Today in Sephardic Jewish History


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 1656: The Jews of New Amsterdam are allowed to practice their religion, after reminding the Dutch West India Company that Jews "in quietness" were allowed to practice in Holland and other Dutch colonies.

1910: Turkish Minister of Interior Talaat Bey during a debate stated, "Some deputies have spoken on behalf of Muslim, Greek and Armenian hospitals, but I note with regret no one has a word for the Jewish hospital, which renders great services. It admits all persons sent to it by the police without distinction of race and religion."

1917: Publication of a memorandum of distress of the Jews in Belgrade. Communities are destroyed, thousands are ruined and compelled to leave their homes.

 1485: On this day was a proposed plan by the Jews of Toledo to attack and kill the Inquisitors, then lock the city gates. The plan did not come to fruition after it was betrayed. The Jews of the city suffered later the following winter at the hands of the Inquisitors.

1864: Jews from Moroccan and Gibraltar who reside in Haifa requested a written ruling from the British Consul for permission to pray. "The Turkish authorities here  made no objection to our thus assembling for prayer till quite lately, when they declared that we cannot meet together without being possessed of a firman from Constantinople."

1911: Sultan of Turkey confers Order of Medjidie, Fourth Class, on Isaac Jessua Bey of Salonica. He was the secretary to the Inspector General of the Gendarmerie of the vilayet.

1937: Information out of Venezuela indicates there is an Ashkenazi community of 100 members, most from Romania, and an indigenous Sephardic community between 700 and 800 members, who have "no relations" whatsoever with the Ashkenazim.

 1361: The Crown of Spain orders the construction of a Juderia in Tarazona, to be separated by walls from the Christian community. The Christians living where the Juderia is to be built were given property of the save value and relocated.

1916: The British and French declare a state of siege in Salonica and remove all Greeks from official posts due to the possibility they were pro-German.

 1391: Massive riots broke out in Seville, Castile as part of Ferran Martinez�s plan to eradicate the Jews. Historian Netanyahu stated the assault upon the Jewish community "resulted in a bloodbath of massive proportions that all but annihilated the Sevillian Juderia."

1909: President of Turkish Chamber of Deputies advocates Jewish immigration into the Empire as a necessity for the country.

1911: Hahambashi receives several telegrams from Arabia and Syria of attacks on Jews. Details of the attacks were given to the authorities who could then intervene.

 1944: In the weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, it states that notice was recently sent to Algeria about the evacuation of 1,000 refugees now in southern Italy to be accepted by the United States. Among the countries which refugees originated from were Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

 1247: Pope Innocent IV contacts the king of Navarre. In a dispatch he requested the king compel Christian debtors to pay off their debt to Jewish lenders.

1944: Allied forces led by the United States land on the beaches of Normandy. On the same day the Germans rounded up all 1,795 Jews on the Greek Island of Corfu and deported them to Birkenau death camp where 1,500 were murdered by gas upon arrival. The Germans also captured 260 Jews this day on the Island of Crete.

 1233: The first mandate of Jews to wear distinctive clothing was mandated in Spain. The following year Pope Gregory IX developed guidelines for this, sent in the form of a letter to the King of Navarra: "Since we desire that Jews be recognizable and distinguished from Christians, we order you to impose upon each and every Jew of both sexes a sign, viz, one round patch of yellow cloth of linen to be worn on the uppermost garment."

1912: Evening schools to be opened in New York City for Turkish Jews to learn English during the summer months.

1919: Conditions of Jews in the Palestine cities of Safed, Tiberias and Kfra Saba is bad. The death rate is appalling. Thousands of Jews are starving.

 1662: Asser Levy bought a lot from Barent Gerritsen on Hoogh Straat (Stone Street) in New Amsterdam [New York City].  By doing this Levy becomes the first Jewish landowner in North America.

1943: The last transport of Jews to Bergen-Belsen included the chief rabbi of Salonica and his family. A list of all of the Jews of Salonica with their addresses and ages was given to a Jew named Vital Hasson by the chief rabbi. Hasson was said to have escaped to Albania.

 1911: The Jewish community of St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, publishes in the press a protest against the appeal of the Anglican Church (to proselytize) on the island for funds to "gather into the fold the Jews who are returning to the holy land."

 1910: Gustave Bauer, a banker from Madrid was elected deputy for Corogna, to Spanish Parliament. He was the first Jew elected to public office since expulsion in 1492.

 1915: American ambassador to Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, received an honorary degree of LL.D. from University of Constantinople.

1916: Third annual meeting of the Federation of the Oriental Jews of America.  The 1000 member organization's purpose was the "Americanization and betterment of condition of Oriental Jews." The meeting took place in New York City, the President was Joseph Gedalecia and secretary was Albert J. Amateau.

 1912: Kasher kitchen installed at Ellis Island for immigrants.

1944: In the weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, it states that Ambassador MacVeagh in Cairo reports there are still 5,000 Jews hiding in Greece. "Those who have been able to join the Partisnas reportedly run less risk of being exterminated by the Germans, who have thus far avoided the systematic pursuit of guerilla warriors."

 1912: Portuguese government continues to favor a plan which is reported to be prepared to give Jews extensive concessions.

1918: Fire in a synagogue results in the total destruction of the famous Hebrew library in Belgrade. The collection contained many rare manuscripts.

 1656: Directors of the Dutch West India Company sent a strong letter to Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam ordering him to give "more respect" to the "Jews or Portuguese people" in his city. A principle shareholder in the company, a Jew named Joseph d'Acosta had assisted in obtaining this statement.

1903: Macedonians attack the Jewish quarter of Sophia, Bulgaria.

 1826: Sultan Mahmud II destroyed the Janissarie soldiers as part of his reforms for his empire. This was said to be a "great boom" for the Jews, who were often harassed by these soldiers.

 1911: Jew in Sfru (south of Fez) was attacked by rebellious Berbers.

 1731: On this Sunday four men and eight women were present at the auto-de-fe of Lisbon. A majority of them were burned alive. A total of 71 other persons were sentenced at this event.   Of the people sentenced was an 83 year old New Christian Duarte Navarro, for Judaizing.

1811: Mordechi Manuel Noah  (a Sephardi) accepted the appointment as American Consul General at Tunis, "supported as I should with the wealth and influence of forty-thousand residents."

1905: Fire destroys 130 houses in Constantinople inhabited by Jews. 400 families rendered homeless.

 1914: Day school for adult Oriental Jews opened on the East Side.

1917: Reports from London state that Zionist activity in Turkey has been prohibited by the government.

 1886: The Manchester Guardian reported the Visiting Committee of the Hebrew Congregations of Manchester and Liverpool has effected a "closer union between the Sephardic and Ashkenazic sections of the Jewish community."

1915: Jews of Morocco suffer under the French regime indignities unknown while under the rule of the old sultans.

 1918: United States President Truman send Henry Morgenthau and Felix Frankfurter to Egypt to investigate how to best aid Jews in Palestine.

1931: A newspaper in Salonica called the Macedonia ran an article about a resident named Isaac D. Cohen. Cohen was sent as a representative to the Macabi organization which was held in Sophia, Bulgaria. However the newspaper stated while away, he also attended a conference by a revolutionary organization, which had come up with the decision to sue for the independence of Greek and Yugoslav Macedonia. This lie led to attacks on Jews who were said not to be patriotic.


 1951: "The lack of spiritual leadership is unfortunately evident today even in the highest places. A Sephardi institution for the provision of teachers, ministers and rabbinic authorities is one of the most pressing needs of the present age�We, Sephardim, if properly organized, could give a lead to the Jewish world generally." This was stated by Haham Solomon Gaon to the Sephardi Community of Salisbury in Rhodesia.

 A German convoy deported Jews from Morocco to the death camps of Europe.

 1842: The Voice of Jacob in Sidney, Australia reported that correspondence sent to them dated August 15, tells that the Sultan of Turkey called for all religious leadership audience which included the Hahambashi where he issued a firman protecting "all religious dominations" in Syria.

1918: Jacob Schiff of New York City protests against the Red Cross who has discriminated against Jews from Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as Germany and Austro-Hungary. Red Cross stated Jews from these lands, or children who have fathers who were born in these lands cannot serve in the Red Cross.

 1917: Italian government publishes a decree assuring that all 10,000 Lire ($2,000) of a bequest from Emilio Treves will be awarded as a prize upon publication of an Italian language manuscript to combat anti-Semitism.  

1921: Authorities in Syria do not issue passes to Jews who wish to leave the country.

 1901: Bicentennial of the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest in England. Sephardic Jews founded Bevis Marks in 1701.  The congregation is known as the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation.

 1912: Jewish Territorial Organization holds its annual meeting over four days in Vienna. It passes a resolution thanking the Portuguese Chamber of Deputies for offer of land in Angola for Jewish colonists, but regrets the impossibility of recommending individual colonists to undertake a task, which could be successfully carried out only by an organization.

 1912: The entire Council of Jewish Community at Constantinople, after four months of conflict, resigns. This occurred after resignation of two of its members.

1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne is assassinated in Sarajevo. It has been said he was going to view the Sarajevo Haggadah when he was killed enroute. His murder is the traditional start date of World War I.

 1654: A large auto-de-fe took place in Cuenca where many were burned to death. One man about to be burned threw the crucifix away from him. A priest scrambled to retrieve it and managed to talk the man into holding it again. As the executioner began to do his job, the priest asked if the man was truly repent, the dying man looked at him and said, "Father�do you think that this is a time to joke?"

 713 CE: The lingering Visigoth nobility which held on through the winter of 712 finally surrendered to the Arabs. A majority of the remaining Goth and Hispano-Roman people who lived in the newly acquired areas eventually converted to Islam, the exception being the Jews.

1680: A massive auto-de-fe took place in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Over 50,000 spectators came to see 118 accused sentenced to prison or burned. Today Plaza Mayor is a tourist attraction.

1911: A Jew, Abraham Benrubi, former President of the Tribunal of Commerce at Cavalla (Turkey) was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal in Jerusalem.

1911: Two Ottoman deputies of Jerusalem, Ruhi Bey and Said Bey, receive numerous letters and telegrams complaining of their anti-Jewish speeches in the Turkish parliament.



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