Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Jews of Greece

Here I am enjoying lunch with new friends at Temple Menorah on Miami Beach...We had moussaka,spanokopita, horiatiki salata, baklava and, yes, ouzo for everyone -- opa!

We are here for a presentation by Dr. Rachel Lapidot (whose parents were from Salonika) on "The Jews of Greece" -- indeed her talk is about the Jews of Salonika, who have been there since the 2nd Century.

At one point, 70 percent of the population was Jewish, with about 60 synagogues representing Jews from Spain, Portugal and France and elsewhere who spoke mostly Ladino. On Shabbat, the stores and the port were closed. In 1920, in the exchange of populations with Turkey, a multitude of Greeks came to Salonika changing the balance forever. Then, of course, WWII and the Holocaust. Now just a handful of Jews remain comparatively.

I stood up to say that I had lived in Salonika for 10 years, when I knew Jews who were hidden and survived. And, I was proud to further say, knew Greeks who saved them from transport to Auschwitz. There is a Jewish museum in Athens. 
Silvia Lehrer, Matt & Zora Frances
A woman at my table has a brother who bought a house in Hydra around 1960. I also met Silvia Lehrer whose parents were from Kastoria, and who described her family as a minority within a minority because they were from the boonies; she's a food writer from New York, and we will exchange recipes. Last but not least, I met Matt Frances (and wife Zora) who was actually born in Larissa! 

What a nice day.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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