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December 05, 2003 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Insight

Remember
When •

Source Of Support

From the pages of the Jewish News
this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60
years ago.

Local Turkish Jew remembers peaceful coexistence.

1 993
Jewish Federation Apartments, in
co-sponsorship with the Jewish
News, seeks to install eight senior
citizens in the newly created Senior
Adult Jewish Hall of Fame of
Metro Detroit.

DON COHEN

Special to the Jewish News

T

he terrorist bombings in
Turkey that targeted Jewish
and British sites in
November had added reso-
nance for Stami Ozdil, who divides her
time between family in metro Detroit
and family and friends in her hometown
of Izmir on Turkey's western coast.
She had just returned to Detroit the
week before the bombings. She knew no
one who was killed or injured.
Born in Izmir in 1931, Ozdil is an
articulate, warm and worldly grand-
mother who says she is proud to be a
Turkish Jew. She melds both identities
with evident ease.
"For 500 years, the Jewish people have
lived peacefully in Turkey," Ozdil says.
The Muslims and Jews of Turkey "have
lived like brothers and sisters. No matter
which religion we below,b to, we have
always had a mutual respect for our tra-
ditions. I am sure [the bombings] won't
ruin our relationship with the govern-
ment and its people who have always
supported us."
Ozdil notes that a Turkish Muslim
friend (-Ailed her in the United States
just after the bombing. She also says the
attack was seen as an attack on Turks,
Turkey and democracy, not just one
directed toward Jews.
"Many of my Muslim friends were
very understanding and supportive
when the two synagogues in Istanbul
were targeted," she said. "We must
remember that most of the civilians who
died or were badly injured were passers-
by of the Muslim religion. The terrorist's
intention is to create hostility and enmi-
ty between ethnic communities, espe-
cially between Jews and the Islamic
world. The Islamic religion is a religion
of forgiveness and goodness, not of mur-
dering."
As an illustration of the acceptance of
Jews in Turkey, Ozdil produces the
memoirs of her uncle Rafael Chikurel,
who was born in Izmir in 1869 and rose
to became the commissairre (chief) of
police in Istanbul at the turn of the cen-

1983.
The Israel Ballet appears in Detroit
at the Ford Theater as part of its
43-city U.S. tour.

Stami Ozdil

Stami Ozdirs relative Rafael Chikurel
achieved status in Turkey.

tury. His memoirs originally appeared in
the Jewish community's newspaper La
Boz Del Puevlo — The People's Voice —
which was written in Ladino with
Hebrew characters making it accessible
only to those with a knowledge of both
languages.
Ozdil is related to the local Chikorel
and Behar families. Her son Josey,
daughter-in-law Sara and grandson
Odin live in Southfield. She explains
that Rafael Chikurel took in his broth-
er's children after he died at a young age.
One of those children was Jacob
Chikurel, who was the father of Shirley
Behar of Southfield. Jacob came to the
United States just after World War I and
kept in touch with his first cousin Luna
Pardo, who was Ozdil's mother.
"In 1947, Jacob came to Turkey with
Shirley to see where they had been
born," says Ozdil.
Then the second cousins became best
friends. They spend a lot of their time
together during Ozdil's annual visits.
Ozdil credits Turkey for saving much
of her family during World War II.
"I had brothers, a sister and uncles
who survived in Paris because they had

Turkish passports and were hidden by
French families," she says.
Ozdil also has a keen appreciation and
affection for Israel, the home of two of
her daughters, three grandchildren and a
brother and a sister. But while a sup-
porter of Israel, she is concerned that
certain Israeli policies are making it diffi-
cult for Jews and adding to anti-
Semitism.
"For me, the settlements are a big
mistake," she says.
However, the media in Turkey is "so
far, not against Israel. But they are
against America because of the war in
Iraq," she says.
• While certainly not against America
herself, she agrees with many of her
countrymen that the war could simply
further destabilize the region and that
American goals likely will not be
achieved.
Nonetheless, she knows the media
portrayals of Israel are not flattering.
"Jews never show what is happening
to them on TV; Palestinians show it
all the time," she said. "We see homes
being demolished. But we see that
they send little children to throw
stones. You never send your children
outside if you know the enemy is
coming.
"I've never heard a word from my
Turkish friends against Israel," says
Ozdil, noting that the Turks know the
history of the region and know there
was never a nation of Palestine.

1973
Premier Golda Meir sends the
unusual gift of two new Soviet
model T-62 tanks to President
Nixon. Captured during the Yom
Kippur war, the tanks are new to
the U.S. Department of Defense.
Thirty-seven local women gradu-
ates from the 1973 women's divi-
sion leadership seminar, a six-ses-
sion course that gives an inside per-
spective on the work of the Jewish
Welfare Federation of Detroit and
its beneficiaries.

190

World Jewry mourns the death of
Abba Hillel Silver. A Zionist
memorial service will be held at
Temple Israel in January.

The West German cabinet adopts a
1953-1954 budget that provides
the equivalent of $73.8 million for
the delivery of reparations and
goods to Israel and $15.7 million
for the payment of compensation,
indemnification and restitution
claims to victims of the Nazis.

All lodges in Greater Detroit B'nai
B'rith Council will commemorate
the 100th anniversary of B'nai
B'rith with afternoon and evening
programs to be held at Temple Beth
El, Detroit.

— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

SUPPORT on page 40

12/ 5

2003

39

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