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Sephardic Jews arrive in Seattle in 1902.
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In 1902, the first two Sephardic Jews (of Spanish origin), Jack Policar (d. 1961) and Solomo Calvo (d. 1964), arrive in Seattle from the island of Marmara, Turkey.
In 1904, they met Nissim Alhadeff, who had arrived that year from the Isle of Rhodes, in a Seattle Greek Cafe.
By 1906, 17 Sephardic Jews resided in Seattle. That number tripled by 1907. As economic and political conditions in the Ottoman Empire deteriorated, and as Jews became newly subject to the draft, immigration increased. Sephardim from Constantinople and Rodesto joined those from Rhodes and Marmara. By 1930, Seattle would be second to New York in Sephardic population in the United States and three congregations would have been established:
- Sephardic Bikur Cholim founded by Jews from Turkey, particularly Tekirdag, incorporated in 1910;
- Ezra Bessaroth Congregation, evolved out of Koupa Ozer Dalim Anshe Rhodes, a fund to help the needy in Rhodes; its synagogue incorporated in 1914;
- Ahavath Achim Congregation, founded in 1914, had a membership that included the earliest founders of the Seattle Sephardic community -- Jacob Policar, Solomo Calvo, and David Levy.
Albert Adatto, "Sephardim and the Seattle Sephardic Community" (M.A. thesis, University of Washington, 1939).
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