The Jewish Presence in Larissa 1st part

Rita Moise

The largest Jewish Community of Thessaly and the third largest of Greece has always been and still is today, the Jewish Community of Larissa. The Jewish Community of Larissa has roots that reach to the antiquity. A community existed in the years before Christ, probably established during the Roman era. According to many historians and travellers who visited the city, it has had a live presence for at least 1900 years. This is also proved by several archaeological findings with Jewish symbols that were found during excavations in the city.

At times, the Jewish Community of Larissa absorbed Jews from Hungary, Poland, etc (Ashkenazim), from Spain (Sepharadim) and from the Peloponese (Moraitis). Upon the arrival of Spanish Jews (Sepharadim), who came to Greece after their expulsion from Spain in 1492, the community took its final form. The Spanish Jews mingled with their fellow-Jews, passed on their culture and language to them, and contributed not only to the development of the community, but to the progress of the entire city, as well. In the beginning, they established a separate community in Larissa, but later on, with the guidance of learned rabbis, they united into one, still existing today.

Honorary stele with inscription in Hebrew. Menorah on the top of the stele. 1st century A.C.
(Photo: Archive of 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities of Larissa)
Menorah, The Seven-branched Candelabrum
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)
Sefer Torah: The Holiest book within Judaism
(Photo: Archives of Esdra D. Moise & Families of the Jewish Community of Larissa)

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