Two new Rabbis for Italian Jewry

By Adam Smulevich

Over the past few days, Rabbi Paolo Sciunnach and Rabbi Ariel Finzi, already members of the Italian Rabbinical College with the title of Maskil, have achieved a goal that was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Italian Jewry: the major rabbinic title. To obtain it, they took an exam which ranged on different subjects. Among the others, Tanakh, Talmud, and Halakhah. Both passed the exam brilliantly. Current teacher at the Jewish school in Milan, Rav Sciunnach presented a paper on the kavanah, “the intention of the heart, joy, awareness and passion” to fulfill a precept. On his part Rav Ariel Finzi, who has been Rabbi of Naples since 2015, exposed the position of the Halakhah, the Jewish law, about the modern figure of the spy who works to defend Israel’s security.
The goal achieved by Rabbi Sciunnach and Rabbi Ariel Finzi marks an important starting point. “The idea is to make a contribution to Italian Judaism, not excluding the hypothesis of carrying out the role of rabbi of a community”, remarks Rav Sciunnach. “It is the culmination of a long course of study. The Community has always given me exceptional support, making me want to finish”, explains Rav Finzi. The candidates were examined by a commission composed of five rabbis: Rav Alfonso Arbib, Rav Riccardo Di Segni, Rav Alberto Moshe Somekh, Rav Ariel Di Porto, and Rav Yakov Simantov.

Above, Rabbi Paolo Sciunnach and Rabbi Ariel Finzi with President of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly Alfonso Arbib at the end of the exam to obtain the major rabbinic title.

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