Based on extensive archival research, this book presents the state of Jewish schooling in Ottoman Edirne during the period of activity by the Alliance Israelite Universelle.
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Edirne (Adrianople) in Turkish Thrace was home to a sizeable Jewish community through the nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries. Thanks in part to the records kept by the Alliance Israélite Universelle, Erol Haker – himself a Thracian Jew – has been able to reconstruct the story of the Edirne community during the sixty-odd years before the Second World War. The Alliance schooling system in Edirne was well-developed and would be one of the longest-running anywhere in the world. Haker is concerned with evaluating how the Alliance improved education for Edirne’s Jews and how this education helped develop individuals and the community as a whole. Haker has made use of some 7000 documents from the Alliance archives which directly address the Edirne schools in the writing of the book. Additionally, the author has included several appendices which deal with specific cases from Edirne’s Jewish community. Haker’s work is a valuable contribution to the study of Ottoman Jewry and the influence of European Jews over their Ottoman co-religionists during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.