Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Once upon a time in Kırklareli

Dora NİYEGO   

One hundred years ago, 1.300 Jews lived in Kirklareli. Today, there are only three left. Born and raised in Kirklareli, Mrs. Berta Magriso left her hometown after she lost her husband to move in with her children in Istanbul. We spoke with her about the past, the present and her longings...

Şalom Gazetesi - 18 Aralık 2014

Can you tell us about the daily life of the Kirklareli Jewish Community back then and about your own life?
Kirklareli has always been a very modern city. When I was a young girl, I used to ride my bike in the city. We were a modern community, dedicated to our traditions and customs yet we were not devoutly religious. We observed the laws of Kashrut . My father wouldn’t smoke on Shabbat and wouldn’t let anyone in the house light a fire. However, men opened their stores after the Saturday morning prayer.

My father was a devout Jew. He handled the needs of the synagogue. My mother wouldn’t ask me to do chores in the house; I led a pretty comfortable life. But, apparently, when in need people do all sorts of things. When my father’s assistant died, he asked me to help him at the synagogue. I helped him by of sewing shrouds, cleaning Torah Rolls, doing night shifts and taking care of the sick people.

I married a man from Kirklareli. A few more couples also married in Kirklareli. As I recall Alevis, Abravanels and Kanetis were among those couples. Since young people in Kirklareli already knew each other, they would marry someone from Edirne, Corlu or Istanbul. The wedding ceremonies used to take place at Kirklareli Synagogue. Mongers from general society worked at the shops below the synagogue. We had close bonds with the general society, in other words we were completely integrated. But, we were not assimilated. I remember there was only one woman who married someone from another faith. We had many friends from the general society. Our friends and neighbors accepted us as their fellow townsmen. We never experienced religious segregation. We used to visit each other, all the time. They invited us to meetings and get-togethers at Community Center and Officer’s Club. At those meetings and get-togethers, we all sat together and had fun. For many years at the Mothers Association, I worked alongside my friends from the general society. We used to raise money to support students’ education and visit mothers in jail, on Mother’s Day.  Since almost all of us knew needlecrafts, we sewed pretty things and sold them at the charity fairs. With the money we raised from those fairs, we supported students living in the Orphanage.

Were young Jews educated at those times? What did men used to do for a living? What did women do in their spare times?


No comments:

Post a Comment