Izmir´s New Synagogue Şaar Aşamayim has Opened its DoorsIzmir Alsancak Şaar Aşamayim Synagogue which was rebuilt and turned into a ´Jewish Community Center´ has opened its doors with a ceremony on December 1st.
Translation by Janet MITRANI
Five-story Community Center
Alsancak Şaar Aşamayim Synagogue which was demolished and rebuilt again due to a critical weakness in its columns was reopened with a crowded ceremony. The new five-story building will also serve as a community center.
Modern and Useful
Şaar Aşamayim's Sefer Torah is replaced in its position in the synagogue that is transformed into a modern and useful building with the efforts of the architect Roni Ruso.
Şaar Aşamayim Synagogue which was basically a house with a garden bought in 1960, was demolished a few years ago due to a critical weakness in its columns. Thanks to the possibility provided by the reconstruction terms, the synagogue building is rebuilt as a brand new five-story 'Jewish Community Center'. Though not fully completed, the center has begun to serve the Izmir Jewish community with full capacity for a few months now.
The synagogue and community center building, observed as a modern and useful structure, brought to life with the efforts of the architect Roni Ruso, was greatly appreciated by the visitors. In my personal opinion, Roni Ruso's name, who carried out all the architectural services pro bono, despite his being a capable and professional architect, should be placed on a plate in the synagogue. This important work can only be memorialized this way.
Many guests including the Israeli Consulate Representative in Istanbul Consulate Ehud Moshe Eitam, Spanish Ambassador Juan Gonzales Barba, General Manager of Foundations Dr. Adnan Ertem, Foundations Izmir Regional Manager İsa Güven, prominent names of Izmir Jewish community and honorary consuls attended the opening ceremony last Sunday. I am not mentioning Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva and the Turkish Jewish community's co-president Ishak Ibrahimzadeh as guests since they were among the important actors of the ceremony together with Izmir Jewish community president Sami Azar.
The ceremony began with Chief Rabbi Haleva's entering the synagogue with the Sefer Torah in his hand under the chuppah, following the guests' taking their places. The Heichal Kodesh, where the Torah Scrolls are kept in the synagogue, was opened by Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, and the Sefer Torah brought was placed in the Heichal Kodesh after the traditional ceremony.
Minchah prayer before and Arvit prayer after the opening ceremony was recited all together. During the ceremony, President Sami Azar thanked all the contributors and wished for the new synagogue to be propitious to the community. Chief Rabbi Haleva gifted the synagogue a modern silver Kiddush glass and Co-president Ibrahimzadeh gifted a silver 'Puntero - Reading Stick'. Taking this opportunity, I, as the president of the Quincentenial Foundation gifted President Sami Azar the 'Besamim (an object used after the Shabbat to take people back to daily life with its scent)' shaped like a bird, made out of clay by the ceramic artist Sara Aji. The ceremony ended with a Maftirim song (a Sephardic song) after the Arvit prayer.
The ceremony where the shofars sounded was conducted by Hazan Nesim Beruhiyel. In the ceremony Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva and the Turkish Jewish community's co-president Ishak Ibrahimzadeh gave delightful speeches. Also during the ceremony Izmir Jewish Community President Sami Azar, previous term president Jak Kaya gifted General Manager of Foundations Dr. Adnan Ertem a silver 'Puntero' used to read the prayers.
A wonderful cocktail was presented to the guests after the ceremony in the hall downstairs.
The photographs were taken by Berk ERALTAN