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Varnalı, Tereza

(71 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Tereza Varnalı is a Turkish Jewish scientist and academic administrator.  She was born on March 26, 1957 in Istanbul. In 1986 she was awarded a Ph.D. from Bosphorous University. Since 1986 she has been a member of the Chemistry Department of Bosphorous University, specializing in organic chemistry, computational chemistry, and molecular modeling. In 1998 she was promoted to the rank of full professor.Rifat BaliBibliographyCurriculum vitae on Boğaziçi University website:

Pinto, Bensiyon

(270 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Bensiyon Pinto was born on October 8, 1936 in Istanbul. His father was an employee of a private firm. Pinto graduated from high school in Israel and has a brother living there. Since 1954, he has been worked in various agencies and institutions of the Turkish Jewish community. He helped to found the Yildirim Sports and Youth Club and was one of its directors until 1970. In 1976 he assumed responsibility for the finance division of the Turkish chief rabbinate. From 1979 until 1982 he was vice-president of the advisory council of the chief rabbinate. In 1982 he was elected vice-president of the Tur…

Arditti, Nadia

(263 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Nadia Arditti (née Cavaliero) was born in 1948 in Istanbul. She was educated in Lausanne, Switzerland, and lived in Geneva for many years. Since 1992 her life’s passion has been sculpting in bronze. She started out making figures of women, and gradually expanded to angels, her work expressing the desire for independence common to many modern Turkish women. Her style is semi-figurative, drawing on Art Nouveau with a surrealistic flavor. Her works are found in private collections in Turkey, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain,…

Esim, Janet and Jak

(209 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Jak Esim was born on August 6, 1958 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Şişli High School and then took private music lessons. His wife, Janet Esim, was born on September 19, 1965 in Ankara and is a graduate of  the Tevfik Fikret Lycée. She began a career in music after marry Jak, and the couple are known professionally as the Janet & Jak Esim Ensemble.A compiler, researcher, and interpreter of Sephardic music, Jak Esim has collected fifteen hundred Sephardic songs and has produced thirteen albums, nine of which also feature Janet. Their album Sefardim 1, produced in Germany in 1992, was a…

Mandel, Irvin

(125 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Irvin Mandel, an Ashkenazi Jew, was born on November 20, 1956 in Istanbul. He holds a B.A. from the Higher Education Hospitality and Tourism Management program of the Glion Institute in Montreux, Switzerland, and is a partner in a tourism company. In addition, since 1992 he has drawn the “Mozotros Family” cartoon strip in Şalom, the only newspaper of the Turkish Jewish community. Mozotros is a Judeo-Spanish expression that means “our people.” The comic strip is a satirical depiction of the daily life of the Jews of Istanbul. Mandel published his collected cartoons in five albums called Moz…

Perahya, Eli (Elie)

(187 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Eli Perahya was a leader of the Turkish Jewish community, a writer, and a Judeo-Spanish poet. He was born in Istanbul in 1913 and was educated at the Saint Joseph French Lycée. A retired accountant and financial professional, he has worked since an early age in the social  institutions of the Turkish Jewish community. From 1957 to 1983, he was a member of the lay council of the Turkish chief rabbinate and in 1983 was elected its vice president. From 1974 to 1976 he was president of the Society to Protect the Poor (Fakirleri Koruma Derneği), a successor to the B'nai B'rith Lodge of Constantinop…

Abravaya, Samuel

(190 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Samuel Abravaya was born in 1880 in Izmir. He graduated in 1903 from the Imperial Medical School of Istanbul and continued his studies in Paris. From 1919 to 1935 he was a docent at the Medical School of Istanbul University. Abravaya specialized in gastroenterology. He was a member of the French Gastroenterological Society, vice president of the Ottoman Medical Society, and physician to President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In 1935 Abravaya was elected to the Turkish National Assembly as an independent deputy from Niğde. He retained his seat until March 8, 1943, but his pr…

Ventura, Michon (Moïses)

(331 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Mişon (Moïses) Ventura was a Turkish legal scholar, lawyer, and community leader. Born in 1881 in Hasköy, a neighborhood of Istanbul with a great concentration of Jewish residents, Ventura graduated from the law school of Istanbul University in January 1905. After practicing for a time as a member of the Trade Court in Salonica and teaching in the Salonica law school,he was selected to go to Paris to continue his law studies. He graduated from the law school of the Paris Academy in 1912.Ventura registered with the Istanbul Bar Association in 1916 and that same year began teach…

Özel, Soli

(214 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Soli Özel is a Turkish Jewish journalist, editor, and foreign policy analyst. Born in Izmir on January 17, 1958, he has a B.A. from Bennington College and an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, both in the United States. Özel teaches international relations and political science at Istanbul Bilgi University. In addition, he is the editor of Private View, the journal of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD), the editor of the Turkish edition of Foreign Policy, a journal based in Washington, D.C.…

Perahya, Klara

(148 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Klara Perahya is a social worker, writer, and activist for the preservation of Judeo-Spanish culture. She was born in 1921 in Istanbul, was educated at the Notre Dame de Sion Lycée, and is active in the various social services of the Turkish Jewish community. Since 1997, she has written a weekly column in Judeo-Spanish in Şalom ( Shalom), the only newspaper of the Turkish Jewish community. She has attended several international conferences on the Judeo-Spanish language and culture. Together with Suzi De Toledo, Suzi Danon, and Fani Ender, Perahya is an editor of Erensya Sefaradi (Proverb…

Barouh, Yakup

(277 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Yakup Barouh is a Turkish advertising executive and a leader of the Jewish community. Born in Istanbul on February 7, 1945, he graduated from Robert College with an M.A. in marketing. He is a partner and executive vice president of Ilancilik Advertising Agency, the oldest advertising agency in Turkey, founded in 1909. He is also general secretary of the Executive Committee of the Turkish Advertising Agency Association and a member of the Turkish Advertising Self-Regulation Board.Barouh first began to work with Turkish Jewish community youth organizations in 1962. A mem…

Kamhi, Cefi Jozef

(195 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Cefi Jozef Kamhi was born on November 21, 1952 in Istanbul and graduated from Bosporus University of Istanbul. He is the founder and chairman of Bodrum Yalıkavak Tourism and Yacht Harbour Investments S.A. Between 1995 and 1999 he was a member of parliament, representing the center-right Doğru Yol Partisi (True Path Party). The party selected him as a candidate because of his mastery of public relations and lobbying, as well as the reputation of his father, Jak Kamhi, the president of the Quincentennial Foundation, who often represented Turkey in international economic forums.…

Günzberg, Sami

(221 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Sami Günzberg was born in 1874 in Istanbul to parents of Hungarian origin who had immigrated to Turkey in 1848. Günzberg was a military doctor in the Ottoman army. Through his mother, who had connections at court, he became the court dentist, with Sultan Abdülhamid and Sultan Vahdettin and their families as his patients. Günzberg retained this prestigious post even after the caliphate was abolished and the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, for he became the private dentist of Mustafa Kemal (later named Atatürk), the founder of the republic and its first p…

Kebudi, Rejin (Akyüz)

(175 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Rejin (Akyüz) Kebudi is a Turkish Jewish scientist and professor of medicine. Born in 1958 in Izmir, she graduated first in her class from the Izmir American College for Girls, and in 1982 was first in her class in the Faculty of Medicine of Aegean University. In 1993 she became an associate professor of pediatrics and pediatric oncology. She became a full professor in 2000, and since then has also been a member of the executive board of the Istanbul University Oncology Institute and director of…

Faraci, Izak

(146 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Izak Faraci, a prominent Turkish industrialist and leader of the Jewish community, was born on July 15, 1943 in Istanbul. A graduate of the Saint Benoît French Lycée, he is the president of the Güvenel Textile Works, which provides fiber to the textile industry. Earlier he held managerial positions in institutions of the Turkish Jewish community: from 1978 to 1988, as director of the community’s old age home; from 1988 to 1990, as president of the same institution. From 1990 to 1998, he was a member of the executive council of t…

Israel, Samuel (Kemal Izisel)

(372 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Samuel Israel, who later changed his name to Kemal İzisel, was born in 1880 in the town of Alanya in southern Turkey, but he grew up in Rhodes after his family moved there. Upon graduating from the Alliance Israélite Universelle school in Rhodes, he attended the law school of Istanbul University. After graduation, he became a member  of the Court of First Instance in Serez (Serres) in Macedonia and later of the Court of First Instance in Salonica. While in Salonica he joined the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the leading faction of the Young Turk Movement.In September 1909 Israel be…

Bahar, Ivet

(224 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Dr. Ivet Bahar was born in Istanbul in 1957. After completing her B.S. (1980) and M.S. (1983) in the Chemical Engineering Department of Bosporus University, and her Ph.D. (1986) at Istanbul Technical University, she joined the chemistry faculty of Bosporus University. She rose in the academic ranks from assistant professor (1986–1988) and associate professor (1988–1993) to full professor (1993–2001), and was the founding director of the university’s Polymer Research Center (1989–2001). In 2001 Ba…

Medina, Cefi (Jeffi)

(207 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Cefi (Jeffi) Medina was born on July 22, 1950 in Istanbul. He studied economics at Strasbourg University(France), and then attended and graduated from Istanbul University. In 1974 he began work as a television producer at Manavizyon, a sister company of the Manajans Thompson Advertising Company. In 1978 he was appointed president of Manavizyon, and in 1987, president of Manajans Thompson. In 1993 he left both companies and, together with Yavuz Turgul, established the Medina Turgul Advertising Agency. In 1995 it entered into a joint venture agreement with the DDB Worldwide Communica…

Levi, Suzi Hug

(201 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Suzi Hug Levi was born in 1944 inIstanbul to an Ashkenazi family and is a graduate of Robert College. Since 1980 she has been a professional painter and sculptor. She has won several awards: in 1991 the Year’s Artist award from the Istanbul Paintings and Sculptures Museum; in 1997 the Sharjah Biennial Award of the United Arab Emirates; in 1998, 1999, and 2000 the Year’s Artist award in sculpture from the Ankara Art Institution; in 2002 the Tunis Biennial Award; and in 2004 the IJAYA (International Jewi…

Şaül, Linet

(138 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Linet Şaül is a Turkish Jewish opera singer (soprano). She was born in 1970 in Istanbul. She graduated in 1995 from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in the United States and later studied with the Italian baritone Licinio Montefusco. Since 1998 she has been performing at the Izmir State Opera. Some of her roles include Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Faust (Siébel), Fidelio (Marzelline), Barber of Seville (Rosina), and Carmen (Frasquita). She has given concerts in Turkey, Italy, South Africa, and Uruguay. In 1995 she was a finalist in the Internationa…
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