Rabbi Mendy Chitrik

Ashkenazi Community of Turkey


March 5, 2019

Rabbi Mendy Chitrik is the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community of Istanbul, a small and ancient community which existed for several hundred years and even predates the much larger and famous Sefardi community (which settled in Istanbul mostly after the expulsion from Spain). Rabbi Chitrik grew up in Tsfat, Israel, and was educated in the Chabad yeshiva system. While studying in the Colel Tzemach Tzedek in the Old City of Yerushalayim he received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemya Goldberg, shlita, Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, shlita, and from his grandfather Rabbi David Moshe Lieberman, shlita, Chief Rabbi of Antwerp. He also serves as a member of the Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER). For the past 16 years, Rabbi Chitrik and his wife Chaya have been involved in strengthening Jewish life and Jewish learning in Istanbul through shiurim; Shabbatons; large scale Jewish holiday events; one-on-one counseling; a daily minyan in the local school for Jews; and in general they have brought a new enthusiasm for halachic practice to Istanbul. Rabbi Chitrik, who is fluent in 5 languages and has published several books in Turkish on Jewish life, is probably the last rabbi in the world to deliver a weekly Torah Lesson in Ladino and in the midst of publishing a book on the Turkish-Sefardic Minhagim. As part of his responsibilities in the Jewish community of Turkey, he works closely with the rest of the Rabbis in Istanbul, and is in charge of the KTR - Turkey Chief Rabbinate’s Kashrus for export organization. His involvement in the KTR has brought new confidence and strengthened the assurance of the level of kashrus provided by the KTR. Rabbi Chitrik, also serves as a field representative for the OU and other major kashrus organizations, and is also a shochet and a mohel. Rabbi Chitrik and his wife Chaya and their seven children have an open house in Istanbul, where travelers from all over the world share Shabbos and holiday meals.