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KIS - English Version
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN GREECE, THE OLDEST COMMUNITY IN EUROPE Print E-mail
Friday, 05 May 2017 10:26

by VICTOR I. ELIEZER, EJP May 04, 2017

The first Greek Jew known by name was "Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew", a slave identified in an inscription dated approximately 300 - 250 B.C. found in Oropos, a small coastal town 40 klm from  Athens. It could be assumed that as a result of frequent Jewish movement through Greece,  a Jewish Community was eventually established. This community is believed to have grown further after the Hasmonean uprising (142 B.C.) when many Jews were sold into slavery in Greece. 

In the early Christian era, the fact that Paul the Apostle, upon his arrival in Greece, preached in the Jewish Synagogues in Athens, Corinth, Veria, Kavala (Philipus) gives proof of the existence of many Jewish Communities in this Country. These Greek Jews were known as Romaniote and had developed their own customs and language (Judeo-Greek). Remnants of this unique tradition survived to our days.

From the end of the 14th century Jewish refugees emigrated from Spain and Portugal to the Greek mainland and adjacent islands. Mainly in Thessaloniki, the Jews known as the Shephardim introduced their own language (Judeo-Espagnol) and customs. During the 16th-18th centuries, Thessaloniki had one of the largest Jewish communities in the World and a solid rabbinical tradition.

Today, the Jews in Greece are organized in eight active Jewish Communities. In Athens, with almost 3000 Jews, there are two synagogues and the Lauder elementary school. In Thessaloniki (Salonika), with 1000 Jews, there are two synagogues and one elementary school while another 1000 Greek Jews are living in six different cities, having a synagogue which is the center of the Jewish life, in Larissa, Chalkis, Volos, Corfu, Trikala, and Ioannina. There are also synagogues located in Greek cities where no Jewish Communities exist, as in the islands of Rhodes and Crete in Chania, which are open for visitors and special services for Yiamim Noraim and Pessach as well as weddings and Bar Mitsva. There are also two Jewish Museums, one in Athens which preserves the heritage of the Greek Jewry and one in Thessaloniki preserving the history of the local Community. The Holocaust Museum and Research center of Human rights is going to be opened in Thessaloniki in 2017 by the Municipality headed by the Mayor John Boutaris and the local Jewish community headed by David Saltiel. 

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE STATEMENT OF THE METROPOLITAN OF PIRAEUS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 13:49

The Metropolitan Bishop of Piraeus Seraphim, repeated his fierce anti-Semitic rhetoric in his announcement of April 28, uploaded on the official website of the Archdiocese of Piraeus. This reaction was triggered after the Holy Synod overturned its initial decision to appoint Seraphim as the Greek Orthodox Church’s representative to the ceremony lighting the Holy Light of Easter (taking place  every year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem during the Great Saturday). In Seraphim’s place, another Metropolitan, Athinagoras of Ilion, represented the Church in the ceremony.

As a response, in his long anti-Semitic libel announcement, Metropolitan Seraphim claimed that he was replaced because Israel declared him as persona non grata and accused Israel of interfering with the Church’s issues. He also specified that his views are not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionist and that Orthodox Christians stand against Zionism and especially against the wing of Zionism that seeks world domination. Seraphim also quoted the Old Testament and the New Testament, which he interprets through his anti-Semitic and Jew-Hating views, and accused all the other Christian doctrines of being in favor of Jews. He also quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and referred to masonry (and other international organizations) as the arms used by Zionism to secure infiltration and state manipulation.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece issued the following announcement, protesting against this new anti-Semitic attack, while NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor filed a lawsuit against Seraphim for anti-Semitism.

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT: Once again we are not surprised with the new delirium of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim, published in the official webpage of the Archdiocese of Piraeus (here in pdf). Despite his earnest efforts to dismantle the accusations of anti-Semitism, in his lengthy writings he calls anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism, using well known anti-Semitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories and traditional Jew-Hating attitudes, in order to be characterized not as anti-Semite but as anti-Zionist.

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LET’S JOIN FORCES AND SAVE A SYNAGOGUE Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 May 2017 07:31

The Synagogue of Trikala is in danger. The Ka’al Yavanim Synagogue of Trikala -a monument of unique outstanding architectural, cultural and historical value of the Greek Jewish tradition- is threatened. Ka’al Yavanim is the oldest Synagogue in Trikala and the only one that survived World War II, out of three Synagogues that functioned in this beautiful city of Thessaly prior to the War. The historical building of the Ka’al Yavanim Synagogue in Trikala is in danger of collapsing: the passage of time has left its imprint with significant damage to the floor, the roof and the columns, due to corrosion that is the main agent of decay.

Restoration is urgently needed so that we all join forces in order to save the synagogue of a town with significant historical Jewish presence and heritage. The small Jewish community of Trikala is struggling hard to keep the synagogue standing and functional. But these efforts are not sufficient enough.

For this reason, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Jewish Community of Trikala turn to all our coreligionists, inviting them to contribute to the funding of the restoration of the Synagogue, which is not only a sacred place of prayer but also considered to be a unique cultural monument of the Trikala Jewry.
We also call upon all Jews of Greek descent living abroad to support this effort in this particularly difficult economic period that our country as well as Jewish Communities of Greece are going through.
Become a donor now and help us save a Synagogue, return to the Synagogue its prestigious glamour and deliver it to the public again.

You may contact the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece -KIS  (e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or the Jewish Community of Trikala (e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

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“THE JEWS OF GREECE” – EXHIBITION IN THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA Print E-mail
Monday, 24 April 2017 11:33

Emmanuel Santos and Carol Gordon present Jews of Greece exhibition, in an effort to educate younger generations and bring the fascinating stories of the Greek Jewish Holocaust survivors to light.

Hosted by Melbourne's Jewish Museum, Jews of Greece (on show until 3 September 2017) was put together by acclaimed photographer Emmanuel Santos and filmmaker Carol Gordon with an aim to provide visual documentation of the history, heritage and modern day pretense of the existing Greek Jewish communities.

This exhibition offers rare insight into the history of the Romaniotes, the Jews who originated from Greece, with a community dating back to 300-250 BC or earlier. Even though Greece had one of the oldest and most significant Jewish communities outside Israel, its story is not widely known. […]

Read here the whole article, entitled “Touching on a perishing community's vibrant history spanning over 2000 years” by Nelly Skoufatoglou (April 21, 2017) in the Australian webpage NEOSKOSMOS.COM
 
WJC PRESIDENT LAUDER CONGRATULATES MACRON ON 'TREMENDOUS VICTORY' Print E-mail
Monday, 08 May 2017 11:04

PRESS RELEASE WJC, 8.5.2017: World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and the president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, Francis Kalifat, congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election as French president.

Lauder expressed confidence that the new French leader will continue to have close and positive ties with the French Jewish community and fight all forms of anti-Semitism, whether from the extreme left or the extreme right.

“On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I congratulate Mr. Macron on his tremendous victory and know that he will work to support the State of Israel against its enemies in the international arena, in all its constructs, be it from the extreme left or the extreme right.

"I am looking forward to sitting down with Mr. Macron to continue the positive and constructive relationship we have had with his predecessors. 

"France has been a true friend of the Jewish people in recent years, and I know this will continue under the new president.

"Mazal Tov, Monsieur Macron, I am looking forward to our future friendship," said Lauder.

SOURCE: WJC

 
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