Kuzguncuk , located at the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus,has always been a center for
the jews where they began tol ive as early as the 17th century.
Kuzguncuk,know as ‘’ Bela Vista ‘’ in the early ages,was considered as the last stop to
reach the holy land and people wanted tol ive here or bequeathed to be buried at this
place. In the early years of the Turkish Republic.800 Jewish families used tol ive at this
beautiful ‘’ Bosphorus village ‘’. Although the increase of the Jewish population until
1960 s,after this time as e result of the immigration to İsrael started in 1967 and some
other families moving to the newer villages,Jewish population decreased rapidly.
This is the bigger of the two Synagogues of the Kuzguncuk Jewish Community. It is also called Kehilla Santral ( Central Synagogue ) or Kal de Abaşo ( Lower Synagogue ) among the local population.
Although it was known to be built in 1878, later researches found a firman ( order
) of the Ottoman Sultan dated 1862 , which was a permission given to Kuzguncuk
Jewish Community to repair their Synagogue. This new founding makes think that this
historical building can be even older than 1878. The Synagogue , which has pictures of
the biblical times on the ceiling,has services every Saturday and on every Jewish holiday
as well as the special ceremonies like Bar-Mitzvahs,Bat-Mitzvahs,Brith Milas,Vijolas,
weddings and funerals.
In the garden , there is also a Midrash,renovated by Sabetay Mizrahi in the memory of his father Yaakov Mizrahi,which is used for some occasions and holidays. In that beautiful Synagogue with its large garden, Seuda Hall und Suka place,which is very much liked by everyone , as a tradition every year, the Sukot festival is organised by the board members of the Kuzguncuk Jewish Community and the whole Jewish Community of İstanbul gets invited to that occasion . The Synagogue is also visited by many local and international tourists during the year.
This historical Synagogue which was also called Virane or Kal de Ariva ( Upper Synagogue ) by the local people was built in 1840 . Due to decrease of the local Community , it was left closed for a very long period. However Nesim Albala, formal Kuzguncuk Jewish Community leader also with the great help and donations of Edmond Benkohen , made it repaired and opened to service. For this reason , this Synagogue is renamed and registered as ‘’ Beth Nisim Synagogue ‘’ by the board of directors of the Community.
Some religious objects and historical pictures of the Kuzguncuk Synagogues are being exhibited at the ground flor of the Synagogue. This holly place is giving services to the community only during summer.
Also there are two cemeteries , 650 year old Nakkaştepe Cemetery and Altunizade – Bağlarbaşı Cemetery, among the real estates of the Kuzguncuk Beth Yaakov Foundation. With the great efforts of the president and the board of directors , ladies and youth commission , who are mostly the old residents of Kuzguncuk , still working very hard and make Kuzguncuk Jewish Community to become one of the finest communities in İstanbul.Gençlik Komisyonu Kurulunun çalışmaları neticesinde , Kuzguncuk Musevi Cemaati İstanbul’un önde giden cemaatleri arasında yerini almış olup halen çalışmalarını özveri ile devam ettirmektedirler.