Seattle's Sephardic Community

Seattle's Sephardic Community

Seattle's Sephardic Community began to form in the early 20th century when two groups of Jews from the Mediterranean began immigrating to the United States. Ultimately, they found their way from the Statue of Liberty in New York to the tall timbers and salt waters of Pacific Northwest.

One group originated from various towns in Turkey, including Tekirdag, Marmara and Gallipoli. Often referred to as “Turks,” this group founded the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation. Around the same time, another came from the Greek island of Rhodes. Often referred to as “Rhodeslis,” this group founded Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

With roots planted more than a century ago, the Turks and Rhodeslis remain central to Seattle’s Sephardic community, their distinctive identities preserved through the two synagogues that their ancestors founded. Turks and Rhodeslis are quick to point to their nuanced differences yet are united through a joyful spirit that defines Seattle’s Sephardic community.


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