The film crew of “Air Land & Sea”, a worldwide travel series on Jewish communities, documented the history of Jews in Turkey from the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 to the present day.
An American television crew explores the lives of Jews who settled in Turkey at the invitation of Sultan Bayezid II following the expulsion of Jews from Spain.
The Jewish Life Television (JLT) team, invited by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is located in the province of Edirne, in northwestern Turkey, once the capital of the Ottoman Empire. after filming in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul.
Speaking to Anadolu agency, Brad Pomerance, host of “Air Land & Sea,” a worldwide travel series on Jewish communities, said Turkey has always been the center of the three great monotheistic religions – the Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
Noting that being in Edirne was “really inspiring”, Pomerance said: “After here (historic Selimiye Mosque) we will visit the Great Synagogue of Edirne”.
“It just shows you how Turkey continues to be a tolerant country that welcomes people of all faiths, whether you are a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew,” he added.
âYes, Turkey is 99% Muslim, but I felt incredibly welcome as an American Jew documenting the history of Jews in Turkey from the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 to the present day. “
The meanders of the historic district of Balat in Istanbul
The five-member team started filming in the historic Selimiye Mosque, then interviewed Jewish families living in the city and filmed in the Great Synagogue of Edirne, which was restored in 2015 and is the largest in the Balkans. and the third in Europe.
The team also filmed at the Sultan Bayezid II Mosque complex.
Shooting Istanbul, Edirne, Izmir
Pomerance and his team have already filmed the historic Galata Tower in Istanbul as well as the Hemdat Israel Synagogue in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side.
After filming in Edirne, they plan to visit the Aegean province of Izmir in Turkey, which “was also a great center of Jewish thought,” he said.
He also underlined the importance of Sultan Bayezid II, the Ottoman Sultan in 1492 when “Spain and Portugal expelled the Jews and Christian Europe rejected the Jews”.
âSultan Bayezid II literally sent fleets of boats to the Iberian Peninsula to take hundreds of thousands of Jews to the Ottoman Empire because he saw the contributions these Jews could make, and they did, and they have been doing it for 500 years, âhe added.
âThe community is much smaller than it used to be. There are still Jews contributing to modern Turkey, âhe said.
The American television host also said he feels “emotional” when he thinks of Sultan Bayezid II. âI salute Sultan Bayezid II for welcoming the Jewish community. “
âI have friends who are Turkish Jews,â he said. “They wouldn’t be here today without Sultan Bayezid II who welcomed them into the Ottoman Empire.”
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