Toufik Kassab


Under threat of torture and an unjustified prison sentence, Toufik Kassab and his family fled through Turkey on their way to Israel. He opened a jewelry and gold business in New York in 1989.

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Timeline of the Jews in Syria

1st Cen. CE
10,000 Jews live in Damascus, governed by Rome.
Jews in Damascus are murdered as reprisal for the First Jewish-Roman War.
5th Cen
A synagogue is constructed in Aleppo.
Damascus resists every siege. Large numbers of Palestinian Jews settle in Damascus as refugees from the Crusader armies.
After the expulsion of the Jews in Spain, many refugees settle in Syria and join the Sephardim.
The Jewish community is accused of ritual murder of a priest, Father Thomas, in what is later known as the Damascus Affair.
The Jewish community is again accused of murder, in a massacre of Christians. The community is fined heavily. Two hundred Jews taken to be hanged, but spared by intervention from diplomats, bankers, and other officials.
Late 19th Cen.
Blood libels against Jews increase. Syrian Jews emigrate to Latin America, Europe, and North America.
Late 1930s
Anti-Semitism prompts further emigration. Between 1942 and 1947, 4,500 Jews will leave Syria.
Syria gains its independence from France. Bans Jewish immigration to Palestine, under penalty of hard labor or death. Restrictions on teaching Hebrew.
Pogroms break out against the various Jewish communities. 75 dead in Aleppo, hundreds more injured, and over 200 Jewish homes, synagogues, and shops destroyed.
The government bans sale of Jewish property.
The Menarsha synagogue in Damascus is bombed, killing 12 and injuring dozens.
All Jewish bank accounts are frozen. Confiscations of Jewish homes to settle Palestinian refugees.
Jewish emigration ban is lifted; Jews emigrating had to leave behind all of their possessions. Repeated in 1958.
The anti-Jewish laws become more restrictive. Jews banned from traveling more than three miles from their homes. In addition, Jews can no longer work for government, banks, or purchase property. Jews leaving country are forced to leave behind a family members as hostage.
After Six Day War, reprisal pogroms in Qamishli kill 57 Jews, and the communities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishli are put under house arrest for eight months.
The Syrian government allows 500 single Jewish women to emigrate.
Syrian government grants the remaining 4,000 Jews exit visas during Passover.
The number of Jews left in Syria is estimated to be below 50.