Neve Shalom Synagogue

Neve Shalom Synagogue, (Turkish: Neve Şalom Sinagogu, Hebrew: בית הכנסת נווה שלום‎; lit. "Oasis of Peace" or "Valley of Peace"), is a synagogue located in the Galata district of Istanbul, Turkey.

When the Jewish population in the old Pera and Galata districts (today encompassed by Beyoğlu district) increased in the late 1930s, a Jewish primary school in the area was torn down in 1949 in order to build a new synagogue and the construction was completed in 1951. The architects were Elyo Ventura and Bernar Motola, young Turkish Jews. The inauguration with the presence of the Chief Rabbi of Turkey of the time, Hakham Bashi Rafael David Saban, was on Sunday, March 25, 1951 (17 Veadar 5711, Hebrew calendar).

Neve Shalom is the central and largest Sephardic synagogue in Istanbul, open to service especially on Shabbats, High Holidays, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals and weddings.

Neve Shalom suffered three terrorist attacks:

  • September 6, 1986, which resulted in the death of 22 Turkish Jews, this attacked was blamed on the Palestinian militant Abu Nidal.
  • March 1, 1992, which was a bomb attack and left no casualties, this attack is suspected to have been carried out by the Lebanon-based Shi'ite Muslim group of Hezbollah.
  • November 16, 2003, the Synagogue was hit by one of the four car bomb attacks in Istanbul (see 2003 Istanbul bombings). Even though a local Turkish militant group, the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, claimed responsibility for the attacks, police claimed the bombings were "too sophisticated to have been carried out by that group", with a senior Israeli government source saying: "the attack must have been at least coordinated with international terror organizations".