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The Perfect Citron

italicsBy Daniela Gross

The Search for the Perfect Citron Strengthens the Ties with Jews. Rabbis and Farmers on the Tirrenian coast: Harvesting is a Rite.” Given that Sukkoth is already over, this headline might sound strange. However, in these days so full of bad news, it’s a relief to find on the Corriere della Sera this nice article by Paolo Salom. “The citron […] is the reason why, when summers begins to fade, many Italian and European rabbis reach the ‘citron coast’ in Calabria.”

In this southern region located just in the heel of Italy, they look for the best citron for Sukkoth, a holiday where the branches of a palm tree (lulav), two willows (aravot), a minimum of three myrtles together with the fruit of a citron tree are blessed and waved.

The search for citron fruits is very accurate, since the fruits must be flawless, and in South Italy it plays an additional symbolic meaning. Thanks to this unusual pilgrimage, wrote Salom, Jews had the opportunity of rediscovering a magnificent area, where they thrived for centuries and from which they had to flee after the Spanish Expulsion.