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Thursday, 20 October 2022 09:21

With much emotion, solemnity and infinite memories, the reopening of the renovated synagogue of the Kal Kadosh Yavanim of Trikala was inaugurated on Sunday 16 October 2022, in the presence of the Ministers of Interior, Makis Voridis and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Lefteris Economou, members of parliament and numerous Jewish visitors from Greece and Israel. It was a project that restored the problems that existed in the building of the historic synagogue, bringing it back to life.

The restoration of the synagogue was made possible thanks to the support of donors from Greece and abroad. The importance of their contribution was stressed during the inauguration event. The Mayor of Trikala, Dimitris Papastergiou described the inauguration as "a wonderful day and a day of celebration for Trikala", noting that the city has an "open mind and heart; it was and remains multicultural".

For his part, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), Mr. David Saltiel emphasized that the ceremony "sends out multiple messages", as it "inaugurates the renovated and safe building and a new era in the continuation of Jewish life in Trikala", "highlights the long history and culture of the Community", "confirms the brotherhood that this place has cultivated" and "marks solidarity".

Particularly moved, the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala, Mr. Jacob Venouziou, referred to the "dream of the renovation of the synagogue", citing facts from the works. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, Commissioner for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mr. Frank Schwabe, on the occasion of his country's financial support of the restoration, thanked for the opportunity to contribute to the project. He emphasized friendship and did not fail to mention both the events of the Second World War and the German invasion of Greece.

The Federal Republic of Germany was also represented by the Ambassador of Germany to Greece, Dr. Ernst Reichel, who had addressed the Saturday's events at the Tsitsanis Museum.

The event began with a religious ceremony (Mincha and Berachot) by Rabbi Elias Sabetai of Larissa, who in his address referred to a day of celebration for all Greek Jewry.

The Ambassador of Israel to Greece, Mr. Noam Katz, also gave a greeting. He stressed that the synagogue is a symbol of hundreds of years of Jewish history in Trikala. Also, the General Secretary of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education, George Kalantzis, who pointed out that the inauguration shows the way for the future and the Regional Governor of Thessaly, Kostas Agorastos, who described the reopening of the synagogue as a great moment for Trikala. The opening addresses were followed by hymns by the choir of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the presentation of honorary plaques to the benefactors of the renovation project of the synagogue. Plaques were presented by the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala to: The Federal Republic of Germany, the Municipality of Trikala, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, as well as to Mr. Victor Venouziou and the family of the late Solomon Kapeta.

Afterwards, the Jewish Community of Trikala proclaimed as honorary members Mr. Victor Venouziou, Mrs. Veta Kapeta - Matathias and Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Central Jewish Board of Greece and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. The inauguration event was presented by Mrs. Effie Ezrati, Public Relations Officer of KIS, and the co-organizers of the three-day event were the Municipality of Trikala, KIS and the Jewish Community of Trikala.

Kabbalat Shabbat

The events started with religious ceremonies from Friday 14 October 2022. KIS General Secretary, Mr. Victor Eliezer and the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala, Mr. Victor Venouziou welcomed the guests from Greece and Israel in the renovated and bright synagogue. The Kabbalat Shabbat was celebrated by Rabbi Isaac Mizan. This was followed by kiddush in the sukkah that had been set up in the synagogue courtyard.

Services at the Synagogue and Concert at the Tsitsanis Museum

On Saturday October 15, 2022, Rabbi Gabriel Negrin of Athens celebrated the morning service on Shabbat and in the afternoon the havdalah in the Synagogue of Trikala, as well as the kiddush in the sukkah.

The events continued in the evening at the Tsitsanis Museum, where visitors toured an exhibition of photographs from the renovation of the synagogue. Deputy Mayor Sofia Alesta welcomed the audience. The architect Mr. Elias Messinas, who was responsible for the restoration, presented slides and analyzed the progress of the project. The civil engineer in charge, Mr. Kostas Evangelou, referred to specific issues of the project, noting that it is now a monument - jewel - a landmark for the city. This was followed by a concert by soprano Mariangela Hadjistamatiou, accompanied by musicians, with Romaniote, Sephardic and Jewish songs.


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