19 January 2010

Greece: Public outrage at cemetery desecration

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos is the museum director of New York City's Kehila Kedosha Janina (Ioannina), a congregation formed by early immigrants from this ancient Jewish Romaniote community.

Recently, she passed on good news concerning Christian citizens demonstrating publicly in support of the Jewish cemetery in Ioannina.

Marcia writes:

Normally I would wait for our monthly e-newsletter to pass on recent news from Greece, but some news deserves to be passed on immediately, especially when it is such good news. Too often, negativity makes the front page.

In recent years, anti-Semitism is all too prevalent.

What then can be more emotionally rewarding than to pass on the news of a recent mass demonstration against anti-Semitism?
Where did this demonstration take place? In Ioannina! It was organized by the Christian citizens of the city and was heralded as a “a human chain against racism.”

The cemetery was surrounded by the citizens of Ioannina to show their support for the Jewish community of the city and to publically show their outrage at recent desecrations of Jewish tombstones. In addition, a public exhibition was held, highlighting the ancient Jewish presence in the city and the importance of the Jewish cemetery as a monument to the long Jewish presence in Ioannina.

The committee that organized the public display of support made the following statement: “The Jewish cemetery is not only the religious space of the Jewish Community but, also, a cultural monument of our city, the protection of which, like other historical monuments of our city, is the duty of every citizen.”

Let us all applaud the good citizens of Ioannina who organized and took part in this historic event.

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos
Museum Director
Kehila Kedosha Janina
280 Broome Street
NYC, NY 10002

Visit the congregation's website for more information. Click "Other Links" (on the left menu of that homepage) for many additional resources for Greek and Sephardic research. Read the online accessible newsletters and view other pages.

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