15 OctoberThe Jewish tree Gharqad
9 OctoberAnne Frank House and SEHAK to launch various educational seminars in Izmir starting October 18th
October 15, 2018 The Jewish tree Gharqad
October 9, 2018 Anne Frank House and SEHAK to launch various educational seminars in Izmir starting October 18th
September 24, 2018 Volleyball player Selim Bonomo passed away
Buyukada, Once The Jewish Island Of Turkey, Still Keeps Its Traditions
July 13, 2017 1500
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.
5 OctoberEuropean Day of Jewish Culture will talk about us through stories
European Day of Jewish Culture which has been organized annually since 2001, will be hosted once again by The Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews this year, on Sunday, October 14th, between 10.30-18.00. The events will take place at Neve Salom Synagogue and the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews.
3 SeptemberThe 2nd International Conference on Israel and Judaism Studies to be held in Bandirma, Turkey
The 2nd International Conference on Israel and Judaism Studies Conference will be held in Erdek, Bandirma in October, this year.
13 AugustArmenians rank first, Jews rank second
The latest Media Watch on Hate Speech Report, a report published every four months by Hrant Dink Foundation was published last week.
2 AugustIzmir Portuguese Synagogue becomes a social and cultural center
Portuguese Synagogue in the city of Izmir that was renovated by EGIAD (Association of Young Businessmen in Aegean Region ) with the goal to enliven the historic area of Izmir and Kemeraltı district and contribute to the citys tourism, becomes a Social and Cultural Activities Center.
31 JulyHonorary Diploma for Prof. Dr. Abut Kebudi
European Union of Medical Specialists Breast Surgery Executive Committee awarded General Surgeon and Surgical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Abut Kebudi with Honorary Diploma in Mammoplasty. This honorary diploma is awarded to distinguished academics who have been globally working in the mammoplasty field for number of years and who have contributed to the training of specialists in the field. The distinguished academic to receive this diploma is determined after a stringent elimination process and only a few of the candidates are awarded with this diploma.