The first Jews to set foot in Greece were slaves who were imprisoned during the Hellenistic invasion of Israel, during which time there was a Jewish uprising that is today celebrated as the festival of Chanukah. The next group of Jews to arrive in Greece were fleeing the Inquisition and came from Spain. They settled in Salonika, which flourished as a Jewish center until the Second World War when the Germans took over. Jews were eventually permitted civil rights equivalent to other Greek nationals.
Salonika held 45,000 of the 70,000 Jews living in Greece in the early 1940s. In July of 1941, the Axis forces, which included German, Italian and Bulgarian military men, conquered the country, causing many Jews to join the partisans. In Athens, the Jews were sheltered by their Christian neighbors, and later most of the survivors moved to Israel.
At present, Greece and Athens have Sephardi synagogues, a community center with a library, a museum, and circulated Jewish publications. Very old synagogues may be found on the Greek islands such as Aegina, and Corfu to name a few.
My favorite attraction in Greece was the Acropolis. It is very impressive. There are also many wonderful hikes around the country.
Many people go to Greece for the island beaches. If you are going for the islands, pay attention to what is offered on the island. Some islands are great to relax, while others are for party animals. You don’t want to end up on the wrong one.
There are approximately 3,000 Jews living in Athens where they can visit a community centre that has a library, and enjoy a kosher meal. In the middle of the city is a Jewish museum that has information on the rise and tragic fall of Greek Jewry. Kosher meals are served at the Athens Jewish Cultural Centre upon request
(Contact Mrs Rachel Sasson, Tel. (1) 213 3371. – Delivery to hotels in Athens can also be arranged).
Central Board of the Jewish Communities of Greece
36 Voulis Street 1 0557
Telephone: (21 0) 324 431518, Fax: (210) 331 3852
Embassy of Israel
Marathonodromou Street 1, Paleo Psychico, 15452
Telephone: (210) 671 9530, Fax: (210) 674 9510
Jewish Museum of Greece
39 Nikis Str. 10557
Telephone: (210) 322 5582, Fax: (210) 32311577
Open: Monday to Friday 9am to 2.30pm, Sunday lOam to 2pm, Saturday closed.
5 Averof St. 10433
Telephone: (210) 520 2880, Fax: (21 0) 520 2881
Telephone for orders
Odos Flessa 3, Plaka
5 Melidoni Street 10553
Telephone: (210) 325 2773; 2823; 2875, Fax: (210) 322 0761
8 Melidoni Street 10553
Telephone: (210) 325 2875, Fax: (210) 322 0761
Meals on Wheels
Glatt Kosher Meals delivered
Telephone: (21 0) 520 2880
35 Kotsou Street 341 00
Telephone: (2221) 80690
Telephone: (2221) 27297
36 Kotsou Street
This shull has been renewed and rebuilt numerous times, yet still stands on its original foundation. There are inscriptions on tombstone in the cemetery that go back more than fourteen centuries. The Synagogue is only open on the High Holy Days
5 Riz. Voulephton St. 49100
Telephone: (2661) 45650, Fax: (2661) 43791
4 Velissariou St.
Telephone: (2661) 38802
Services on High Holydays only
Etz Hayyim Synagogue
Parados Kondyllaki 730 11, Hania
Telephone: (2821) 086 286, Fax: (2821) 086 286
Website: www.etz hayyim hania.org
loannina Community Organisations
18 Josef Eliyia St. 45221
Telephone: (2651) 25195 Contact: John Kalef Ezra on 32390
Platia Evreon Martiren, 29 Kentavron St. 41222
Telephone: (241) 532 965
Jewish Museum Of Rhodes
Kahal Shalom Kadosh
Simmiou and Dossiadou Street, Old City 85100
Telephone: (22410) 22364 70964, Fax: (22410) 73039
Central organisation: Central Jewish Board of Greece (KIS)
There are approximately 40 members making up the Jewish Community of Rhodes. The Synagogue built in 1577 is operated by them. It was built around 1577 and is situated in the old Jewish Quarter. The synagogue is on The World Monuments Fund list, and mentions the Synagogue on the 100 most endangered sites. Next to the Synagogue is the Jewish Museum. It has recently been restructured and extended. Last I heard, you can contact Mrs. Carmen Cohen should you wish to visit the site.
Jewish Community of Rhodes, No.5 Polydorou S1. Old City.
Rhodes. Tel: 2241022364/70964 or Fax: 22410 73039
Around the turn of the 20th century the Jews of Salonika formed the bulk of Salonika’s inhabitants. Some called it the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’. Even the official day off work was Saturday and not Sunday.
The Israelite Fraternity House
24 Vassileos Irakliou St.
Telephone: (231) 221030
Yad Ie Zikaron
26 Vassileos Irakliou St. 546 24
Telephone: (231) 275 701, Fax: (231) 229 063
Jewish Museum ofThessaloniki
13 Agiou Mina Street 54624
Telephone: (231) 0025 0406, Fax: (231) 0025 0407
Tuesday, Friday & Sunday: 11 am to 2pm, Wednesday & Thursday: 11 am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm. There are guided tours for groups.
35 Sygrou Street 54630
Telephone: (231) 524968
15 Athanassiou Diakou Street
24 Vassileos Irakliou Street
Telephone: (231) 223231
Volos Community Organisations
Xenophontos & Moisseos Streets 38333
Telephone: (2421) 25302, Fax: (2421) 25302
Volos Kashrut Information
20 Paredes Kondulaki
Xenophontos & Moisseos Streets
Open primarily on High Holy Days
Riga Ferreou Square