The Greek Synagogue That’s Lacking Only One Thing: Jews

The renovated Etz Hayyim synagogue on the island of Crete is testament to the passions of a man who refused to allow it to become a symbol of Hitler’s destruction of the Greek Jews.

CHANIA, Crete – Down a backstreet of the Old Venetian Harbor of Chania, between the tavernas and boutiques, an elderly Greek man finishes morning prayers, wraps up his tefillin and lights his pipe. His name is Nikos Stavroulakis, and the synagogue of Etz Hayyim is his living memorial to 2,000 years of Cretan Jewry. No one quite knows when the first Jews arrived on Crete, but they...