CULTURE DafDaf, for Our Future

DafDafBy Ada Treves

The Italian Jewish community is definitely not a vast one. And this is even more true if we look at the number of Jewish children. There are four Jewish schools, in the communities of Rome, Milan, Turin and Trieste, and a kindergarden, in Florence. But there are also many Jewish children that live in small communities and have no chance to have a formal Jewish education. Especially with them in mind, almost four years ago, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities has decided to start the publication of a Jewish magazine, for kids.

The first issue of DafDaf was printed in August 2010, a small brave experiment put together in little time and with zero resources by the same editorial staff already producing Pagine Ebraiche, the newspaper of Italian Jewry.

We had no idea of where this experiment was going to take us, nor if it would have met the favour of the readers it was thought for, but now, many issues later (DafDaf number 47 has just been closed and it is ready to go to print) we can say that Italian Jewish children have their paper. And not only Jewish children, of course: DafDaf is distributed with Pagine Ebraiche, the main paper, hence arriving in thousands of households in Italy and abroad, it is distributed in the Jewish schools and in festivals, book fairs and in all places where there is an interest for Jewish culture. Since the very beginning we had the chance to publish the work of many friends, and among them we have some of the great Italian comic artists, like Paolo Bacilieri – author of the header of DafDaf – and Enea Riboldi, who created the young boy who is symbol of the magazine and that we call Davidino. Giorgio Albertini, Vittorio Giardino and Walter Chendi also have offered us their works, and with them every month many young illustrators have offered their time and creativity to DafDaf, whilst experimenting and growing with the newspaper. And with them writers, musician, scientists and rabbis have offered their time and competence and helped DafDaf become an established magazine, published 12 months a year, and read by thousands.

In these almost four years – DafDaf celebrates its birthday every September/October with a special issue – the pages have changed, following the requests of our readers, and covering a vast number of different subjects. From Jewish holidays to kosher recipes, from science to books, pages about the midrashim, games, art and economics all has been done to keep a coherent editorial line, where Jewish culture is simply and naturally part of every subject, of every page, flowing naturally as base of the identity of DafDaf, whose subtitle is “The Jewish magazine for kids”. Little by little, one month after the other, the pages have evolved, and every Summer the Scientific Committee of DafDaf – composed by teachers, rabbis, education experts, children publishers and artists – plans the year ahead, deciding where to take it, eliminating subjects, moving the focus, and transforming the content to make the magazine adapt to and hopefully grow with its readers.