European Day of Jewish Culture – Sicily in the Spotlight
By Daniel Reichel
The European Day of Jewish Culture will be celebrated in Italy on September 10, in over 80 locations. The heart of the initiatives this year will be Sicily; its ancient Jewish roots and the blooming of its new Jewish life. The theme of the day will be, “Diaspora: Identity and Dialogue”. The idea is to “enhance the central role of the land of Israel towards which the Jewish people are directed in their long exodus from Egypt and towards which they have directed their unfaltering gaze in the millennia to come”, said the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Noemi Di Segni. “The gaze at Israel characterizes Jewish life in the diaspora. Exile is a phenomenon that encompasses a large part of the Jewish peoples’ past”, explained Di Segni. “People were forced to live in different countries as a result of the dispersion that began with the destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, followed by the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE”. Further steps that in different ways have perpetuated the diaspora, as highlighted by Noemi Di Segni, was the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 that involved also the kingdom of Sicily: centuries of presence which were interrupted by the edict of the Spanish reign of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.
To this complicated and fascinating history, Pagine Ebraiche has dedicated a special section of the August issue, called “Jewish Sicily” and was edited by Ada Treves. On the website www.ucei.it/giornatadellacultura readers will find all the information about programs and events in Sicily and Italy.