Chief Rabbinate, Istanbul, Turkey

The official headquarters of Turkey’s Chief Rabbinate(Hahambaşılık, hah-HAHM-bah-shuh) are at Yemenici Abdullatif Sokak No. 23 (tel +90 212 243 5166, fax +90 212 244 1980; [email protected]), not far from Tünel Square in BeyoğluIstanbul.

If you wish to do a Walking Tour of Jewish Heritage Sitesin Turkey, you should contact the Chief Rabbinate to secure permission to enter the sites. Security is tight, and permission is required.

Actually, I don’t think anybody really works in the building at that address. With all the security risks in the world these days, I assume that the work of the rabbinate is actually carried out elsewhere, mostly by electronic means, so contact them through their website.

Each of the Ottoman Empire‘s ethno-religious communities (millets) had its own supreme leader (Chief Rabbi, Sheik-ul-Islam, Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Bulgarian Exarch, etc.) who was responsible to the sultan for the good behavior of the community. Disputes between members of the same community were decided by religious community courts, not by the imperial government.

The Ottoman millet system provided freedom of religion for all the empire’s peoples and creeds.


Stained glass window in the Ashkenazi Synagogue near the Galata Tower in BeyoğluIstanbul.


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