25 years ago. It was a summer weekend, when it seemed the entire community of Istanbul would decamp to this island retreat to get away from the sweltering summers of the city. Think Coney Island back in the 50s, but in this case, everyone spoke Turkish.
Buyukada, the largest of the Princes’ islands in the Sea of Marmara, is no longer “the Jewish island.” Mainly because there are far fewer Jews in Istanbul, owing to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the hostility by the Erdogan government toward Israel. Jews, who arrived from Spain after the Inquisition and Expulsion, found Turkey a hospitable home for over 500 years. That era is drawing to an end, though for a substantial remnant, Buyukada is still a favorite summer destination.
With its graceful Ottoman mansions (kosks) and villas (konaks) behind walls of bougainvillea and ivy, and mountain peaks overlooking the Sea of Marmara, it’s easy to understand what attracted affluent and middle class Jews, Greeks and other minorities to Buyukada. There are no cars or motor vehicles allowed. Travel around the island is by foot, bicycle, or the popular horse-drawn carriages – modeled on 19th Century phaetons – whose clop-clop on the cobblestone roads seems like a soundtrack of the island.
There were three active synagogues on the island. Now, only one, Hessed L’Avraham, the domed shul with an enormous chandelier that is the venue for Shabbat services. There is also a Jewish beach club, a kosher butcher and restaurant for the community.
My Turkish hosts who invited us to Buyukada back in the 80s would not have anticipated the changes that came to the island. Instead of seeing Jewish friends and neighbors from Istanbul at the cafes around the iconic Clock Tower Square and beach clubs, the island now draws Saudi vacationers and more traditional Turks, the women dressed with headscarves.
Still, as long as there are Jews in Istanbul, Buyukada probably will remain the local vacation retreat. Nostalgia for community, a short ferry ride, and an island seemingly lost in time are a strong incentive to visit Buyukada.
23 OctoberA Journey with Postcards to the History of Levant
Levants Eyes: Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem and others (1890-1930) In Historic Postcards Exhibition will be open for visitors between October 18 and December 3rd at Schneidertempel Art Center.
19 OctoberIrreplaceable Klara
Klara Perahya, editor of Saloms Judeo- Espanyol page, had passed away on September 14, 2017, at the age of 97. Klara Perahya had spent most of her life doing charity work and taking part in social events. She left behind a void that will be impossible to fill.
22 SeptemberShai Cohen: "The ability to communicate has been proven very successful in the most difficult moments"
The diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 led to downgrade the diplomatic relations. During the Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, relations between the two countries reached a new low. In this sensitive time, Shai Cohen was appointed as the new Consul General of Israel in Istanbul. Approaching the end of his term, we discussed the present and the future of the Turkish-Israeli relations.
22 AugustA Bursa Tale from Izzet Keribars Lens
10 AugustAnti-Semitism hits peak in media
The rising tension in Jerusalem Al-Aqsa fueled rise in Anti-Semitism especially in Turkish media and in social media. Criticism of Israel is shifting its shape.
4 JulyDeputy Prime Minister: There are no minorities, everyone is a citizen
Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak who attended Iftar Dinner hosted by Minority Foundations said, There no minorities in Turkey. Everyone is a first-class original citizen.
19 JuneReaders got together with Izel Rozental and his new book
Caricaturist and writer Izel Rozentals new book The State of Journey hit the shelves. Rozentals 7th book The State of Journey debuted at 9th Annual Kadikoy Book Days at Haydarpasa Train Station.