When faced with the edicts of Expulsion in Castile and Aragon and eventually in Portugal, one of the principal regions that opened up to Iberian Jews seeking refuge was the Ottoman Empire. Jews sailed to a new life leaving behind more than a thousand years of Jewish history in the Iberian Peninsula.
At their peak, cities like Salonika boasted majority Jewish populations or at least significant Jewish minorities to shape and influence every day life.
The vast Ottoman Empire became the site of various exiled Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities which included the land of Israel. Judeo-Spanish or Ladino was preserved and a Jewish community flourished for centuries. Demographic changes, the establishment of the State of Israel, and sadly changing attitudes towards Jews and Israel in Turkey have seen a sharp decline in the number of Jews in Turkey.
The following article shares a bright spot in the city of Edirne which is home to a restored synagogue and hosted a Sephardic wedding.
Jewish Wedding in Turkish Synagogue
Posted Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and author of What is Kosher?