[Page 127, Volume 2, Hebrew]
[Page 20, Volume 2, Ladino]
The Institutions of the Community (1870-1940)
by Daout Levi
Translated by Lynn Gazis-Sax
At the demand of the president of the community Sabi Chaltiel, four popular
neighborhoods were set apart
for the community: Baron-Hirsch, Calamaria, Caragatch, and 151.
On this occasion the following subjects were also recorded:
Starting in the year 1870, the date in which the first communal council was
formed, there formed,
gradually, commissions each of which occupied itself with one of the activities
of the community, such as:
The works of the Grand Rabbis, for the years from 1850 to 1940.
The system of labor of the Community during this epoch.
The activity of the communal commission which functioned during this time.
The causes of the increase in the debts of the Community during the last years.
Statistics about the population and the number of Jews in Salonika.
Part of the article about the Grand Rabbis concerns the works and the activity
of Rabbi Acher Covo, Rabbi
Avraam Gategno, Rabbi Chemuel Arditi, Rabbi Yacovatchi Covo, Rabbi Yaacov Meir,
Uziel, Rabbi Haim Habib (who was for 10 years locum tenens Grand Rabbi), and
finally, Rabbi Zvi
Koretz of Berlin.
This system of functions ended in 1923. In that year the government published
law number 2456, based
on which, from that year on, the communities of Jews in Greece, including
Salonika, were governed.
Instruction - Talmud Torah, schools, systems of education, teachers, etc.
Medical Service - Hirsch Hospital, Bikur Holim, pharmacies, doctors,
Hevra-Kedocha - funeral services, help for families in mourning etc.
Registration of the population - birth certificates, death certificates,
registration of marriages, etc.
Evaluation of the dowry - a job for religious law specialists, involving
registration of Ketubot etc.
Taxes and the chest - this commission fixed the amount which each Jew must
pay based on his economic position.
Matzot for Passover - This commission was occupied with the purchase of
wheat, the production of
Matza, and the distribution to the Jewish population in particular of these
goods, free of charge.
The goods of the community (blacksmiths, stores, etc.) - This commission was
registering all of the goods of the community, with collection of salaries,
with reparations for accidents,
with buying and selling of goods, etc.
Here a number of important personages were written about, who with their works
brought great benefit to
the community of Jews in Salonika.
Dr. Moise Alatini: He was a renowned doctor, and always a leading donor for any
Dr. Jacques Pacha Nissim: He was a Jew of Salonika who held the highest place
in the armada of the Turks
and had great influence on all the Turkish administration.
Emanuel Chalem: He was the greatest lawyer among the Jews of Salonika. He
specialized in international
law, and wrote articles on that subject.
Dr. Moche (Moise) Mizrahi: He was a celebrated doctor with a heart of gold.
Seeing the suffering of the
poor sick people, he began to devote a lot of time to raising the means to
found a hospital for the Jews of
Moche (Moise) Morpurgo: Called the Commander, he was the personal secretary
of Dr. Alatini and did
much to help the needy and the poor of the city. For many years he was
president of the Hirch Hospital and
the Alatini Orphanage.
Market of goods: The community had cash receipts of donations, of taxes, of
monthly rent for houses or
shops, of charity which was paid on diverse occasions, of profits from buying
and selling land, of
contributions to government, etc.
There were cash receipts to the community from commercial houses and boutiques,
which were leased to
bring in supplementary receipts. At that time, for various reasons, the
receipts of the community did not
suffice to cover all the expenditures, and the deficit of the community was
Based on a census by the Turkish government, begun in 1882 and finished in
1884, the number of
inhabitants of Salonika was 85000 and the number of Jews 48000. In 1902, the
population was 126000 and
62000 Jews. In 1919 the number of Jews had risen to 74000, but in 1920, for
various reasons, it had
dropped to 55000. The percentage of Jews in the population fell from 55% to
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