Today in Sephardic Jewish History

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 1909: Russian and Romanian Jews suffering tremendous persecution and attacks offered to come settle in Turkey, so says Ahmed Riza Bey, President of Turkish Parliament.

1911: The newly formed Grand Council of the Jewish Community of Constantinople expresses loyalty of all Jews of all parties to the Ottoman Empire.
 
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 1844: A newspaper report states a census was conducted at Constantinople and there were 900,000 people, among whom there are 100,000 Jews.

1944: An internal memo of this week from the United States Government War Refugee Board states that it did understand the "attitude" of the Turkish government. On one hand it was "professing a desire to cooperate with the refugee program," while on the other it would not let the United States nor other countries use its ships to transport refugees from Romania to Turkey without formal contracts in place.
 
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 1920: Arab orators in Palestine roused crowds into a fiery mob which attacked and killed Jews in three days of violent rioting. Most of the attacks were in the Old City, which was surrounded by the British who would not let Jabotinsky's Jewish forces in to protect the distressed Jews.
 
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 1918: Premier Radoslavoff of Bulgaria praises the patriotism of Jews, and pledges his government will be an ally of the Jewish cause in the negotiations with Romania.
 
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 1443:  In a document from King John of Castile on economic conditions, he mentions Jews are prohibited from exercising certain high offices among Christians, and from being employed as judges, farmers, collectors, directors, or stewards of revenue (taxes).

1720: Manuel San Vicente, a Spanish mercenary turned himself in to the Inquisitional Tribunal after living among the Spanish Jews in Constantinople and Salonica as a Jew for a month. He sought pardon for his sin, and/or to avoid being turned in by another party. While he was in the Ottoman Empire he was circumcised, and learned Jewish prayers.

1909: Died, Abraham Bengrihan, Chief Rabbi of Marrakech, Morocco.
 
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 1720: At one of the last large auto-de-fe's in Madrid, was burned five suspected Jews who were found to have committed the crime of praying in a "secret synagogue" which had been found after the Spanish war of Succession.
 
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 1730: In New York, the (first) Mill Street Synagogue of Shearith Israel was consecrated. It was the first structure designed and built to be a synagogue in continental North America. During the time the congregation was at Mill Street, the Sephardic leadership worried it might become Ashkenazic. The compromise within the Jewish community was they agreed the president of the congregation would be Ashkenazi, while the services would remain under the traditional Spanish and Portuguese rite, under the guise of a Sephardic hazzan.

1819: A traveler who stopped in Joannina (Yanina), Greece acknowledged the following:
"In going out of the village this morning, soon after the sun rose, we passed a Turk, richly dressed, sitting upon a carpet, under a fig tree just budding…I know of no European habit of life so picturesque, as the Eastern one. Greek, Turk, and Hebrew enjoy nearly an equal protection."

1910: Large Jewish owned mercantile house in Salonica announce 1% of all cash takings will go toward the cost of new Turkish warships.
 
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 1362: The Crown of Aragon examines a court case involving the murder of a Jew by two Muslims. The widow of the man took the matter to the court after unsuccessfully seeking justice through the town where the murder occurred.
 
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 1899: The First Jewish congregation was formed in Caracas, Venezuela.

1945: The Palestine Post reported medical relief units were going to be heading to Greece. Almost one-third of the team which was first heading to Cairo then would be off to Greece were Palestinians (Jews). The team was made up of doctors, nurses, sanitary officers laboratory technicians and drivers. Some of the Palestinians were fluent in Judeo-Spanish and Greek.
 
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 1451: A Flemish scholar recorded his observation of the Jews of Fez (Morocco): "Fez is divided in two parts. The Old City quite populous with about 50,000 families…The Jewish quarter is surrounded by its own walls. Approximately 4,000 Jews dwell there...The more the sultan needs money, the more they have to pay."
 
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 1909: Jews take active part in uprising of the Young Turk movement, notably Nissim Effendi Mazliah and Emmanuel Effendi Carusso, members of the Parliament. Many Jews from Adrianople, Constantinople, Monastir and Salonica volunteer in the Army of the Young Turks.
 
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 1484: The Cortes at Tarazona approved the formation of Inquisitional Tribunals at Valencia and Saragossa. The Inquisitors wasted no time investigating for Jewishness in the New Christian community.

1775 This is the traditional start date of the American Revolution when Massachusetts Governor Gage is secretly ordered by the British to enforce the Coercive Acts and suppress "open rebellion" among colonists by using all necessary force. During the American Revolution there were five synagogues in the United States, all which followed the Spanish and Portuguese rite. They were located in, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Savannah.
 
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 1872: On the eve of Greek Easter Sunday, Greeks attacked Jews in a bloody riot. "The Christians were set loose, and beat, massacred, and demolished the houses of Jews…" It was reported one Jews was stabbed to death, and others were injured. It was only after Turkish soldiers guarded the Jews that the violence ended.
 
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 1920: A union was founded to strengthen and develop friendly relations between Moroccan Jewry and Spain.

1941: Germans invade Sarajevo, and with the help of Muslims (of whom they had incited) looted and destroyed the main Sephardic synagogue.  All Jews were ordered to surrender their radios.
 
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 1790:  A major pogrom took place in the Jewish community of Tetouan, Morocco. On this day the Muslim ruler Mawlay Yazid entered the city, rounded up all of the Jews, men women and children, and violently stripped them of their clothing. They were left with no dignity, naked for three days in prison. Some of the Jews fearing for their lives escaped to the graves Moorish saints where they would pray for their lives. The Muslim leader had some Jews beheaded to make a statement.

1941: Yugoslavia surrenders to the Nazis. In all, a total of near 60,000 Jews were murdered by the German army.   Gold teeth from the murdered victims were later found in the palace of the Catholic Bishop of Zagreb (Croatia).
 
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 1279: Pedro III ordered his bailiffs to take control of the property of Jahuda Cavalleria until "proper heirs can be determined." Though in this case Jahuda's family ended up getting his estate, the Jews essentially owned nothing, and were essentially considered, "simply holding property for the Crown."
 
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 1865: The Sephardim in New York held a special prayer for President Abraham Lincoln who was assassinated as he watched a play at Ford's Theater in Washington DC just five days earlier.
 
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 1941: German newspapers in Greece come out blaming Jews for ruining Germany after World War I.   During this same period in April, the Greek newspaper New Europe wrote in capital letters DEATH TO THE JEWS. The paper reported that the Jews were the cause of economic problems in Germany. Levy stated the Greek paper called for the destruction of the "Jewish race once and for all."
 
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 1915: Seventy Jews arrive from Palestine to Alexandria. They describe the conditions in Jerusalem as terrible, with many people dying from starvation. An eyewitness account from the village of Mea She’arim in Jerusalem tells of the conditions:
"My God…I never imagined that such wretched poverty really exists and that there really are such dark and filthy corners…. [O]ld men and women bloated with hunger. Children with an expression of horror, the devastation of hunger written on their faces…"
 
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 1792: Born, Uriah Phillips Levy, Commodore of the United States Navy in Philadelphia. His mother was a descendant from the Nunez family that arrived in Charleston in 1733.
 
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 1901: The New York branch of the Alliance Israelite Universelle was reorganized under direction of M. Nissim Behar. The meeting was held in English, Yiddish and German. Mr. Louis Marshall was elected President, and Henry Periera Mendes as secretary.
 
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 1846: The Voice of Jacob contained a short article respecting the state of the two public Jewish schools at Kingston, Jamaica which was described as languid and unsatisfactory, owing to the paucity of duly trained and qualified teachers.
 
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 1915: The Anglo-French invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula begins.  30,000 men landed on the beach to fight the Turks for this strategic position.  Fighting with the British was a Jewish force known as the Zionist Mule Corp.  They fought with the British against the Turks, unknowing to them that the Turkish army had Jews fighting in Gallipoli at the same time.
 
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 1655: In a letter from the Dutch West India Company to Peter Stuyvesant, he is told to allow the Jews to stay in New Amsterdam, "Provided the poor among them shall not become a burdthen [sic] to the company or the community, and are supported by their own nation.
 
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 1821: Greek Patriarch Gregory, head of the Greek Orthodox Church had been publicly executed. Turkish Grand Vizier Benderli Ali Pasha was reportedly to have to said to the Jews present, "Here hangs your enemy and ours."

1838: A huge fire destroyed Charleston and destroyed the synagogue. Correspondence from that day records the emotion: "The venerable Moses C. Levy hastened to the spot for the purpose of saving the sacred rolls. No language can describe the deep emotion he betrayed as he beheld the sacred edifice (in which for forty years he had poured forth his spirit in prayer and thanksgiving) wrapt [sic] in flames, crumbling into ruins, and mingling with the elements. "
 
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 1775: Born, Judah Touro at Newport, Rhode Island. Touro, who never married, was a famous merchant and philanthropist who supported many Christian and Jewish charities. He started as a merchant selling soap, candles and codfish, and would eventually become one of the wealthiest men in all of America. Touro's father was of Portuguese Jewish extraction, by way of Jamaica.

1911: Council of Rabbis of Constantinople decides to establish a yeshiva for the training of rabbis for Sephardic Jewry.

1911: Bedouins set fire to the synagogue at Tschebel (Tripoli, Barbary), entirely destroying the building which contained old and valuable manuscripts and books.
 
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 1910: Imperial irade published at Salonica discusses that the Jewish bank authorized in Salonica would be for the creation of a loan fund for relief of families of Jewish soldiers.

1975: American Sephardi Federation and United Jewish Appeal Sephardic Leadership Council sponsored a two-week visit for Chief Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yossef to visit the United States. He came and met with both governmental and Jewish community leaders.

 
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 1556: A community of marranos at Ancona (Italy) were devastated when Pope Paul IV retracted letters of protection issued by previous Popes' for protection of the Jews, and ordered immediate proceedings to be taken by the Holy Office. The result of the findings came in the spring and early summer, when 24 men and 1 woman were burned alive in successive proceedings. Their deaths are memorialized in that city every Tisha B'av.

1915: Turkish authorities prevent Jews of Smyrna from leaving the country.
 
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