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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Greek Jews? What is Happening to Them? Greek Priest Blames Jews-Anti-Semitism Arises

Nadene Goldfoot
With all the talk about Greece being pivitol concerning our economic crisis, I started wondering whether there were any Jews living in Greece.  Out of their population of 11,329,618 I found there are about 5,000 remaining there.  However, the reports from other places have stated number from 1,000 to 100,000 or 1.5% of the population .  There are at least 2 synagogues.  In 1902 there were 62,000 Jews living in Thessaloniki, or 49% of that population, but today there are only 1,000.

Athens has the largest Jewish community with 3,000 Jews.  They have a synagogue, school and museum to support.  There are 6,000 members in the country's Jewish community.  They are hurting in this crisis and will not be able to  pay their bills due in 2013, so are asking for help from other Jewish communities now, reports Benjamin Albelas.

A senior Greek Priest, the Metropolite of Piraeus Seraphim, was on the largest TV station, Mega TV, spouting anti-semitic diatribes.  He blames Jews for Greece's financial problems.  He said it was world Jewry, international Zionism that is destroying family values and who promotes one-parent families and same sex marriages as well.  It's all a zionist conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy.  Then he went on to blame Jews in banking and in using Hitler as a way to establish Israel.  Benjamin Albelas reported that he was sickened to hear him say these things. 

When we were freed by Cyrus, the Persian King during our Babylonian Exile of 586-539 BCE, we met Greeks for the first time.  Ezekiel wrote about them being people who traded slaves and worked with bronze.  Herodotus called Jews the Palestinian Jews, as both Arab and Jew were called Palestinians after 132 CE by the Romans.    The first Jewish community there was established in 400 BCE. 

Many Jews have the history of living on the island of Rhodes which goes back to 300-250 BCE. The first Jew known was Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew, a slave.  This was found on an inscription going back to 300 BCE found in Oronos, a coastal town between Athens and Boeotia.   Hyrcanus was a Jew honored with a statue from their Jewish community of Athens.  Josephus wrote about a meeting between Aristotle who lived in the 4th Century BCE and a Jew of Asia Minor, from Coele, Syria, which would be the Syria of today.  He could speak Greek well as well as think like Greeks, the comment was. 

Jews in Greece go back in history over 2,000 years ago.  Greek Jews helped to develop Christianity.

We have had confrontation between the Greeks and the Jews.  There was the Maccabean Revolt of 167-164 BCE which we remember with our holiday of Chanukkah.  The Seleucid King Antiochus IV imposed rules and restrictions on Jews that were impossible, such as installing Greek G-d statues in our temple, and trying to force people to eat pork.

The Romaniotes (name from time of being in the Roman Byzantine) were Greek Jews that were Sephardic and lived mainly in Thessaloniki which they called the Mother of Israel and was also called Salonika.  . They spoke Yevanic, which was a dialect of Greek but is a dead language today. Today most all live in either Israel or New York.

In 70 CE Jews were taken as slaves from Jerusalem and shipped to Rome by ships but some ran aground in the Ionian Sea near the Albanian Coast and the survivors were able to settle there in what became Ioannina.

By the 12th Century Benjamin of Tudela wrote of seeing large Jewish communities that were in the garment industry:  dying cloth, weaving, and making silk clothing. 

Sephardim Jews had settled in Greece after 1492 when they were expelled from Spain.  Most of the Jewish population died in the Holocaust of 1941-1945.   

The prevailing religion of Greece is the Eastern Orthodox Christianity.  They also have a Muslim minority and Ethnic Turks who are also schooled in Turkish.  A movement started in the 1990's is the reconstruction of the ancient Greek religion, which is polytheistic.  It revolves around the Greek Gods of the 12 Olympians including their Hellenic values and virtues.  They have 2,000 followers. 


1 comment:

Nadene Goldfoot said...

What happened to the Greek Jews especially those of Salonika should make you very sad and extremely angry. For that matter the Greek population paid a grim price because of German, Bulgarian and Italian occupation during the first part of the war. In 1943 Italy quit the war, later in 1944 Bulgaria turned against the Germans, but because of resistance groups in Greece, the Germans became more murderous than ever.

I will never forgive the atrocities the Germans committed in Greece, not only against the Jewish communities, but also the Greek population. After 1943 you can also add the murder of Italian troops stationed in Greece, both on the mainland and Islands.
Anybody that you know who might want to consider The Holocaust as an intellectual subject, tell them to look at Salonika, it was a screaming nightmare.
Nathan Fendrich