Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Unce Hy and PS 42

I mentioned on 1/13/06, about a month before his passing, that my Uncle Hy attended PS 42. Many Sephardim, such as the tenement Museum Confinos also did. Here's an excerpt from a recent rememberance piece from the "Hy Genee, the spiritual leader and president of Kehila Kedosha Janina, the Romaniote synagogue in New York City, passed away on February 13, 2006 at the age of 83 leaving the 100 year old congregation in tears. Kehila Kedosha Janina was founded by Greek Jewish immigrants in 1907, and named after the city of Janina (Ioannina), from where they came. The dignified old synagogue built in 1927 at 280 Broome Street remains, it is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, it stands as one of the last old synagogues on the Lower East Side of New York City, still in operation.Although it is often called Sephardic, the congregation that Hy led for many decades was made up of Romaniote Jews. These are neither Ashkenazic nor Sephardic Jews; they are Jews with their origins in ancient Greece, arriving there after the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem. They have their own nusah (rite), an orthodox tradition similar but different than the Sephardic tradition. Similarities between the Romaniote and Sephardim indeed exist, because both groups spent hundreds of years together while Greece was under Ottoman Turkish rule. Yet, the Greeks are proud, and rightly so, of their unique traditions." I hope my Uncle can forgive me for being such a lapsed Jew, Actually, in his generosity of spirit he always did. Here's the full article

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