Sunday, July 12, 2009

Turkey: Sephardic cemeteries running out of space

There is an ongoing dispute between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities in Turkey because the Sephardic cemeteries are running out of space.

Ashkenazim - in Turkey since the 1400s - make up only 5% of the Jewish community, but the two communities are extensively intermarried. The Sephardic community grew after Spanish Jews were welcomed at the time of the 1492 Expulsion.

The office of the Chief Rabbi (Hakham Bashi) placed an advertisement in the daily Jewish paper stating that Sephardim were reserving plots in Ashkenazi cemeteries and vice versa.

The rabbi warned that this is a big problem and those considering such plots should consult him first, while the Ashkenazi organization says, in response, that their door is open to everyone.

The main problem is that Sephardim and Ashkenazim married to each other want to be buried side by side, but the Sephardi cemeteries are running out of room.

There are six Sephardic and one Ashkenazi cemetery, with the Ulus Cemetery most popular.

Read the complete Hurriyet article here.


  1. What's the problem? The burial customs aren't that different, and both fulfill the basic Halachic requirements.

  2. I'm trying to trace where one of my relatives is buried in Istanbul Turkey. Is it possible to have access to names in Jewish cemetries in Istanbul?