Talmud, another tractate translated into Italian
“We learn each other’s positive values”

“Sotah” (Suspected adulteress) will be released in bookstores on March 22. This is the tenth tractate of the Babylonian Talmud to be translated into Italian in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed in 2011 by State institutions and the Jewish world. In the future, also other shelves will be filled with pages from the Talmud “because Talmud means study, and this is why we want to invite everyone to study with us.” These are the words used by Clelia Piperno, director of the Talmud Project, while presenting the new initiative: a widespread diffusion of all the tractates printed so far in the libraries of Rome and its province “aimed at giving back to the territory a mapping of knowledge” about a pillar of Jewish identity, a heritage at once peculiar and universal.
“By strengthening the knowledge, we learn each other’s positive values,” said Piperno during a press conference held at Palazzo Valentini in Rome to outline the stages and the purposes of this undertaking. Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, president of the Talmud Project, as well as editor of the forthcoming tractate stressed the importance of the Talmud in Jewish culture and recalled the fact that “this great cultural operation” finds its center in the city of Rome, where in 1533 took place one of the most dramatic burnings of the Talmud of all times.
Later in the same place, Campo de’ Fiori, in the 17th century, philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake. This was no coincidence, hinted Rav Di Segni, since, as history has repeatedly shown us, first books get burned, then, it is men’s turn to end up on the stakes.
“We strongly sought and wanted this collaboration among institutions to carry on with our process of learning about history through the writings of the Talmud. Its words have indeed represented the lifeblood that has kept the Jewish people alive during these centuries,” affirmed the Rabbi, praising the support received by all the Italian governments since 2011.
The prefect of Rome, Lamberto Giannini, said he was “enthusiastic about this initiative of great importance and intelligence: the Talmud is well known to the Jewish people, but it must be appreciated outside the Jewish world as well.” The deputy mayor of Rome Pierluigi Sanna has explained that the project will start from five libraries chosen among the most significant ones and will expand further and further in a dialogue “involving local communities and citizens.”

Translated by Laura Cattani and revised by Marta Gustinucci, students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, trainees in the newsroom of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.