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Dating from Byzantine times, the Ottomans conquered Bursa in 1324. Sultan Orhan ordered that the Jews of Bursa could build a synagogue, the Etz ha-Hayyim used for over 600 years. Since World War II, the Jewish community shrunk to about 140. Only two synagogues remain active. Five hundred year-old Gerush Synagogue is a little northwest of the town center. An electrician's shop called Simsek Elektrik, at 20A Altiparmak Caddesi, (tel. 21-54-90), has the key to the synagogue. (See Nesim Kuzu, owner of the shop.) The airy and attractive synagogue has a circle of pillars around the bema in the center of the room. The columns support a dome. The Torahs came from Spain with Sephardic immigrants about 500 years ago.

 

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