For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Etz Hayyim Synagogue.

Etz Hayyim Synagogue

Etz Hayyim Synagogue
בית הכנסת עץ חיים
AffiliationOrthodox Judaism
LocationParodos Kondylaki
Chania, Greece
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.


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


  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". 22 January 2010.

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

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Etz Hayyim Synagogue
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?