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Existence of Ancient Jewish Community in Turkey Disclosed; Was Isolated for Centuries

The existence of a Jewish community in the town of Van, in easternmost Turkey, since before the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was revealed here this week in a report appearing in the Jewish newspaper, Turkiyenin Sesi.

Numbering 25 families and approximately 250 persons, the small group of Jews has been out of touch with the rest of the Jewish community in this country for many centuries. These Jews speak Aramaic, use Hebrew letters in their correspondence and observe all traditional Jewish practices.

The town has a synagogue which beasts a valuable library of ancient books, manuscripts and scrolls. Although no Jew from Van has as yet immigrated to Israel, national feeling is reported to be strong in the community.