The Quincentennial Foundation Museum Of Turkish Jews tells the story of 700 years of amity between Turks and Jews. The aim of the museum is to display the humanitarian sprit of the Turkish Nation and to show how the two cultures influenced each other through the past seven centuries.
The Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, interprets and disseminates knowledge about the cultural heritage of the Turkish Jews. It has three different sections that illustrate Turkish Jewish life, history, religion and culture of Jews in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.
The first part focuses on the history of the Jews in Anatolia dating back to the 4th century BC, and continues with the arrival of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and later from Portugal.
Visitors can hear religious hymns from Edirne Maftirim, see examples of Turkish-Jewish press, read about the contribution of prominent German and Austrian professors to Turkish Universities during WWII, the Struma incident and read about recent history on computer screens.
Attached to this floor is a balcony overlooking the Neve Shalom Synagogue from where religious ceremonies can be witnessed. The museum visitor becomes a part of the ceremony during the time of his visit.
The Judaica section exhibits liturgical sacred artifacts including Torah scrolls, Megilat Ester and other ritual objects. A touch collection is also available for children. Connected to this section, the Ethnography Hall displays the life cycle of Jewish life with examples of Kettubot, dowry,wedding, bar mitzva stories and authentic artifacts. Documentary films can be watched on a screen.
On the top floor visitors can see an interactive touch-screen map which shows all the synagogues and settlements of the Jewish life in Turkey. Videos on Sephardic cuisine can be watched and printed recipes can be taken to cook at home. Recordings of Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) are complemented by examples of Sephardic folkloric music.
Visitors can visit the Neve Shalom Synagogue, sample Sephardic delicacies in Habib Gerez Cafe and browse the giftshop for music and books.