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August 4th, 2014 - Av 8th, 5774

by Guido Vitale*

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (George Orwell)

*Guido Vitale is the editor-in-chief of Pagine Ebraiche.
Italian Word of the Week ALIYAH
by Daniela Gross

All of us know the term “Aliyah”: it means “ascent”, the act of going up that indicates the migration from the Diaspora to Israel. It is a Hebrew word that in the recent weeks has acquired a particular nuance of meaning. This is a troubled time for the Jews in Europe: war in Middle East sparked violent reactions both in the world of Islamic extremism and in the extreme left to the point that often public protests in favor of the Palestinians have degenerated into anti-Zionistic and into anti-Semitic demonstrations or, worse, in riots against the Jewish Communities.

In this context the news of the recent Aliyah of 400 French Jews, in the middle of July, gives us something to think about. France hosts largest European Jewish Community, which in the last years has experienced growing hostility and violent attacks, most of the times related to the presence in France of the largest Muslim community of the continent.
One per cent of French Jewry – about 5,000 people - is expected to migrate to Israel within this year. Regarding Italy, data are not so impressive because we are talking about a smaller Jewish community. However, numbers remind us that between 2003 and 2012 the Italian Aliyah grew from 21 to 137 persons a year: a notable trend that, according to scholars, is absolutely increasing.

Besides France, the anti-Semitism bedevils also other countries of Europe, and in these weeks of the Middle East conflict the phenomenon developed in a blatant way. So, should we consider Aliyah from France only a harbinger of things to come?

From Italy to Israel,
a Tangible Help

By Rossella Tercatin

During the past few weeks, Italy has been experiencing a very odd summer: storms and chill have replaced the usual hot and sunny weather. Something close to what can be said about the mood and the feelings of Italian Jews, considering the difficult times Israel is going through.
The board of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) has been closely monitoring the situation and during its last meeting has deliberated to allocate some funds to offer a tangible help. Some of the main organizations offering assistance to the civilian populations, as well as to the Israeli Defense Forces, have been chosen and will receive Italian support.

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"United Against Extremism"
By Adam Smulevich

“Jews and Muslims have to walk alongside and contribute together to the progress of Italian society. It is an urgent commitment: to work together for a genuine brotherhood that could be closely connected to other successful experiences in the country. A goal we can reach only fighting against extremism, hate speeches, and the desire to build insurmountable walls of communication”.
In the message issued at the end of Ramadan, the President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities Renzo Gattegna has reaffirmed the importance of interreligious dialogue, based on mutual recognition and inspired by common values, a goal which has become even more essential considering the huge crisis of the entire Middle East.
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Ofra Farhi: “Culture Is My Life"
By Ada Treves

For Ofra Farhi, the cultural attaché of the Israeli Embassy in Italy, it’s time to say goodbye. She will be returning to Israel at the end of August, after four and a half years in Rome. A meeting with the editorial staff of the Union Jewish Communities of Italy has become the opportunity to discuss what she has accomplished during her Italian years, and to explain the way she has worked.

With the overwhelming energy that characterizes her, Ofra has managed to charm everyone with her passion for her job, and with her pragmatism. Upon her arrival in Italy, something she has wanted very strongly, also because of her Roman roots, she found a peculiar situation: Israeli culture was known for some of its most famous representatives, but there was no structured programming, and for six years there had been no cultural attaché at the embassy.

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Leaving Libya, 47 Years Ago

By Daniela Gross

It happened about fifty years ago, but in light of what’s now happening in the Middle East it sounds dramatically actual. In June 1967 Libya expelled its Jews, when the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab neighbors broke out. The conflict triggered once again a series of dramatic anti-Jewish riots. In those violent attacks 18 people were killed and more injured. In Tripoli homes and businesses were devastated and properties seized.

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Francesca Matalon

Travailler dans une organisation juive (mais aussi regarder Google à vrai dire) apprend surement une lesson: chaque jour est le jour de quelqu'un ou quelque chose. Il y a presque quotidiennement un événement à rappeler, une initiative à soutenir, une journée qui doit être célébrée. Et de la plus haute importance, ça va sans dire. Évidemment la plupart des fois on se sent un peu submergés, mais d'autres fois un peu cachées dans le calendrier par contre on a vraiment l'impression de faire une action importante. C'est le cas du 2 août. Trois mille Roms ont été massacrés dans la nuit du 2 au 3 août 1944 dans le camp d'Auschwitz-Birkenau. Les organisations Roms luttent pour la reconnaissance formelle de cette date comme Journée de commémoration du génocide des Roms.

Lire la suite

From the Desert to the Promised Land: Stability and Movement

By Yaacov Mascetti*

This week my son, Yedidia, put on tefillin in shul for the first time, thus inaugurating the first step into the halachic realm of adulthood. A bar mitzva is a long process, for the boy and for his parents – this is my own very intimate and genuine expression of love to him, which, because of its contents, I wish to share on this platform.

*Ph.D., Department of Comparative Literature, Bar Ilan University

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moked è il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

This newsletter is published under difficult conditions. The editors of this newsletter are Italian journalists whose native language is Italian. They are willing to offer their energy and their skills to give international readers the opportunity of learning more about the Italian Jewish world, its values, its culture and its traditions.
In spite of all our efforts to avoid this, readers may find an occasional language mistake. We count on your understanding and on your help and advice to correct these mistakes and improve our publication.

Pagine Ebraiche International Edition is published by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI). UCEI publications encourage an understanding of the Jewish world and the debate within it. The articles and opinions published by Pagine Ebraiche International Edition, unless expressly stated otherwise, cannot be interpreted as the official position of UCEI, but only as the self-expression of the people who sign them, offering their comments to UCEI publications. Readers who are interested in making their own contribution should email us at desk@ucei.it 
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© UCEI - All rights reserved - The articles may only be reproduced after obtaining the written permission of the editor-in-chief. Pagine Ebraiche - Reg Rome Court 199/2009 – Editor in Chief: Guido Vitale - Managing Editor: Daniela Gross.
Special thanks to: Francesco Moises Bassano, Susanna Barki, Monica Bizzio, Angelica Edna Calò Livne, Eliezer Di Martino, Alain Elkann, Benedetta Guetta, Sarah Kaminski, Daniel Leisawitz, Annette Leckart, Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Yaakov Mascetti, Francesca Matalon, Giovanni Montenero, Elèna Mortara, Lisa Palmieri Billig, Shirley Piperno, Giandomenico Pozzi, Daniel Reichel, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves

Questo notiziario è realizzato in condizioni di particolare difficoltà. I redattori di questo notiziario sono giornalisti italiani di madrelingua italiana. Mettono a disposizione le loro energie e le loro competenze per raccontare in lingua inglese l'ebraismo italiano, i suoi valori, la sua cultura e i suoi valori. Nonostante il nostro impegno il lettore potrebbe trovare errori e imperfezioni nell'utilizzo del linguaggio che faremo del nostro meglio per evitare. Contiamo sulla vostra comprensione e soprattutto sul vostro aiuto e sul vostro consiglio per correggere gli errori e migliorare.

Pagine Ebraiche International Edition è una pubblicazione edita dall'Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane. L'UCEI sviluppa mezzi di comunicazione che incoraggiano la conoscenza e il confronto delle realtà ebraiche. Gli articoli e i commenti pubblicati, a meno che non sia espressamente indicato il contrario, non possono essere intesi come una presa di posizione ufficiale, ma solo come la autonoma espressione delle persone che li firmano e che si sono rese gratuitamente disponibili. Gli utenti che fossero interessati a offrire un proprio contributo possono rivolgersi all'indirizzo  desk@ucei.it

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© UCEI - Tutti i diritti riservati - I testi possono essere riprodotti solo dopo aver ottenuto l'autorizzazione scritta della Direzione. Pagine Ebraiche International Edition - notiziario dell'ebraismo italiano - Reg. Tribunale di Roma 199/2009 - direttore responsabile: Guido Vitale -
Coordinamento: Daniela Gross.
Realizzato con il contributo di:
Francesco Moises Bassano, Susanna Barki, Monica Bizzio, Angelica Edna Calò Livne, Eliezer Di Martino, Alain Elkann, Benedetta Guetta, Sarah Kaminski, Daniel Leisawitz, Annette Leckart, Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Yaakov Mascetti, Francesca Matalon, Giovanni Montenero, Elèna Mortara, Lisa Palmieri Billig, Shirley Piperno, Giandomenico Pozzi, Daniel Reichel, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves.