36 THE QUEENS COURIER • BUZZ • FEBRUARY 4, 2021 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Virtual exhibit explores one of world’s oldest Jewish communities
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
The new Queens College virtual
exhibition, “Romaniote Memories, a
Jewish Journey from Ioannina, Greece,
to Manhattan: Photographs by Vincent
Giordano,” is exploring one of the oldest
Jewish communities in existence and its
presence in New York City.
The exhibition coincides with
International Holocaust Remembrance
Day on Jan. 27 — the anniversary of the
liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau — in
commemoration of these communities.
It features over 100 photographs presented
in 10 thematic sections, including the
synagogue’s art and architecture, religious
rites and celebrations, as well as photographs
Courtesy of Queens College
Brooklyn photographer Vincent Giordano’s eff orts to chronicle the Kehila Kedosha Janina community in NYC would prove critical to preserving
Romaniote culture, with the synagogue being its only representation in North America.
Schneps Media acquires QueensCountyPolitics.com
BY QNS STAFF
Further expanding its commitment
to local journalism, Schneps Media —
publisher of more than 70 daily, weekly
and monthly publications across New
York City, Long Island, Westchester and
Philadelphia —has acquired the leading
group of local political news websites in
New York City.
Founded in 2014 by Stephen
the go-to source of local political news
and information. Over the past several
years, Witt expanded into Queens and
Manhattan, developing local political
websites dedicated to each borough.
Schneps Media, a family-run business
owned by Victoria and Joshua Schneps,
has deep media roots throughout New
York City and the surrounding region.
In addition to the company’s print products,
they also publish dozens of websites,
social media channels and email newsletters,
boasting over half a million email
newsletter subscribers, as well as being the
leader in hosting business, industry and
As part of the transaction, the sites’
founder and editor-in-chief, Stephen
Witt, will join Schneps Media as its political
editor-in-chief, along with his team of
reporters. Witt joins Schneps Media as it
gains a stronger presence reaching deeper
than ever into the communities in which
we live and serve.
“We have great respect for Steve and the
business he has developed,” said Victoria
Schneps, president of Schneps Media.
“We have the best local news team in the
business and now have a leader and more
resources to provide in-depth political
coverage for each district in the city.”
Th e 2020 presidential election, which
led to record voter turnout, raised awareness
around the importance of paying
attention to politics at all levels — city,
state and federal.
Schneps Media hopes to keep New York
City readers further engaged in local politics
and government, especially with
the important 2021 municipal elections
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head to the polls.
“Th e focus of our political coverage
will be hyper-local as we want our readers
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estate values and quality of life,” said
Joshua Schneps, CEO of Schneps Media.
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“I’m extremely thrilled to be joining
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exciting time for local politics with the
citywide elections this year. And make no
mistake that while the mayoral race matters,
so do local city council races. We look
forward to continuing the media’s historic
government watchdog role in ensuring
the Big Apple comes out the other side of
the COVID pandemic bigger, brasher and
stronger than ever.”
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taken during the High Holidays in
Ioannina, Greece, in 2006.
A virtual opening reception, featuring a
conversation with the curator, organizers,
distinguished guests and friends, is scheduled
for Th ursday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m.
In 1999, Brooklyn-born photographer
Vincent Giordano made an unplanned visit
to the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue on
New York City’s Lower East Side. Built in
1927, the synagogue housed a congregation
(kehila) founded in 1906 by Jewish immigrants
from the town of Ioannina (Janina)
in northern Greece, who followed the
Unfamiliar with Judaism, let alone
Romaniote Jews, Giordano would come
to play a signifi cant role in documenting
the experiences of this millennia-old
population that has maintained traditions
dating to ancient Greece and Rome.
As part of a statement about his work for
a 2007 exhibition on the Kehila Kedosha
Janina Synagogue project, Giordano said
what he heard and saw at the synagogue
made an indelible impression on him.
“I listened with great interest and sadness
to the story of the Romaniote’s forgotten
place in Jewish history. I wondered
how a community and its culture wither
away and vanish … which forces are at
work, and which are not?” Giordano said.
Th at’s when Giordano began to photograph
and document the synagogue and
“Th is eff ort was transformed into an incredible
personal journey of discovery, fi lled with
wonderful people, interesting experiences
and fascinating places,” Giordano said.
As he explored and probed deeper,
Giordano discovered that the story is much
larger than the synagogue on Broome Street,
reaching far into the past — the rich history of
the Jews in ancient Greece and the Byzantine
Empire, and the devastation of the Holocaust.
Launched as the multimedia project
“Before the Flame Goes Out,” Giordano’s
eff orts to chronicle the Kehila Kedosha Janina
community would prove critical to preserving
Romaniote culture, with the synagogue being
its only representation in North America.
Over 80 percent of Greece’s Jewish population
perished in the Holocaust, decimating
the country’s historic Romaniote
Of the 1,960 Jews who were deported to
Auschwitz from Ioannina, Greece, 110 survived.
Th e Romaniote language, a Greek dialect
that combines words and phrases from
Hebrew and Turkish, is endangered, without
preservation eff orts to maintain or revive it.As
of 2019, only a small number of Romaniote
Jews remaining in Ioannina, Greece, spoke
Giordano died in 2010. Nine years later, his
family donated the archive of his work to the
Hellenic American Project (HAP) at Queens
College. Founded and directed by Queens
College Sociology Professor Nicholas Alexiou,
the project — which comprises a research
facility, archive, Greek American library and
museum — accepted the Romaniote materials
in the context of its mission, which is to
document the Hellenic American presence
in the United States beginning with the mass
migration from Greece to America in 1900.
Giordano’s photographs are a permanent
exhibition within the HAP museum and
maintained by the Benjamin S. Rosenthal
Library’s Special Collections and Archives.
Giordano’s work is included in numerous
private collections. His portraits from Sept.
11, 2001, are in the permanent collection of
the New York Historical Society. He was the
recipient of several awards including seven
Clio Awards for his fi lm work in television
Stephen Witt, founder of Kings County Politics,
is joining Schneps Media as political editor-inchief
as part of the company’s acquisition of
Kings County Politics, Queens County Politics
and New York County Politics.