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GALLIPOLI (the ancient Callipolis):

Seaport town in European Turkey, at the northeast end of the Dardanelles and about 135 miles from Constantinople. It has a population of about 20,000, of whom 1,200 are Jews. The latter probably lived in Gallipoli from the first centuries of Byzantine rule. About 1162 Benjamin of Tudela found in the town 200 Jews, who had a yeshibah under the care of R. Elia Kapid and R. Shabbethai Zuṭra. The Ottoman Turks, who acquired Gallipoli in 1365, protected the community, according to their custom. In 1469 there lived at Gallipoli a rabbi named Daniel bar Hananiah, whose manuscript of the Bible commentary of Levi ben Gershom has been preserved. In 1492 a great number of Spanish exiles found refuge in Gallipoli, and several families bearing the name of "Saragoss" still celebrate a "Purim of Saragossa" in the month of Ḥeshwan. The Ben Ḥabib family of Portugal is said to have furnished Gallipoli with eighteen chief rabbis, the most prominent of them being Jacob ibn Ḥabib, the author of the "'En Ya'aḳob." In 1853 Hadji Ḥasdal Varon represented France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, and the United States as consular agent. Gallipoli has two synagogues, one built in 1721 and rebuilt in 1852; the other is quite recent. It has also a Jewish school containing 250 boys, as well as six benevolent societies. The community is administered by a council of ten; its revenue comes mostly from taxes on kasher meat, wines, and heads of families, Ḥayyim Franco, a native of Melas, has been chief rabbi since January, 1903.

Several of the Jews of Gallipoli are government employees. The Spanish vice-consul and nearly all the dragomans are Jews, who are also represented in nearly every commercial and mechanical pursuit. The native costume is now giving way to the European. Among the antiquities of the city are the old cemetery, a marble basin set up in 1670 by a certain Johanan Halio, the above-mentioned copy of the commentary on the Bible by Levi ben Gershom, the Megillah of Saragossa, and many old manuscripts. There are many Jewish families in the neighborhood. of Gallipoli, especially at Lampsacus, on the opposite Asiatic shore, at Charkeui, and elsewhere.

Bibliography:
  • Benjamin of Tudela, Massa'ot;
  • Dezobry, Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie.
D. M. Fr.
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