Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip

Most recents (13)

"Are there Ashkenazi Jews in Turkey?!"

I hear this question often after I introduce myself as the rabbi of Istanbul's Ashkenazi community - after all, Turkey is the bastion of Sefardi Jews!

So what's the story of the Ashkenazi community of Turkey? Thread 🧵👇
When Sefaradi Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire after the Spanish expulsion of 1492 and Portugal 1497 - and trickles of Anusim, former converts, in the centuries after - They were welcomed by the two local Jewish communities:

Romaniot and Ashkenazim.
Romaniot Jews are the Jews of the Roman Empire - who lived under Byzantine rule since antiquity. They spoke Greek and were often call Gregos by other Jews.

Ashkenazi Jews came from Central and Eastern Europe, after 1250. Yiddish speaking, sometimes called Ungaros, for Hungary.
Read 27 tweets
The Mikve (Ritual Immersion Bath) at Bet Yisrael synagogue in İstanbul

It is customary for men to immerse in a Mikve before Yom Kippur - for lack of time on the eve of Yom Kippur - here is a little bit about Mikve's of Turkey...

When we visited Kilis on the #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip at Mehmet and Büşra's house we were told about the Mikve in the Hamam:
The 500 year old Eski Hamam served all inhabitants of Kilis - including the Jewish population, who used the Mikva, located in a dedicated room, in specific hours of the day...

See here about our #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip visit to Kilis:
Read 13 tweets
Night 15 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:


I usually share a day post, but meeting with Metropolitan Gregorios Melki ÜREK of Adıyaman and conversing with him in Aramaic, deserves a special thread...
Metropolitan Gregorios looks over a small, dwindling community in the Adıyaman area - a community that is native to this region, as he explains "We are Arameans, we are from this region, so we speak, write and read in Aramaic. This is our home".
The Metropolitan and I walked around the streets of Adıyaman, he wearing his usual bright red clerical clothing, me wearing my Kipah, and it seems that everyone knows him "we love the people" he says, and they sure reciprocate in kind...
Read 8 tweets
Day 15 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:


Did you know that Kayseri, aka Mazaka,
the capital of the Kingdom of Cappadocia, was in antiquity home to a very significant Jewish community?
The Talmud, discussing the laws of mourning over great tragedies, writes that King "Shavor Malka" killed in Mezget Kayseri 12 thousand Jews! But never the less, Shmuel, one of the great sages and confidant of Shapur did not mourn upon hearing the news!
The Talmud goes on to explain that it is because "they brought it upon themselves!" - it wasn't a real 'tragedy' - because somehow they deserved it...
Read 6 tweets
Day 14 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:


Did you know that the Jews of #Cappadocia have an ever lasting impression on every Jewish home celebrating #Shabbat?

Rosh Hodesh Tov 😂

(enjoy the beautiful scenery while you read...) Image
You see, some Jewish communities of Anatolia left their mark etched in stone. Some left significant buildings, cemeteries, books (we will talk about that too), but some were so significant that the Talmudic scholars have enhanced Jewish law to accommodate their specific needs! Image
After the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 CE, the great rabbis gathered in the city of Yavne, and collaborated in adopting Jewish law to a new situation, Judaism without a central Temple... Image
Read 17 tweets
Day 13 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

Relaxed Shabbat...

After an intense week Chaim and I had a relaxing Shabbat... We prayed, ate, relaxed, but mostly read books... What books did we take on this trip? Image
A rabbi's day starts with the morning prayers... for this one needs a prayer book... ImageImageImage
This prayer book includes also the Torah (the five books of Moses), Tehillim (Psalms by King David), and Tanya (the Magnum opus of Chabad)... Image
Read 13 tweets
Day 10 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

Gelibolu and Thrace

Driving through the Gallipoli Peninsula - I am thinking about the words that allegedly Atatürk said in 1934:
"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ..."
Although some dispute the authenticity of this quote - never the less, after driving through the trenches, the cemeteries, seeing memorials for all those who fiercely fought here on both sides - one must only concur with the underlying message...
Read 10 tweets
Day 9 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

Ayvalık/Troy/Çanakkale/Dardanelles Strait

Waking tp to the view of the Agean sea and #Cunda was quite amazing - not to say pretty relaxing... We are going to Çanakkale!
Last night me and Chaim were walking in Ayvalık - a coffee shop owner noticing the Kipah on Chaim's head walks over:

- "Are you guys Jewish by any chance?" - "Of course!" we say.
- "Let's have coffee, its on me. Last year I got stuck in Israel for 8 months during the pandemic."
He was excited to see Jews walking on the streets of his hometown, and is planning on opening an identical coffee shop in Tel Aviv...

Leave a comment if you prefer the Sunset over Sunrise...

Back to Çanakkale...
Read 18 tweets
Day 8 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

Bergama (Pergamon)

Guess who rebuilt this beautiful synagogue of #Bergama? Image
This is of course the beautiful synagogue of Bergama... Just a few years ago it was used as a barn, after most Jews have left the city.

While my friend Selim Ozturk was arranging the synagogue to open, @ChaimChitrik and I went up the acropolis to see the ruins of #Pergamon Image
The ruins of this once major city are still quite impressive now! But we were waiting for the keys of the synagogue to arrive... Image
Read 10 tweets
Day 7 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

Ephesus, Priene, Milas.

Most people heard of Ashkenazi, Sefardi or Mizrahi Jews. Not many heard of Romaniote Jews: Image
Roughly translated as Jews of the Roman/Byzantine Empire - the Romaniote community preceded the Ashkenazim (est. 1250) and Sefardim (est. 1492).

Romaniote Jews lived, for thousands of years, in Asia minor - Anatolia - some Jews in Izmir and Istanbul are their descendents.
In day 4 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip we visited the #Sardis Romaniote synagogue, together with Imam @OsmanDe07800433

Today we went to see #Ephesus and Priene...
Read 27 tweets
Day 2 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:

On the road from Bursa to Çeşme

While on road lets talk😊

Did you know that #Turkey is an important source of #Kosher food? Hundreds of manufacturers all over the country produce anything from raw material to ready to eat products.
By the way: Kosher food does not mean food that is blessed by a rabbi!

Rather it is food that has been prepared according to Jewish law - there are no mixtures of meat/milk, it is insect free, meat or chicken have to be prepared properly according to Jewish law and more...
The Turkish Jewish community @tyahuditoplumu through @DenetGida which certifies hundreds of plants, as well as the @OrthodoxUnion and @OKKosher have their field representatives inspect plants to assure they are fit for the kosher consumer.
Read 14 tweets
Day 1 of #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip:


"Every day one should work so that Judaism should thrive - and it will" says in a mixture of #Ladino and Turkish Mr. Leon Elnekave - the head of the 60 strong Jewish community of #Bursa...
Leon bey looks over the Geruş or Expulsion synagogue - named after the various Jews expelled to Bursa - first by the byzantines and later by the Sefardi Jews who arrived from Spain in 1492... Image
There are two "Bimas" at the beautiful #synagogue - one closer to the women section as Leon explains "so that they should hear" - I totally agree: "of course, the Torah is not only for the men!"
Read 18 tweets
Turkey Road Trip 2021:

Join me here for the next three weeks for a daily thread of #Jewish Heritage sites in #Turkey as we, inşallah, explore and discuss #History, customs, ancestry, origins and Jewish life in Turkey! #coexistance

#TurkeyJewishRoadtrip Image
We will also visit #Kosher food manufacturers on behalf of @DenetGida for the @tyahuditoplumu and the @OrthodoxUnion - we will visit ancient #synagogues and archeological sites

Follow me here for regular updates and recommend others too 😊

@TCKulturTurizm #diversity Image
Read 4 tweets

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