Athens: The Local Scene

April 24, 2015

My friends,

I suppose that when you think of Athens you think of Greek temples and marble columns and sculpture from centuries ago.  And I am sure that very soon I will see those unique features of the city.

But on this first morning I head out from my hotel to Victoria Square.   From the square I can take the subway to the Acropolis stop.  But instead  I decide to walk in that direction.   I eventually arrived at the station but not at the temple.

Along the way, I found lovely architecture, art nouveau grill work and a very special mansion - the Hypatia Mansion.

I was greeted by the young man whose family owns the mansion.  He explained that the building is used for special events including scientific lectures and meetings.

The mansion is named for Hypatia, the 4th Century female Greek - Egyptian mathematician and astronomer (born c. AD 350 – 370; died 415).   Hypathia challenged the notion the earth is the center of the universe.  For her scientific beliefs she met a gruesome end.  (There’s a film about her life starring Rachel Weisz.)

Since it’s Friday today and the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, I attended the evening services at the Beth Shalom Synagogue and enjoyed the spirited dinner at the local Chabad House.  My. thanks to Rabbi Mendel Hendel for his gracious hospitality.

Be patient, I’ll get to the Parthenon.  For now, just wander a bit with me here in Athens.

The name of the Synagogue translates:

The House of Peace,


PS  Names of deceased members of the synagogue are inscribed on the back wall of the sanctuary.  The names are written in Greek and I was able to read them.

Can you decipher the mostly Biblical names?   The captions have numbers so you can let me know which ones you can read.