Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer attended the opening ceremony of the Etz Hayim Synagogue, which was restored with the Izmir Sephardic Culture Festival, which was held for the third time this year. Soyer said that the festival will contribute to the strengthening and growth of the culture of living together in İzmir.
The Izmir Sephardic Culture Festival, which was organized for the third time this year, started to explain the contributions of the Sephardic community to the city and its culture. In the festival organized in cooperation with Konak Municipality and Izmir Jewish Community Foundation; Etz Hayim Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the city and whose restoration was completed with the support of İzmir Development Agency (İZKA), was opened. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer, Konak Mayor Abdul Batur, Izmir Jewish Community President Avram Sevinti, Festival Director Nesim Bencoya and many citizens attended the opening ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer said that the most important feature that makes İzmir different from other cities is its success in the culture of living together. Stating that this success is due to the fact that it is a very colorful, polyphonic, multi-breath society, Chairman Soyer said, “The Jewish community has a very serious share in this dough. It is still possible to find traces of many Sephardic Jewish traditions in the daily life of the people of Izmir. This is a great wealth,” he said.
“Our support will continue”
Noting that Izmir Metropolitan Municipality works in close contact with the Izmir Jewish Community and other stakeholders in order to preserve and preserve Izmir's Jewish heritage, Soyer said, "While the population of Izmir was 50 thousand 60-400 years ago, the population of the Jewish-Jewish community was 50-55. in thousands. Together with our Konak Mayor, we are ready to do whatever we can to ensure that our Jewish citizens, whose numbers are in the thousands today, do not leave Izmir. I hope this festival will be instrumental in that as well. I hope this festival, where we will experience Sephardic traditions through various events, will bring your wealth, values and virtues to light. We will do our best to keep this festival alive and to announce it to large masses.”
“We will carry the festival to an international dimension”
Konak Mayor Abdul Batur said that Konak is a magnificent district where different civilizations and cultures have breathed for centuries and surrounded by three religions in harmony. Stating that the Sephardic people, who have known these lands as their homeland since 1492, also contributed greatly to the cultural treasure of İzmir, Batur said, “Our Sephardic culture, which is unique only to İzmir in the world with its traditions, reflections on art and literature, and cuisine, is one of our real riches. One of the symbols of Izmir, the first thing that comes to mind when Izmir is mentioned, is the Sephardic society that adds our hornbill to our kitchen. We must both preserve and promote this richness of our culture. Our Izmir Sephardic Culture Festival plays an important role in this sense. While making our festival traditional, we give it an international quality. kazanIt is also our biggest goal to get rid of it,” he said.
“Contribution to Izmir Tourism”
Festival Director Nesim Bencoya also stated in his speech that they are happy to open both the festival and the Etz Hayim Synagogue. Stating that the festival and historical synagogues have an important place in preserving, announcing and promoting Sephardic culture, Bencoya said, “Our festival, which is held only in İzmir in the Mediterranean Basin and is also considered important by foreign representatives, has turned 3 years old. We think that this festival will make a great contribution to the tourism of both İzmir and Kemeraltı and its place in the world.”
“We organize such festivals to express ourselves”
The President of the Izmir Jewish Community, Avram Sevinti, said that they came to the country in 1492 when Sultan Beyazıt II accepted them and they have lived here for 2 years. Avram Sevinti said, “In these 500 years, until the last 500 years, the Jewish community has led a somewhat introverted life, not very open to the outside. We wanted to express ourselves and open up to the outside. We organize such festivals to promote ourselves in Izmir and Istanbul. I can say that we have been successful in these, too.”
The colorful festival will last until December 6
Exhibitions, talks, film screenings and concerts will be held as part of the festival. The last day of the festival will be the Hanukkah (Feast of Lights) Candle Lighting Ceremony. The festival will end with a concert called “Hebrew Romance” with Isabelle Durin on violin and Michael Ertzschei on piano.