Grand opening of restored synagogue in the Greek city of Trikala

Israeli Ambassador Noam Katz attends the rededication ceremony at the Kahal Kadosh Yavanim synagogue in Trikala, Greece, Oct. 16, 2022. Source: Twitter.

Members of Jewish Communities from all over the world attended the Grand Opening of the renovated Synagogue in Trikala, Greece this week.

The celebration began last Friday, when the doors were opened to the public for the first time, and included an event at the Titanic Museum, where there was a presentation and a photo exhibition about that restoration and guests enjoyed a concert.

Present at the Grand Opening were Greece’s Minister of the Interior Makis Voridis and Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Lefteris Oikonomos, members of parliament, the regional governor of Thessaly, the mayor of Trikala, and representatives of nearby municipalities.

The ambassadors of Israel and Germany in Greece, Noam Katz, and Ernst Reichel, respectively, were also present.

The president of the Jewish Community of Trikala, Yaakov Venouziou, described how the renovation of the Kal Kantos Yavanim Synagogue came about, emphasizing that in 2017, after a proposal by the Jewish Community of Trikala, the Central Jewish Council under the chairmanship of David Saltiel decided to move forward on the renovation of the Synagogue.

In 2018, David Saltiel himself, when he was president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, visited the city of Trikala, in order to oversee the renovation work. The project was successfully completed at the end of 2019 thanks to generous funding from the Federal Republic of Germany and the support of donors from Greece and abroad.

It was noted that the restored building is not just a place of prayer and gathering but is also a symbol of the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of Christians and Jews.

Guests were informed that the first recorded reference of Jews in the city of Trikala dates back to 1195 and was made by the famous Spanish traveler-rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, who encountered Romaniote Jews, the first to come and settle in Greece, arriving during Hellenistic and Roman times.

Trikala is located in northwestern Thessaly, in central Greece. Around 500 Jews lived there before World War II. Today, several dozen Jews call the city home, according to the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

An estimated 87 per cent of Greece’s Jews were killed during the Holocaust.