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Jewish Life in Greece - Adina Mindick

Jewish Life in Greece - Adina Mindick

Adina's experiences studying the Jews of Greece on Crete and Rhodes in summer 2007

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Posted by Adina Mindick at 2:05PM   |  Add a comment
Etz Hayyim

So far Chania has been quite an adventure. The area is touristy but not as much as Rhodes.  I can’t tear myself away from the view of the harbor from my apt. I think I’ve taken about 100 pictures of that alone.  My schedule is great here too, I have time to do work and go to the beach for a few hours most days before going into the synagogue. There aren’t usually many visitors so it’s fairly quiet. The library here is small but perfect for my project. There are shelves full of books about Greek Jews, newspaper articles just about Etz-Hayyim and lots more.  I’ve found several books here that are really helpful, including one on all of Holocaust memorials and monuments on each of the Greek Islands. Although the library itself is stuffy, there’s no internet to distract me, its cozy up there and sometimes I fall asleep, but what’s a little napping among friends?

This past Shabbat I got to help lead Kabbalat Shabbat services, which was very nice. Usually the Synagogue director leads them but he was away this weekend.  Myself and a few of the other regulars lead different prayers, including a couple from Manhattan who were visiting on their vacation. They told me they’d already met a handful of other Jews from New York so far and that “we’re all Jews from New York but we only meet up here on vacation,” which was pretty funny. Some Italian visitors asked the how big the Jewish community in their area was, to which they responded that there were maybe 50 or 60 synagogues within a 100 block radius, “on Shabbat you see everyone walking around coming to and from shul, it’s like a little Jerusalem.” I think I saw the Israeli couple sitting across from them raise their eyebrows but I think they refrained from commenting. All in all it was a very nice evening.

I’m not sure I’ve gotten sued to the food here yet. I’ve been warned not to eat at any of the restaurants along the harbor because they’re apparently not clean and overcharge all of the tourists. This pretty much rules out 75% of the eateries within walking distance of my apt.  I’ve been eating at this one place a lot; it’s called Tamam and is supposedly a “safe” place to eat.  The food there is delicious. I keep eating this one dish, whose name I can’t pronounce or even attempt to spell here, it’s basically just pureed eggplant with chicken and tomatoes, also some spices I can’t determine. I’m not usually such an adventurous eater but I’m glad I tried this because it’s great. I am starting to miss things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Starbucks  and more than anything – Chinese food! I once saw a cartoon in Hadassah magazine with the current Jewish year subtracted from the current Chinese year, the remainder was labeled “number of years that Jews had to live without Chinese food.” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at anything and I’ve never forgotten it.


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