Exhibition on Jewish-Turkish History

For the month of October, Georgia State will host an exhibition and lecture program about Turkish-Jewish history. "Under Vine and Fig Tree: 500 Years of Turkish Jewish History," is the title and the exhibition includes pictures from the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews in Istanbul. The exhibition will be located on the third floor of the Student Center, Oct. 12-23.

Sponsoring the event are the Georgia State University's Middle East Institute, Department of Religious Studies, and Program in Jewish Studies. Co-sponsoring the event include the Istanbul Center, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast.

In the late 15th century, with the spread of Christianity, Spain expelled Jews who refused to convert. The fleeing Jewish community was welcomed by the Ottoman Empire and its sultan, Beyazid II. After the move, Jews thrived in Turkish society and contributed quite a bit as well.

"Jews actually rose to some very prominent positions in the Ottoman Empire, such as advisors and diplomats," said Alta Schwartz, outreach director of the Middle East Institute.

Among the showcased pictures is a photo of the decree of Sultan Abdülmecid I in the 19th century railing against the "blood libel" that incited anti-Semitic beliefs across Europe and led to atrocities against Jews, as well as a menorah shaped as a minaret, according to the GSU News Web site.

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