Turkish Jews rebuilding a presence in New York

The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) is announcing a new Judaic cultural and traditions program known as Mahazike Tora. The program is for Turkish Jews, or anyone else interested in learning about authentic Turkish Sephardic traditions. The program strives to educate and focus on the traditions that have been handed down from the Jews who are descendant from Turkish lands including the modern Republic of Turkey, Rhodes, the Balkans and other locales.

Initially, Mahazike Tora will be scheduling occasional programs consisting of lectures and discussions. The initial program will be held on October 27, 2005. On this night, Rabbi Nissim Elnecave will be discussing the Me’am Lo’ez (Bereshit/Genesis). All Jews are welcome to come enjoy an intimate evening where we will learn from the beginning of the Tora, studying the Sephardic Tora commentary written in 1689 by Haham Yakoub Huli of Constantinople.

Shelomo Alfassa, Executive Director of the ISFSP will open the evening with a discussion on the significance of the Me’am Lo’ez, why it is important, and why it was written. He will also reflect upon the history of the Turkish Jews in New York.

The Mahazike Tora program was founded by Rabbi Nissim Elnecave, Shelomo Alfassa, David Hasday and Isak Sefada. On the initiation of the Mahazike Tora program, Shelomo Alfassa stated:

“–Mahazike Tora is the first program in over a quarter of a century focusing on this unique Jewish group. While some 25,000 Turkish Jews once filled the streets of the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, New Lots and the Bronx, today, just a scattered and loose fragment remain. Together with Turkish Jews that arrived in the past few decades, this is a chance to rally together, a way to and reach out to those wanting to learn about Turkish traditions.–”

Participation is open to all Jews, men and women, no matter what their level of knowledge is. The event starts at 8:30 pm and kosher Turkish refreshments will be served. The event will be held at the Sephardic Synagogue in Brooklyn, N.Y.; there is no charge for this event. More information can be found by visiting:http://www.isfsp.org/mtny.html.

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