Today in Sephardic Jewish History


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 1914: Nissim Mazliach is appointed Turkish Chamber for Smyrna.

1944: An internal memo of this week from the United States Government War Refugee Board states that as of late March:  "All registered Jews in Athens are said to have been placed in a concentration camp; registered Jews from the provinces were subsequently added."

1944: An internal memo of this week from the United States Government War Refugee Board states that a small group of Jews in Greece claimed to be Portuguese nationals.

 1921: Riots in Jaffa, Palestine causes the deaths of 40 Jews and 200 wounded. Martial law was put in effect after Jewish stores were looted.

1945: In an effort to recover towards normalcy, the Central Board of the Charity Institution for Aged Needy People (at Athens) attempted to make the elderly Jews comfortable in their last years. In a letter to the Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece, they wrote:  "Honourable Sirs, The Central Board of the Charity Institution for Aged Needy People deeply sympathise with the martyrdom of the so terribly persecuted Jewish race by the wild and barbaric conqueror."

 1579: An auto-de-fe at Seville sentenced 38 people, some accused of Judaizing. In all, only one person was burned.

1764: The Maryland Gazette reported "certain" Jews were willing to settle in the American colonies to conduct agriculture and commerce. This was nothing new, as for almost 30 years prior the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in London had wanted to form a large settlement for Jews in Carolina.

1909: Fire destroys part of the Haskoy, Constantinople Jewish quarter. 500 Jews are left homeless.

1912: Vittoli Effendi Fradji of Constantinople, Ezekiel Effendi Sassoon of Baghdad, Nissim Effendi Mazliach of Smyrna and Emanuel Effendi Karasa of Salonica are all re-elected to the Turkish parliament.

1918: A new Greek law which deprived ownership over destroyed property, led to an exodus of Jews to the United States, France, Italy and Egypt. Many of these people had lost their property in the great fire of August 17, 1917

 1814: Ferdinand VII of Spain ordered all previous proceedings of the Cortes of Cadiz null and void. This voided the 1813 statement saying the Inquisition was not in line with Spain's new liberal views. Only 2 months later Ferdinand announced Inquisitional tribunals were to once again resume, and they did.

1917: At the request of the government of Salonica, the rabbis approve burial of bodies in shrouds made of paper, because linen was scarce and expensive.

1917: Djemal Pasha of the Ottoman Army declares intention of authorities is to "wipe out Jewish population of Palestine."

 1624: Elias Lipiner was sentenced to death at an auto-de-fe by the Portuguese Inquisition. He was accused of committing the crime of using Jewish names and writing in Hebrew. On this same day Dr. Antonio Honem was sentenced to death for observing Jewish ceremonies.

1837: A dedication of new synagogue in Surinam took place.

 1255: Vatican orders all copies of the Talmud to be destroyed by fire. Though King Jaime at first ordered the Spanish Jews remain unmolested, the political pressure over successive years was too great, and on August 29, 1263 he announced Jews had three weeks to remove all blasphemy from their books.

1910: Commanding officers in Constantinople grant Jewish soldiers nine days off for Passover, even though official leave is stipulated for the first two and last two days.  Minister of Justice, at the request of the Hahambashi, orders all Jews in prison for trivial offenses be liberated.  

1918: Romania is defeated. Some 400,000 troops have been lost, and 80% of its land.  

1943: Allies take Tunisia.


 1915: National Conference on Jewish Charities at their convention in Memphis, Tennessee, adopts a resolution to appoint a committee to conduct a survey of Oriental Jews in the United States.

1944: An internal memo of this week from the United States Government War Refugee Board states that it would not be wise to transport Jewish refugees to Afghanistan, as it is a "fanatically Moslem country" with a "primitive economy and low standard of living." Though Jews live in Afghanistan, they are "not popular".

 1938: La Acion, the Judeo-Spanish newspaper of Salonica wrote that the Salonican community had never been richer; the public property totaled 2,000,000 Drachmas annually.

 1013: After three long years of fighting which destroyed the cities of Jaen, Algecrias, Malaga and Valencia, the Muslim Berber tribesmen from North Africa took over the city of Cordoba, bringing power away from the Umayyad Arabs.

1484: The Inquisitor at Saragossa, General Gaspar Juglar was found dead, possibly the victim of a poisoning. This took place shortly after the first auto-de-fe took place in the city.

1682: A 97 year old woman named Ana Rodriguez of Chaves was brought to the auto-de-fe of Lisbon.

 1911: Conservative Young Turks blame Zionists for desecration of the Mosque of Omar.

 1919: Thirty-eighth anniversary of laying of a corner stone at the synagogue in Oran, Algeria. At its peak, the Jewish population was about 2,000.  After Algeria gained its independence in 1962, the Jewish community left for France and Israel.

1940: On this day the German blitzkrieg (lightning war) breached the French defense. At the time Sousa Mendes was the General Consul of Portugal to Bordeaux, France. Thanks to Mendes' actions it is believed that around 30.000 refugees were saved, among them 10.000 Jews avoided death in the Reich�s death camps. It was said Mendes was descendant from Jewish family.

 1943: German and Italian troops surrender in North Africa.

 1912: Tomb of Samuel Manasseh Ben Israel restored at the Middleburg Portuguese Cemetery in Holland.

1915: During WWI, the Alliance Israelite Universelle announces that it will continue all activities in its institutions in the Ottoman Empire.  

 756 CE: Abd Al-Rahman won the battle against his co-religionist outside the city walls of Cordoba. He entered the city as victor.   After he set up his Abd Al-Rahman's Umayyad administration mandated all Jews and Christians pay a jizya,  a discriminatory mandated tax in accordance with the Koran for their "protected" status as dhimmis.

 1911: Masliach Effendi of the Turkish government ridicules the idea that Jews could become a menace to Turkey. He suggests appointment of committee to examine the whole question of Zionism.

 1776: During the American revolution the U.S. Congress called on Americans to raise their voices in prayer, and among the verses read by the "anxious" Jews of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of New York was, "�And they shall beat their swords into plow-shares."

1901: Theodore Hertzl, leader of the campaign for a Jewish State, met by Sultan Abdul Hamid at Constantinople.   The Sultan authorized Hertzl to declare that the ruling Khalif was a friend and protector of the Jewish people.

 1910: Turkish Minister of Education advocates adoption of Hebrew as national language of Turkish Jews.

 1911: Turkish government instructs Minister at Teheran to protest Persian government attacks against lives and property of Ottoman Jews at Kermanshah.

1911: King of Italy confers Knighthood of Order of Crown on Rabbi Abraham Elbgen, Chief Rabbi of Crete.

1911: Jews of Constantinople take a prominent part in the celebrations of the anniversary of the Sultan's accession to the thrown.

1911: The idea to form a Federation of Synagogues is planned in Cairo.

 1847: Consecration of the New Netherdutch [sic] Synagogue took place in New York. The congregation was organized so they could, "have a Synagogue where they can worship according to the Amsterdam Minhag. They number about sixty members. The service was performed by the Rev. S. E. C. Noot, the Hazan of the congregation, assisted by several young men."

1896: In New York the laying of the cornerstone took place for the new Synagogue of Congregation Shearith Israel at 70th Street and Central Park West. At the entrance to the synagogue, there are two millstones that were from Mill Street, the location of the town miller during the early colonial period.

 1915: Ottoman government allows Hebrew to be used once again as a written language for letters, although it will be censored by the military.

 1924: In Romania students hired a servant girl to run through the street screaming, "My Jewish employers dragged me down into the cellar and wanted my blood for ritual purposes."  This had the result of causing attacks on Jews in the country. Several months later in Aleppo, Syria, the same charges of "blood ritual" surfaced against the Jews.

1941: Germans stole a 16th century Torah scroll from the Sephardic community at Salonica.   This Torah was said to have come from Spain. The Germans then burned all the books and three Sefer Torahs. When the chief rabbi returned, he found all of the libraries and Jewish manuscripts destroyed.

 1578: The Ottoman Sultan rescinded the order to deport the wealthy Jews of Safed to the island of Cyprus. He did this because the Jews of Safed were said to be paying taxes which were used to help maintain the Dome of the Rock.

1773: Distinctions between Old Christians and New Christians were banned in Portugal. It was said this was because of a huge bribe from the Jews, but either way, this ban became law.

 1917: Turkish minister at The Hague, Netherlands, issues a statement regarding deportation of the Jews in Palestine and denies reports of their slaughter.

1925: A law was put into force in Salonica demanding Sunday as a day of rest. The Jewish community formally disputed this, and in the end the Council of the Jewish Community at Salonica resigned to the governor general of Salonica.

 1902: The laying of a foundation stone in Lisbon for the first synagogue in Portugal since the expulsion of the Jews in 1497.

1910: Chief Rabbi of Salonica protests that despite assurances to the contrary, during his departure Jews were enrolled in the Army on Saturday. The Minister of Interior telegraphs the Governor General, and instructs him to not let this be repeated. Of 1908 Jews enrolled at Salonica, 1719 entered active service; remaining 189 went into the reserves.

 1920: Dr. H. Pereira Mendes resigns as Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York after 43 years.

1935: Egyptian Chief Rabbi Haim Nahum officiated at services in the Ashkenazi Synagogue of Cairo. He was there to lead a memorial service for the Polish Jews of Egypt, who were honoring Marshal Josef Piludski. The respected Russian revolutionist and Polish nationalistic military leader had died May 12, 1935, and was buried in Lithuania.

 1842: The Voice of Jacob in Sidney, Australia reported on the  conflagration at Smyrna: There was an additional series of offerings to the fund in aid of the sufferers on the Day of Atonement in the Great Synagogue..."

 1909: Hahambashi Haim Nahoum of Turkey meets with Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Turkey to discuss the practice of limiting the residence of foreign Jews to three months.

1920: The Jewish community in Constantinople publishes a letter to the former Hahambashi, Haim Nahoum Effendi who stepped down a few weeks prior. They declare his departure a calamity. They express regret at his departure and their gratitude for his past services, attributing to him the prestige which the community has acquired in the eyes of the Turkish government.

 1686: Jews of New Amsterdam were allowed to openly practice their religion.

1944: In the weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, it states that Turkey has not refused admission to any Jews from Greece or any of the Greek Islands. "On the contrary, thus far Turkish authorities have promptly provided transportation from Izmir to Palestine for those refugees who have reached Turkish soil."

 1913: Treaty of London signed which ended the Balkan war, which started in October of the year prior. As a result of this Albania was made autonomous, Crete was ceded to Greece.

1919: Under the auspices of the Jewish association Amicale, and with cooperation of the B'nai Brith Lodge, a national Jewish association is founded in Constantinople. Among its many goals, are establishment of an autonomous Jewish homeland in Palestine, and support the communal administration of Jewish philanthropic groups in Turkey.

 1776: At a wedding celebration on an upper floor of a building in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, 65 people, including the bride, were killed when the building collapsed under the strain of the celebration.

1915: The American Jewish, Central and Peoples' Relief Committees give $190,282 to Jews in Palestine and $59,500 for Jews in Greece and Turkey (outside of Palestine). Jews in Alexandria received $4000.


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