Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a desecrated house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of our Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2,300 years of Jewish life on the island of Crete. From 1996 until the year of its re-dedication in 1999 the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew ‘Am Israel Hai’ – ‘The people of Israel live’. In 1996, the Synagogue was mentioned on the World Monument Fund’s list of most endangered sites, but today it stands as a vibrant statement of Jewish life, vitality and values.