History of The Jews of Thessaloniki - Under The Ottomans - Religious Organization

Religious Organization

Each group of new arrivals founded its own community (aljama in Spanish), whose rites ("minhagim") differed from those of other communities. The synagogues cemented each group, and their names most often referred to the groups' origins. For example, Katallan Yashan (Old Catalan) was founded in 1492 and Katallan Hadash (New Catalonia) at the end of the 16th century.

Name of synagogue Date of construction Name of synagogue Date of construction Name of synagogue Date of construction
Ets ha Chaim 1st century Apulia 1502 Yahia 1560
Ashkenaz or Varnak 1376 Lisbon Yashan 1510 Sicilia Hadash 1562
Mayorka 1391 Talmud Torah Hagadol 1520 Beit Aron 1575
Provincia 1394 Portugal 1525 Italia Hadash 1582
Italia Yashan 1423 Evora 1535 Mayorka Sheni 16th century
Guerush Sfarad 1492 Estrug 1535 Katallan Chadash 16th century
Kastilla 1492–3 Lisbon Chadash 1536 Italia Sheni 1606
Aragon 1492–3 Otranto 1537 Shalom 1606
Katallan Yashan 1492 Ishmael 1537 Har Gavoa 1663
Kalabria Yashan 1497 Tcina 1545 Mograbis 17th century
Sicilia Yashan 1497 Nevei Tsedek 1550

A government institution called Talmud Torah Hagadol was introduced in 1520 to head all the congregations and make decisions (haskamot) that applied to all. It was administered by seven members with annual terms. This institution provided an educational program for young boys, and was a preparatory school for entry to yeshivot. It hosted hundreds of students. In addition to Jewish studies, it taught humanities, Latin and Arabic, as well as medicine, the natural sciences and astronomy. The yeshivot of Salonika were frequented by Jews from throughout the Ottoman Empire and even farther abroad; there were students from Italy and Eastern Europe. After completing their studies, some students were appointed rabbis in the Jewish communities of the Empire and Europe, including cities such as Amsterdam and Venice. The success of its educational institutions was such that there was no illiteracy among the Jews of Salonika.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Jews Of Thessaloniki, Under The Ottomans

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