SARAJEVO (Turkish, Bosna-Serai):

Capital of Bosnia. For the history of its Jewish community till 1850 see Bosnia.

About 1850 Omar Pasha (Michael Lattas) granted the Jews of Sarajevo the right to settle in any part of the city. Down to 1878, when Austria-Hungary took possession of Bosnia, the Jews living at Sarajevo, as well as throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, were all Sephardim (called "Spanioles"). After that year there was formed in the city an Ashkenazic congregation which has been recruited mainly from Jews who emigrated from Austria-Hungary after the occupation of Bosnia by that country. Many of the Ashkenazim are highly educated, and occupy leading positions, especially as lawyers and physicians, and have been appointed to offices under the government. The congregation, which is continually increasing, has a handsome synagogue in the Moorish style, which was dedicated Sept. 30, 1902. Its institutions include a ḥebra ḳaddisha, Talmud Torah, women's society, etc. Its rabbi, Samuel Wessel, was called to the office in 1898.

The Sephardic Jews are somewhat more numerous, and, like all the Spanioles in the East, are generally Orthodox. Of the prominent rabbis of Sarajevo the following may be mentioned: Ḥakam Ẓebi (17th cent.), David and his son Isaac Pardo, Moses Danon (to whose grave at Stolar the Sephardim still make pilgrimages) and his brother Benjamin Danon (all in the eighteenth century), Moses Perera, Simon Chason, Moses Levi, Abraham Salom, Judah Finzi, and his successor Ḥakam Abraham Abinuna (d. 1902). The two congregations now maintain friendly intercourse, and their members intermarry, whereas in former times the Sephardim held aloof to a certain extent from their Ashkenazic brethren, looking down upon them as an inferior class. The relations between Jews and non-Jews also are exceptionally cordial.

The Synagogue at Sarajevo.(From a photograph.

In 1895 the Jews of Sarajevo numbered 4,060 in a total population of 41,543.

  • Ad. Strauss, Bosnien, Land und Leute, i. 269 et seq., Vienna, 1882;
  • Spaniolen in Bosnien, in Jüdisches Familienblatt, 1903, No. 12;
  • Die Juden in Bosnien und der Zionismus, in Die Welt, 1903, No. 25.
S. S. We.
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