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Friday, February 12, 2010

Synagogue Library Destroyed in Crete

In behalf of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress I express my dismay about this incident. I am saddened that people attack the houses of worship and educational institutions.

As a community of people of the faith, we need to discourage such behavior, and as a Muslim I want to parttake in rebuilding of the synagogue Library by shipping a few books on Judaism that I have treasured.

Books are the most they want at this time.

Mike Ghouse

Violence in Crete Against Synagogue: Library Destroyed

According to a news report, the 600-year old synagogue of Crete has been the victim of two
separate arson attacks that devastated their entire library.

Professor Igor H. de Souza, Professor in the Committee on Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago writes that the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., has offered to replace some of the titles.

"I'm writing this to see if anyone has any of the books in the list of the books they are looking
to replace. If you do, and would like to donate them, please get in touch with me and I will take care of the shipping costs. They need a variety of books, such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, etc, in several fields, in English, Hebrew or Greek." Contact holanda@uchicago.edu. For more information and for a link to the list of books, see http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/node/610

Shared by Graeme Sharrock

U.S. condemns two arsons at historic Synagogue in Crete

Tagged with: Anti-Semitism in Greece Donate to Etz-Hayyim synagogue Etz-Hayyim arson fires Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in Crete Torching of synagogue in Crete U.S. condemns
More .Burned remains of sacred treasures. Etz Hayyim Synagogue Photo.
By Salim Jiwa

WASHINGTON – The U.S. has strongly condemned the second torching of a historic synagogue on the Island of Crete calling it an example of anti-Semitic action designed to terrorize Greece’s Jewish community.

“We strongly condemn the January 5 and January 16 arson attacks on the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the city of Chania on the island of Crete,” a state department spokesman said on Wednesday. “The Synagogue dates back to the Middle Ages and is one of the last Jewish monuments on the island. An attack on the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue is an attack on Greece’s history and heritage,” said a press release issued Wednesday evening.

“The second attack caused severe damage to the Synagogue, destroying nearly 2,000 books and severely damaging the building’s wooden roof,” the state department spokesman said. The small Jewish community on the Island had worked hard to try and restore some of the damage done in a January 5 attack when the second attack occurred in the middle of the night, according to a blog on the synagogue’s website.

“This attack was clearly intended to intimidate and terrorize Greece’s Jewish community and is only the latest of several incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism throughout Greece over the past few years,” said state department spokesman Mark C. Toner.

“We applaud the Greek government for condemning these attacks and taking a strong stand against anti-Semitism and racism,” said Toner. “Our Embassy in Athens is in contact with the Synagogue. Embassy officials will be meeting with their Greek counterparts to underscore U.S. concern over this incident.”

A blog on the website of the synagogue said community members had scraped, primed, polished and oiled some of the wood work and marble flooring when the second attack took place. “On the night of Friday, January 15, after more than a week of work on the sanctuary – newly scraped, primed and re-painted; the wood-work oiled with lavender and the marble floor polished – we met for Erev Shabbat prayers and Kiddush,” said the blog.

“Later we locked the synagogue and returned to our homes feeling that we had set our steps forward. Saturday morning at 3:30 AM however the Synagogue’s director was wakened by the alarm that had been set off in the Synagogue and rushed there accompanied by two helpers to find the entire main office ablaze.”

“They began putting out the fire with the garden hose as the firemen had not yet succeeded in getting their hoses connected. When the mains were finally connected the firemen set to work – by 4:45 the fire was only smoldering and all that remained of the upper and lower office was completely gutted,” said a news blog.

“Everything in the main office – e.g. two computers, complete Talmud, Midraschim, 2 sets of Rashi lexicons (Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew) plus many reference books and the entire archive of the Synagogue have all been destroyed.

“By noon the Siphrei Torah along with all of the silver ornaments (rimonim, tassim, yads etc.) and a precious early 17th century illuminated Qur’an were removed to a secure location. It was a sad moment to see them being taken away from the Kal as it was a joyous moment when they had been installed in 1999. But we are determined that they will come back!”

- Those wishing to donate to rebuild the synagogue can go here.

Arsonists attack synagogue in Crete

Last Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2010 11:01 AM ET Comments104Recommend23CBC News A synagogue on the Greek island of Crete was hit by arsonists for the second time in three weeks, police said Saturday.

The attack happened in the city of Chania when an unknown number of people entered the building, broke through a first-floor door and started a fire, police said.

Fire officials said the blaze partly destroyed the synagogue's wooden ceiling, as well as many of its archives, computers and CDs. Police say about 2,500 books, many of them rare editions, were destroyed in this attack and a previous arson attack three weeks ago.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/01/16/crete-synagogue.html#ixzz0fMVGxSKD


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