Gaziantep Synagogue Opened its Doors After 40 YearsThe Gaziantep Synagogue that hosted mostly the Jewish community coming from Arab countries during the Ottoman Empire, opened its doors once again after 40 years.
The Gaziantep Synagogue which had been empty and deserted for years since the 1980s, due to the fact that no Jews were left in Gaziantep, has opened its doors once again on December 26th, after the renovation executed by the Directorate General of Foundations.
Gaziantep Synagogue's Renovation
The synagogue that was opened during the Hanukkah Festival, welcomed the Turkish Jewish Community members traveling there from Istanbul for the opening ceremony. Together with the guests from the government, they lit the 5th candle of the Hanukkah in the Gaziantep Synagogue.
In the 'Synagogues of Turkey' book by Naim Güleryüz and Izzet Keribar, the information below is written about the Gaziantep Synagogue:
During the Ottoman reign, the Gaziantep Jewish Community consisting of mainly the Jews that immigrated from Aleppo, had religiously existed affiliated to the Aleppo Rabbinate. The voyager and geographer Vital Cuinet is stating the Jewish population of Ayintap (Aleppo) in the 1880s as 857, and adding that there is a synagogue in the city. The Jewish population in the city had decreased to 327 in 1945, and to 152 in 1965. Especially as a result of the immigrations in 1975, no Jewish settlers were left in the city after 1980.
The Gaziantep Synagogue situated behind tall walls, with the main worship area, Midrash and yeshiva located around a mutual courtyard, is thought to be built in the 10th century. One of the two Hebrew inscriptions about the synagogue is dated 1776 and the other in the Gaziantep Museum is dated 1878. These probably are the renewal or repair dates.