Kahal Shalom Synagogue

Rhodes, Greece

The Kahal Shalom Synagogue in La Juderia, the Jewish quarter of the city of Rhodes, is the oldest synagogue in Greece today.

There has been a Jewish presence in Rhodes for 2,300 years. They were, at times, persecuted by Romans, the Knights Hospitaller, and other rulers of the islands. During Ottoman rule, however, the Jews of Rhodes prospered, and many expelled Sephardim settled there, particularly in the city of Rhodes, where they built many synagogues. The Kahal Shalom Synagogue was constructed in 1577 (5338 in the Hebrew calendar), and has been in use ever since. The synagogue and its worshipers prospered under Ottoman rule into the twentieth century.

However, the Kingdom of Italy took over the Dodecanese Islands in 1912, and large numbers of the Jews of Rhodes had begun to emigrate during the 1930s, as they felt menaced by the Fascist Italian regime. When the Italian Fascist government fell, the Island came under direct German control in 1943, and more than 1,550 of the remaining 1,700 Jews were deported and met their deaths in concentration camps, largely putting an end to the use of Kahal Shalom. Kahal Shalom was the only of the four synagogues in La Juderia at the time to survive the bombing during the Second World War. Today, Kahal Shalom is only used for services during the summer, when there is an influx of Jewish tourists and Rhodeslis (Jews hailing from Rhodes) as there are only few Jews on the island today.


Most features of the Kahal Shalom Synagogue are typical of Sephardic and Ottoman synagogues. The bimah, or podium, from which the Sefer Torah is read, is in the center of the sanctuary, as in most Sephardic houses of worship. The floor is a mosaic using the black and white local stones used in pavements around Rhodes. An unusual feature of the temple is the fact that there are two hekháls (Torah arks), on either side of the door leading into the interior courtyard. There is also a fountain in the courtyard used for handwashing by the Kohanim before reciting the priestly blessings.


A number of plaques adorn the exterior and interior of the synagogue. Most, primarily in Ladino, the language of the Sephardic community, and Hebrew are dedicated to those who maintained the synagogue. Another, in French, is dedicated to the members of the community who died during the Holocaust.



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Dosiadou και, Rhodes, Greece
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Founded: 1577
Category: Religious sites in Greece


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User Reviews

Itzik levy (Izikl) (7 months ago)
The synagogue in the old city of Rhodes The synagogue is also a museum of Judaism in Rhodes. Entrance to the synagogue and museum costs 4 euros. The entrance is in a side alley until you reach it you don't see the place, so enter and walk until you reach it. The synagogue is in excellent condition. The Ark of the Covenant, bulbs and seats are in excellent condition, so you can get a full impression of the Judaism that was there. A well-kept patio and a small museum that describes the history of the Jews in Rhodes.
Stephen Rubenstein (9 months ago)
The “Kahal Shalom” is the oldest synagogue in Greece, and the sole remaining Jewish synagogue on Rhodes used for services. There was once six synagogues in the Jewish Quarter (called “La Juderia”). The “Kahal Shalom” was built in the year 1577.
Jeremy Balcombe (10 months ago)
Amazing old synagogue and some of the museum items are quite phenomenal to have still survived.
Ilya B (10 months ago)
Incredible place and the most important - incredible people working here. We got private tour by Isaak, descendant of Jews from Rhodos, whose mother survived Auschwitz. And we also met Sami Modiano, survivor of Auschwitz who is now 92 years old, living in italy, but coming each year to Rhodos to tell his story.
Jonathan Perez (11 months ago)
A must see, and the tour on the old town is very interesting too !
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