Gad Nassi

Biography

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Gad Nassi (b. 1937) - Curriculum Vitae

Born and educated in Istanbul, Gad Nassi graduated from Galatasaray High School and from the Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University.

He began his career as author during his high school studies by writing for local magazines, as well as translating popular articles from French and English to Turkish.

While working in psychiatric institutions in Istanbul and Israel, he led clinical researches, which were published in professional periodicals.

During his university studies, he served as director of Shalom, the newspaper for the Jewish Community of Turkey; as a correspondent for various foreign publications; and also directed the press bureau of the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul.

His experience at Shalom and his active role in communal affairs convinced him to utilize the Turkish language to awaken young Turkish Jews to their cultural and communal roots. In doing so, he was among the precursors of those favoring an open dialogue between the generations, and enabling the new generation of Turkish Jews to develop a positive sense of cultural and social identity.

In 1986, he founded MORIT - an organization for the preservation and advancement of the Turkish Jewry heritage. As its president, he organized the "First International Congress on Turkish Jewry", in Israel in 1989. The conference constituted one of the corner stones in the enhancement of relations between Turkey and the Jewish world, and in particular, with Israel. He initiated and collaborated with WIZO Israel and the Municipality of Tiberias to organize a commemorative gathering in December 1990 in Tiberias to honour Dona Gracia Nasi. In the framework of this event, he co-authored with Rebecca Toueg a biographical work entitled Dona Gracia Nasi. With Moshe Shaul, he organized the "First International Encounters on Judeo-Spanish" in Tel Aviv in 1994. This conference resulted in the establishment of foundations for preserving and promoting the Judeo-Spanish language and culture.

He edited and partly authored "Jewish Journalism and Printing Houses in the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" published in 2001. Inspired by his reminiscences of using Judeo-Spanish within his family and a concern to promote the Judeo Spanish language within a contemporary setting, he edited and partly authored "En Tierras Ajenas Yo Me Vo Murir" (In Alien Lands I Shall Perish), an anthology of memoirs, short stories and legends, which was first published in Istanbul and later in Barcelona in 2005. During the presentation ceremony on the occasion of its publication in Spain, organized by the Turkish Embassy in Madrid, he emphasized that Judeo-Spanish lore is a common part of Jewish, Iberian and Turkish heritage, and the heritage of other countries.

Since 1989, he has published numerous articles on the Sabbatean Messianic movement. These publications broke new ground in the understanding of the movement within the context of Ottoman lore and the Ottoman Jewish legacy.

He is among the promoters and founders of El Amaneser, a monthly supplement in Judeo-Spanish of the Shalom newspaper in Istanbul. He continues to regularly publish articles on historical, mystical and folkloristic topics.

He presented a lecture at the fifteenth annual conference of the Society of Crypto-Judaic Studies. He estimates that the rapprochement between crypto-Jewry of Sephardic ascendency and Sephardic Jewry constitutes a valuable and unexploited field for the insight and integration of their reciprocal spiritual identity.

He maintains a psychiatric practice in Herzlia, Israel, where he resides together with his family.