Jewish community dates from Byzantine times.
the Ottoman conquest
of Bursa in
1324, Sultan Orhan permitted building
of the Etz ha-Hayyim Synagogue,
used for over 600 years.
Israel's founding in 1948, the Jewish
community in Bursa has dwindled to
about 140 persons. Only two synagogues
remain active, the more impressive
being the Gerush Synagogue.
Bursa's Ulu Cami (Great Mosque),
walk for 10 or 15 minutes, or take
a taxi or dolmus, westward along
Atatürk Caddesi, Cemal Nadir
Caddesi and Altiparmak Caddesi to
the Çatal Firin bus stop,
across from the Sabahettin Pasa Camii.
Altiparmak Caddesi is Sakarya Caddesi,
a street roughly parallel. Now
a pedestrian street lined with seafood
restaurants, Sakarya Caddesi was
once the main thoroughfare of this
small Jewish quarter. The Gerush
Synagogue is several blocks down
on the left-hand side.
in the 1700s, it is light, airy and
attractive,with an unusual floor
plan: a circle of pillars surround
the bema in the center of
the room, supporting a dome. Benches
are along the walls; the ark is
opposite the entrance, and there
are attractive stained glass lights over
the entrance door.
Gerush's Torahs were brought
from Spain by Sephardic immigrants
five centuries ago.
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