Italian Word of the Week CALCIO

italicsBy Daniela Gross

Maybe after World Cup fever, even if you don’t like sports, you have learned the word “calcio”. In Italy “Calcio” (to be pronounced with a sweet second “c”) is more than a national passion. Everybody knows this because it is one of the strongest stereotypes that exists about Italians; but it is a true stereotype. Not to know about the championship, the teams, the soccer stars or their wives or girlfriends is a kind of social sin or, at least a decisive lack of sociability in a country where everyone considers himself to be an all knowing and super expert soccer coach. At first sight it could seem odd to speak about “calcio” in these pages . But you are going to change your mind when you read the interview with rav Vittorio Della Rocca in this issue. He talks about his bond with the Roma soccer team (and every Italian has his or her favorite team, literally we talk of the “team of your heart”) but he also remembers a tragic period in the history of Italian Jews. His words remind us of that even during the hardest of times in their history young Italian Jews always tried to play their favorite sports. Therefore even in times when they were discriminated against and excluded they always tried go on play with their own teams and structures. Not only did this happen in Italy but in many other countries as well. It is a powerful demonstration of an unstoppable willingness to live; not only to survive.