Rifka’s bat-mitzvah

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I, Nesim Alkabes, was born on July 21st, 1920 in our brick home that was 30 m. further from Galata Kulesi [A neighborhood on the European side where Jews congregated in the beginning of the 20th century] with the help of a midwife. 

I met my wife Erna Adoni, who was born on December 25th,  1924 and raised in Kadiköy, in 1947 at a party given by a mutual friend, and we liked each other.  Because she is a graduate of St. Benoit like me, she speaks it as well as I do. When we decided to get married, Erna was 22, and I was 27. We married at the Zülfaris Synagogue on August 10th, 1947 [On the European side, in Karaköy, where the Jewish museum is located now]. Erna and I had three daughters from our union. Ou oldest daughter Sara was born in 1948, Rosita in 1950, Stella in 1954. All three of our daughters attended elementary school in Isik Lisesi. Sara and Stella finished Saint Benoit French highschool later on. Rosita, on the other hand, graduated from Robert College.

Our middle daughter Rosita married Jojo Balibarissever (September 30th 1973), a chemical engineer who graduated from the Bosphorus University, in Neve Shalom after finishing highschool.... My son-in-law worked for long years with Charles Danon who owns the Istanbul branch of Guido Modiano which is centered in Italy. In 1980, Mr. Guido offered my son-in-law a job in Italy since he was very happy with his work. In this way the family moved to Milan. Guido Modiano's company manufactures fabric machines and my son-in-law would market them here, when they moved he started marketing them to the whole world. The company has a profit of %8 from each machine sold, my son-in-law, in addition to his fixed salary, (the boss likes him so much that) gets %1 of this profit. Each machine has a sale price of at least 1.5 million dollars (you can make the calculations). That is why their financial situation thank G-d is very healthy. They had two children, Semi (1977) and Rifka (1976). In this photograph, we had celebrated our granddaughter’s bat-mitzvah, (front row, center) in Italy. Next to her sister is her brother, Semi. Thes children are now grown up. Their son Semi works in a very important advertising company in Italy. Their daughter Rifka studied child psychology in a university in London. During that time she married Remi Menenson (Ashkenazi Jew, French origin) in 2004. They currently reside in London. Rifka works as a child psychologist in a Jewish school in London. Her husband Remi is  the head of Deutsche Orient Bank's London branch. Remi's mother is Jewish, father Catholic. This family unfortunately could not continue with their marriage and are divorced.  Mme Murielle is a pediatrician, lives in Paris and is very religious, the father has settled in the United States and is remarried to a Christian. We met Mme. Murielle when she came to Istanbul on the occasion of the wedding.


Interview details

Interviewee: Nesim Alkabes
Meri Schild
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Istanbul, Turkey


Nesim Alkabes
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Ottoman Empire
before WW II:
Businessman, retail merchant
after WW II:
Businessman, retail merchant

Other Person

Rifka Balibarissever
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