Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum in Bowery, NY

Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum

The Kehila Kedosha Janina, the only Romaniote synagogue in North America and among a small handful worldwide if you don't count Europe or Africa. The Jews from this community have been present since Alexander the Great's time - over two thousand three hundred years ago.

The Romaniotes are a people that has existed for centuries. Since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, they have been distinct from their Sephardic counterparts and settled all over Greece to form colonies known as "Romaniote".

The Greek-speaking Romaniotes were first organized as a congregation in New York City by those from Ioannina, Northwestern Greece.

The Lower East Side in the early 1900's was home to hundreds of synagogues. Whether they were serving Ashkenazi Yiddish-speaking Jews or Sephardic Spanish-language congregants.

With a need for space where they could preserve their unique traditions and customs, property at 280 Broome Street was purchased. The church opened in 1927 to worshipers who came from all around the neighborhood.

KKJ has been serving the Romaniote community on the Lower East Side for 90 years and after Sephardic synagogues closed.

The KKJ Museum on the Lower East Side in the Bowery area is a unique museum that preserves the history and culture of this ancient community. The Women's Gallery was created in 1997 as part of gallery for them to tell their story, but there were few who knew much about it until today.

The synagogue is a New York City landmark and continues to hold services every Shabbat as well as all Jewish holidays. In addition, it houses an museum about Greek Jewry that's open for visitors on Sundays or by appointment.

The museum is a treasure trove of Sephardic and Romaniote history, both in Greece and on the Lower East Side. They host many educational events including lectures by notable figures from throughout time as well as book signings.

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