The Other Secret Jews: Turkey’s Dönme Elite

Adam Hirsch of the New Republic recently published an article on the Donme. The Donme were Jews who accepted the messianic claims of Sabbatai Zevi and converted to Islam following their master’s lead. They continued to practice certain Jewish customs even after their conversion. They existed in some numbers well into the 20th century. They are often incorrectly attributed significant influence in the Ottoman Empire, though part of this is simply linked to the mystery that surrounds the group.

Many of the Donme were from Converso backgrounds. The article references the publication of  The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks by Marc David Baer. Baer distinguishes the Donme from Conversos who continued to practice Judaism. The Donme, Baer notes, were effectively a different sect as opposed to Conversos who clandestinely preserved Jewish practices.

For the complete article, please visit the following link:

The Other Secret Jews: Turkey’s Dönme Elite

For a list of articles on this website on the Donme, visit the following pages:

Converso Involvement in the Sabbatai Zevi Movement

Crypto-Jewish Sabbateans: The Donmeh

The Sabbatean Prophets

On Marranos and Sabbateans


Posted by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education and the author of Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism