Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum Presents Ninth Annual Greek Jewish Festival

Kehila Kedosha Janina (the Holy Community of Janina) Synagogue and Museum presented the ninth annual Greek Jewish festival, Sunday, May 19, 2024, on the Lower East Side in New York City. The Greek Jewish Festival celebrates the unique Romaniote and Sephardic heritage of the Jews in Greece. The festival featured Synagogue tours, authentic kosher Greek foods and pastries, traditional dance performances with live Greek and Sephardic music, and an outdoor marketplace filled with vendors, arts, educational activities for kids and more.

There were lively performances from the Stavros Theodorou Orchestra, Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey, Noga Group featuring Avram Pengas, Hannah Dance Performance, Sounds of Cyprus, and Habbina Habbina. 

Kehila Kedosha Janina is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote Jews are a unique community of Greek-speaking Jews whose history in Greece dates back over 2,300 years to the time of Alexander the Great. The Romaniotes are historically distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Greece after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

Kehila Kedosha Janina is a NYC designated landmark, and continues to hold services every Saturday morning as well as for all Jewish holidays. In addition, it houses a museum about Greek Jewry that is open to the public every Sunday, as well as by appointment. The museum serves as a repository for both Romaniote and Sephardic history, especially on the Lower East Side, and hosts many educational events including lectures, book signings, movie screenings, and concerts.

Kehila Kedosha Janina is a tight-knit community whose doors are always open to provide both a spiritual home as well as a place to learn about Greek Jewish history. The Greek Jewish Festival is their latest effort to not only preserve the unique culture of Greek Jews, but also to celebrate and develop new ways of expressing what it means to be a Romaniote or Sephardic Jew. 

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