Historical Meeting in Ankara SynagogueJews of Ankara came together in the Historic Ankara Synagogue, after 40 years, on Sunday, November 7th to reminisce their memories.
The meeting where the Chief Rabbi of Turkish Jews Rabbi Isak Haleva, Vice President of Turkish Jewish Community Moris Levi, ambassadors and charge d'affaires of various countries and many residents of Ankara, started with the welcome speech of Can Özgön, the President of Ankara Jewish Community.
Özgön in his speech which he began by thanking everyone who has supported them by attending this meaningful and special day, stated, "As a human being, to articulate our memories as an evidence of our existence on a day like this and bequeth our future to our children, is a philosophy of life for all of us. (...) People are born; they grow up, mature, try to be beneficial individuals, and finally leave this world. What we leave behind is important. To understand today we have to know our past. We commemorate Yusuf Atiyas who had contributed getting this synagogue to this day, provided us with morale and inspiration and has passed away; Ishak Alaton who had spared no support financial wise, Nesim Meşulam, whose artistic, structural and labor support in this process we cannot forget, and Prof. Yuda Yürüm who had granted us our unity and solidarity and contributed a great deal to our community's competency to reach these days with his thoughts and studies, with gratitude and respect.(...) I have always asked myself what I can do to introduce this sacred and majestic structure to all humanity as a world heritage. Today we've met here after 40 years, with your and God's help. (...) We are so glad that we got back to our old memories today. We are forever grateful to Şenol Elyazar who has orchestrated our meeting, brought all our friends of Ankara together, and gave us the greatest support."
Ankara Jewish Community President Özgön ended his speech expressing his gratitude to the Turkish Jewish Community, Chief Rabbi Haleva, Janet Jak Esim and their group who have performed the Ladino (Judeo Sapnish) concert, and finally his wife Viki Özgön and daughter Işil Özgön who have always been there for him, giving him strength and enthusiasm.
Then Şenol Elyazar from the Ankara Jewish Community, Turkish Jewish Community Vice President Moris Levi and Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva shared their feelings and thoughts about the Ankara Synagogue and community in their speeches respectively. The speeches made during the evening were translated to English by Barkın Öztürk.