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November 21, 2003 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-11-21

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Arab American

Turkey Mourns

David Gad-Harf, executive director of
the Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit, shared unsolicit-
ed written comments he received from
local leaders in the American Arab
community regarding the bombings in

Istanbul's Jewish community buries its dead from synagogue bombings.

erations. Over a public address system,
the voice of a cantor carried the
mournful intonation of a traditional
prayer for the dead.
"Throughout time, Jews have been
oel Ulcer Kohen was so set
of violence and massacres only
on helping Istanbul's Jewish
The CIOM strongly conenns the bomb-
they are Jewish," Turkey's chief
community that he could
iig of two Jewish synagogues in Turkey.
Haleva, told the crowd. "I
hardly wait to turn 18, when
W e feel this type of senseless violence must
come and hold our hands
he could join the corps of volunteer
cease before real peace comes to the world.
all love each other and help
Syed Salman, chaii man of the guards that stands outside synagogues
life as something holy."
Council of Islamic Organizations of and Jewish institutions in Turkey's
Zade, one of the com-
commercial capital.
Michigan, and Abdullah
told mourners that life
His devotion cost Kohen his life: He
CIOM executive director
the community's
was one of 24 people, including six
Jews, killed in twin suicide bombings at
I would like to express to you my deepest
"We invite everyone to take on the
the Neve Shalom and Beit Israel syna-
sympathy and condolences .. We under-
to build a better world
gogues during Sabbath services Nov.
stand the calamity of this cowardly act.
and a better future for your children,"
The Middle East Christian communities
Zade said. "Please, everyone, think
The Jewish community buried its
have been subjected to a similar act of
about what we can learn from this, and
terrorism and this is why our two corn- • dead Nov. 18 as an intermittent
let us all work together to make this a
autumn drizzle turned into a steady
munities, with the assistance of other
better world."
downpour. Armored military vehicles
peace-loving people, have to stand united
Among the crowd were relatives and
against these acts of terrorism, hatred and stood guard and helicopters flew over-
of the victims, both Jewish and
head as an estimated 3,000 mourners
The Greek Orthodox and
— Dr. Ramsay E Dass, president of gathered in Istanbul's largest Jewish
Armenian patriarchs, as well as the
the American Middle East Christian cemetery.
Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis of
Among the crowd were survivors of
Communities Congress
Israel, also were present.
Saturday's attacks, some of them still in
"Most of us know each other. Many
bandages, their faces covered with lac-
All acts, forms and shapes of terrorism
should be condemned and not tolerated
under any circumstances. We must pre-
vail stronger against such horrific terrorist
attacks that target innocent civilians any-
where in this world.
— Imad Hamad, regional
director of the American Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee

Jewish Telegraphic Agency


I am extremely sad and angry of what
has happened. This is a crime against the
places of worship and has no justcation
in any heavenly religion. The Quran
clearly calls for protection of places of
worship and it mentions the churches
and synagogues with names. There'should
be a new way of dealing with the world
issues that is not force, but dialogue and
— Imam Mohammad Ali Elah.i,
of the Islamic House
of Wisdom in Dearborn,
who said he was
especially upset such an act of
terrorism occurred during "the peace-
ful month of Ramadan."
He planned to dedicate his
Ramadan service to the victims.

— Ken Guten Cohen,
story development editor




1 5



Gilla Sifo Salfeti, brother of Berta Ozdogan, mourns over his sister's Turkish flag-
draped casket. Ozdogan, 35, was a Jew expecting a child with her Muslim husband.
AP Photo/Murad Sezer

of us are related. We grew up together,"
said one mourner, a 49-year-old man.
"It hurts. It hurts that people are taken
from the world before their time."
The six Jewish victims, their coffins
draped in the red Turkish flag, were
buried in a marble-lined memorial
plaza holding the graves of the 22 Jews
killed in the 1986 terrorist attack on
Neve Shalom, Istanbul's central syna-
The Jewish dead were identified as
Anna Rubinstein, 85, and her grand-
daughter Anita Rubinstein, 8; Avraham
Idinvarul, 40; Berta Usdawan, 34; Yona
Romano, 50, who died of a heart
attack as a result of the bombing; and
Mach of the community's grief
seemed to center around the death of
Kohen, 19, who died while standing
guard at Beit Israel in Istanbul's Sisli
neighborhood. "We are doing this not
for a profession. We are responsible for
keeping the Jewish community's back,"
said Kohen's friend Berk Termin, 21.
"He was also sharing the same idea,
because we need to secure each other."
Like many of the volunteers, Ulcer
was active in the Jewish community's
youth club, where he served as a coun-
selor and was known as an outspoken
advocate for Israel, Termin said.
"Every person on the team knew
about the danger, but we never went
with fear," he said. "We were doing
what we were doing and we knew that
something could happen. We were
expecting something like this, but we
never thought one of us would die."
The younger of two children, Kohen
had started to study dentistry this year
at Istanbul's Yeditepe University. "He
was super. He was a like a prince,"
Termin said. "He was smiling all the
time. He was like that all the time."
As the coffins were covered with dirt
and then flower wreaths, the families
moves' out of the rain and into the
cemetery's chapel to recite Kaddish.
Sitting outside the chapel, Avraham
Darsa, 57, the community's chief
kashrut supervisor, looked out toward
the plaza holding the just-buried
coffins. "Life has to continue. We don't
have a choice," Darsa said.
"They blew up the synagogue, but
the next day we went to another syna-
gogue to pray. We're not afraid." ❑

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