Monday, February 13, 2012

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Mincha and Shabtai Zvi in Turkey


Continuing our series of Jewish observance and culture in countries where it's least expected, the Forward's Yiddish language reporter, Itzik Gottesman, narrates a travelogue of a family vacation in Turkey. The narration is in Yiddish, with full English subtitles.

The trip includes Istanbul and Izmir, where they encounter Sephardic Jews looking for a minyan in an abandoned Ashkenazi Synagogue. Gottesman joins the minyan and gets a tour of a few Sephardic synagogues, guided by the Ladino-speaking gabbai.

Afterward, they look for and find the home of Shabtai Zvi, the false messiah who later converted to Islam to the great disappointment of his followers. The bottom line: Turkey is a great place to visit, and they had no fear of being Jews in a Muslim country.  Enjoy!

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