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May 5th, 2014 - Iyar 5th, 5774

Our Challenge:
Digital Madness
by Guido Vitale*

Jewish State of the Net, the journalism course our newspaper is organizing this spring in Turin, will cover issues raised by digital dementia and the misuses of social media (including astroturfing and sockpuppetting). This is a problem of major relevance for all of Italian society, which is increasingly beset by the maneuvering of political consensus by “sock puppeteers”. However, it also affects the Italian Jewish world, which often struggles to counter such spurious campaigns with effective, credible and sophisticated reporting and information.
In their two millennia of history, Italian Jews have shown that at the cost of great sacrifice it is possible to overcome the worst difficulties and to secure our future. Openly discussing the destructive tendencies of those who use the internet to spread poison and madness, is the major challenge of our time.

*Guido Vitale is the editor-in-chief  of Pagine Ebraiche.
Italian Word of the Week:
by Daniela Gross

In Italy people often refer to the internet as “la rete” (literally, the network) and for the Italian Jewry the web has been really important. If you are in Rome or Milan, where the 70 per cent of Italian Jews are in fact concentrated, maybe the problem is not as big. But if you live in a small Community (and there are some that count only few dozen members), the opportunity to share ideas and projects is rare.

“La rete” is giving a fundamental contribution to renew the link among the Communities and to put in touch the Italian Jewish world and the society: not by chance also most of the information produced by Union of Italian Jewish Communities is released via internet (like this Pagine Ebraiche International Edition).

But the web is also a way for spreading hatred e prejudices. In the last five years, the Observatory on Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in Italy of the Foundation Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center notices, the Italian cyberspace registered a progressive increase of anti-Semitism and became the principal way to propagate racism, intolerance and stereotypes. The situation is getting so bad that even the law has had repeatedly to deal with it. The meeting J-net, organized next week by the editorial staff of the Pagine Ebraiche in Turin, is therefore really important to comprehend what’s happening because words can kill, even if they are born on line.
Happy Birthday, Rabbi Toaff
By Adam Smulevich
Hundreds of people gathered in the heart of the old Ghetto to celebrate the 99th birthday of Elio Toaff, emeritus Chief Rabbi of Rome.
On April 30th, the Jewish Community of Rome organized a special birthday party under the windows of Rabbi Toaff’s apartment.
Together with the president, Riccardo Pacifici, many members of the Community Board joined dozen of children of the Jewish school singing “Yom Huledet Sameach” (“Happy Birthday”), while Rabbi Toaff was waving at the crowd from his balcony.
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Italian Torah Book Fetches Record at Paris Auction
By Ada Treves

During the 15th century, Italian printers produced several versions of the Torah, all considered of huge value. But the Humash printed in Bologna in 1482 and sold by Christie’s in Paris last week has won the highest price ever fetched in the whole world by a book printed in Hebrew. Close to three million euros, it won more than any other printed book known to ever have been sold in France.

Johannes Gutenberg's invention of movable type printing had a huge impact on Jewish life: the diffusion of written texts helped enormously the transmission of Jewish culture, and printing served as a major catalyst for Jewish survival. Finally, through the dissemination of the printed book, Jews around the world could figuratively and literally stay on the same page, across the globe.

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The Jewish State of the Net
“Jewish State of the Net” is the workshop dedicated to the Jewish presence in the world of internet and the social networks, organized by Pagine Ebraiche in Turin. The second edition, which will take place this coming Monday and Tuesday, gathers journalists, sociologists and web experts to discuss “Minorities, networking opportunities and threats of the digital dementia”, theme of this year.

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CULTURe - Turin International Book Fair
Into the Books
By Ada Treves
The difficulty of publishing and its importance to minority cultures will be the theme of the roundtable organized by Pagine Ebraiche at the Turin International Bookfair and moderated by its editor-in-chief, Guido Vitale, Coordinator of the departments of Information and Culture of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities. It twill be held on the opening day of the "Salone del Libro", which is Italy’s largest trade fair for books, held ever year in mid May, that in its programme has hundreds of meetings, debates and conferences.
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"Italian Jews Strongly Reject Inappropriate Comparisons"
By Rossella Tercatin

Reiterated offensive remarks about the Holocaust from some prominent political leaders are sparking outrage within and outside the Italian Jewish Community.

From May 22nd to May 26th, 2014, all the citizens of the European Union will elect the new members of the European Parliament, and, for the first time, these elections will also help to determine who the president of the European Commission will be.
In the past few weeks, the widespread tendency towards a populist slant in the heat of election campaign has generated bottomless trivialization of the single greatest tragedy of the history of human kind, as Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) has noted.
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From the Heart of the Old Ghetto Taste the "Pizza di Beridde"
By Benedetta Guetta*

One of the best kept secrets in the Jewish ghetto of Rome is called pizza ebraica or pizza di Beridde. It's a heavy, warm, dense fruitcake type of cookie, that traditionally looks pretty burned and perhaps not edible, but tastes absolutely delish. The real recipe used by the 5 ladies who run the kosher bakery in the ghetto is - of course - a secret that will never be revealed, but I have made many attempts at imitating the original and I believe I have a close copycat pizza di Beridde recipe ready to be shared with you. These enormous cookies are rich in calories, but healthy, pareve (they are made with oil instead of butter) and vegan: they are perfect for a nourishing breakfast or a nutritious afternoon snack.

*Benedetta Guetta runs the blog Labna.it
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Discovering Jewish Identity.
In the Wardrobe

By Simone Somekh*

In front of me I see a black burqa adorned with a cream colored facial net. It comes from a Jewish community in Afghanistan and it dates back to nearly two centuries ago. It’s one of the garments typically worn by Jewish Arab women of that time. Next to the burqa stand a model, a fashion designer, two huge spotlights, and tens of photographers. The model parades as if she were on a catwalk, when she actually is in a museum. She is wearing a garment that could easily be considered the Afghani burqa’s grandchild – a piece that, despite the wide shape and the solid black, manages to stress the model’s silhouette.

The whole scene may appear to be juxtaposition, but it represents a new way of conceiving the relationship between old and new, ancient and modern. In fact, we find ourselves at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, on the press tour of the temporary exhibition Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe.

*Simone Somekh is a student at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and writes as a freelance for the Jewish Italian press.
Photo: Daniel Tchetchik

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Dialogue: Challenges and Limits

by Jacques Roumani*

On the 15th of November the Osservatore Romano published an interview with Rabbi David Rosen (“Why we cannot be enemies”) which, among other things, includes this question: “At the end of June, Auschwitz hosted a celebration in memory of Holocaust victims, with important rabbis, cardinals and bishops, where a symphony on sufferance was played. You where there. What did this mean to Jews?”. Rabbi Rosen answered: “Similar concerts have been organized in many other places too, but the one in Auschwitz has been the most powerful demonstration of the love between us

*University of Maryland, formerly Senior Lecturer at Bar Ilan and, Senior fellow at Hebrew University (Truman Inst.) World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank
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moked è il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

This newsletter is published under difficult conditions. The editors of this newsletter are Italian journalists whose native language is Italian. They are willing to offer their energy and their skills to give international readers the opportunity of learning more about the Italian Jewish world, its values, its culture and its traditions.
In spite of all our efforts to avoid this, readers may find the occasional grammatical mistake. We count on your understanding and on your help and advice to correct these mistakes and improve our publication.

Pagine Ebraiche International Edition is published by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI). UCEI publications encourage the understanding of the Jewish world and the debates within it. The articles and opinions published by Pagine Ebraiche International Edition, unless expressly stated otherwise, cannot be interpreted as the official position of UCEI, but only as the self-expression of the people who sign them, offering their comments to UCEI publications. Readers who are interested in making their own contribution should email us at desk@ucei.it 
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© UCEI - All rights reserved - The articles may only be reproduced after obtaining the written permission of the editor-in-chief. Pagine Ebraiche - Reg Rome Court 199/2009 – Editor in Chief: Guido Vitale - Managing Editor: Daniela Gross.
Special thanks to: Susanna Barki, Monica Bizzio, Benedetta Guetta, Francesca Matalon,
Giovanni Montenero, Giandomenico Pozzi, Daniel Reichel, Jacques Roumani, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves.

Questo notiziario è realizzato in condizioni di particolare difficoltà. I redattori di questo notiziario sono giornalisti italiani di madrelingua italiana. Mettono a disposizione le loro energie e le loro competenze per raccontare in lingua inglese l'ebraismo italiano, i suoi valori, la sua cultura e i suoi valori. Nonostante il nostro impegno il lettore potrebbe trovare errori e imperfezioni nell'utilizzo del linguaggio che faremo del nostro meglio per evitare. Contiamo sulla vostra comprensione e soprattutto sul vostro aiuto e sul vostro consiglio per correggere gli errori e migliorare.

Pagine Ebraiche International Edition è una pubblicazione edita dall'Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane. L'UCEI sviluppa mezzi di comunicazione che incoraggiano la conoscenza e il confronto delle realtà ebraiche. Gli articoli e i commenti pubblicati, a meno che non sia espressamente indicato il contrario, non possono essere intesi come una presa di posizione ufficiale, ma solo come la autonoma espressione delle persone che li firmano e che si sono rese gratuitamente disponibili. Gli utenti che fossero interessati a offrire un proprio contributo possono rivolgersi all'indirizzo  desk@ucei.it

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© UCEI - Tutti i diritti riservati - I testi possono essere riprodotti solo dopo aver ottenuto l'autorizzazione scritta della Direzione. Pagine Ebraiche International Edition - notiziario dell'ebraismo italiano - Reg. Tribunale di Roma 199/2009 - direttore responsabile: Guido Vitale -
Coordinamento: Daniela Gross.
Realizzato con il contributo di: 
Susanna Barki, Monica Bizzio, Benedetta Guetta, Francesca Matalon, Giovanni Montenero, Giandomenico Pozzi, Daniel Reichel, Jacques Roumani, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves.