March 25, 2011

Key Istanbul synagogue marks 60 years of celebrations, tragedies

The most important synagogue for Turkey’s Jewish community, a building that was targeted by deadly terrorist attacks in 1986 and 2003, marked its 60th anniversary Friday.


Located in Istanbul’s Galata neighborhood, Neve Shalom – whose name means “Peace Oasis” in English – has hosted many Jewish weddings and other celebrations, as well as funerals and cultural events, since it opened March 25, 1951.

The Galata/Şişhane area where Neve Shalom is located has been home to many of Istanbul’s Jews since Ottoman times. Jews lived in the city when Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II conquered Istanbul, but their population was relatively low, as was the number of temples and synagogues. As the Ottoman state embraced Jews who escaped from the inquisition in Spain in the 15th century, the Jewish population increased.

Another increase in the area’s Jewish population in the first half of the 20th century led to the building of Neve Shalom.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Key Istanbul synagogue marks 60 years of celebrations, tragedies

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