Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's All Greek to Me!

Among the jewels of this fine Capital city are the gorgeous embassies, fascinating Ambassadors, and the receptions and events each have on a continuous basis. I was fortunate to be a part of such an event Monday evening.

A great friend invited me to join him at the recently constructed Embassy of Greece on Massachusetts Ave, right next door to the original Embassy. The Embassy is able to use both buildings, depending on its needs. The event I attended was the exhibition opening of “Hidden Children in Occupied Greece”, presented by H.E. The Ambassador of Greece and Mrs. Alexandros P. Mallias, as well as The American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece. This emotionally moving exhibition tells the tales of 11 children who were hidden and protected during the Holocaust by Christian Greek men and women who risked their own lives. It will showcase from December 11 to January 10th at the Embassy and will continue to tour the U.S.

The attendees who gathered for the reception were treated to remarks by the Honorable Paul Sarbanes, who will be retiring after 5 long terms of serving the State of MD, the Honorable Richard Ben-Veniste, who may be best remembered as the Assistant Prosecutor and Chief of the Watergate cover-up trial, but his remarkable career carried him to being appointed to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the U.S., which issued the 9-11 report in July of 2004. There were several other notables (including Greece's Tourism Development Minister, Fanny Palli-Petralia) who made outstanding speeches and allowed us to not forget the horrific deeds of the Holocaust, especially in occupied Greece. We were also educated on facts (58,000 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust in Greece) and we were able to celebrate the bravery of those who risked their own lives and families in order to help the Jews who hid within their very homes.

I think the most moving moment came when Moissis Konstantinis, a Holocaust survivor, who flew in from Athens that day and was scheduled to fly out that evening, got up to the podium and addressed us in Greek (with a translator). He was wonderful, it brought tears to my eyes to hear his story, as a child who was told to be quiet and hide, and was scared moment after moment, who had to move from place to place at night for fear of death or even worse. That is a great courageous man with a story most cannot even imagine. Konstantinis is now the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

We continued next door to the original Embassy for the reception after the presentations were over, where I was able to shake hands with Senator Sarbanes, the Ambassador and his wife and a few other dignitaries. The Greek theme of the evening was not yet to be over! We then skipped over to a favorite Greek restaurant, Mourayo (Greek for "a fisherman's safe harbor", you'll love the sailor theme!), on Connecticut Ave. YUMMMM. I have eaten there a few times prior, but each time I devour each delicious course with velvety wine. The owner is always happy to recommend if there are questions.

Seriously, if you are looking for a fabulous Greek restaurant with excellent service, an intimate comfortable ambiance, and food that is out of this world, with a straightforward wine menu, I recommend Mourayo, but I also recommend you come with an empty stomach! And definitely ask for suggestions from the wait staff, each are quick, informative, and happy to educate. I went home chuckling to myself that night - I had more Greek lessons in a few hours than my four years as a Tri-Delt at Penn State!

1 comment:

FOP said...

Pamela:

Hope you are feeling better!

You have to keep to 3 culinary continents in one evening.