We arranged the tour well in advance including requesting a kosher meal as we booked a full day. Our tour guide was Alp who I can not speak highly enough of. His English was exceptional and we were picked up on time which are the least of the compliments I have for him. His knowledge of Judaism was extraordinary which was represented in discussing the elements within the synagogues, the history and usages of components within the synagogue . He presented a thorough Jewish History of Istanbul and Turkey and was well received by all of the synagogues we visited. We were very well prepared to be received and the security of the synagogues was prepared to received us, and they all knew Alp. Alp was gracious in every way. The one kosher not only served us lunch but also prepared an additional meal for us and the food was delicious. Alp also arranged for my husband to go to services at the different synagogues which still manage to have a minyan for shacharit and mincha as well as shabbat. We had shabbat with a sephardic synagogue and were invited to to stay for kiddush. Anyone visiting Turkey who is interested in Jewish History and/or eating kosher while in Turkey should contact Istanbul Life Jewish Heritage Tours. One comment I would like to make is this: Yes, it is very expensive..HOWEVER, we were told that half of our payment goes to the synagogues directly which require a donation. Considering the small size of the community and the impeccability of the condition of the synagogues, and the level of security they have including hired around the clock security, we felt that it was very much worth it.
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