Italian Word of the Week – LA RETE

italicsBy 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.