Romaniote Memories: A Jewish Journey from Ioannina, Greece to Manhattan: Photographs by Vincent Giordano


Celebrations are an essential part of Greek – and Greek-Jewish – community life.

Extended families and the Kehila Kedosha Janina congregation regularly gather for festive meals, holiday parties, and whenever possible the celebrations of important life cycle events – babies, b’nai mitzvot, and weddings.

In these photos one can see the community’s joyous dancing at the reception that followed the Kofinas Bar Mitzvah. According to local legend, in 1957 men from the KKJ community founded a social organization called the Pashas committed to perpetuating Greek-Jewish traditions. Pasha (prince) is a term of endearment used by Greek-Jewish mothers when describing their sons, and the organization led by these Jewish “princes” is centered around Greek music, dancing, and food. Like a synagogue Brotherhood, the Pashas have monthly meetings, twice annual weekends in the Catskill Mountains, an annual picnic and an annual dinner dance, and even an annual reunion in Florida where Pashades gather from around the world.

The music at these events is Greek, with a special preference for the music of Epiros, the mountainous northwestern Greek region the extends to the Albania border in which Ioannina is situated, In the years since Vincent Giordano’s death, KKJ has taken this music to the street—in the block-long annual Greek Jewish Festival held just outside the synagogue’s doors on Broome Street since 2014. Food, music and dancing fill Broome Street, and congregational volunteers offer tours of the synagogue and its museum.

This page has paths: