Italian Word of the Week DIGIUNO

italicsBy Daniela Gross

Maybe nothing like Yom Kippur is able to stir and dissolve the infinite differences of the Jewish world. Beyond different ritual habits and melodies, in that day the Jewish people experience at each latitude a deep feeling of unity along with the hardness of the “digiuno”, as in Italian we call the fast.

That feeling of unity is somehow amplified, in this new 5775, by the troubled and sad year we just left behind: a year signed by the war, the renewed Anti-Semitism in Europe, and the rising of a dangerous and bloody extremism in the Middle East. Not by chance, the greetings’ messages pronounced by the Rabbis in the synagogues on the day of Rosh HaShanah as the greetings of the President of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities you can find in this issue inevitably refer to the current, difficult situation.

But in a couple of days, the solemn Day of Atonement will lead the powerful feeling of the possibility of a life’s new chapter. And to remind us that a new chapter is always possible, there is a news reported this week: According the last census, the Jews now living in Israel are 6 millions and 104,000. In other words, seventy years after the Shoah and for the first time in the Israeli story, the number of the Jewish population surpass the number of the persecutions’ victims. In demographic terms 104,000 people it is not a big deal, but in symbolic ones it absolutely is.