Map of Turkey Following two devastating earthquakes in 1999, JDC helped to develop a trauma relief program for children first implemented at the “Israeli Village school” in Adapazari, Turkey.

Traditionally a secular, Western-leaning country bridging Europe and Asia, Turkey has recently significantly raised its profile in the Arab world. Its stronger than expected growth and sharp recovery from the effects of the global recession have helped make it the region’s top economic performer, reinforcing its ascent.

The Turkish Jewish community, a minority in the country for centuries, continues to enjoy long-established good relations with the government. It has a deeply ingrained tradition of self-sufficiency, and a highly developed system of communal institutions. The prosperity traditionally enjoyed by the community has declined in recent years, and rising costs—especially for security measures—have further taxed its resources. With many Jewish-owned businesses hurt by global competition, the community continues to face financial challenges despite the country’s economic rebound.

JDC in Turkey serves primarily in an advisory role, working with leaders to:

Find out how JDC’s leadership training is enabling young volunteers like Lisi to recruit hundreds of unaffiliated young people to Istanbul’s Jewish community.

For an in-depth look at the vibrancy of Jewish life and JDC’s work in Turkey check out our country profile PDF.


In 2011, the JDC-supported Hadracha Training Institute extended its program to a group of young Jewish leaders from India, helping to enhance networking between Turkish Jewry and other Jewish communities.