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Etz Hayyim Synagogue

Etz Hayyim Synagogue
בית הכנסת עץ חיים
Religion
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
Location
LocationParodos Kondylaki
Chania, Greece
Website
Etz Hayyim Synagogue

The Etz Hayyim Synagogue (Hebrew: בית הכנסת עץ חיים) is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Chania on the Greek island of Crete.[1] It is the only surviving remnant of the island's Romaniote Jewish community.

Overview

After being restored, the synagogue (with its mikveh) has become a tourist destination and has attracted visits from foreign dignitaries like Queen Sofía of Spain and King Constantine II of Greece, who made a sudden and unannounced visit to the site in March 2006.

Today, the synagogue is seen locally as a symbol of coexistence. Uniquely, almost all of its congregants are non-Jews, with an international team taking care of the congregation work.[2] Occasionally, a rabbi or (during the Jewish holidays) someone who is able to blow the shofar visits the community. Christians and Muslims are invited to visit.[3] Despite the community's Romaniote past, the congregation today uses primarily the Sephardic custom of Greece and has developed its own Haggadah text.[1]

The synagogue was the target of multiple arson attacks in January 2010; fires were set inside the synagogue on 5 and 16 January, and a bar of soap was left outside during the latter, presumably invoking a common Greek-language antisemitic threat which translates to "I'll make you into a bar of soap".[4] The first fire was quickly contained, but the second destroyed 2,500 rare books and manuscripts.[5] Two British men aged 23 and 33, and one Greek man aged 24, were arrested in connection with both attacks after the Greek man confessed to police.[5] Two Americans were also being sought by police in connection with the first attack.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Etz Hayyim Synagogue | Visitor Information". Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  2. ^ "The Greek Synagogue That's Lacking Only One Thing: Jews". Haaretz. 29 June 2014.
  3. ^ Spengler-Axiopoulos, Barbara (5 May 2010). "Die Havurah von Chania - NZZ" – via NZZ.
  4. ^ "ADL To Prime Minister Of Greece: Forcefully Condemn Anti-Semitism". 18 January 2010. Archived from the original on 18 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Britons arrested over arson attack on Crete synagogue". TheGuardian.com. 22 January 2010.

35°30′56″N 24°01′00″E / 35.51556°N 24.01667°E / 35.51556; 24.01667

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Etz Hayyim Synagogue
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