April 24, 1877
Ahrida Synagogue, Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire
Jews in Constantinople offering prayers for the success of the Turkish arms
In his sermon for the occasion, Hakham Moshe Halevi ... implored the Jews to do more than simply pray for the Ottomans’ victory in the war [against the invading Russia]; he argued for all able-bodied Jews to volunteer to fight.
In the months following Halevi’s sermon and similar appeals by other Jewish leaders, Jewish men from across the Ottoman Empire did enlist.
Jewish loyalty to the Ottoman Empire was sincere, not perfunctory. When expelled from Spain in 1492, Iberian Jews were welcomed with few conditions into the Ottoman lands and founded large and prosperous communities throughout the Balkans and Anatolia.
Under Ottoman rule, much more so than in Europe, Jews found peace and prosperity and easy access to the Holy Land.