The early part of 2010 was especially challenging for us in Hania. The double arson attacks demanded great attention on security and also on insuring that the synagogue be not only brought back to what it was but also to improve certain of its activities. One of our immediate concerns was the library as we have a quite rich general resource library on subjects that are not necessarily what one would expect to find in a Synagogue library. To a degree (it is still being assessed) we lost a considerable number of books that were of great value as they are no longer in print. Fortunately through world-wide assistance many of the lost books have been re-placed. In many respects the library is now perhaps more complete than it was prior to the fires.
The library is a public resource facility and inevitably its core is made up of books relative to Jewish history and Judaism as well as works on the State of Israel and Palestine. However, it has not been negligent in broadening its basis and Modern Greek history as well as specialized works on Cretan history that cover 5000 years are to be found as well. Roman, Classical Greece into the Roman period is well represented. Our collection of book relative to the Byzantine Empire is followed by Medieval European history as well as a large collection of contemporary works on Ottoman History that is backed by an equally large collection of books on Islam. The latter is well represented by original texts – the Qur’an, Hadith (practices of the Prophet) as well as Islamic Theology and mysticism. The Christian tradition is well represented as well with special concentration on origins as well as Catholic Europe and many contemporary works on the inter-action of Judaism, Christianity and Islam which, are of course quite important recent significance.
The library as a public resource is open five days during the week during regular Synagogue visitor’s hours. Persons wishing to make use of it are always welcome though we do not have a policy of lending books for obvious reasons. One can find a peaceful place to read in one of the library facilities or even in the newly planted rose-garden – and there is always coffee and something to nibble on.