Morris Schinasi and the Manisa Children's Hospital

Naim Güleryüz / Researcher-Writer - Mrs. Laurette Schinasi came to Turkey in 1930 to meet with Department of Health officials in order to present a petition to found a children’s hospital in Manisa in line with the last will and testament of her husband, Morris Schinasi; he had died three years previously in the USA. Construction began immediately, following approval by the Department, and the then International Moris Şinasi Hospital was commissioned in 1933; it still serves the public today, as the Moris Şinasi Children’s Hospital.

Morris was born in 1855 in Manisa to a relatively poor Sephardic family as one of four children; he had two brothers (Solomon, also known as Shlomo, and Yaakov) and a sister (Sultana.) Sephardic Jews, Spanish and Portuguese Jews, opted to leave their homeland in 1492 and thereafter rather than submit to forced conversion to Catholicism. The majority of the Sephardim settled in Ottoman lands following an invitation by Sultan Bayezid II. Of the 20,000 Jews still living in Turkey, some 96% are Sephardic.