“Presence of Jews in Anatolia is testified in the Talmud for more than two thousand years.”

“Questions arised in Jerusalem about the currency to use to settle a divorce depending on the wedding and divorce places between Cappadoce and Israel. Or about the oil to employ for lighting during Shabbat.”

— Rabby Mendy


“I have been living in Istanbul for 14 years. Imagine that Galata Tower and its surroundings were constituing the Jewish neighborhood. You can still see some building numbers written down in Hebrew numerals. After the terrorist attacks, many people left the city but Istanbul has ever been a melting pot.”

— Rabby Mendy

Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul. Bullet holes left in one seat as a symbol of the bombing attacks which happened here in 1986.

Fifth Commandment : Thou shalt not kill.

Turkish Jews population dropped from 77,000 people in 1923 to 17,000 people in the 2000s.

« God has bestowed many countries to me and has commended me to look after, to provide sustenance for, and to protect the descendants of his disciples Prophets Abraham and Jacob… Who amongst you would like to come to the capital, Istanbul, with God’s help, and settle there under the shadows of fig trees and vineyards, to live in peace, to engage freely in commerce and to own property?

Fatih Sultan Mehmed, known as Mehmed the Conqueror, sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1444-1446 and 1451-1481)

Interior of the structure alleged to be the tombs of Esther and Mordecai in Hamadan, Iran

According to the Hebrew Bible, Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. She saved the Persian Jews from extermination. Jewish tradition commemorates her story during the celebration of Purim.

Rabbi Rajad, one of the last Jews living in Hamadan. Most of the time they cannot hold public prayer for lack of minyan, the required quorum of ten Jewish adults.

Despite their offical recognition by Iranian state, Jewish population in Iran dropped significantly after both the creation of Israel state and Islamic revolution.

Ottoman Jews were influenced by the Muslim traditions and absorbed their culture. Jews often included Ottoman and Turkish symbols in their religious objects.

As early as the 16th century, in Edirne, Hebrew texts from the Torah were adapted to the special musical nuances of Mawlawi and Bektashi sufi ways of Islam. This music named Maftirim is still played today.

A Hanukkahmenorah in form of a minaret. Minaret derives from the arabic word manara which means lighthouse.