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Carasso (Karasu), Emmanuel

(1,179 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Emmanuel Carasso (Karasu) (1862–1934) was a lawyer and statesman who was active in the Young Turk movement and a member of the Ottoman parliament during the last years of the empire. Born in Salonica in 1862, Carasso studied law and gained experience in the legal practice of  Yudajon Yeni, who also mentored several other successful Jewish lawyers, including Carasso’s relative Emmanuel Raphael Salem (1859–1940) and Vitali Farraggi (or Faraji, 1854–1918), who like Carasso was a member of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Carasso became a noted lawyer and taught criminal …

Sciuto, Lucien

(935 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Lucien Sciuto (1868–1947) was a journalist, poet, and writer who was active in the last years of the Ottoman Empire and afterwards in Egypt. Born into a religious family in Salonica in 1868, he received his primary education at the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) school there, continuing his studies independently after leaving school at the age of fourteen. He began his literary career in 1884 with Poèmes misanthropiques, and another volume of poetry in French that included the satirical “l’Or.” In 1894, he published Paternité (Paris, 1894), which included a poem dedicated…

Ibn Yaḥya, David ben Solomon

(541 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
David ben Solomon Ibn Yaḥya (ca. 1440–1524) was a rabbi, grammarian, and scholar who fled Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century. After enduring many hardships, he eventually reached Istanbul and settled there. In his native Lisbon, as a member of a prosperous and distinguished family of rabbis, scholars, and communal leaders, Ibn Yaḥya had been the rabbi of the Jewish community and had taught numerous pupils. Noted for his wealth and generosity, he welcomed and helped many of the Spanish Jews who arrived in Portugal followin…

Levi (Ha-Levi), Moshe

(1,203 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Moses Levi (Moshe ha-Levi) (c. 1827 - 21 July 1910) served for more than three decades, from 1872 to mid-1908, as acting chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire, a tenure defined by his own conservatism and that of the Ottoman regime with whom he maintained close ties. Born in Bursa around 1827, Levi was educated at the city’s rabbinic seminary. On the death of Yaqir Geron (Guéron, r. 1863–1872), Levi succeeded to the office of chief rabbi after several days of stormy discussions between various factions in the Jewish community of Istanbul. The appointment of a ch…

Danon, Abraham

(598 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Abraham Danon, who was born in Edirne (Adrianople) on August 15, 1857, and died in Paris on May 23, 1925, was a Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) rabbi, educator, writer, and linguist. A student of the noted Orientalist Joseph Halévy, but largely autodidactic, he sought throughout his life to synthesize traditional learning with modern ideas. In 1879, he founded the Ḥevrat Shoḥare Tushiyya (Society of the Proponents of Wisdom), also called Dorshe ha-Haskala (Seekers of Enlightenment), in Edirne. He encouraged the study of Jewish history and literature, particularly that o…

L’Aurore (Istanbul)

(625 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
L’Aurore (1908–1920, 1924–1931) was a French-language pro-Zionist newspaper, initially a bi-weekly and then a weekly, that was published first in Istanbul, and later in Cairo. Its founder and publisher, the Salonica-born poet and writer Lucien Sciuto (1868–1947), saw L’Aurore as a newspaper for Jewish readers that would promote Zionism and Ottomanism, which he saw as complementary movements. The first issue came out one day after the proclamation of the 1908 Ottoman constitution and opened with a quotation from Theodor Herzl (1860–1904). L’Aurore quickly established itself a…

Nehama, Joseph

(1,314 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Joseph ben David Nehama (Néhama) (March 17, 1881 – October 29, 1971) was an educator, historian, and public figure whose name is closely associated with the Jewish community of Salonica. He was born on March 17, 1881 into a prestigious family that had been settled in Salonica for many generations. One of his relatives, Judah ben Jacob Nehama (1824–1899), a leading nineteenth-century reformer, was headmaster of an Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) school. Nehama began his own seventy-year association with the AIU as a child. Following his education in a traditiona…

Ṣarfati, Isaac

(643 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Isaac Ṣarfati was a German rabbi who settled in the Ottoman Empire prior to the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. He is thought to have been the author of the famous circular letter urging the Jewish communities of Central Europe to immigrate to the Ottoman realms. Although his surname indicates a family origin in northern France ( Ṣarfat), Ṣarfati came to the Ottoman Empire from Germany. Soon afterwards, he became a prominent member of the rabbinate of the Jewish community in Edirne (Adrianople), then the Ottoman capital. Rosanes and others have argued that Ṣarfati served as chief ra…

Carmona Family

(856 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Carmona family produced a number of prominent Jewish political, economic, and social figures during the last two centuries of the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Jewish elite of Istanbul. The family probably originated in the city of Carmona in southern Spain, but little is known about it until the eighteenth century, when mention is made of the scholar Rabbi Abraham Carmona, who died in Jerusalem in 1739. His contemporary in Istanbul, Isaac Carmona, had two sons, Moses and Elia.  The elder son, Moses, engaged in the textile trade in Salonica and then founded a bank, a…

Dragomans (Tercuman; Translators)

(1,394 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The influx of European Jews into the Ottoman Empire following the expulsion from Spain provided the state with a valuable source of loyal citizens who spoke useful foreign languages and had personal or commercial ties to both Christian courts and Jewish communities in their countries of origin. Many Jews exploited their talents to achieve important positions in the Ottoman court, particularly in its international relations, often starting their careers as   dragomans (translators/interpreters, from Trk. tercuman, itself borrowed from Ar. root t-r-j-m,to translate). Aware of …

Ha-Mevasser, Istanbul, 1909-11

(614 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Ha-Mevasser (The Herald [of Good Tidings]), a Hebrew weekly published in Istanbul from December 21, 1909 to December 3, 1911,  was founded by a group of Zionist leaders that included Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, Victor Jacobson, and Nahum Sokolow. The paper was managed and edited by Sami Hochberg with the assistance of Aharon Ḥermoni, who largely set the editorial tone. During its two-year life, Ha-Mevasser was Istanbul’s only entirely-Hebrew periodical. The scarcity of printers of Hebrew in Istanbul at the time rendered printing an expensive venture, and indeed Ha-Mevasser suffer…

Carasso (Karasu), Albert

(514 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Albert Carasso (Karasu, 1885–1982)was a  Jewish journalist and political scientist in Turkey. Born in Salonica, Carasso learned French from his parents and then attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). After completing his studies, Carasso moved to Istanbul, where in 1918 he founded and edited the French-language daily Le Journal d’Orient (1918–1924, 1926–1971). Carasso intended the newspaper to reach an elite audience in Istanbul; its readership, particularly in later years, consisted mostly of minorities. Albert Av…

Conegliano (Conian), Israel

(567 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Israel ben Joseph Conegliano (Conian) was born in Padua around 1650 and died in Istanbul around 1717. He was a Jewish physician and diplomat in Padua, Venice, and the Ottoman Empire. Conegliano graduated from the medical school in his hometown on June 8, 1673, thereafter practicing in Venice for a couple of years before relocating to Istanbul in 1675. There he soon became the personal physician to the grand vizier, Karam Mustafa Pasha (in office, 1676–1683), and also treated Sultan Mehmed IV (r. 1648–1687). On October 10, 1682, the Venetian bailo (ambassador) appointed Conegliano as …

Benaroya, Albert

(451 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Albert (né Armand) Avram Benaroya, a Turkish journalist, linguist, and educator,  was born in Edirne in 1887 and died in Istanbul on June 20, 1955. He received his primary education at the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) school in Edirne, from which he graduated at a precocious age, and then attended the École Normale Israélite Orientale (ENIO) in Paris (1906). From October 1910 he taught at the École Ṣror ha-Ḥayyim de Hasköy in Istan…

Pallache Family (Turkish Branch)

(1,479 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
The Pallache (Palaggi, Palache, Palacci) family originated in the Iberian Peninsula and had branches in many places along the Mediterranean littoral. It produced several leading rabbinical scholars in the Ottoman city of Izmir (Smyrna) during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Two of them, Ḥayyim ben Jacob and his son Abraham, served as chief rabbi ( haham başı) and became the focus of a fierce dispute that engulfed the town’s Jewish community, while a third, Solomon ben Abraham, contributed to its decline. Ḥayyim ben Jacob Pallache(January 28, 1788– February 10, 1…

Carmona, Elia Rafael

(1,022 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Elia Rafael Carmona, born October 21, 1869 in Istanbul, was a writer and journalist, who died in 1935. He was the author of many dozens of novellas in Judeo-Spanish and edited the humoristic weekly El Jugeton for over twenty years (1908–1931). A member of the distinguished Carmona family, he was the grand-nephew of the banker Bekhor Isaac David ben Elia Carmona (1773–1826) through the latter’s younger brother Hezekiah.…

Usque, Solomon

(788 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Solomon ben Abraham Usque, also known as Salusque Lusitano (ca. 1530–ca. 1596), was a Portuguese marrano author, playwright, printer, and Ottoman courtier during the second half of the sixteenth century. A member of the distinguished Usque family from Huesca, Spain, Solomon Usque was born in Portugal around 1530. His father, Abraham ben Solomon Usque, took the family to Ferrara in Italy i…

Le Jeune Turc

(433 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Le Jeune Turc was a daily newspaper in French published in Istanbul from 1908 to 1918. It was edited by Sami Hochberg, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and the Turkish journalist Celâl Nuri. The origins of Le Jeune Turc lay in Le Courrier d’Orient, owned by Ebüzziya Tevfik, an outspokenly antisemitic deputy from Antalya. Hochberg, Victor Jacobson, David…

Amatus Lusitanus (Amato Lusitano)

(1,555 words)

Author(s): D Gershon Lewental
Amatus Lusitanus (also Amato Lusitano or Ḥaviv ha-Sephardi) (1511–1568) was a noted Jewish physician and marrano  who achieved renown throughout Western Europe before fleeing antisemitic persecution to settle in the Ottoman Empire toward the end of his life. Born in 1511 in Castel-Branco, Portugal, to marrano parents who had survived severe persecution, he grew up with a knowledge of Jewish religion, culture, and tradition that remained with him throughout his life; he also learned Hebrew from his parents. In his works, he mentions two bro…
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