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Fernandez, Isaac

(350 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Isaac Fernandez (1889–1929) was born in Salonica. He succeeded his father, Salomon Fernandez, as president of the regional committee of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU), serving in this capacity for many years until World War I. Like his father, he was also a merchant and an engineer. Fernandez was the president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and a member of the board of governors of the Banque de Salonique. In addition, he was vice-president of the al-Ḥudayda-Ṣanʿāʾ Ottoman railroad company, vice- president of the boards of governors of the Balia Kara-Aidın Ottoman Mini…

Stroumsa, Vitalis

(235 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Vitalis (also Vitali) Stroumsa, born in Salonica at an unknown date in the second half of the nineteenth century, was a prominent Jewish political figure in Salonica and then in Istanbul around the beginning of the twentieth century. He studied at the National School of Agriculture in Montpellier, France, where an essay he wrote on viticulture was published in 1886. Stroumsa later became the director of the École Pratique in Salonica, inspector of agriculture in Salonica and Kosovo, and secretary general of the Financial Commission of Salonica, Kosovo, and Monastir.             Follo…

Shaʿar Ha-Shamayyim Synagogue, Izmir

(189 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
The Shaʿar ha-Shamayim (Gates of Heaven) Synagogue is one of the four functioning synagogues in Izmir. Built during the years 1964 to 1965, it is located in a densely populated part of the city, the Alsancak district. It is currently the most active synagogue in Izmir and has the largest congregation. The need to build a synagogue in Alsancak emerged in 1945 when many Jews began to move there from other parts of the city, such as Güzelyali and Karataş. Prior to the dedication of Shaʿar ha-Shamayim, two other buildings in Alsancak were used as synagogues to fulfill the religious nee…

Hubeş, Selim

(157 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
Selim Hubeş, born in Istanbul in 1953, is a  Turkish Jewish musician and a member of the acclaimed Los Pasharos Sefaradis. Hubeş has been involved in theater and music since 1976. He attended the Academy of Commercial Sciences in Istanbul, graduating with a master’s degree in accounting, and since then has been a self-employed accountant. In 1978, he formed the Sephardic music group Los Pasharos Sefaradis along with Karen Gerşon Şarhon, İzzet Bana, and Yavuz Hubeş. He is the guitarist of the band and its main composer. The band has produced five albums. Hubeş won the second prize at the…

Zonana Family

(453 words)

Author(s): Aksel Erbahar
The Zonana family held the position of ocak bazirgâni , merchant-banker of the Janissary corps, for most of the eighteenth century. The first member of the family to occupy this lucrative post was David Zonana (d. 1746), who acquired immense wealth and unprecedented political influence. David established good relations with Seyyid Hasan Pasha, the commander of the Janissary corps, and continued to serve as his personal agent when Seyyid Hasan Pasha was appointed grand vizier in 1743. However, three years later, when Seyyid Hasan Pasha was repla…

Ojalvo, Harry

(497 words)

Author(s): Stanford Shaw | Aksel Erbahar
Harry Ojalvo was born into a Sephardi family in Istanbul on September 23, 1920. His father, Vital Ojalvo, was vice-consul of the United States in Erzurum from 1899 and in Trabzon from 1904, and later was the agent for the United States Lines and American Express as a partner in Turkey’s first professional travel agency, NATTA—the National Turkish Travel Agency. In 1937, the Ojalvo family was given Turkish citizenship by Prime Minister İsmet İnönü and the minister of foreign affairs, Tevfik Rüştü Aras. After serving in the Turkish army during World War II, Harry Ojalvo operated an automo…

Zionism Among Sephardi/Mizraḥi Jewry

(13,800 words)

Author(s): Avi Davidi | Norman A. Stillman | Jacob M. Landau | Zvi Yehuda | Aksel Erbahar
1. General introduction The mainstream modern Zionist movement was founded and developed by Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern and Central Europe, and institutions such as the World Zionist Organization and the Zionist Congresses were dominated by Ashkenazi European Jews. The majority of the pioneer settlers (Heb. ḥaluṣim; usually rendered in English as halutzim) who created the new Yishuv and its institutions in Palestine were also Ashkenazim, and they became the principal founders of the State of Israel. Not surprisingly, therefore, most of the s…
Date: 2015-09-03
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