“There is a progressive and gradual approach to a culture of great charm. In recent years it seems as if I had discovered a whole new world”. Director of the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia and one of the most authoritative art historians, Andreina Draghi has been member of the Board of the Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation in Italy for some time. She is now working on several fronts, including commitments related to the rediscovery, protection, and enhancement of the Jewish heritage in Southern Italy.
Andreina Draghi is the coordinator of a new project in this regard. The call for bids for working in cataloguing addressing young researchers has just been released. The job consists in both updating the data collected within the ARS Project – Jewish Presence in Italy, stored in paper at the UCEI Bibliographic Centre – and in drafting additional cards/sheets. Campania, Apulia, and Sicily – three regions among the richest in testimony – are at the centre of the reconnaissance.
“An initiative – explains Draghi to Pagine Ebraiche – which falls within the cataloguing commitment launched at national level in 2016. It was conceived on the one hand for computerizing what has already been registered and on the other hand for dealing with the “new”.” A “new” that is harbinger of many ideas, since interest in Judaism has been growing in the South for a long time.
“The opportunities are certainly significant,” observes Draghi. “The cornerstone is Campania, also because it is the point of reference for the whole Jewish South. However, stimuli arrive from Apulia and Sicily, too.” The work “on towns like Brindisi, Oria and Trani” will start from scratch, while in Sicily commitment will focus above all on “digitalising”.
“If you are under 35, your talent can make a difference” has been the slogan of the announcement for a few days on the net. “To make a difference” has been the Foundation’s yardstick for some time. “I am proud – comments Draghi – to be part of a working group that is leaving a mark in various fields, for example through the project to restore the Valdirose cemetery, protagonist of the dossier for the two Gorizia European capitals of culture in 2025. It is a prestigious and gratifying result”.
Also Southern Italy has put the Foundation on the front line: from the recovery of the catacombs of Venosa in Basilicata to the enhancement of the Aron ha-Kodesh of Agira in Sicily, which is the oldest stone Aron ha-Kodesh in Europe. Draghi said that her relationship with the Jewish world really began in the sign of an Aron ha-Kodesh: a restoration of the sixteenth-century wardrobe of Scola Catalana, memory of the “Cinque Scole” that characterised the synagogal life of Jewish Rome during the centuries of the Ghetto.
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Click here for the announcement dedicated to the cataloguing of the Jewish heritage of Southern Italy.
Above, the exterior of the Scolanova synagogue in Trani.
Translated by Antonella Losavio and revised by Gianluca Pace, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.