January 19, 2017

2016: A Look Back at Jewish Italy

Posted in Italy at 4:59 pm by chavalah

Depiction of Jewish communities in Italy

Depiction of Jewish communities in Italy

I have some memories in the last year of sitting on the DC metro and skimming through my Twiter feed, seeing fascinating Jewish-Italian interest headlines crop up and thinking I should store them away for this feature. Except that I never did, instead preferring to do all of my compiling in the future. Thanks a lot, past self. 😛

But I feel pretty confident, after perusing JTA and Tablet Magazine, that I have the important stuff. Turns out that 2016 was an important year in Venetian Jewish history–it marked the 500th anniversary of the first Jewish ghetto! See a link to a feature about that down below, as well as some commemorative activities, including a staging of “The Merchant of Venice” with a cameo by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a judge!

Other fascinating historical and cultural pieces cropped up, too, to complement the usual and less savory amount of anti-Semitism, anti-Israel sentiment, Italian earthquake aftermath, and a continuing obsession with Hitler. Surely Mein Kampf entering the public domain didn’t help much with that one. 😛 But we also have stories about Italian museums showcasing the history of long-gone Jewish communities. A 13th century Torah scroll was repaired and returned to a synagogue in the northern town of Biella; it’s now thought to be the oldest scroll still in use. Speaking of the Torah, Tablet ran a fascinating article about a uniquely Italian focus on Jewish women in ritual life.

I included other personal essays from people with Jewish and Italian heritage, as well as information on famous novelist Elena Ferrante’s possible links to that community. Please feel free to add any other stories in the comments. So, without furtho ado!


Feb 28: #Young Soccer Fans Accost Jewish-Italian Sportscaster in London
March 3: #Italian Torah Scroll Identified as Oldest Still in Use by a Jewish Community
March 8: *The Jewish Translator Behind Elena Ferrante — and Primo Levi
March 14: #Mysterious Italian Author Elena Ferrante Could Be Widow of Jewish Artist and Doctor
March 29: #Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Make a Cameo in a Production of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ [staged in Venice]
March 30: #Celebration in Venice Marks the 500th Anniversary of the First Jewish Ghetto
May 9: #[Italian Artist] Maurizio Cattelan’s Hitler Statue Auctions for Over $17 Million
May 23: *A Frittata That’s Fit for a Picnic: For Lag B’Omer, A Delicious Way to Celebrate Today’s Delicate Harmony Between Jews and Italians
June 3: *Finding My Jewish Home — In Rome
June 9: *In Italy, A Unique Connection Between Women and the Torah
June 15: #Italian Newspaper Offers ‘Mein Kampf’ as a Free Throw-In, Defends Its Decision
June 23: #Boutique Italian Museum Explores the History of Leece’s Medieval Jews
June 24: #Celebrating 500 Years of Jewish History in a Venetian Palace
Aug 21: #Official at Islamic University in Italy Calls for “Final Solution” for Zionists
Aug. 24: #Italy’s Jewish Community Pledges Aid to Areas Hit by Earthquake
Sept 8: #Bruno Edo Not Allowing an Israeli Dance Company to Use His Music at an Italian Festival Because the Event is Sponsored by the Israeli Government
Oct 20: #Jewish Leaders Rip Italian Government for Abstaining on UNESCO Vote
Oct 30: #Israeli Lawmaker Says Italian Quake Divine Retribution for UNESCO Vote; Sparks Outcry
Nov 7: #Ex-Italian Soccer Player Suspended from TV Job, Repudiates Anti-Semitism, Racism


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