Italian Word of the Week VIAGGIO

italicsBy Daniela Gross

At first sight the word of the week has nothing to do with the Italian Jewry. “Viaggio” means “journey” and that’s absolutely not a specific Jewish characteristic: All the world travels, especially in the summertime. But the concept of travel is strictly connected to the Jewish way of life. I don’t want to go into historical issues, here, explaining how and until what point the migrations influenced the Jewish people through the centuries. My point here is different and has to do exclusively with the actuality of being today an Italian Jew.
We are not a big community: less than 30,000 people spread throughout a country of 57 millions. Almost half live in Rome, less than 10,000 in Milan and the other in medium or big communities. In these conditions to explore and better understand your identity, to find new ideas, new hints and to connect with new friends you have there’s no choice but move: mainly if you live in a small community and you grew up, since the kindergarten, with no more than three or four peers.
This is why many projects built by the Italian Jewish Communities are designed to put people in communication developing meetings and travels. The young are traditionally the main protagonists. Every year summer camps are promoted in Italy and there are travels to Europe and to Israel. In this issue we write about Taglit, the traditional trip to Israel that even in these difficult days doesn’t stop. The article reports the voices of a group of Italian youths: Even the preceding generation would have told the same stories but now it has certainly a different and deep meaning.