Jewish treasures, monuments and books in Italy.

The Jews of Italy

Italian history is always a difficult subject. Behind it and inside it there is the extraordinary variety of regional and urban units: the history of Florence is not the history of Pisa, or even that of Arezzo or Siena or Volterra. Where the Jews are involved, the differences in uzzaocal traditions are increased by substantial […]

Puglia: A Land of Jewish Arrivals and Departures

Fabrizio Lelli in conversation with Alessandro Cassin for Printed Matter The last Jews left Apulia in 1541. In 2001 Fabrizio Lelli arrived at the University of Lecce to teach Hebrew language and literature, in a city with no Jewish population. This year, from Sept. 6th through the 10th, Apulia will mount the NEGBA, a Festival of Jewish […]

Sarra Copia Sullam

Howard Tzvi Adelman The most accomplished, and thus the least typical, Jewish woman writer of early-modern Italy was Sarra Copia Sullam (c. 1592–1641). The details of her life reveal the great opportunities and potential dangers in the life of at least one woman of wealth and talent. Sarra was one of three daughters born to […]

Prescribing Love: Italian Jewish Physicians Writing on Lovesickness

Michal Altbauer-Rudnik   “… for love is strong as death, and wrath bitter as the underworld: its coals are coals of fire; violent are its flames.” (The Song of Songs, 8:6) Although the present study focuses on the early modern period, it is worthwhile to consider how the presentation of love-related pathologies had produced a […]

Leone Da Modena’s Manuals for the Dying

Avriel Bar-Levav The structured mourning rituals of the Jews, such as the shiva with its specific demands on the mourners and their visitors, or saying kaddish, are quite known. Far less well-known is the existence of detailed rituals for people who are dying. Such rituals were created and printed in book form during the 16th […]

In Trani when they studied Talmud

In Trani when they studied Talmud. -Isiah ben Mali, one of the great Talmudic scholars of all time was born in Trani-. By Oreste Spagnuolo, Italy, Italy Magazine In 12th-century Europe, among Jewish scholars who were often held in high esteem by the monarchs, the following saying was popular, “The Law comes from Bari and […]

The Giudecca of Trani, Italy (1000–1550)

A Mediterranean Jewish Quarter and Its Architectural Legacy Mauro Bertagnin, Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, Susan Gilson Miller In: Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review During the late Middle Ages the city of Trani in southeastern Italy was home to a significant minority population of Jews. This community reached a highpoint during the thirteenth century, when under the protection […]

The Italian Genizah

Mauro Perani, University of Bologna (courtesy Morasha) English version by Simcha Shtull, Jewish Heritage Online Magazine Professor of Jewish History Muro Perani from the University of Bologna shares the recent discovery in Italy of thousands of parchment folia and bifolia dismembered from Hebrew manuscripts that were reused as bookbindings in the 16th and 17th century. […]

Edict of Ancona’s Inquisition Against The Jews

We, Fra Vicenzo Salina, of the order of Predicatori, Master in Theology, General in Ancona, Sinigaglia, Jesi, Osinio, Cingoli, Macerats, Tolentino, Loreto, Recanati, and other towns and districts. It being deemed necessary to revive the full observance of the disciplinary laws relative to the Israelites residing within our jurisdiction, and having hitherto without effect employed […]

Judaism in Puglia as a Metaphor for Mediterranean Judaism

Fabrizio Lelli, University of Salento The history of Judaism in Puglia is a distillation of thousands of stories of Mediterranean Judaism – fragments that across the millennia collectively comprise a powerful identity. Here are stories of wandering, of links sustained across great distances by faith in ancient traditions; and stories of commercial and cultural exchange […]

Jewish Women in Modern Italy

Luisa Levi D’Ancona Jewish Women Archives The history of Italian Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is essentially a story of social integration and embourgeoisement, with the exception of the years of Fascism, the racial laws (1938) and World War II. In Italy, each pre-unification state had a particular relation to its Jewish population, […]

History of the Jewish Community in Trani

Francesco Lotoro The presence of a Jewish community in Puglia can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire. The origins of the community are disputable; some maintain that the first Jews arrived in Trani after the expulsion from the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon around 1144 C.E., others argue that they had […]

Jewish Dancing Masters:The Art that left the Ghetto

Joanna G. Harris, Ph.D Jews were known to be merchants, musicians and physicians in the 15th and 16th centuries. That is well documented in the various histories of Jewish Venice. But dancing masters? To the lay person, it seems extraordinary that an irrelevant art form would be the provenance of”people of the book,’ expected to […]

Early Jewish History in Italy

Daniel M. Friedenberg   AFTER HIS VICTORY IN THE FIRST JEWISH WAR TITUS sent back to Italy many thousands of Jewish slaves. Some went to Rome and the records also indicate a large number were shipped to the ports of Apulia (now called Puglia), the extreme southeastern region of Italy facing the Adriatic Sea. Most […]