Büyük Hendek Caddesi
No. 67, is midway between the Galata
Tower and Sishane Square.
it is the largest synagogue
it is the traditional center of the
city's 25,000-person Jewish community.
and decorated in a modern style,
it was inaugurated on March 25, 1951,
and is used for major functions of
the community such as bar mitvahs,
weddings and funerals. The bema and ark are
at the front of the hall, with seating
around three sides.
September, 1986, Arab terrorists
staged a terrorist attack with
guns and grenades on worshippers
in the synagogue, killing 23. The
Turkish government and people were
outraged by the attack. The damage
was repaired, except for several
bullet holes in a seat-back, left
as a reminder.
On Saturday, November 15, 2003, a car
bomb exploded right outside
the synagogue during a bar mitzvah
service when the hall was filled
with worshippers. Hundreds of people--mostly
Turkish Muslims who lived or worked
in the neighborhood--were wounded,
and over a dozen killed. The front
of the synagogue was blown away and
a two-meter-deep hole blown in the
street. Preliminary reports say that
Muslim fundamentalists linked to
Al Qaeda were suspected.
Jews have lived in what is
now Turkey since Roman times, although
the ancestors of most of Istanbul's
present-day Jewish community are
Sephardim who were driven from Spain
in 1492 by the Spanish Inquisition.
They were welcomed into the Ottoman
Empire by Sultan Beyazit II and have
made significant contributions to
Turkish culture, society, science
and the economy over succeeding centuries.
Jewish Sites in Istanbul
Interest Sites in:
Sites in Turkey
Sites in Turkey Homepage
Travel Planner Homepage
Above, star-of-David motif
in the windows at Neve Shalom
before the car-bombing of November
Below, the clock
and plaque commemorating
the terrorist attack of 1986.