The precursor state of modern day Turkey was the Ottoman Empire. Spanning three continents, the Ottoman Empire was a multi-ethnic society developed over centuries that had cultural influences over a huge geographic region around the Mediterranean basin, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Jews of Turkey have a rich culture influenced by hundreds of years of history and immigration from abroad most notably from Spain after the 1492 inquisition, as well as provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Territory of modern day Turkey is mentioned in the Hebrew bible as Mount Ararat is known as the site where Noah’s Ark landed, it is believed that Abraham traveled through modern day Turkey on his journey to the land of Israel.

Turkish Jews are still influencing the culture of greater Turkish society today. In 2012 a young Turkish Jewish singer Can Bonomo was selected to represent Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan

JIMENA works to ensure that the rich cultural heritage of all Turkish Jews, will be shared with the whole JIMENA community. We have been leading unique Cultural Outreach Programming since our establishment in 2001, giving Turkish Jews a platform to celebrate and share their rich culture with diverse audiences throughout North America. JIMENA is dedicated to preserving and sharing the Jewish culture of Turkey through traditional celebrations, cooking workshops, lectures and cultural series.


Click here to listen to Turkish music