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Congregation Ezra Bessaroth is a Sephardic Congregation founded by immigrants from the Mediterranean Island of Rhodes. The Synagogue holds fast to the traditions of our home Island, fastidiously maintaining the liturgy and customs of the Rhodes tradition.

BEGINNINGS

The first of our congregation to make the journey from Greek Island of Rhodes to Seattle was Nessim Alhadeff, (1904). Within three years all of his brothers and many others followed him. By 1909 the first steps at formal organization were taken. Moved by the leadership of Haim DeLeon the original group of Rhodeslis formed, (Succoth 1909) the Koupa Ozer Dalim Anshe Rhodes (the fund for the aid of the poor, people of Rhodes) - with Solomon Alhadeff as president, Nessim AIhadeff as treasurer and Harry Franco as secretary. Funds were raised from within the group and were sent to the needy Jewish community of Rhodes.

EARLY TENSIONS

This forerunner of our congregation was not long lived in its original form. By 1912 some disputes on procedural matters erupted, two factions developed and a split occurred. One group with David J. Israel as president and Reuben AIkana as secretary retained the original name, while the other group with Nessim Alhadeff as president, Ed Tarica as treasurer and Harry Franco as secretary took the name Achduth (unity). In order to divide the assets to the satisfaction of all concerned, they invited Rabbi Samuel Koch of Temple De-Hirsch to serve as mediator. The meeting was held at the home of Asher Cohen.