The Photographes
The Jewish Necropolis - The kippaw

In the descriptions that accompany the photographs I have opened each with the identifications that are found written either in pencil or ink, above and below the photographs. According to the inscription on the cover of the album the original series of 12 photographs was taken and subsequently assembled in order to record an event, viz., ‘’the kippaw’’. Each leaf of the album was numbered in pencil. One of the leaves of the album is missing so we do not have photographs 11 and 12 in the original. It is most likely that a considerable period of time elapsed between taking the photographs and then providing them with captions. The absence of two photographs means that those that remain are not in sequence. If there is any thread of unity it is provided by the cemetery itself and an apparent wish to record an event or series of events that had the character of a ritual. The photographer was certainly not Jewish, and he appears to have interpreted what he saw and recorded it at some later time. Thus it is not surprising that his understanding of what he called the kippaw is slightly at variance with what we know of Jewish custom in Salonika.
The word kippaw is neither Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) nor is it Turkish or Greek. Probably what the photographer recorded was one of the periodic visitations to the cemetery known as a ziyara. At the beginning of the new month, and the Jewish New Year, this visitation was known simply as the kapo meaning ‘’beginning’’. Kippaw very likely is a corruption of Kapo.
The word ziyara is an Arabic - Ottoman loan word meaning ‘’pilgrimage’’ and at times was used in association with a Persian loan word, zar meaning ‘’bitter weeping and lamentation’’. In ladino the word ziyara was especially used to characterize general visits to the cemetery, which understandably were often accompanied with weeping and lamentation. Visits on the eves of the High Holidays of Rosh Ha-Shanna, Yom Kippur and the great Pilgrim Holidays of Pessah, Shavuoth and Sukkoth, were known as Ziyara Grande and were in fact public pilgrimages in which almost entire congregations would participate. All of the photographs in this album are of individuals or couples and it may well be that the pictures were not even taken on the same day. Most appear to show a simple ziyara, though the use of the word kippaw may indicate that the photographer took some of these pictures during a proper kapo that marked the beginning of a new month.