On the morning of the 15th October Goodys Fast Food restaurant greeted a rainy Sunday morning with a graffiti on its front ‘Juden Raus!’ –’Get out Jews!’. The mentality behind this is deplorable and for those of us who lived in the Depression and have memory of the German Occupation is disturbing as it says something about how little we remember , about how little we understand. In a time of crisis, economic,social and political that we would be reminded of how Europe and its defunct morality and ethics managed to create two world wars in the 20th century is sad. These wars resulted in the deaths of more than 61.000.000 – people of many religions and ethnicities: Greeks, Russians, Germans,English, Yugoslavs, Jews and Gypsies and homosexuals among them. Juden Raus was the slogan of a sick and frightening ideology that emerged in the hiatus between those wars. That this sign should be written in German is most significant; that it should be done in Crete and that nothing was done to stop the perpetrators despite the fact that Goodys is on a main street of Hania says something about how little we know of this city. Hania was once, like Sarajevo a city in which lived Cretan Christians and Cretan Muslims,Catholics, Jews, monks and dervishes, Bengazi Arabs and Armenians…in a highly creative and active society. The skeletal remains in the form of abandoned mosques, tekkes, churches and fountains are reminders of this time that we have seen erased in the course of our becoming Éuropean, in embracing a Europe that now blames Greece for its economic ills and failure. That this sign was written in German and not Greek says something about what we have become by linking our fortunes with a Europe about which we know equally little.
October 17, 2011
October 11, 2011
Due to the economic crisis that is endemic everywhere It was expected that we not have a great attendance for either Rosh HaShanah or Yom Kipour though we did for both have a minyan. As usual during the interim days the shofar was blown every morning to announce Selihot prayers and on the Eve of Yom Kipour, Lior Asher arrived from Tel Aviv. This is the third year that Lior has been with us and this year he led the entire prayer service for Y-K. His gift to the Synagogue is deeply appreciated as he has not only a family in Tel Aviv but also has to leave two hours after the Fast has ended in order to catch his 2:00 AM plane back home.
We were all especially touched when he told us that he always felt that Etz Hayyim had no roof and that his prayers went directly up into the heavens with none of the normal interference and distraction of political in-fighting in other communities. After Neilah when he blew the Yemeni shofar that we have, we broke the fast in the Synagogue as it was raining (which for us is always a propitious sign), and then after a dinner together he left by taxi for Herakleion. Next year he plans to bring his wife who is at present pregnant along with his son to spend R-HaShanah and Yom Kipour with us. Like the rain, Lior is a special blessing for us here.
Guests of Note: Ruth Padel the poet and great-great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin was with us for a week after giving a poetry reading in Loutro. We managed to set in motion for a poetry work-shop to be held in the new Resource Centre in the Spring. The author of several books for children, Doreen Rapapport and her husband Bob Rosegarten, the Emeritus Mayor of Great Neck were also with us for Yom Kipour. Both have been friends of the Synagogue from the days when initial work was being carried out for its renovation in 1999.