By Adam Smulevich
The Jewish Community of Livorno honored the memory of Elio Toaff, who served as Chief Rabbi of Rome for 51 years, eleven months after his demise. Rabbi Toaff, who was born in Leghorn in 1915, was one of the most important figures in the history of Italy and European Jewry.
Open to the entire city, the commemoration started in the municipality palace and was attended, among others, by the mayor Filippo Nogarin, the president of the local Jewish Community Vittorio Mosseri, Chief Rabbi Yair Didi, the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Ruth Dureghello and rabbi Gianfranco Di Segni.
“Rabbi Toaff was a hero of our times, a man of dialogue, openness and change, a great teacher, from whose wisdom many have drawn. His legacy remains unforgettable,” Mosseri said in his speech.
The cantor of the synagogue, Daniele Bedarida, also remembered Rabbi Toaff’s passion for local ritual music and presented to the public an important CD (Niggun Livorno) that collects one hundred years of Jewish compositions in Leghorn (Livorno) performed by the chorus “Ernesto Ventura”.
The public event was followed by a more private commemoration at the base of his tomb.
“The more time passes, the more his figure is alive, the higher his message is understood. Our father is not dead,” scholar Ariel Toaff stressed.