Jew, Spanish in Greece

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People Name: Jew, Spanish
Country: Greece
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,000
World Population: 60,000
Primary Language: Greek
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Jews
Affinity Bloc: Jews
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Jews of Europe arrived on the continent at least 2,000 years ago during the early days of the Roman Empire. Since then, they have been a significant influence in the history and culture of Europe. Much of what is considered "Jewish" today finds its roots among the European Jews.


One of the unique features among European Jews is the distinction between the Ashkenazic Jews and the Sephardic Jews. The word Ashkenaz is derived from a Biblical word for the larger Germanic region of Europe. Therefore, Ashkenazim Jews are those whose ancestry is linked to that area. This group traditionally speaks the Yiddish language, which is a German dialect that has Hebrew and Slavic elements. The word "Sephard" was the name used by Jews in medieval times for the Iberian Peninsula. Sephardim Jews, then, are the descendants of the Jews who lived in Spain or Portugal prior to expulsion in 1492 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This was called the "Alhambra Decree," and it gave Jewish people the choice of conversion to Roman Catholicism, exile or death. Many went to Greece. Sephardim also have a distinctive language called Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish. This is a dialect of Castilian Spanish with Hebrew and Turkish elements.


There are Jewish people in Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Israel who speak Ladino, though Jews are more likely to speak the local language. Thessaloniki is home to most of the Ladino speaking Jews in Greece.

What Are Their Lives Like?

These Spanish Jews retain an identity separate from the Greek speaking Jews in Greece. Over the years emigration has greatly reduced the size of this people group. Those who remain in Greece tend to be elderly, and this community seems to be diminishing.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For religious Jews, God is the Supreme Being, the Creator of the universe, and the ultimate judge of human affairs. Beyond this, the religious beliefs of the Jewish communities vary greatly. Orthodox Jews generally follow the traditional religious beliefs and practices found in the Jewish literature that interprets Scripture regarding ethical, religious, civil, and criminal matters.


Reform Jews do not believe that the Jewish Law is divinely revealed. They are not restricted to kosher foods. They neither wear the skullcap (yarmulke) when praying nor use Hebrew in prayer. All religious Jews believe in the coming of a Messianic Age, but only the Orthodox Jews look for a personal Messiah.


Many Jewish people today retain cultural Judaism, but they have rejected the spiritual elements taught in the Old Testament. They might participate in cultural events and even religious ceremonies, but they are either secular or New Age in their spiritual lives.

What Are Their Needs?

Jewish people have a wonderful understanding of their connection with the Abrahamic Covenant. However, they also have a history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah, the one who has fulfilled that covenant. They tend to view Christianity as the religion of their oppressors rather than the fulfillment of what God promised all of humanity through Abraham centuries ago.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to give the Ladino speakers in Greece hearts that will want to please him. May they look to the Lord for guidance and truth, and not be satisfied with cultural traditions.


Pray for Jewish people in Greece to begin a movement to Jesus Christ, finding ways to exalt him while honoring their culture.


Pray for the Lord to move among Jewish leaders in Greece to open the doors to Christ’s ambassadors.

Text Source:   Joshua Project