Today in Sephardic Jewish History


This material is strictly copyrighted and may not be duplicated on the Internet or in print form.


Calendar Home


 1935: Died, Sir Francis Abraham Montefiore in London. Montefiore was the head of the London Portuguese community and was a great philanthropist



 1632: Several secret Jews in Spain were sentenced at an auto-de-fe for holding Jewish services.  They practiced in a house on a street known as Calle de las Infantas.  The house was later destroyed.

1788: The Jews of Philadelphia celebrate in a Federal Parade after hearing that the Constitution was adopted by a majority of the states. The newspaper read, "The rabbi of the Jews, locked in arms of two ministers of the gospel, was a most delightful sight."

 1838: The Jews of the city of Safed came under attack from the Druze, who also had sacked an Ottoman caravan capturing 300 fully loaded camels of the Sultan. "While it was still night, the entire city was suddenly and terrified because unknown men were seen walking around the streets, and their was signs of malice on their face." The attack on the Jews was by a group men armed with rifles, knives, axes and clubs.

 1934: The Turkish government stated the expulsion of the Jews from the Dardanelles had been due to a misinterpretation of a law. The government declared it would punish the officials found to be responsible, and that he Jews would be given redress.

 1733: Forty-one Jews settled in the southern state of Georgia. Among them were Spanish, Portuguese, German and English Jews.

 1910: Queen of Holland appoints Joseph Carasso, Inspector of the Bank of Salonica, to be Consul for Netherlands at Salonica.

1940: Died, David Benvenisti, Sephardic representative of the Tel Aviv Municipal Council, he was on 48. Benvenisti was born in Turkey and had made aliyah from Egypt over 20 years prior. Thousands attended the funeral of this modest man who dedicated his life to public service.

 1391:  A rabbi's personal letter written in Saragossa, Spain on this date is one of the few first hand accounts of the total chaos in Spain:
"If I were to tell you here all the numerous sufferings we have endured you would be dumbfounded at the thought of them�On the day of the New Moon of the fateful month Tammus in the year 5151, the Lord bent the bow of the enemies against the populous community of Seville where there were between 6,000-7,000 heads of families, and they destroyed the gates by fire and killed in that very place a great number of people; the majority, however, changed their faith.

1846: The chief rabbis of Baghdad announced a curse (Herem) on the Christian missionaries who had come to convert the Jews in their community.

1909: Jews of Persia take refuge inside Turkish consulate during a revolt. They appeal to the Hahambashi of Turkey to help them become Ottoman subjects.

 1914: Government of Greece abolishes office of the Chief Rabbi of Salonica and places Jews under the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbi of Athens (who at the time was not yet appointed).

 1911: A strong protest was provided by Haham Gaster when the London Times publishes an article from Vienna stating that Jews are influencing the Salonica Committee which is bringing harsh measures on the Albanians.

1942: This day was called the "Black Sabbath" in Salonica, Greece. It was when 10,000 men were assembled for forced labor registration by the Germans. Many were beaten and tortured for hours, no food or water was provided, many Jews died. Surrounded by machine gun carrying Germans, 7,000 Jews had to stand erect, and sometimes in a squatting position in the 100 degree sun under threat of death nearly all day.


 1910: Fire destroys 21 buildings in the Jewish quarter of Salonica, damage near 600,000 Francs.

 1934: A Jewish delegation from Adrianople spoke with the Turkish government, to ensure they do not remove all the police from the Adrianople towns in order to prevent the looting of abandoned homes.

 1790: Members of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim of the Jewish Congregation of Charleston  wrote a letter to congratulate the President of the United States George Washington on the occasion of the establishment of a federal government.

1834: The child-Queen Isabella's mother, Christina, issued an official and final edict abolishing the Inquisition in Spain. The words read, "It is declared that the Tribunal of the Inquisition is definitely suppressed.

 1911: Eighty-five Jews from Shiraz, Persia appeal for assistance to go live in Palestine.

2002: The New York Times reports in an obituary:

"The American Sephardi Federation joins with all Sephardim of the world in mourning the loss of the eminent Chief Rabbi David Asseo, the spiritual leader of the vital Jewish community of Turkey. We recall his warmth, his grace and words of wisdom on the many occasions he received our delegations from America.

 1903: Jewish quarter of Ofran, Morocco, pillaged.

1910: Smallpox epidemic breaks out in Jerusalem.

1914: In Salonica a campaign against the Jews continued in the newspapers. The dispute was over Greeks and Jews who worked in a Jewish owned tannery. The dispute became a violent political discussion all throughout Macedonia. It originated over Jews wearing the Turkish Fez, which was a symbol of their fondness for the previous Turkish administration.

 1934: A Nazi newspaper in a long article attacked Egyptian Jews. The Germans stated some Jewish boys insulted the Swastika flag on the German Consul's car. The paper stated the boys were arrested.

 1918: Persian Jews in Hamadan wire to Zionist headquarters in Petrograd, asking that representation be made to the Russian government on behalf of 20,000 Jews who were robbed and left homeless by the Bolshevik troops before their departure.  

 1775: At the request of the Continental Congress, Jews fasted and prayed for the success of the colonies against the British, and to be spared from the "agony of war."

 1906: Died, Hahambashi of Jerusalem, Saul Jacob El-Yashar at age 92.  

1911: Died, Rabbi Yehouda Jarmon of Tunis at age 104.

1921: Died, Benaim Raphael Haim Moshe, Chief Rabbi of Spain. He was 74 years old.

 1849: Emma Lazarus was born on this day in New York City. Emma grew up in a prominent fourth generation Jewish family, one of the old Sephardic families of New York. In 1883, Emma Lazarus published her famous poem, ``The New Colossus" for an auction at the Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty.
She is known for the poem which starts..."Give me your tired, your poor...".

 1949: The Turkish government authorized an Israeli, Victor Elyachar, to open an office in Istanbul to answer questions about the new state of Israel. In October of the same year, Elyachar was appointed Consul General of Israel at Turkey.  

 1911: Fire in Balata district of Constantinople destroys Boys' and Girls' Schools of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, four synagogues, and 1,000 houses, about 600, which belonged to Jews.  

1924: Matteo Mathieu Maurice Alfassa became (acting) Governors-general of French Equatorial Africa at Brazzaville. The community had a population of 4,500,000. Alfassa served till 16 Oct 1924. Today the country is called Republic of the Congo.

 1720: At a grand auto-de-fe in Seville, condemned was Jose Dias Piamena, a Cuban with no Jewish roots. He was sentenced because he had converted to Judaism while in Curacao, and married a Jewish girl. A pirate, Piamena had been imprisoned in Cadiz. In his cell he wrote an anti-Christian tirade on Isaiah 53. When he escaped from jail, he left a message saying he, "desired to live and die for Judaism." He later was burned in an auto de fe.

1885: Died, Sir Moses Montefiore in Ramsgate, Britain. Montefiore's massive philanthropic work on behalf of beleaguered and oppressed Jewish communities throughout the world brought him accolades and expressions of admiration and praise on many occasions.

1915: Sephardic Bikur Holim Synagogue opens in Seattle, Washington.

 1934: Palestine Post reports that on July 14, 1934 a Jewish delegation from Adrianople spoke with the Turkish government, to ensure they do not remove all the police from the Adrianople towns in order to prevent the looting of abandoned homes.

 1655: Jews in New Amsterdam request a place to bury their dead. "Abraham de Lucena, Salvador d'Andrade and Jacob Cohen, Jews in the name of the others, petition the Honorable Director General this day to be permitted to purchase a burying place for their nation�."

1909: Law passed by Turkish Parliament allowing Jewish societies to have the privilege of purchasing land in their own name

 1909: British Ambassador Sir Gerald Lowther visits the Hahambashi in Constantinople.

1911: King of Spain, who exercises sovereignty in Mellila, Morocco, replies favorably to the petition of Jews who pay taxes and serve in the army who desire equal rights. Liberal press commends the Spanish Monarch's attitude, and hopes for annulment of discriminatory laws still in force against the Jews.

 1939 Ben Zion Meir Hai Uziel is installed as Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Haifa.

 1360: A butcher license for a carniceria was issued to a Christian named Bernard Arlouin. In Spain, Jews were not allowed to have butchers licenses, and so they operated these butcher shops, but were not allowed to own them. It was a Spanish Jew named Jafudenus Amilus who operated the shop.

 1776: Died, Francis Salvador, one of the most prominent Jews of the American Revolutionary period, and the first unconverted Jew to serve in the American legislature. He was shot and scalped by Indians after riding 28 miles to raise a militia after attacks occurred on settlers. His father (also named Francis Salvador) was a wealthy London Jew who financed the earliest Jewish settlers of Savannah, Georgia.


Return to the International Society for Sephardic Progress

Learn about the International Sephardic Journal

This material is strictly copyrighted and may not be duplicated on the Internet or in print form.

© Copyright ISFSP International Society for Sephardic Progress