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[Page 127, Volume 2, Hebrew]

[Page 20, Volume 2, Ladino]

Section II

The Community

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:

  1. The works of the Grand Rabbis, for the years from 1850 to 1940.
  2. The system of labor of the Community during this epoch.
  3. The activity of the communal commission which functioned during this time.
  4. The causes of the increase in the debts of the Community during the last years.
  5. Statistics about the population and the number of Jews in Salonika.
  6. 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, Rabbi Ben-Zion Uziel, Rabbi Haim Habib (who was for 10 years “locum tenens” Grand Rabbi), and finally, Rabbi Zvi Koretz of Berlin.
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:
  1. Instruction - Talmud Torah, schools, systems of education, teachers, etc.
  2. Medical Service - Hirsch Hospital, “Bikur Holim,” pharmacies, doctors, remedies.
  3. Hevra-Kedocha - funeral services, help for families in mourning etc.
  4. Registration of the population - birth certificates, death certificates, registration of marriages, etc.
  5. Evaluation of the dowry - a job for religious law specialists, involving registration of Ketubot etc.
  6. Taxes and the chest - this commission fixed the amount which each Jew must pay based on his economic position.
  7. “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.
  8. The goods of the community (blacksmiths, stores, etc.) - This commission was concerned with registering all of the goods of the community, with collection of salaries, with reparations for accidents, with buying and selling of goods, etc.
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.

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 good work.

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 Salonika.

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 large.

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 26%.

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