Today in Sephardic Jewish History


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 1925: The (Turkish) Palestine Citizenship Ordinance went into effect. It said that any "Turkish subject" in Palestine as of August 1, 1925 shall become a Palestinian citizen, unless he opts for Turkish nationality, or nationality of another state.  

1926: At Constantinople it was announced that the Jews of Turkey formally renounced their rights as minorities. They would for now on be considered full citizens with equal rights as all citizens have.

 1389: Catholic Archdeacon and Jew hater Ferran Martinez is denied the right to act as a judge or to preach after going against an order of the Pope.  The Archbishop of Seville issued this strong punishment because Martinez refused to issue for Jews to build new synagogues, in accordance with the wishes of the Pope.

1675: The "Great Synagogue" was inaugurated in Amsterdam on Rapenburgerstraat. This was a Sephardic synagogue, home to K.K. Talmud Torah, which was a union of Congregations Neveh Shalom (1608) and Bet Yisrael (1618).

1942: A large group of Jews who were trapped under Spanish and German rule in Morocco sent an eloquent appeal for help to the AJDC in New York. "Gentlemen, please excuse our daring attitude in addressing this pathetical letter to you, in our distressful hour; but it is written in the Talmud, 'when trouble comes upon Israel like a rushing stream, look for someone to help you.'."

 1492: Luis de Torres, the first Jew to arrive in the "New World" with Columbus.

1910: Died, former Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Moise Levy. He died in Constantinople at the age of 89.  

1914: During WWI, Germany declares war against France, while Turkey declares itself neutral.   During the war, Jews from around the world came to help the French, including 600 Turkish Jews (as well as Jews from other Ottoman territories) signed up with the French Foreign Legion to help in the battle against the Germans.



 1914: Serbia declares war against Germany.  

1920: Bucharest, Romania considers Turkish Jews enemy aliens. They intern the Jews, sequester their property and threaten to expulse them. The Union of Native Jews of Romania intervenes to help.

 1772: In a letter from Jacob ben Abraham Benider to the Earl of Rochford (Britain), Jacob tells how he was appointed by the Emperor of Morocco to be the Moroccan Minister to the English Court [of King George III].  

1945: It is reported that the total number of rabbis in Salonica are at least eight.

 1356: The King of Aragon sent his Jewish physician to tend to the wounds of a Muslim who was fighting in the kings army.  



 1492: A large group of Jews from Spain, thousands strong, arrived in the Port of Naples. Jews from Sardinia soon joined them.  

1916: Chief Rabbi of Salonica received a telegram from the Minister of Interior stating the government has taken steps to ensure tranquility for the Jews on Corfu, after a blood libel accusation arose.  

 1634: Seventeen arrests were made by the Inquisition after a man turned another man in for being "unwilling to make a sale on Saturday," and for not wanting to eat bacon.

1909: Chief Rabbi of Adrianople forced to resign by Jews of Demotica  for failing to take action and not protesting against the change in market day at Demotica, from Thursday to Saturday.

1917: Turkish representative at The Hague, Netherlands denies negotiations took place between the Turkey and former United States ambassador, Henry Morgenthau regarding the sale of Palestine to the Jews.  

 1910: Protest by Jews in Serres, Salonica against the use of the 200-year-old Jewish cemetery site for the construction of a new hospital. The plan was later abandoned.  

1945: From Halkis, Greece it was reported, "The one man capable of teaching Hebrew and Judaism. Rabbi Davidson Matsa and his wife and 6 children have recently left for Janina, where he hopes to function as rabbi. He originally came from Janina. Individual Jews are trying to fill his place by carrying on religious activities in the Synagogue."  

 1917: The Turkish military leader Djemal Pasha announces the Turkish government has become convinced that the Jewish colonies inside Palestine must be destroyed, so they won't present a danger to the integrity of Turkey.  

 1945: From Larissa, Greece it was reported:
"One synagogue is completely destroyed, not even the foundation exists, so thorough has been the German destruction. The other synagogue has been almost-completely destroyed, also- It cannot be used in its present condition.

 1877: Died, Jacques Judah Lyons, hazzan, rabbi and community leader, who was born in Surinam and emigrated to Philadelphia in the early 1800s. He was the Minister of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue for 38 years, collecting extensive materials on early Jewish history in the United States, Canada and the West Indies.

 1486: Twenty men and five women were burned after being sentenced at an auto-de-fe in Toledo on the charge of Judaizing. Among them were Dr. Alonso Cota and many other notables of the town. They were marched through town being humiliated wearing the dreadful san benito, with their hands tied to their neck behind their backs.

1926: Sephardic and Oriental Jews at a Zionist conference in Vienna had their delegates gather for the purpose of furthering Zionist interests among their peoples.  

1943: The Spanish government stated that they would allow more repatriated Jews to come to Spain, "only if those in Spain already left." The obvious lack of sentiment on the part of Spain was apparent to the Joint Distribution Committee, which went ahead and placed a "priority" on emigration of "these so-called Sephardics...." The Jews who did make it to Spain were not in any way treated like citizens.

 1917: A tremendous fire swept through the Jewish quarter of Salonica leaving 50,000 Jews homeless. Thirty-two synagogues and fifty Jewish schools were destroyed. The Jews suffered 90% damage to everything they owned.

1939: 85,000 Jews in Slovakia were terrified, being robbed and pillaged by the non-Jews, who were encouraged by the Germans.

 1307: Jaume II of Majorca expelled the Jews from the provinces of Rousillon and Montpellier. Many escaped to Barcelona where they were welcomed.

1916: Rabbinical seminaries in Florence and Leghorn, Italy merge due to lack of funds.

1918: Due to massive fires in Salonica, 50,000 Jews are homeless-nearly the entire population of the city.

 1910: Ritual murder charges raised against Jews in Aidin, Asia Minor.  

 1941: Several Jews were pulled from their homes in Sabac  by the Germans, then brought into the street and shot. The Germans made other Jews come carry the dead bodies through the town, and then hang them from electricity poles. This attacked was the beginning of a series of attacks which lasted for 2 months and resulted in several thousands of Jewish murders.  

 1840: Persecution of the Jews of Damascus brought together Congregation B'nai Jesheran in New York City to declare: "Resolved, that we do most emphatically and solemnly deny, as well in our own name as in that of the whole Jewish people, that murder was ever committed by the Jews of Damascus, or those of any other part of the world for the purpose of using the blood or any part of a human being in the ceremonies of our religion."   U.S. President Van Buren instructed his officer at Constantinople to help the persecuted Jew of Damascus.  

1921: A Sephardic organization which was to include all Sephardic Jews from around the world was founded in Madrid. It planned to defend Jewish interests everywhere.  

 1370: Judah Alatzar, a Spanish Jew, lent the king and queen 110,000 sueldos of Barcelona for the equipment of ten ships for the transfer of the Pope from Rome to Avignon.  

1604: An exemption was issued by the Pope allowing Portuguese conversos to seek pardon for their "offenses," and have their items returned to them. This order was not respected by the Inquisition in the New World.  

1654: Jacob Barsimon, the first Jewish settler to arrive in New Amsterdam (New York) on the ship De Pereboom (Pear Tree) that had sailed from Amsterdam. He had left Holland on July 8, 1654.  
1821: On this day came an end of the Spanish Inquisition in Venezuela. The Venezuela government wrote, "The Tribunal of the Inquisition, also known as the Holy Office, shall be abolished."

1920: Organization of Shibat Zion was founded at Smyrna. It would become affiliated with the Zionist Federation at Constantinople.

 1929: After the Mufti of Jerusalem made slanderous and enraging attacks against the Jews, severe riots manifested. The Arabs were told by he Mufti, "Remember that the Jew is your strong enemy, and the enemy of your ancestors since olden times�for it is he who tortured Christ�and poisoned Mohammed�." Rioting and death broke out in towns through out Palestine with a total of 130 Jews being murdered by the Muslims.

 1263: The Jews in Barcelona received permission to build a new synagogue. Four years later the building needed repairs, and the government authorized the Jewish community to go ahead with the repairs on March 24, 1267.  

 1813: Born, Jacques Judah Lyons, hazzan, rabbi, and community leader was born in Surinam, Dutch Guiana.  His parents, Judah Eleazar and Mary Asser Lyons, had emigrated to Surinam from Philadelphia in the early 1800s.

1916: Italian government develops a plan for administration of the Jewish community in Tripoli.  


 1916: Romania declares war against Austro-Hungary and starts invading. Germany and Turkey come to the aid of Austro-Hungary and declare war on Romania.  

 1655: In a resolution of the New Amsterdam Council, Peter Stuyvesant writes, "whether the Jewish people who reside in this city, should also train and mount guard with the citizen's bands, this was taken into consideration, and deliberated upon�" The result was that the Dutch members of the citizen guard had a "disinclination" and "unwillingness" to be on guard with Jews in the same guardhouse. They also pointed out that Jews were "not counted among the citizens�"  

 1236: King Jaime of Spain Jews had three weeks to remove all blasphemy from their books (Talmud).

 1906: Native Muslim soldiers attack the Hara (Jewish Quarter) of Tunis.  

1918: Jews of Salonica who were originally Ottoman subjects  are exempted from alien restrictions, which have previously been installed upon them.  



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