Turkish metropolis celebrates Jewish heritage
In a series of events, Turkey’s Jewish community, which is mostly concentrated in Istanbul, promoted their culture and heritage yesterday as part of the European Days of Jewish Culture.
Various events including lectures, exhibitions, symbolic weddings, dance shows, concerts, and tours were held at the Neve Shalom Synagogue and the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews in the city, which still retains a sizeable Jewish community.
While some visitors enjoyed hearing street performances of Judeo-Spanish tunes in front of the museum, many visited various synagogues in the old Jewish neighborhoods of Istanbul’s Galata and Balat quarters.
Exhibitions and documentary screenings were also held for the day.
Speaking before the day that celebrates the vitality of Jewish-European culture and particularly the millennia-long presence of Jews in the metropolis, Nisya İsman Allovi, the director of the museum, said that they have been giving the tours since 2016.
“It’s very important for us to explain our own culture to these visitors, especially considering the 2,600-year Jewish presence in these lands,” Allovi said, adding that they are “very pleased with the reception” to the tours.
Mois Gabay, a longtime tour guide and a writer for the Istanbul-based Jewish weekly Şalom, said that people who take the tours learn about the relationship between Turkish culture in general and that of its Jewish residents, as well as how these areas need to be protected.