Beginning 2300 years ago there were Jews in Rhodes who created one of the earliest documented communities of the Jewish Diaspora. Over the years the Jewish community of Rhodes created a unique and vibrant culture and were involved in some of the key events of world history including the building of Colossus of Rhodes, King Herod’s visits, the Shabbetai Tzvi movement, and the introduction of a center of traditional Jewish learning that earned it the Ladino name: “La Chica Jerusalem.” Dr. Freund will survey the history of Jewish Rhodes and then bring us right up to the present day. He has been working on three of the medieval synagogues on the island destroyed by the Nazis. His talk includes the tragic end of the community’s history with the round up of the Jews on the islands of Kos and Rhodes on July 23, 1944 and their journeys to Auschwitz.
This lecture is made possible by the Association of Jewish Studies Distinguished Lectureship program.