May you all enjoy a Happy Chanukah (Hanukkah)
Two of my four grandparents were from Anavrati, (photo right above: Gavaris family) a small mountainous region near Sparta. (The other two were from Kalamata, a few miles east of this). The population of Anavrati used to be about 1,400; now it is 48 - mostly retired Greeks.
Here is an interesting account from a first-hand resident, answering the question: “ Was Anavriti itself really Jewish: Yes, he replied, that’s what the old people say. According to popular tradition, the village was founded by Jews around 500 AD.
Later on everyone converted to orthodox Christianity, he said, but they were proud of their origins, and disappointed that the young people took no interest in the tradition. Source: http://www.greeknewsonline.com/the-beautiful-village-of.../
In an article published in the Oxford Journals, John Launer writes the following about Anavryti: “I found out that the legend of the Greek mountain Jews was not nearly as improbable as it seemed. Indeed, the Apocrypha records contacts between the Maccabeans and the Spartans that go back to the third century BC. Over a millennium later, there were Jews living in Sparta—although a monk named Nikon tried to have them expelled, in exchange for helping the inhabitants to overcome the plague.
A Jewish quarter survived in Mystra itself after the Turkish conquest, only to be burned down later by the more brutal Venetians. Maybe the village of Anavriti had been founded by the survivors of one of these upheavals.
By the way, my Aunt Jeanette’s brother was the Paul Bogart (director of All in the Family)
photo right -below
Check out the Story of Hanukkah: https://www.scribd.com/.../3349.../The-Story-of-Chanukah-pdf
A special message for you: