A touching ceremony commemorated last week in Rome the Jews of Libya buried in desecrated cemeteries and of the meritorious who, after the forced exodus of 1967, contributed to rebuilding the community in Italy. The four tombstones were discovered on Friday at the Verano cemetery by Gino Mantin, Lillo Naman, Vito Arbib, and Samuel Zarrough, who all witnessed this history of displacement, violence, and then blossom elsewhere. The ceremony was at the heart of the international conference “Stories of rebirth: the Jews of Libya” which ended Sunday with a special event for the students of the Roman Jewish school.
Many young people participated in the conference, which its promoter David Gerbi structured thinking precisely of the new generations and the representatives of the various Libyan synagogues in Rome. Among the participants, Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, Rabbi Alfonso Arbib and Rabbi Pino Arbib. As Rabbi Di Segni, although severely wounded, “the Libyan community has become stronger and stronger, and Rome is an excellent testimony of this”. The president of Italian Rabbinic Assembly Rabbi Arbib, who was born in Tripoli in 1958, offered a personal testimony: “The first thing that the Jews of Libya did upon their arrival in Italy was to found a synagogue: this – he said – means defending our identity”.
Above, the ceremony at the Verano cemetery in Rome.