The Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews

History Of Jewish Museum of Turkey

Jewish settlements in Anatolia, as far as can be proven by archaeological findings, BC. It dates back to the 4th century. This museum is about 24 century is more than 700 years of Jews living in this region, the Ottoman Empire and peaceful life of the Republic of Turkey, history and traditions, tries to reflect its relations with the wider community and their interactions.

The museum embraced the Sephardic Jews who started in 1326 with Orhan Bey’s conquest of Bursa and in 1492 preferred to leave Spain rather than lose their freedom of belief and tradition. It introduces the story of 700 years of cooperation, interaction and humanitarian tolerance of the Turkish Nation, both in Turkey and abroad, through Bayezid.

In line with the regulations, historical documents and information collected, it is aimed to announce the participation of the Jews, who choose the Turkish land as their homeland by escaping from bigotry and psychological pressure in order to protect their freedom of religion and conscience, and the humanitarian approach, benevolence of the Turkish nation that embraces them in the country and abroad.

Within the framework of the 500th Anniversary Celebration Activities Program, this work, which is thought to be used to examine the subject in terms of information and documentary, to research and compile the data of Turkish Jews about 700 years of cultural heritage and to transmit the message to future generations, is still javelin today. We aim to reveal once again a rare exemplary behavior in our world.

The museum was first established in an old synagogue building in Perçemli Sokak (formerly Zülfaris Street) in Karaköy, Istanbul. It is known that this place of worship, which is known as the “Kal Kadoş Galata” in the Chief Rabbin records, known as the “Zülfaris Synagogue” with the name of the street, was present in 1671. However, the building used today was probably rebuilt at the beginning of the 19th century, on ancient foundations dating back to the Genoese period. It was repaired in 1890 with the financial assistance of the “Kamondo” family. The building, which was restored several times after the repair, underwent a comprehensive repair in 1968. The Synagogue, which was open to worship until 1985, was closed on this date after the Jewish community, who lived in this region, did not remain. It was allocated to the 500th Anniversary Foundation by its owner “Neve Shalom” Foundation to be used as a museum. The building was put into service as the 500th Anniversary Foundation Turkish Jews Museum on 25 November 2001 by the “Kamhi” family’s financial and valuable contributions of “Jak Kamhi”, the proposal and design of Naim Güleryüz.

About The Museum

The museum consists of three separate sections. Visitors can obtain information on many topics related to history, traditions and social life.

The museum area is not limited to panels. The museum, which is equipped in accordance with today’s museum understanding, has interactive panels. High technology has taken its place in the space with touch screens.

In the first part of the museum, the Jewish history in the Anatolian lands is described from the fourth century BC until today. the transition area extending into the Republic of Turkey from the Ottoman historical events in this section has been prepared by chronological order. The recent history is explained with pictures and videos on the touch panels. In the section reserved for the press, there are newspaper samples, printing objects and history of the Turkish Jewish press published before and after the Republic.

With the “midras” hall, which establishes the physical connection between “Neve Shalom Synagogue” and the 500th Anniversary Foundation Turkish Jews Museum, religious ceremonies held in the synagogue can be watched live. Museum visitors are actually part of the ceremony by witnessing rituals such as Sunnah, wedding, Bar Mitsva.

The section, which consists of objects used in religious rituals, was revived as a representation with midras from the Appollon Synagogue that closed in 1982. Religious objects from different synagogues are exhibited in this area where a mystical atmosphere is created by the combination of liturgical objects.

The ethnography section includes the life cycle from birth to death. In this section, various objects, documents, pictures and videos are transferred to the visitor. Visitors were given the opportunity to watch images of Jewish traditions and ceremonies in various cities with barcovision.

In the last section, Jewish traditions, holidays, food and language culture, music styles are shown. In this section, structures such as synagogues and cemeteries in the regions where Jews mostly live are described on panels and touch screens. Visual and audio elements were used effectively within the information on these screens. In this field, the oral history study in the Judeo-Espanyol language allows us to listen to a period from live witnesses. This archive contributes to social memory.

A research computer will have access to information about visitor of the roots of Jewish life in Turkey is also available.

The museum is open to visitors from Monday to Thursday between 10.00-16.00, Friday and Sunday between 10.00-14.00. Saturday and some special days are closed.

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