1682: Died, Asser Levy, the "founding father" of North American
Jewry. He was survived by his wife Miriam (aka Maria). Though Levy
and the "Levy" family of New York are thought of as Sephardic with
roots in Holland and even further roots in Spain, he might have been
the son of Benjamin Levy, an Ashkenazi shochet from Recife, Brazil.
1814: Gershom Mendes Seixas of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue
of New York gave a sermon saying because the ruling powers have declared
war, it is their duty to "act as true and faithful citizens, to support
and preserve the honor, the dignity, and the independence of the United
States of America!" Gershom asked the people to pray to God for protection
and a strengthening of faith and to get rid of the evil that is around
them. He discusses the horrible conditions that many people
have been faced with and the numerous deaths that have occurred.
1912: Chief Rabbi Franco of Jerusalem protests to the Turkish Minister
of Justice and Public Worship of the removal of seats at the Western
Wall in Jerusalem. The Governor ignores his protest.
1944: Allied planes drop bombs on a German shipping port and accidentally
kill Jews on the Island of Rhodes in the Jewish quarter.
1915: Ottoman forces attempt to cross the Suez Canal but are
repelled by the British. The Turks then turn towards Beersheba in
Palestine after suffering near 2000 casualties.
1900: Death of Reverend Jacob Aron Mendes Chumaceiro of Amsterdam
at the age of 67; and the death of Rabbi Israel Benamozegh at Leghorn
at the age of 76.
1921: Conference of Greek Zionists at Salonica adopt a resolution
agreeing that Jewish education at the Alliance Israelite Universelle
schools is not in tune with their national views and aspirations.
1864: In a decree from the Sultan, brought about by the intervention
of Moses Montefiore, the Jews of Morocco were ordered not to be harmed,
and to be treated in accordance of the laws of Allah. However, it
was reported many Jews became "arrogant and reckless" after hearing
this ruling, especially the Westernized Jews who worked the ports.
1908: Riots and massacres for 2 days have devastated the Jewish community
at Setatt, Morocco.
1298: King Jaime II had a Jewish man's property confiscated.
Moses Avencurel of Elche was punished for taking part in an anti-royalist
1481: Several affluent men of the community in Seville, let by Diego
de Susan, plotted to strike back at the Inquisitors. He
stated to his co-religionists:
"Are we not the principal men of this city in standing, and the best
esteemed of the people? Let us assemble troops; and if they come to
take us, let us start an uprising with the troops and the people;
and so we will kill them and avenge ourselves on our enemies!"
1624: The Jamestown City, VA Census demonstrated
38 year old Elias Legardo, a Jew, came to America in 1621 on the ship
Abigall. Legardo was one of the earliest Jews in the Colonies.
1917: Died, Yosef Levi in Paris. Levi was an archeologist and philologist
of African and oriental languages. Born in Adrianople December 15,
1827, he went on to write 33 books during his career.
1907: The Jewish community of Kingston, Jamaica issues an appeal
for help in rebuilding three synagogues laid in ruins by an earthquake.
Many Jews were killed during the disaster. The Jewish community in
England offer some assistance.
1910: Hahambashi is formally asked if he has any recommendations for
the Turkish authorities over the subject of Ottoman Jews in Persian.
At the time the Persian ambassador to Turkey, Prince Mirza Riza Khan
utilized the Hahambashi as the final decider of Jewish law.
The 600-year-old synagogue of Congregation Shaari Zedek in Tunis
was destroyed by fire.
Died, Rabbi Albert J. Amateau, founder of the Brotherhood of Rhodes,
and the Sephardic Brotherhood, and offshoot of the Salonican Brotherhood.
1911: Died, Madame Fakima Modiano a prominent philanthropist
1911: Minister of War at the request of the Hahambashi directs his
officers in every Army Corps to provide money for Jewish soldiers
to buy matzah and kosher food over the 8 days of Passover.
1490: In Spain it was declared that no Jew or convert ever be
allowed to rule over any Muslims. This was part of Spanish/Muslim
negotiations leading up to the eventual surrender of Granada, the
last Muslim territory in Iberia.
1482: By a Papal order, seven new Inquisitors were nominated, among
them Tomas de Torquemada.
1910: Turkish Council of State approves statutes, which will allow
a Jewish bank to be opened in Salonica.
1486: Over 750 people would be mandated to participate on this
very cold day as prisoners in an auto-de-fe in Toledo. They were forced
to march barefooted and bareheaded through the streets. Many people
came from the countryside to howl and scorn at the prisoners. Among
some of the many stipulations of punishment, was the fining of 1/5
of their property, to which the funds went to battle the Muslims in
Granada, as well as public self-flagellation over six consecutive
1943: Jews in Salonica were prohibited from walking on the street
at night, nor using any telephone, private or public.
1952: The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America established
the Lena and Henry J Perahia Scholarship Foundation Award as a permanent
1915 Congregation Shearith Israel abolishes family pews from its synagogue.
1655: The twenty-three Sephardic Jews which arrived in the fall
seeking sanctuary from the Inquisition are officially admitted into
New Amsterdam over Stuyvesant's objections.
1912: A Turkish Jew, G. Valensin Bey, member of the municipal
council of Alexandria, was appointed Commander of the Order of St.
Maurice and St. Lazarus by the King of Italy.
1917: First Jewish congregation organized and first synagogue built
in 425 years in Madrid, Spain.
1574: An auto-de-fe took place in Mexico City; nearly 100 people
were sentenced that day, including New Christians.
1577: The Jews of Safed requested assistance from the Sultan for persecution
by local officals. In a letter to the local Ottoman officials, the
Sultan told his people that the Jews, "have complained of wrong
done to them." The Jews were forced to pay high taxes, transport
dung on Saturdays, were levies tolls on the road to Damascus, and
were beaten with a strip of metal. The Sultan ordered his people not
to molest the Jews, to investigate and give back what the Jews are
1956: The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America dedicated
a community center in New York, with impressive ceremonies. Speakers
included Judge Jonah J. Goldstein and the late Judge Edgar J. Nathan,
Jr. The Brotherhood Memorial Post presented the colors (flags).
1856: A blood libel case occurred in Constantinople, with Jews
being targeted with violence from Greeks, Armenians, and Turks. This
occurred only three days after the Ottoman "reforms" which were to
1501: On this day and the following two tremendous auto-de-fe's
took place in Toledo. A woman prophet and over 100 of her followers
were burned. The woman envisioned those Jews who had previously died
as martyrs were taken to heaven, and the Jewish Messiah was speedily
going to return the Jews to the Promised Land.
1656: The Jews in New Amsterdam are granted, "A little hook of land
situate [sic] outside of this city for a burial place." This cemetery
land was located by the Bowery, near Oliver Street in what is now
1484: Over this day and the next, 30 men and women were burned
alive, as well as the bones of 40 others at the Inquisitional Tribunal
of Ciudad Real.
1658: Jacob (John) Lumbrozo, the first doctor in Maryland was tried
for having, "Denied Jesus of Nazareth…." Lumbrozo was convicted, sentenced
to death, and was to have all his property confiscated by the government.
He was later freed from these penalties. Lumbrozo was born in Portugal.
He then moved to Holland and finally settled in Maryland in 1656.
1910: Hahambashi proposes to convene, in summer, a conference of delegates
of all Jewish communities in the Empire to consider reform of rabbinate
and to plan a new reorganization of the community. Included in this
would be the elimination of life appointments in favor of elections.
1912: A New York Ladino language newspaper called La Aguila hit the
presses, but failed due to lack of support and finished running on
March 22 of the same year.
1912: Jews in Kustendil, Bulgaria attacked by a mob, nine people were
1912: A bill introduced in the Portuguese Congress provides for cession
of land to Jewish emigrants to Angola, Portuguese West Africa.
1917: H. Pereira Mendes celebrates 40th anniversary as rabbi
of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York City.
1917: The Judeo-Spanish newspaper El Emigrante was established in
1908: Continued massacres in Setatt drive Jews to Casablanca
for safety. During this period the Jewish population of all Morocco
is somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000.
1921: Greek authorities expropriate the old Jewish cemetery in Smyrna.
1974: The American Sephardi Federation at its founding convention
announced its goals: First to revitalize Sephardi heritage, and also
to aid the underprivileged population in Israel.
1976: The World Sephardi Federation headed by Nessim Gaon met
with King Juan Carlos of Spain. The WSF goal of helping to normalize
relations with Israel and Spain did not come to fruition immediately,
but over time a relationship developed and eventually the two countries
recognized each other.
1348: King Alfonso XI at the Cortes of Alcala de Hebares issued
a "startling" decree which forbid Jews and Moors, in the future, to
lend money on interest.
1921: Fire destroys 120 homes and a large amount of shops in the Jewish
quarter of Kouskoundjouk, Constantinople. Most of these belonged to
1921: Conference of rabbis in Jerusalem elects a court of Justice
and chooses four Ashkenazi and four Sephardi rabbis with Rabbi Kook
(Ashkenazi) & Jacob Meir (Sephardic).