This year Ferrara will be the leading city for Italy for the European Days of Jewish Culture, which will take place next Sunday. More than a hundred Italian locations, all across the country, will participate by opening to the general public synagogues, museums Jewish sites, conferences, concerts, performances, guided tours, and other activities. In Ferrara, the event will start on Saturday night in the streets of the old ghetto and will continue the entire next day. The program was unveiled last week by the president of the Jewish Community Fortunato Arbib, Rabbi Luciano Caro, and City Councilor for Culture Marco Gulinelli. On the same evening, it will be possible to take guided tours of the former ghetto, illustrative totems will be placed for the occasion. The following day, Sunday 18 September, in via Mazzini 95, at the Italian Temple, the official and national inauguration will take place at 10:30 am, in the presence of national and local authorities.
Immediately afterward, a conference on the theme of renewal will follow with speakers Rabbi Luciano Caro (“The renewal in Jewish law”), Giulio Busi of the Freie Universität Berlin (“The coexistence of tradition and innovation in the Jewish contribution to European culture”), Giulio Disegni, jurist and UCEI Vice-president (“The renewal of legal relations between Jews and surrounding society over the centuries”), Laura Graziani, scholar, archivist and historian (who will start from the Ferrara example of the 1570 earthquake to talk about the reopening of the community and the renewal of relations with the city, also connecting to the most recent events of 2012), and Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Director of CDEC Foundation (“The renewal of Jewish communities after the war and the Shoah”).
After a break at 1 pm, guided visits to the synagogues will return at 4 pm. Reservation is required at the secretariat of the Jewish Community by 10 am on Friday 16 September, 9-13 am. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 0532829076.)
“It is precisely the Jewish tradition that tells us that without renewal we cannot survive”, said President Arbib stressing that “It will be a festive occasion: this is the meaning we want to convey by sharing and spreading our culture, our traditions, the religious meaning of our holidays, Jewish cuisine, kashrut”.
“The organization of this European Day of Culture aims at responding mainly to two needs: the curiosity and interest towards the Jewish world and the manifestations of antisemitism still present, at the national level and beyond, which are motivated in good part by ignorance”, said Rav Caro. “Ferrara was already Italy’s leading city in 2014, and at the center of that edition was the figure of the woman. The event was a great success. As for this year’s theme, it must be emphasized that for Jewish culture, renewal does not only mean inventing something new but referring to what was in the past and we have lost. If we do not look to the past, we are unable to organize or reorganize the present and build the future “.
“This very rich program will be a beautiful and important opportunity for Ferrara and its Jewish community, to which we are close”, remarked Councilor Gulinelli. “The Jewish community here has very ancient origins and preserves many testimonies of the past. Jewish history is that of constant exchange with the city, the citizens, and the territory. The goal of this day and the planned program is to help outline a panorama of Judaism as complete as possible, to understand the identity of the Jewish civilization which is also ours”.
The National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah-MEIS will also play a central role in the event. From September 15 to 18th, the museum will host the Jewish Book Festival, which in this 13th edition is going to feature a prestigious parterre of national and international guests, among which 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner novelist Joshua Cohen and Israeli cartoonist Rutu Modan. The program will address the relationship between Judaism and image and the concept of renewal, the central theme of this European Days of Jewish Culture edition.
Here more info about the program.
Above, from left Rabbi Luciano Caro, the president of the Jewish Community Fortunato Arbib, and Ferrara City Councilor for Culture Marco Gulinelli.