"Kahal Shalom Synagogue" Rhodes (Island) Things to Do Tip by apbeaches

Rhodes (Island) Things to Do: 439 reviews and 881 photos

There has been a Jewish presence in Rhodes for 2,300 years. They were, at times, persecuted by Romans and other rulers of the islands. During Ottoman rule, however, the Jews of Rhodes prospered, and many expelled Sephardim settled there, particularly in the city of Rhodes, where they built many synagogues (there were six, including Kahal Shalom, in La Juderia, at one time). The Kahal Shalom Synagogue was constructed in 1577 (5338 in the Hebrew calendar), and has been in use ever since. The synagogue and its worshipers prospered under Ottoman rule into the twentieth century. However, the Kingdom of Italy took over the Dodecanese Islands in 1912, and large numbers of the Jews of Rhodes had begun to emigrate during the 1930s, as they faced discrimination by the Fascist Italian regime. When the Italian Fascist government fell, the Island came under direct German control, and more than 1,600 of the remaining 1,700 Jews were deported and met their deaths in concentration camps, largely putting an end to the use of Kahal Shalom. Kahal Shalom was the only of the four synagogues in La Juderia at the time to survive the bombing during the Second World War. Today, Kahal Shalom is only used for services during the summer, when there is an influx of Jewish tourists and Rhodeslis (Jews hailing from Rhodes) as there are only 35 Jews on the island today), and as the headquarters for the Jewish Museum of Rhodes.

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  • Written Jul 16, 2008
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