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FEATURES Bridal Veil in Carmagnola. A Synagogue Comes Back to Life

carmagnolaBy Daniela Gross

Jewish Italy conceals many amazing treasures, often forgotten or ignored even by the Italian Jews themselves. The shrinking of the community, after the World War II, has also meant that during the years many synagogues and historic buildings were closed, since there were no more people to attend them. In fact now, some communities no longer exist or, in the best cases, are composed of only a few members, not enough for those architectural imposing sites.

However, sometimes miracles do happen, as in Carmagnola, a little city in the province of Turin. Its synagogue – which is considered by some experts to be among the most beautiful in the world – last week extraordinarily opened its doors again for a wedding.
To get married in that fascinating location, last survivor of the ancient 18th century ghetto, were Tomer Zerbib and Micol Nizza, the latter descendant from the family Diena, native of Carmagnola. So, for one day, the ancient halls with their marvelous baroque style wooden furniture, resonated again with chants and happiness.

“It was a great occasion full of joy, that gave us the opportunity to rediscover the immense historical and cultural patrimony of Italian Jewry”, pointed out Giulio Disegni, vice president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities. “Especially in the Piedmont region, the Jewish legacy is so varied and rich that it would deserve to be better enhanced”.

Preserving that cultural and historic patrimony is among the greatest objectives of the Italian Jewish Communities, but it is not an easy goal to achieve mostly due to financial reasons. The number of buildings to preserve is high, and to restore such antique structures is very challenging. Moreover the structures are not the only problem to deal with, you also have to take in the account the antique objects used for rituals, the furniture, the ancient fabrics and even the Torah scrolls and other precious documents. It is never ending work, but absolutely worth the effort!