The Jewish Museum of Greece was founded in 1977 with the aim of collecting, studying, preserving, and exhibiting the artifacts that reflect the life, customs, history and traditions of the Greek Jews. In other words, to present the material evidence of 2,500 years of Jewish life in Greece.
Its collection includes more than 10.000 rare artefacts of great historical significance. This unique collection is continuously enriched and updated.
The Museum has a rich library and photographic archive and has contributed significantly to the study and preservation of Jewish tradition in Greece.
It collaborates with Greek and foreign institutions and organisations and it records and photographs Jewish monuments, synagogues cemeteries etc. which are slowly disappearing as a result of the passage of time and the population decrease of the Jewish Communities. It also contributes towards specialised studies of the life and traditions of the Romaniote and Sephardic Jews of Greece. The Museum receives approximately 10 – 12 thousand visitors each year, from both Greece and abroad. Its aim is to demonstrate to visitors the common roots of Jews and Christians. The Museum shows vividly and clearly their common cultural heritage in Greece, a heritage based on strong cultural bonds, dating from the Hellenistic era.
The Greek-Jewish heritage is an important part of the international Jewish heritage, as many important Rabbis, researchers and mystics lived and worked in Greece. One of the main goals of the Museum is to make known to all Greek Jews their rich culture, spiritual and material, thus reinforcing their sense of social integration and historic continuity.
At the same time, it wants to give all its visitors the chance to come into contact with the meaning and the importance of the Greek aspect of Judaism, thus challenging them to re-examine and re-evaluate their own views and experiences.
Education is another of the Museum’s priorities and special attention is given to the design and preparation of special educational programmes on all the aspects of Jewish life presented in its permanent or temporary exhibitions. The Museum holds that by bringing the young generation into contact with another culture, one whose traditions flourished side by side with their own, it encourages them to embrace difference and assists in their developing broader horizons, as well as intercultural awareness and sensitivity.
Special emphasis is put on educating children about the Holocaust. It is the Museum’s firm belief that teaching the Shoah to children offers a unique opportunity to touch upon present-day issues, such as racism, discrimination, and civic responsibility. Encouraging the children to think about these and other issues ultimately helps in shaping better citizens for the future.
The social impact and feedback of the work of the Jewish Museum of Greece reinforces its traditional mission to collect, preserve, study and present all aspects of the culture and the history of the Greek Jews, through its invaluable collections. A visit to the Museum is enough to reveal its identity: more than a place of learning and remembrance, it is also a place of religious acquaintance and understanding, as well as a centre for spiritual and cultural contact and for human interaction.
Jewish Museum of Greece
39 Nikis str, Athens 105 57
Phone: +30 – 210 32 25 582 Fax: +30 – 210 32 31 577