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TRAVNIK:

Town of Bosnia. The first Jews settled there at the beginning of the nineteenth century, during the reign of the sultan 'Abd al-Majid, most of them being Sephardim from Sarajevo. The first to come were the army purveyor Abraham Eskenasi, the Ottoman army surgeon Isaac Salom (descendants of both of whom are now living at Sarajevo), and the rabbi Isaac Attias. About this time Moses Amar, a Jew from Belgrade, whose descendants still live in that city, was employed by the Ottoman government as collector of taxes at Travnik. His successors down to the time of the occupation (1878) were the following Jews: Judah Montilijo, R. Salom, T. Levi, D. Salom, and M. I. Salom. The Ottoman government treated them liberally, allowing them to close the tax-office on Jewish feast-days and on Saturdays—a fact which indicates the influence and respect which the Jews enjoyed.

The Jews of Travnik have always been conservative. About 1840, when their number had increased, they built a wooden chapel, which was replaced by a massive temple in 1863, the leading Jews of the community helping in its construction by personally carrying stone and brick. A schoolhouse was erected in 1877, but both these edifices were burned in the conflagration of Sept. 3, 1903. The acting rabbi, Isaac Attias, who has already been mentioned, was succeeded by Abraham Abinon, who officiated for twenty-six years, when he was called to Sarajevo as chief rabbi of the Sephardim in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Jews of Travnik have never been subjected to any persecutions or restrictions on account of their religion, and have always lived peaceably with the followers of other creeds. In 1903, out of a total population of 6,626, there were 426 Jews in the town, comprising in a single community sixty-five Sephardic and twenty-four Ashkenazic families, the latter having come after 1878.

J. S. We.
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