Here you can find some general information for planing your visit at Etz Hayyim, regarding both, single- or group tours. Click on the Tabs below for further details.
Etz Hayyim Synagogue welcomes guests of every faith.
We ask that visitors respect the following:
- This is an active Synagogue and visitors are required to dress appropriately. When entering the Synagogue men must have their heads covered, and woman their shoulders (kippoth and shawls are available for use).
- Food and/or drinks as well as photographs are not allowed inside the Synagogue.
- Groups of more than ten people will NOT be allowed at the same time. Groups must notify the Synagogue at least 24 hours in advance with the number of guest and the time of their visit. Tour operators are expected to leave a donation of 2 Euro per person with the Synagogue staff.
- Tours within the Synagogue will be given by Synagogue Staff and Volunteers ONLY.
- The Synagogue is volunteer based and needs your support to remain open. A minimum donation of 2 Euro per person is suggested.
- Synagogue Staff and Volunteers have the right to deny access to groups or individuals that do not conform to the rules of the Synagogue or for safety reasons.
Update: As of 6 November, due to a countrywide lock-down, Etz Hayyim Synagogue will remain closed until further notice.
Due to Covid-19 measures, attendance at services is strictly limited.
If you wish to participate you must contact the synagogue office (email@example.com or +30-2821086286) to check availability and confirm your participation. You will only be admitted if your attendance was confirmed.
Masks are required at all times during community events. Masks are also required for children from 4 years of age.
Please see further details below.
You can find information on the Covid-19 situation in Hania here: https://covid19.gov.gr/covid-map/
The Synagogue is closed on Greek public holidays.
During the opening hours, the staff of the Synagogue gives guided tours to visitors with information about the history of the Cretan Jewish community, the history of Etz Hayyim Synagogue and the historic Jewish quarter of Hania.
Equally, the facilities of the Synagogue (Mikveh, library, exhibitions) are accessible during opening hours.
Etz Hayyim is first and foremost a place of prayer and recollection.
Despite not having an official community, we have Kabbalath Shabbat services every Friday evening and also celebrate most holidays. Everyone who wishes to participate is welcome.
Our ritual in Greece today is uniformly Sefardi and the Siddur that we use is the traditional form as it has evolved in Jerusalem and Safed.
Prayer Services: Kabbalath Shabbat prayers are held each Friday. For candle lighting times and upcoming Holidays also see the calendar of events.
No Kosher Food on Crete.
There are no certified kosher facilities of any kind on Crete. Persons concerned about Kashrut should consult the Athens Jewish Community.
Persons interested in the culinary traditions of Greek and Cretan Jews should consult “The Cookbook of the Jews of Greece” and the “Western Cretan Cookbook” by Nikos Stavroulakis. Both are available against donation at the Synagogue.
Interior space of Etz Hayyim.
Rosh Hashanah. Pen and ink drawing by Nikos Stavroulakis copyright 2008.
Pesah. Pen and Ink drawing by Nikos Stavroulakis, copyright 2002.
Elijah Pesach; 201 B.
Our Mikveh is kosher (i.e. it has “mayyim hayyim” – living water flowing through it). However, it is an historic Mikveh with stone steps and basin and cold spring water directly from the White Mountains south of Hania.
The Mikveh is accessible and can be used only during the opening hours of the Synagogue. Please note that we cannot provide an attendant (shomer). Please also bring a towel.
Etz Hayyim is located in the old town of Hania (inside the city walls) and there is plenty of accommodation available close by. Please check the usual booking websites as we cannot make specific recommendations or have the resources to assist with finding accommodation.