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CANEA , second largest city of Crete, on the N.W. of the island. In 1350 the Venetian authorities set aside a special quarter for the Jews. In 1398 the Senate of Venice issued an order limiting the interest on debts owed by the Venetian patricians to Jewish moneylenders to 12% per annum. The Jews of Canea contributed toward the strengthening of the town's fortifications, the construction of the harbor, and the navy. In the Venetian period, the Eẓ Ḥayyim synagogue was used as the St. Katherine Church, and in 1522, when returned to the Jews, it was rebuilt. In 1571 the community numbered 300 souls. Jewish refugees fled to Canea when the Greek Revolution of 1821 broke out. The majority of Crete's Jewish population was concentrated in this city. Their principal occupations were in handicrafts and commerce. They also included interpreters, clerks, and agents. In 1875 Aba Delmedigo was elected delegate to the Cretan General Assembly of the island. In 1880 the Beit Shalom synagogue and new Alliance Israélite Universelle school were founded. In the Greek Insurrection beginning in 1896, many Jews from the island fled to Izmir, and Rabbi Abraham Eblagon saved 28 Christian families from death. He also was praised for his efforts at this time in locating and returning stolen church bells from Izmir. In 1915, some 600 Jewish refugees from Syria and Ereẓ Israel were given temporary refuge by the Jewish community at the local Jewish school and in nearby Halepa. In 1904 there were 646 Jews in Canea and in 1941, 314. On June 6, 1944, the Nazis placed them on the ship Danae, which was scuttled on the high seas when bombed three days later by the British Royal Air Force after being identified as an enemy ship. In 1948 there were only seven Jews in Canea. In 1995, the Eẓ Ḥayyim synagogue was renovated by Nikos Stavrolakis as a museum.


Markus, in: Tarbiz, 38 (1967/68), 161–74; F. Thiriet, Régestes des délibérations du Sénat de Venise concernant la Romanie, 3 vols. (1958–61), indexes s.v.Canée (incl. bibl.); C. Roth, Venice (1930), 297–8; J. Starr, in: paajr, 12 (1942), 59–114; A.M. Habermann, Sefer ha-Zikhronot shel Rabbi Avraham Balza (= offprint from Sinai, 21 (1947/48), 297–307). add. bibliography: B. Rivlin (ed.), Pinkas Kehillot Yavan (1999).

[Simon Marcus /

Yitzchak Kerem (2nd ed.)]

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