<i>Last Century</i> of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.
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The Sephardic Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943. A web companion to a new history.

What did Sephardic life look like? How did people dress? How did the synagogues look? The Alliance school? One of the very special features of Last Century is that it answers these questions, and more.

With more than 80 photographs, drawings, and documents gathered from personal and institutional collections in Europe, the United States, and Israel, Last Century presents an illustrated history of the Monastir Sephardim side-by-side the written one.

Earliest Monastir photographs

Many of the images in Last Century have never been published before. Among these are photographs of Monastir´s Jewish cemetery, Jewish students at Monastir´s Catholic school and Ottoman school, a late 19th century Jewish marriage contract (ketubah), an Ottoman passport issued to a Monastir Jew, and a page from the original registration list of the Monastir Jews, compiled before their deportation in the Holocaust.

The book also includes a photograph of a group of Ottoman military men stationed at Monastir´s army headquarters. The photograph, taken in 1863, is the earliest photograph ever taken in Monastir.

That photograph, together with drawings of Monastir from 1848, 1860, and 1862, and other photographs from the early 20th century, offer a rare portrait of an Ottoman town.

Workers and rabbis, students and the poor

But above all, the collection of photographs presents a portrait of a Sephardic community in all its variety.

No aspect is omitted. Here are the poor, dressed traditionally -- the men with beards, fez, and Ottoman entari (a long belted robe), and women with covered heads wearing the dukados (the string of coins jewelry worn around the forehead). The affluent are dressed European-style in business suits and neckties, with the women in short-sleeved dresses and parted hair.

There is the poor hamal (porter), barefoot and bent under an enormous burden carried on his back, and the young soccer players in their shorts and jerseys. There are idealistic and determined Zionists, and a group of small girls with flowers in their hair, dressed for a school play.

The last rabbinical leadership of Monastir is represented, as is the community´s last secular leadership board. There is a wedding party, and a group of Jewish musicians. There are the Partisans who in small bands fought the Nazis, and those captured and slated for death.

Monastirlis around the world

Not forgotten are the Monastir communities in Israel, Greece, South America, and the United States.

In America, there are photographs of the Monastirlis in New York, Indianapolis, and Rochester. In South America, the Monastir Jews of Temuco, Chile. In Greece, the Monastir Jews in their synagogue at Salonika. In Israel, the Monastirlis in Jerusalem and on a kibbutz.


<i>Last Century</i> of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.

Last Century of a Sephardic Community - The Jews of Monastir, 1839-1943.
by Mark Cohen

LIST PRICE: $34.95


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