January 22, 2018

2017: A Look Back at Jewish Italy

Posted in Italy, Judaism at 11:45 am by chavalah

Depiction of Jewish communities in Italy

Depiction of Jewish communities in Italy

Before the month goes out, I’d like to start my year in blogging in the usual way! 😛 I’ve amassed a variety of news sources, mostly published to Tablet Magazine or JTA but there are some others too, that detail 2017 stories that pertain to Jews in Italy and/or Italy’s relationship with Jews. A couple of these stories are more broadly about Europe, but Italy is always mentioned specifically.

Common trends abound–leaders die, may their memories be for a blessing, the Italian Jewish community rallies in the face of national disasters, antisemitism is rife, yet so is communal solidarity. Some personal essays recount the Holocaust or controversial figures within it, some medieval Jewish ruins are unearthed, some communities in the south get a long overdue boost of Jewish culture. I’m especially excited about Sicily, as my nana was born there. She was Catholic, but I can consider the Sicilian Jews as my step family. 😛

One Italian congregation even joined the Reconstructionist movement, the small, largely American denomination that defined my childhood! :0 Most of Jewish practice in Italy is Orthodox, but perhaps the times are a-changin’.

In terms of sports and antisemitism, soccer aka football seems particularly toxic. But there’s an interesting proliferation of empathetic cycling stories, heh.

I’ve included all of this and more below; please feel free to add more stories in the comments. So, without further ado!


Jan. 5: #Italian Jews, IsraAID bring help to homeless earthquake victims in central Italy
Jan. 9: #Palermo, Sicily, to get first synagogue in 500 years
Jan. 13: #Aliyah from Europe unaffected by Israel’s security situation, study finds
Jan. 17: #Rome road race to commemorate the Holocaust
Jan. 29: #Milan marchers protest vandalism of ‘stumbling stone’ Holocaust memorial
Feb. 10: #Italian judge: soccer chants about Jews not hate speech
Feb. 12: #Dormant for five centuries, Jewish life in Italy’s far south is stirring
March 20: #’Piece of crap’ Hitler painting shown in Italian exhibit on madness
March 23: #Medieval Jewish cemetery uncovered in Rome
May 16: #Israeli, Italian cyclists pay tribute to champ who saved Jews during the Holocaust
June 9: *These young Jews are optimistic about their futures in Europe
June 25: #Italian congregation joins Reconstructionist movement
July 4: *Jews who fought the Nazis in WWII are now receiving Italy’s highest honor
July 6: #EU lawmakers protest hosting in Brussels of Palestinian terroists’ relatives
July 10: *A Holocaust story from the white pages: Anna Pizzuti and foreign Jews in Italy during the Second World War
July 12: #20 countries sign Argentina letter against terroristm as anniversary of ’94 Jewish center bombing nears
July 18: *Did the great Italian cyclist Gino Bartali actually save Jews during the Holocaust? An investigation
July 21: *Three Italian brothers try to find the cave they lived in during the Holocaust
Aug. 21: *OPINION: Dear Antifas: What Italian-American Anti-Fascist Carlos Tresca could teach you
Aug. 21: #Russia’s Jews will get their etrog fruits from Italy despite sanctions, says rabbi
Aug. 22: *Why some Jews are paying $500 for an Italian etrog
Sept. 10: #Israeli film ‘Foxtrot’ takes prize at Venice Film Festival
Sept. 10: #Jewish cultural day in Italy postponed to mourn local flash flood victims
Sept. 13: #How Jews across the world are breaking the Yom Kippur fast
Sept. 18: *Israel gears up to host prestigious Italian cycling race
Oct. 24: *Europe has a ‘Jewish’ soccer team problem
Oct. 24: #’Diary of Anne Frank’ passages to be read at all Italian soccer matches
Oct. 26: #Italian soccer club president calls synagogue visit a ‘charade’
Nov. 6: #After Italian soccer hooligans use Anne Frank’s image to taunt rival teams, German fans follow suit
Nov. 7: #Medieval Jewish cemetery uncovered in Bologna, Italy
Nov. 15: *It’s always Hanukkah in this picture-perfect Italian town
Nov. 15: #Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, a leader of postwar Italian Judaism, dies at 82
Nov. 19: *A cycling legend’s secret war mission: saving Italy’s Jews
Dec. 5: #Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled barred from entering Italy
Dec. 6: #8 fried Jewish foods from around the world
Dec. 14: #National Jewish Museum opens in Italy
Dec. 18: #Head of Italian Jewish community condemns return of fascist-era king’s body


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