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Mendy Chitrik
Mendy Chitrik
Chair of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States

‘Don’t forget Tire’

Tire... not much left in this ancient Jewish city... (courtesy)
Tire... not much left in this ancient Jewish city... (courtesy)

“Don’t forget Tire. My great aunt lived there,” wrote to me my trusted friend, Viktor.

So after visiting several Kosher food manufacturers in the region, we went to Tire…

Tire was a center for Jewish scholarship for many generations. ‘Little Jerusalem of the Diaspora’, as they used to say. My distinguished Izmirli friend, Daniel, told me that there were two synagogues here. 

“All participants knew how to read the Torah without preparation”… so we went searching.

(courtesy)

“We once had Jewish artifacts on display, but they are now stored away,” said the guard at Kent Muzesi, the towns Museum. “Some headstones were removed thanks to the efforts of Prof. Bora when the hospital was built above the Jewish cemetery,” he added, “you won’t fine anything there!” – we went searching…

(courtesy)

But we found the place thanks to this: some headstones lodged into the walls surrounding the lot – on which a hospital once stood…

So we know that this is the right place. But it took some effort to find anything.

A little more clearings and here it is – the last remaining headstones of the Tire Jewish cemetery. 

This is the place where the great scholars of Tire, “Ki Mitziyon Tetze Tire” were interred.

Ez Schurder and Chaim Chitrik worked hard under a 42° temperature to clear the headstone…

After which we did the traditional Ashkava prayer to honor those lying beneath us whose souls are above and beyond us…

We also recited a few Psalms of King David… many years have passed since anyone recited prayers at the Tire cemetery…

We then started roaming the streets of Tire in search of the old synagogue…

(courtesy)

We found a Terzi, a tailor, who showed us the synagogue right next door to his shop!

The rusty doors stand where the entrance was, and apparently the prayer room is behind.

(courtesy)

Although we tried getting into the store, which has access to the Arc, we were not successful. The owner wasn’t very friendly – ınşhallah, with God’s help next time he will be friendlier…

(courtesy)

“This was the Jewish neighborhood”, said Terzi, as we were getting ready to leave. “They are good people,” he added.

It seems that although in Tire not much physical traces remain, the spirit of friendship between good neighbors is still very much remembered.

And off we go…

(courtesy)

This post originally appeared as a thread on my Twitter @MChitrik please visit to see other threads and feel free to explore the #TurkeyJewishRoadtrip – on the next blog entry, I will write about other fascinating trips to Jewish sites in Turkey. Stay tuned.

About the Author
Mendy Chitrik is the Ashkenazi Rabbi of Turkey and Chair of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States. Follow me on twitter at @mchitrik
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