Today in Sephardic Jewish History


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


Calendar Home


 1916: Founded, the Ottoman Jewish Union to foster friendly relations between Jews of different countries and the Ottomans, as well as closer association of the Ottoman Jews with the other nationalities in Turkey.

1937: Palestine Post reports death of Reverend Henry Pereire Mendes of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City. Mendes was rabbi emeritus of Shearith Israel since retiring after 43 years in 1920. He was one of the two founders in 1886 of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

 1856: Reported in The News of the World, in Italy the Pope "commands" for people to turn in known heretics-including Jews. He desires them to denounce family, fiends, and associates if appropriate to the "Holy Inquisition." The Pope requests the "names of every one of whom they know."

1914: A protest was held in Sophia, Bulgaria by the Jewish community, against ritual murder accusations in a case associated with memorial services for soldiers who fell in war.

1916: Turkish military leader Djemal Pasha orders barricades erected to prevent Jews from praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

 1911: Hundreds of Jews made destitute by flood at Serres, Salonica.

1912: Jewish teacher in a government school for girls in Volo, Greece, was dismissed as not qualified to instruct Christian children.

 1482: In Spain by this date, near 298 persons had been burned at the hand of the Inquisition, while 98 had been imprisoned in Inquisitional prisons.

1910: Attack made on the Jewish bank in Sophia, Bulgaria.

1913: Benjamin Cardozo was elected Justice of State Supreme Court of New York. In February of the following year he was made a judge on the Court of Appeals.

 1655: Not favoring a mandated discriminatory tax leveled against the Jews, in place of them not being allowed to stand guard in the town, Jacob Barsimon and Asser Levy petitioned to stand guard. At first they were met with resistance, but Asser Levy performed the guard duties anyway just like any other burgher of the town. He would later be granted full citizenship rights in New Amsterdam, the first for a Jew in North America.

1909: Turkish Ministry of Interior asks Council of State to accelerate new law on immigration to Turkey. On the same day several hundred Jewish recruits present themselves for enrollment in the Turkish Army.

1940: Haham Raphael Joseph Antzelou was killed in the battle of Kalpaki on the Albanian front. Many Jews of Ioannina fought on the Albanian front. The chief of staff of the Greek forces said of them, "The Greek Jews fulfilled their duty full measure."

 1840: A firman by Sultan Abd Al-Majid given at Constantinople declared that Jews did not use blood in their ceremonies, and for any of the Sultan's people to say the Jews did was not truth.  This was to protect the Jews in Rhodes and in Damascus, both under the Ottoman Empire who were being persecuted by this old anti-Semitic remark.  Moses Montefiore met with the Sultan and helped to secure this Decree.

1904: Elections in Italy result in the return of 13 Jewish candidates, among them 3 new members for the Chamber of Deputies.

 1912: M. Benveniste who was the president of the Alliance school in Ioannina wrote on the conditions in his locale, "becomes more and more serious and had taken a disquieting turn. We are absolutely isolate�Greece is about to blockade the only road which remains open�.Everything has quadruples and even quintupled in price. Flour is lacking�."


 1876: David Mathew Levy (Davitchon Effendi) was elected to the Ottoman parliament.

1905: In a letter from U.S. Ambassador White of Morocco to the Algeciras Conference, he stated, "Concurrent testimony positively affirms the intolerance of the Mohammedan rule in that country toward non-Musselmans�.Jews, especially, appear to suffer from painful and injurious restrictions."

 694 CE: At the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, King Egica made public the following statement, the Jews plan to, "exterminate the Christian people and [destroy] their homeland." This was a false charge, but one which the king thought could help him rid his community of Jews.

1621: A 16 year old New Christian, Moses Simonson (or Symonson) arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts on the ship Fortune. He came from Leyden, Holland.

1942: Germans deport Jews from Paris to Birkenau death camp. These Jews were Greeks from Salonica who went to France thinking it would be a safe haven.

 1290: The community of Huesca, Spain prohibited Christians from buying meat or poultry from Jews under a penalty of 70 days in jail.  

1911: Rabbi Moses Franco of Rhodes was made Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

1911: Press department of Zionist Central Bureau in Berlin denies report that Chief Rabbi of Tripoli had telegraphed to Rome welcoming Italians. The Hahambashi in Turkey declared there is no, and has not been any, chief rabbi in Tripoli for a long time.

 1897: Died, Reverend Sabato Morais, the spiritual leader of Philadelphia's Spanish and Portuguese Congregation Mikveh Israel from 1851 until his death in 1897. To many in his community, the Italian-born Morais epitomized the idealized traits of a sage: piety, humility, and wisdom.

1910: A Jew, Zeki Effendi Hayon, was appointed Inspector of Finance for the Ottoman Empire.

1911: Jewish colony of Petach-Tikvah in Palestine passes a resolution to contribute 1,000 Francs to the Ottoman military towards defense of the [Turkish] country.

1938: The New York Times reported: Kemal Ataturk, president and creator of modern Turkey, died at the age of 58.

 1913: Rodosto, Turkey is taken, and 60 families sought safety in Constantinople.

 1806: Jewish merchants of Gibraltar sought exemption from the Moroccan dress code for dhimmis. The Jews wrote to Aaron Nunez Cardozo who was a prominent merchant and liason between the British government and the Barbary States.  

1911: Vaad of the Jewish community of Safed votes 20,000 Francs toward the [Turkish] war fund.

1942: In a AJDC report on the situation of Jews in North Africa, it was reported that on June 14, 1940: The occupation by Spanish military forces at Tangiers led to the introduction of anti-Jewish laws being put into effect.

 565 CE Roman Emperor Justinian dies at 82. As Christianity grew in power in the Roman Empire it influenced the emperors to limit further the civil and political rights of the Jews. Justian's Law said Jews may not offer testimony against Christians who are engaged in litigation.

 1771: Orders were given to ban auto-de-fe's from taking place in public, and to ban the production of lists of persons who would be sentenced.

 1909: Turkey bans all non-Muslims from holding political meetings in houses of worship.

 1909: Died, Rabbi Nissim Moche Amon, President of the Constantinople Bet Din (religious court) at age 72.

 1959: Opening of the Sephardic Bibliographical Exhibition in Madrid, Spain.  The Exhibition was in conjunction with the World Sephardi Federation, Arias Montano Institute, the faculty of Philosophy of the Madrid University as well as the Royal Academy of Spanish Language. The Exhibition demonstrated rare Sephardic documents, books, maps and material showing the life of Jews in Spain up to 1492.

 1909: Grand Vizier of Turkey at the request of the Hahambashi directs the Minister of War to appoint Jewish chaplains to battalions where Jews serve, to grand soldiers the ability to observe high holidays, and to facilitate they be provided with kosher food.  He also requested that all teachers in Jewish school as well as rabbinical students be exempt from military service.

1913: Serbian troops enter and loot Monastir. Jewish shops were burned and robbed.

 1908: Grand Vizir of Morocco sends a letter to President of the Alliance Israelite Universelle approving educational work and stating that the new Sultan is resolved to protect Jews.

1909: One-hundredth anniversary of the death of Moses Mendes Seixas observed at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York.

 1919: Hahambashi in an interview with the Sultan, assures him that Jews will never forget that when they were persecuted in other countries, Turkey welcomed them and that, if they had reason for complaint in recent years, it was directed rather against the regime which had been disastrous for all elements of the population, than against the Turkish people.

1965: The Central Council of the Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America had created a Golden Jubilee Committee to celebrate the Brotherhood's fiftieth anniversary. At the time there were over 2,500 members of the Brotherhood.

 1967: U.N. Secretary General Thant raises issue of restrictions placed on Syrian Jews at the U.N. Security Council during Resolution 242 on the Israeli-Arab conflict. Intervention on behalf of the Jews fails.

 1584: The Sultan ordered an investigation to the number of synagogues in Safed. In his letter to the local administration, he wrote, "in the town of Safed there are only seven sacred mosques. But the Jews who in olden times had three synagogues have now thirty-two synagogues, and they have built their buildings very high."

 1911: The Damascus newspaper Muktebis attacked Jews, and in response readers wrote letters to the Grand Vizier to condemn the attitude of the paper.  On the same day the editor of another newspaper, the Turkish Hikmet, insulted Jews in an 'open letter to the Sultan.' As a result of the letter the editor was banished from Constantinople.

1913: A mass meeting held in New York under the auspices of the Federation of Oriental Jews was held to consider relief for Balkan Jewry. A total of $58,000 was raised.

1916: Greek government considers calling on Jews to serve in military, prior to this date they were exempt from service.

 1909: Turks resolve to grant all requested privileges to Jewish soldiers, except kasher food.

 1913: In a letter from the Chief Rabbi of Salonica to Prince Nicholas of Greece, the rabbi denies truth of charges of excesses committed by Greek soldiers, and declares he has not sought protection of powers for Jews of Salonica. Three months later the Greek Prime Minister, Venizelos, assured the Chief Rabbi that the rights of the Jews would be continued.

 1944: In the weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, it reported that the United States embassy had received from the Spanish Foreign Office: "Official confirmation that appropriate instructions have been sent to the Spanish Legation in Bern to seek the collaboration of the Swiss government in the efforts of the Spanish Embassy in Berlin to obtain the release and transfer to Swiss territory of the group of 155 Sephardic Jews at Camp Bergen Belson."

  1905: In a letter from U.S. Ambassador White of Morocco to the Algeciras Conference, he stated, "Concurrent testimony positively affirms the intolerance of the Mohammedan rule in that country toward non-Musselmans�.Jews, especially, appear to suffer from painful and injurious restrictions."

 1655: The Brazilian/Dutch Jews of New Amsterdam make an application for a license to enter the fur trade.  It was later denied.

1856: A pro-Zionist meeting was held in Great Britain at the Great Assembly Hall of Miles End. There was a "great rush into the building" with most seats taken quickly. The meeting was presided over by Dr. M. Gaster, Chief Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese congregation, and among those present were Sir Francis Montifiore.

 1856: Manchester Guardian reported a "Great Fire" had taken place in Constantinople where 600 homes were destroyed, and another devastated Adrianople. A lighting strike on Rhodes completely destroyed the Turkish quarter, with only three children saved.

1940: Anti-Jewish laws are established in Tunisia.



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