Saturday, November 28, 2015

The incredible story of Turkey's "Converted Jews". Very few have ever heard this story.

The city of Izmir (ancient Smyrna), where Sabbati Sevi lived.
350 years ago, a Jewish Messiah, Sabbati Sevi, appeared in Smyrna - today's Izmir. His 2,500 (low number) or 10,000 (high number)  followers had to "convert" to Islam, or die. They "converted" in 1666 and became a secret group, mostly centered in Thessalonica, or Salonica, in Grece.

Ten years later, in 1676, questions of leadership and continuity resulted in a division into three groups of the "converted Jews" Now, three and a half centuries later (!) some are secular and a few still follow Jewish ways. One area of Istanbul even "looks different" and many of the 60,000 (estimated) "donme" (converted) live there. Now there is a book about the "Converted Jews". Some of them still consider themselves to be real Jews who deceived the Islamic power of the day, the Ottoman Empire, but they have great difficulty in being accepted as Jews by the several Orthodox Synagogues in Istanbul.

Read more.

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