The International Izmir Sephardic Culture Festival, which was organized first four years ago to promote the centuries-old culture of Sephardic Jews, is to kick off this year as well in Türkiye’s Izmir.
Within the scope of the festival, a tour of the synagogues, Mediterranean Sephardic Music concerts, film screenings and different cultural events and talks by foreign guests who are Sephardic culture experts will be held in company with guides. A candle-lighting ceremony will also be held at the festival for Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday.
With the slogan “Let’s meet each other” the festival is aimed to be transformed into an intercultural meeting, in cooperation with the Sephardic Culture Collective, Konak Municipality and the Izmir Jewish community.
President of Sephardic Cultural Collective Nesim Bencoya said that they set out to protect the cultural heritage, they are working to establish an open-air museum and a visitation center in the area where synagogues are located, and they are expanding abroad with festivals.
Bencoya stated that the Jews, who escaped from the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century and settled in Anatolia with the support of the Ottoman Empire, developed and maintained a Sephardic culture in Izmir, embracing the exiled community.
Nesim Bencoya also stated that festivals are one of the ways to carry Sephardic traditions to the future as a cultural heritage.
Known also as the Jewish Festival of Lights, the Hanukkah festival will feature a traditional menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) lighting ceremony that will be held at the Hevra Synagogue in Kemeraltı.