- Records of the Jewish Community Istanbul in Turkey. Includes correspondence of the lay Council of the Jewish community of Istanbul, minutes of meetings, correspondence of the Chief Rabbinate, birth and death registers, a list of Jewish business, correspondence of the Chief Rabbi Hacham Bashi, correspondence with government offices, the rabbinic court (beit din) notebook, and press clippings from Turkish newspaper (mostly antisemitic).
Note: Source Archives inventory at: http://cahjp.nli.org.il/webfm_send/1316
- Collection Creator
- Hakham Bashi
The institution of the Hakham Bashi was established by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, as part of his policy of governing his exceedingly diverse subjects according to their own laws and authorities wherever possible. Religion was considered as primordial aspect of a communities 'national' identity, so the term Ethnarch has been applied to such religious leaders, especially the (Greek Orthodox) Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (i.e. in the Sultan's imperial capital, renamed Istanbul in 1930 but replaced by Ankara as republican capital in 1923). As Islam was the official religion of both court and state, the Chief Mufti in Istanbul had a much higher status, even of cabinet rank.
Because of the size and nature of the Ottoman state, containing a far greater part of the diaspora then any other, the position of Hakham Bashi has been compared to that of the Jewish Exilarch.
In the Ottoman Empire, and as such, the Hakham Bashi was the closest thing to an overall Exilarchal authority among Jewry everywhere in the Middle East in early modern times. They held broad powers to legislate, judge and enforce the laws among the Jews in the Ottoman Empire and often sat on the Sultan's divan.
The office also maintained considerable influence outside the Ottoman Empire, especially after the forced migration of numerous Jewish communities and individuals out of Spain (after the fall of Granada in 1492) and Italy.
The Chief Rabbi of the modern, secular Republic of Turkey is still known as Hahambaşı.
The term Hakham Bashi was also used for the official Government-appointed Chief Rabbi of other important cities in the Ottoman Empire, such as Damascus and Baghdad. In particular, the position of Hakham Bashi of Palestine was the precursor of that of Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel. [Source: Wikipedia]
Rights & Restrictions
- Conditions on Access
- This material can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations. Users are required to complete a User Declaration in order to gain access to the collection.
- Conditions on Use
- Fair use only. Publication and reproduction of records for commercial purposes for third parties require the written permission of the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP).
- Copyright Holder
- Arkhiyon ha-merkazi le-toldot ha-ʻam ha-Yehudi
Keywords & Subjects
- Topical Term
- Jews--Turkey--History--20th century. Jews--Turkey--History--19th century. Jews--Turkey--Istanbul--Social life and customs. Jews--Turkey--Politics and government. Sephardim--Turkey--Istanbul--History. Antisemitism in the press--Turkey--History--20th century.
- Geographic Name
- Istanbul (Turkey)--Ethnic relations.
- Holder of Originals
Arkhiyon ha-merkazi le-toldot ha-ʻam ha-Yehudi
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- Source of acquisition is the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, CAHJP (Arkhiyon ha-merkazi le-toldot ha-ʻam ha-Yehudi). The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives received this collection via the United States Holocaust Museum International Archives Project in October 2017.
- Record last modified:
- 2023-05-24 09:20:08
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