Jewish Quarters in Greece

Jun 20th, 2005, 07:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Jewish Quarters in Greece

Hi there,
My boyfriend & I are planning a trip to Greece in October. We are going to Athens & Rhodes among other places. I understand that there are Jewish quarters in both of these places. I am looking for information, recommendations etc about 1) how much time to allocate, 2) are their active/inactive synagogues to vist, 3) museums to visit, 4) memorial sites to visit, 5) and particularly in Rhodes - we will be there on Shabbat - is there a way to find out about having a Shabbat meal with a local family. We are also going to Mykonos, Santorini & Crete. Is there anything of Jewish historical significance to see on these islands?

Thanks very much!!
GadgetGirl is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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I have not looked for specific jewish sites in Greece on any of my previous visits but I had just finished reading a book that spoke of what happened to the jews of Thessoloniki during the second world war so your heading caught my attention. Anyway I googled synagogues in Greece and came up with a site that looked good if you haven't already seen it Have fun in Greece!
Trish is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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some of these websites may also help

elaine is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 12:46 PM
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There is a nice Jewish museum in Athens. The website is

There is also a Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece that has an English language website:
If you click on the "Communities" link you can get a little history of the Jews in each place, plus an e-mail link to someone in each community, which at least gives you a point of contact for exploring the possibility of a Shabbat meal with a local family. I checked out the material they have on Rhodes and there is quite a bit.

As I recall my history, Thessaloniki was the Jewish center in Greece. Many of these Jews fled Spain as a result of the inquisition and lived happily in Thessaloniki and other Greek cities until the Holocaust. Now there are very few Jews left in Greece. See, for example, the following website from a Cretan synagogue which says there are only 12 Jews left in Crete, and it is only in the tourist season that there is a possibility of a minyan.

There is a very good cookbook by Nicholas Stavroulakis (former director of the Athens Jewish Museum) called Cookbook of the Jews of Greece that I highly recommend. Nicholas Stavroulakis has also written West Cretan Cooking and Salonika, a family cookbook, that are good. Salonika is particularly interesting as a family memoir and because of the way it combines traditional Sephardic cooking adapted to life in a Turkish society (remember Turkey occupied Greece for about 400 years).

Hope this helps. Good luck!
Eleni is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 12:53 PM
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PS: You can buy the books I mentioned at Eleftheroudakis on Panapistimiou Street in Athens. Eleftheroudakis is a 7 story bookstore, which has a a large selection of English language books, and a particularly good cookbook selection (both in English and Greek). Also a cafe on the top floor AND a clean restroom.
Eleni is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 07:05 PM
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There is also a Jewish community in Ioannina amd a marvelous Jewish cemetary - well worth visiting if you have the time.
Have a good trip.
sj is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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When we visited Ioannina in May, the cemetery gate was locked. There is a wonderful Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki.
lovetotravel1 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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I visited Ioannina last year with my family and had been told that there was a fantastic old Synagogue and cemetery. We walked and walked but could not find it. So I walked into a cofee shop and asked for directions. They nearly kicked me out. There is very very strong "hate" against Jews in Greece. If you go there just be carefull and keep quiet. There is a Synagogue in Monastiraki area. Go and ask the Rabi if you do not beieve me. In Rhodes there is a Jewish community and a memorial built by a greek Jewish ship owner who I met. She was a fine Jewish woman. She also advised me to just keep a low profile and she is a strong and powerfull ship owner. Good luck
isaac_ullman is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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I just came back from my second trip to Greece. If you go to Mykonos you must go to Delos, a fifteen minute ferry ride away. 6 ferrys each day (except Monday) going and coming back. The oldest ruins of a synagogue in the world outside of Israel is located on Delos. Surprisingly both the lonely planet and rough guide to Greece made no mention of the synagogue. It is marked on maps that you can find on the island. To find it go to the stadium (from the ferry work toward the museum and then veer left behind the museum) and then when you face the living quarters behind the stadium it is to the right of those quarters. It border the sea. There are very interesting articles about the site, just google delos synagogue. You will walk on and around lots of prickly plants so you might want to wear something other than sandals.

I was in Rhodes 20 years ago but vividly recall the synagogue there. The Rhodes synagogue is a quaint but interesting one. When I was there a survivor from Rhodes gave me a tour of the synagogue. I'm sure they are still open to visit, but I do not think they have shabbat services.

I found the Jewish Museum in Athens (on Nikis street in the Plaka) to be very disappointing. Poorly labelled exhibits that give limited information. It opens at 9 am.
newyorker is offline  
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