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Los Pasharos Sefaradis

(189 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Los Pasharos Sefaradis, based in Istanbul, is a Sephardic vocal and instrumental group whose four members have been working and performing together since 1978: Karen Gerşon Şarhon (voice), İzzet Bana (voice), Selim Hubeş (voice, oud, guitar), Yavuz Hubeş (voice, kanun, oud). They have produced six albums of Judeo-Spanish secular songs: Los Pasharos Sefaradis, 3 vols. (1985), La Romansa de Rika Kuriel (1988), Kantikas Para Syempre (1995), and Las Puertas (2005), as well as an album of the liturgical music of Istanbul’s synagogues, Zemirot: Turkish-Sephardic Synagogue Hymns (2002)…

Arditti, Nadia

(269 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Nadia Arditti (née Cavaliero) was born in 1948 in Istanbul. She was educated in Lausanne, Switzerland, and lived in Geneva for many years. Since 1992 her life’s passion has been sculpting in bronze. She started out making figures of women, and gradually expanded to angels, her work expressing the desire for independence common to many modern Turkish women. Her style is semi-figurative, drawing on Art Nouveau with a surrealistic flavor. Her works are found in private collections in Turkey, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain,…

Saban, Rifat

(167 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Rifat Saban, a grandson of Raphael Saban, a former chief rabbi of Turkey, was born in 1939 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Law Faculty of Istanbul University in 1964 and since then has practiced commercial law. From 1978 to1980 he was general manager of the BEREC Dry Battery Factory in Istanbul. Saban has been active in the Turkish Jewish community since his youth, and since 1983 has been a member of the Advisory Council of the Turkish Chief Rabbinate. From 1984 to 1986 he was president of  Fakirleri Koruma Derneği (Society to Protect the Poor), the successor to the B'nai B'rith Lodgeof Con…

Kamhi, Cefi Jozef

(199 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Cefi Jozef Kamhi was born on November 21, 1952 in Istanbul and graduated from Bosporus University of Istanbul. He is the founder and chairman of Bodrum Yalıkavak Tourism and Yacht Harbour Investments S.A. Between 1995 and 1999 he was a member of parliament, representing the center-right Doğru Yol Partisi (True Path Party). The party selected him as a candidate because of his mastery of public relations and lobbying, as well as the reputation of his father, Jak Kamhi, the president of the Quincentennial Foundation, who often represented Turkey in international economic forums.…

Kaya, Jak

(99 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Jak Kaya is a Turkish businessman. He was born on May 1, 1938 in Tire and in 1961 graduated as a construction engineer from the prestigious Istanbul Technical University. He is a partner in  Ege Mermer (Aegean Marble), a company specializing in the importing of machinery and materials for the production of marble. Between 1980 and 1990 he was vice president of the Izmir Karataş Jewish Hospital. From 1990 to 2004 he was vice president of the  Izmir Jewish Community, and he has been its president since January 2005. He is fluent in French and English. Rifat Bali

Özel, Soli

(217 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Soli Özel is a Turkish Jewish journalist, editor, and foreign policy analyst. Born in Izmir on January 17, 1958, he has a B.A. from Bennington College and an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, both in the United States.  Özel teaches international relations and political science at Istanbul Bilgi University. In addition, he is the editor o f Private View, the journal of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD), the editor of the Turkish edition of Foreign Policy, a journal based in Washington, D.C.…

Bahar, Ivet

(228 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Dr. Ivet Bahar was born in Istanbul in 1957. After completing her B.S. (1980) and M.S. (1983) in the Chemical Engineering Department of Bosporus University, and her Ph.D. (1986) at Istanbul Technical University, she joined the chemistry faculty of Bosporus University. She rose in the academic ranks from assistant professor (1986–1988) and associate professor (1988–1993) to full professor (1993–2001), and was the founding director of the university’s Polymer Research Center (1989–2001). In 2001 Ba…

Alkaş, Avraam (Avi)

(164 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Avi Alkaş was born on December 26, 1956 in Istanbul. A graduate and M.B.A. of Bosporus University, he initially worked as managing director for several shopping mall projects. Since 1997 he has been the managing director of Alkaş Alışveriş Merkezleri Danışmanlık Co. Ltd. (, a consultancy for investors interested in building shopping malls. He is a member of the (International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and a European member of both its board and its jury.In 2008 he merged his company and he became the Country Chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle. Alkaş has been acti…

Medina, Cefi (Jeffi)

(211 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Cefi (Jeffi) Medina was born on July 22, 1950 in Istanbul. He studied economics at Strasbourg University(France), and then attended and graduated from Istanbul University. In 1974 he began work as a television producer at Manavizyon, a sister company of the Manajans Thompson Advertising Company. In 1978 he was appointed president of Manavizyon, and in 1987, president of Manajans Thompson. In 1993 he left both companies and, together with Yavuz Turgul, established the Medina Turgul Advertising Agency. In 1995 it entered into a joint venture agreement with the DDB Worldwide Communica…

Jewish Day School, Istanbul

(357 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
The Jewish Day School of Istanbul, originally called Midrash Yavneh or Lycée Béné Bérith, was founded between 1914 and 1915 by the Constantinople Lodge of B'nai B'rith,  Joseph Niego, the president of the lodge, and Rabbi Dr. David Marcus. Niego, a graduate of the Ecole Normale Israélite Orientale, the teachers’ college of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) in Paris, was an agronomist who had taught at the AIU’s Mikve Israel Agricultural School in Palestine for eighteen years before he settled in Istanbul in 1904. M…

Şaül, Linet

(142 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Linet Şaül is a Turkish Jewish opera singer (soprano). She was born in 1970 in Istanbul. She graduated in 1995 from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in the United States and later studied with the Italian baritone Licinio Montefusco. Since 1998 she has been performing at the Izmir State Opera. Some of her roles include Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Faust (Siébel), Fidelio (Marzelline), Barber of Seville (Rosina), and Carmen (Frasquita). She has given concerts in Turkey, Italy, South Africa, and Uruguay. In 1995 she was a finalist in the Internationa…

Pinto, Bensiyon

(273 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Bensiyon Pinto was born on October 8, 1936 in Istanbul. His father was an employee of a private firm. Pinto graduated from high school in Israel and has a brother living there. Since 1954, he has been worked in various agencies and institutions of the Turkish Jewish community. He helped to found the Yildirim Sports and Youth Club and was one of its directors until 1970. In 1976 he assumed responsibility for the finance division of the Turkish chief rabbinate. From 1979 until 1982 he was vice-president of the advisory council of the chief rabbinate. In 1982 he was elected vice-president of the Tur…

Kebudi, Rejin (Akyüz)

(178 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Rejin (Akyüz) Kebudi is a Turkish Jewish scientist and professor of medicine. Born in 1958 in Izmir, she graduated first in her class from the Izmir American College for Girls, and in 1982 was first in her class in the Faculty of Medicine of Aegean University. In 1993 she became an associate professor of pediatrics and pediatric oncology. She became a full professor in 2000, and since then has also been a member of the executive board of the Istanbul University Oncology Institute and director of…

Franco (Franko), Milasli Gad

(549 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Milasli Gad Franco, a prominent Turkish lawyer, journalist, and author, was born in 1881 in Milas, a small town near Izmir. After finishing his primary education in Milas, he went to Rhodes, where he graduated from a Turkish lycée. On his return to Milas, he taught Turkish and French in the local Jewish school from 1901 to 1902. At the same time he began his career as a journalist, writing for Turkish newspapers in Izmir. In 1902 he moved to Izmir and became the editor of the Judeo-Spanish paper El Nouvellista/Le Nouvelliste . Franco was an enthusiastic supporter of the  Committee of Union and…

Aviyente, Viktorya

(92 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Viktorya Aviyente was born on February 9, 1950 in Istanbul. She earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Bosporus University in Istanbul in 1983 and is currently professor of chemistry in the same university. She conducts research in the fields of physical and computational chemistry, and as of 2009 has published over eighty articles in scientific journals, all of which can be found in the Science Citation Index. She has participated in several international conferences. In addition to Turkish, she is fluent in French and English. Rifat Bali Bibliography…

Esim, Janet and Jak

(214 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Jak Esim was born on August 6, 1958 in Istanbul. He graduated from the Şişli High School and then took private music lessons. His wife, Janet Esim, was born on September 19, 1965 in Ankara and is a graduate of  the Tevfik Fikret Lycée. She began a career in music after marry Jak, and the couple are known professionally as the Janet & Jak Esim Ensemble. A compiler, researcher, and interpreter of Sephardic music, Jak Esim has collected fifteen hundred Sephardic songs and has produced thirteen albums, nine of which also feature Janet. Their album Sefardim 1, produced in Germany in 1992, was a…

Barouh, Yakup

(283 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Yakup Barouh is a Turkish advertising executive and a leader of the Jewish community. Born in Istanbul on February 7, 1945, he graduated from Robert College with an M.A. in marketing. He is a partner and executive vice president of Ilancilik Advertising Agency, the oldest advertising agency in Turkey, founded in 1909. He is also general secretary of the Executive Committee of the Turkish Advertising Agency Association and a member of the Turkish Advertising Self-Regulation Board. Barouh first began to work with Turkish Jewish community youth organizations in 1962. A mem…

Faraci, Izak

(148 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Izak Faraci, a prominent Turkish industrialist and leader of the Jewish community, was born on July 15, 1943 in Istanbul. A graduate of the Saint Benoît French Lycée, he is the president of the Güvenel Textile Works, which provides fiber to the textile industry. Earlier he held managerial positions in institutions of the Turkish Jewish community: from 1978 to 1988, as director of the community’s old age home; from 1988 to 1990, as president of the same institution. From 1990 to 1998, he was a member of the executive council of t…

Bahar, Mois

(156 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Mois Bahar was born on September 27, 1945 in Istanbul and graduated in 1971 from the Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty at Istanbul University. Since 1991 he has been professor and department chairman of anesthesia and intensive care at the Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty Hospital. He is, in addition the director of the Department of Craniocerebrospinal Trauma and Rehabilitation at Istanbul University’s Institute of Neurological Sciences, director of the Department for Anesthesia and Gene…

Brod, Simon

(290 words)

Author(s): Rifat Bali
Simon Brod, a businessman of Ashkenazi origin, was born in Istanbul in 1893. His father was a tailor who had fled there from Russia. Simon and his brother Max went into business importing fabrics from England and were very successful, in due course opening a store in Istanbul’s main textile marketplace. During World War II, Simon Brod joined the Refugees Rescue Committee organized by the leaders of the Istanbul Jewish community. He threw himself into the task of obtaining safe passage for Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe who hoped to transit Tu…
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