Rome to name a street after rav Elio Toaff

By Adam Smulevich

A street in the Jewish neighborhood of Rome, in front of the Great Synagogue, will soon be named after rav Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of the city for half a century.

The unforgettable leader was capable of giving a direction to the Jewish Community after the immediate post-war period. He was later the protagonist of Pope Wojtyla’s historic visit to the synagogue of 1986, which marked a new beginning in the relations between Jews and Christians.

The dedication of a street to Toaff is a symbolically significant tribute, which comes four and a half years after the death of the rabbi, who passed away in 2015 a few days before he would turn 100 years old.

The street chosen to celebrate his legacy is the one in which he lived.

The street represents a piece of the history of the community itself: tragic facts like the Nazi raid of 1943 or the Palestinian terror attack of 1982 took place there, but also moments of hope and rebirth which have characterized the long history of the oldest community in the Diaspora.

According to rav Giuseppe Momigliano, who is in charge of religious affairs at the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, this initiative is also an act of Kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of the name of God.

“What we are going to remember, his good deeds, his choices, are connected to his relationship with the religious sphere,” he said to Pagine Ebraiche.