Lina and Tovi Franko at the wedding of Fifi Ozcakir

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This is a photo of me and my son in the cortege of the wedding of my husband's sister Roza's daughter Fifi. I am going in with my son because my husband Isak is bringing in the bride. As the bride's father had died some time ago, my husband and I were given the honor of holding the tallet over the couple while they were being married in the synagogue. This is the hallway of the Neve-Salom synagogue, the hallway that leads to the big hall of ceremonies, where the wedding is to take place. My son was about 16 at that time and that day remains as a very nice memory in his mind.

My husband Isak Franko's sister Roza was born in the year of 1922. She was very fond of reading. She started going to English High School for Girls, after coming from Kirklareli. Her mother Franka Franko would turn off the light in her bedroom at night and say "Ogretmena te vas azer, kualo es" meaning "are you going to become a teacher or what?". She was a very bright girl.

Her first marriage was to Shapat Ozcakir at the age of 18, and had two children, Fifi and Baruh. Fifi lives in Istanbul, while Baruh "Otzkin" in Israel. The surname "Ozcakir" became modified to Otzkin to conform with the rules of grammar and pronunciation in Israel.

Fifi Ozcakir, my husband's niece reached marriageable age 8 years after losing her father, Shapat Ozcakir from kidney failure in 1955. The responsibility for "Tallet" [In Sephardi tradition chuppah is actually a tallit held at each corner by one of the four parents of the bride and the groom over their heads.] was given to my husband, who was the eldest sibling.

When it was time for the wedding to take place, I went to one of the most famous dressmakers of the time and had an embroidered brocade dress made. This dressmaker was our neighbor, and was the mother of Filiz Akin, who was one of the most famous actresses of the time.

Six months before the wedding, someone also wanted to marry to Fifi's mother, my husband's sister Roza. Bohor Alev, who wanted to marry Roza, was a well-liked merchant. Roza was a conservative woman so Bohor and roza got married immediately.

I entered the synagogue on my son's arm, Fifi on my husband's, and Roza, on her new husband's. Roza's husband wasn't present at the tallet ceremony, but joined us later on for the congratulations. Roza was married to Bohor Alev for 36 years, and my niece always felt guilty for not having given the responsibility for the tallet to Bohor Alev. He was engaged in the stationary business. He brought packages of notebooks to my daughter, when he came to us the first time for dinner. My daughter was very young then, and felt very happy to get so many notebooks.

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Interviewee: Lina Franko
Feride Petilon
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Istanbul, Turkey


Tovi Franko
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Lina Franko
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