Today in Sephardic Jewish History


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 1739: At an auto-de-fe in Lisbon, one of the most successful and popular playwrights of the period was burned. He was Antonio Jose de Silva, member of a New Christian family, son of a mother twice been convicted of Judaizing. On the night he was burned, one of his comedies was produced in the local town theater.


 1674: Pope Clement X suspended the Inquisition in Portugal. This came after the New Christian community asked for a more humane treatment from the Portuguese Inquisitional authorities. Many within the New Christian community felt the Portuguese tribunals were based on greed more than sincerity.

1911: U.S. District Court Judge Hough issues a writ of habeas corpus reviewing order of immigration officials who excluded David Perriss and five other Turkish Jewish immigrants who arrived on Ellis Island on September 21.  

 1909: A Jew, Israel Effendi is appointed Chief of Police in Turkey.  


 1973: Egyptian and Syrian forces launch a coordinated attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Taking the Israeli Defense Forces by surprise. Israel had a stunning victory over all the attacking Muslim armies, leaving Israel in control of territory four times its previous size.

 1943: German convoys deported Jews from Morocco to the concentration camps of Europe

 1576: Ottoman Sultan ordered the deportation of 1,000 wealthy Jews from Safed to Cyprus. The Jews would be requested to take with them their possessions and riches. The firman utilized wording which warned the Turks they would receive severe punishment if they accepted bribes from the Jews to have their names removed.

 1845: The Sephardic Synagogue of Kingston, Jamaica celebrated taking possession of a new Sefer Torah." The service was conducted by the Rev. Isaac Lopes, minister of the congregation.

 1723: The party responsible for slandering a group of Jews was put to death in an auto-de-fe at Lisbon. The person had alleged groups of men were assembling to practice Jewish customs. The men were later arrested and jailed where many of them had died.  

1847:  A constitution was adopted forming 'The Ladies Sewing Association, of the Congregation Shearith Israel, of New York.' The society consisted of an initial fifty members who would make garments for the needy.

1907: Ernesto Nathan, a Jew, was elected Mayor of Rome.


 1492: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition, including Hebrew speaker Luis de Torres (the translator) went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

 1911: Multiple telegrams were received in London from Malta, Gabes and Djerba, appealing for help for the many thousands of Jewish refugees from Tripoli.  

1945: Died, Leon Recanati, Sephardic leader of Palestine and formerly of Salonika. Recanati was a "happy admixture of a learned Jews with his Biblical wisdom on the one hand and a man of affairs with a sense of reality on the other."

 1910: A Jew, David Effendi Molcho, First Interpreter of Imperial Divan of the Ottoman Empire is appointed member of the Senate. On this same day, Samuel Effendi of Salonica is appointed Chief of Police for the coast districts of Constantinople.  

 1911: At the request of David Levontin, Director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank, Jews assemble to pray for the welfare of the Sultan and for victory of the Turkish Army.  

1948: An Israeli army unit held Yom Kippur services on Mt. Zion, right outside the [then] sealed Zion's Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. There they blew the shofar, the closest place to the Western Wall they could get.

 1974: American Sephardi Federation and the Sephardic community at large collected $4,000,000 for Israel by week two of the Yom Kippur war.

 1483: Though Spain was still divided; on this date Torquemada was made Inquisitor General over Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, this was said to be the first act of unification of Spain.

 1990: "O you beloved Spain, �mother� we call you, and throughout our lives we will not forget your sweet language. Even though you have expelled us as a stepmother from your womb, we have not stopped loving you as our holy ground, where our ancestors are buried and where the ashes of thousands of tormented and burned still lie..." Haham Solomon Gaon at the ceremony of the Prince of Asturias Concord Award, Oviedo, Spain.  



 1910: Minister of the Interior takes prompt steps to suppress anti-Semitic manifestations at Kirk-Klisse, near Adrianople (Edirne, Turkey).

 1495: Ines Lopez of Ciudad Real, Spain was accused of heresy. In confessing, she wrote to the Inquisitional Court stating she was a 'Christian', but admitted wearing clean clothing on Saturday. In the letter she accused her cousin of teaching her to observe Passover, saying it was good "for her soul." Turning in her cousin satisfied the Inquisition, but they could do nothing as she was safe in Constantinople. Lopez was soon after sentenced to life imprisonment, ordered to wear the san benito and was burned at the stake.

 1949: An Israeli government spokesman reports hundreds of Jews in Iraq had been brutally arrested, and all their property confiscated.

1955: In NY, a cornerstone ceremony was held on for the Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America, raising funds to erect a new community center. It read: "Dedicated to Sephardic Unity and Community Service."


 1853: When an army of Kurds attacked the city of Al-Jazira, it was Muslims, Christians and Jews who picked up arms to defend the city.

1870: Jews of Algeria become French citizens. Most families are religious, as well as large. By 1920, there were approximately 65,000 Jews living in Algeria.  

 1268: Jucef ibn Astrug Ravaya, a Jew, was appointed bailiff of Besala. Jucef later became chief bailiff in Aragon and Valencia. Jucef and his brother were the chief administrators in the government of King Pedro III. Under Jucef's administration, he and his brother were able to raise funds from within the Jewish community to finance an invasion of Sicily.

1845: A fire broke out at Constantinople which had consumed the greater part of the Jewish quarter, and destroyed several Synagogues. "Distress, starvation, and misery of all kinds prevail among the unfortunate Jewish population."

1906: Installation of Rabbi Jacob Meir as Hahambashi of Palestine.  Six months later In April he was deposed by the Sultan of Turkey, and Eliahu M. Panigel was put in the position instead to oversee the orthodox community. Jacob Meir went on to be Chief Rabbi of Salonica.

 1496: An edict expelling the Jews was signed in Naples.

1913: From this date until March 26 of the following year, the city of Adrianople was under terrible siege. Twenty people were killed by the bombardment, 500 families were reduced to poverty. Both poor and middle class Jews were affected. Three thousand sought shelter in schools and 9,200 were completely helpless.

 1906: Mutilated bodies of Jewish women were found in the streets of Arzila, Tangier. The mountain tribesmen had came down and surprised the large Jewish community one week earlier is suspect.

1913: From Itchip, practically the entire Jewish community (about 710 people) fled to Salonica before the arrival of the Bulgarians. Only 6 men and 2 youths stayed behind. Two of the old men were killed; all the Jewish homes were plundered and demolished. Synagogues were desecrated and burned, as were 24 Jewish stores and homes.  

 1840: Sir Moses Montefiore had an audience with the Sultan. Among the topics discussed were the blood libel accusations on the island of Rhodes and in Damascus. The Sultan later issued a public firman exonerating Jews from anything to do with ritual murder accusations.  

1940: Mussolini�s Italian army cross Albania and invades Greece. The Greek army included 12,000 Greek Jews which fought fiercely and stopped the Italian advance. Between 510 and 615 Greek Jewish soldiers from Salonica were killed.

 1909: Alliance Israelite Universelle makes representation to the French legislation over the hardships suffered by the Jews of Fez.  

 1786: A deadly fire in the Jewish Ghetto of Verona occurred causing a great loss of life.  

1904: Cypriotes in Athens, Greece adopt a resolution, which they plan to send to England to protest against the increasing immigration of Jews to Cyprus.

 1911: Died, Daoud Effendi Molho, Ottoman Diplomatic Staff at Constantinople. Molho was 67 years old.  


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