In the community archives this synagogue is referred to as Kal Kadoş Galata (Galata Sacred Synagogue) but since the former name of the road it is on was Zülf-ü Arus, meaning the bangs of a bride’s hair, and people had shortened it to Zülfaris , it is commonly referred to as such. It has been built on an old foundation and opened to service on 25 Safer 1239 - 31 October 1823).
With many happy and sad ceremonies that followed each other, Zülfaris was host to many events in its history. One of these was when Albert Cahn, director of Jewish Benevolent Society of Paris was visiting Istanbul and there was a commemoration of Jewish soldiers who died fighting alongside the Ottoman soldiers against Russia. The ceremony was held on 19 August 1856 and a military platoon, under the command of Staff Colonel Garbi Bey was in attendance.
Another historical event that took place on 24 January 1909 (2 Şevat 5669) was when 86 delegates convened in Zülfaris and elected Haim Nahum Efendi as Chief Rabbi to replace the stand-in rabbi Moşe Levi who resigned after the declaration of constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire.
The building was renovated in 1890 with the financial assistance of the Camondo family. The interior and exterior of the synagogue where all religious ceremonies and many weddings were held was entirely renovated in 1904 by the Galata Jewish Association under the leadership of Jak Bey Deleon.
In 1979, it was dedicated to provide religious services to Istanbul Jews originally from Thrace and in 1983 it was closed with the last wedding held there as no more Jews were living in the area.
In 1992, the owner of the building, Neve Shalom Synagogue, assigned it over to the 500th Year foundation to be used as the Museum of Turkish Jews.
2001 with the financial backing of the Kamhi Family and the valuable contributions of Mr. Jak Kamhi thanks to the vision and dedication of Mr. Naim A. Güleryüz, it has opened its doors as a museum. The building was used in that capacity until 2015.