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April 11, 2016 - Nissan 3, 5776


First Volume of Talmud in Italian
Presented to the President of Italy

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By Pagine Ebraiche staff

After many years of work, the first volume of the first-ever Italian translated Talmud, the Tractate of Rosh HaShanah, was presented to the president of Italy, Sergio Mattarella last week.  
“It is not easy to read and to understand the whole text, but even a few drops of the elixir of life that flows in it are precious for those who are nourished by it,” commented the Talmud giant rav Adin Steinsaltz, who cooperated on the project and attended the ceremony hosted by the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei.
The plan is to translate in Italian the whole Babylonian Talmud, which consists of 36 tractates written in Aramaic and ancient Hebrew. The project was started in 2011 thanks to a Protocol signed by the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministries, the Ministry of Education, the Council of National Research and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI).

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Bologna, a World of Books

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By Ada Treves

Bologna Children's Book Fair continues to grow, both in quantitative and qualitative terms and along with the Weekend devoted to young readers it now constitutes a whole week filled with books, presentation, round tables and thousands of visitors, both for professional reasons and for the sheer pleasure of being immersed in literature for young readers. Visitor numbers were up by 9.2% compared with last year: an increase of 16.8 per cent in the number of foreign visitors and of 4.1 per cent in Italian visitors. Figures that came to confirm the key international role of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Illustrators, authors, exhibitors, artists, producers and developers from all over the world have joined the nearly 1,300 exhibitors, arrived in Bologna from 74 countries, for a calendar full of meetings and events of all kinds, followed by 856 accredited journalists from 40 countries. Interesting the comment by Maria Russo, the Children's Book Editor at the New York Times, who in addition to a great appreciation for the whole of the fair she was visiting for the first time, admitted being struck by how "America is really just a drop in this wonderful sea". 

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Italian Jewish Umbrella Group Prepares Low-cost Passover Care Packages

img headerBy JTA

The Italian Jewish community is making available low-cost Passover care packages to aid struggling families.
In cooperation with several kosher food producers, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, is putting together 500 cartons containing seder fixings and other kosher-for-Passover products — among them matzo, wine, cold cuts and sweets.
The packages will be distributed among Italy’s 21 established Jewish communities at the beginning of next week and will be on sale for 20 euros, or $23, each, the UCEI announced.
The project falls under the sponsorship of the UCEI’s kashrut department and kosher certification agency.
“It’s an initiative marked by the desire to reach out to those who are in financial difficulty” with “concrete aid,” Jacqueline Fellus, director of the project and the UCEI official responsible for kashrut, told the UCEI information portal, Moked.

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In Milan, an Archive to Preserve
Jewish History

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By Rossella Tercatin

Its library is a crucial stop for anyone who studies the Holocaust in Italy: historians and writers as well as prominent directors such as Roberto Benigni for his masterpiece “Life is Beautiful”. The Milan Centro di Documentazione ebraica contemporanea (Center for Jewish Contemporary Documentation, known as CDEC) just turned 60, and carries on its mission, as reported by an article in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
The CDEC was started in the fifties by members of the Federation of Italian Young Jews, many of them children of survivors. “They wanted to reconstruct the facts, collect materials and interview survivors,” explains historian Liliana Picciotto, who currently serves as the scientific director of CDEC. “Venice dermatologist Robi Bassi was the first secretary and tells us that he kept the initial documents in suitcases stored under his bed.”

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"Reflecting on Segregation Helps Us Understand the Present"

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By Gadi Luzzatto Voghera*

In the struggle to clarify any misunderstanding — the ones inattentive tourists often run into while they wander the calli and campi of Venice — it’s important to underline that the Ghetto of Venice is not the first ghetto to have ever been built, and it also has nothing to do with those established by Nazis.
The first assertion may provoke a scandal (especially in the context of the manifestations for the 500 years of the Ghetto in Venice) although it is the truth. At most we could state that the Venetian Ghetto was the first place where Jews had to forcefully reside to be called this way, albeit detached Jewish districts already existed prior to 1516: Judengasse, Giudecche, Juderías, sometimes with a set of rules very similar to the one adopted by the Republic of Venice. So, we could say that this definition works.
Shifting the attention to Nazis, it would be truly necessary to follow the path of collective cultivation: Hitler and his followers consciously took advantage of what we could call a historic “brand” in order to spread a specific message that, unfortunately, keeps being incisive.

*Gadi Luzzatto Voghera is an historian. This article has been translated by Letizia Anelli, student at the Scuola superiore interpreti e traduttori di Trieste, ‎who is doing her apprenticeship in the newsroom of Pagine Ebraiche.

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Une chanson


par Renaud

C'est les paroles de la chanson "Hypercacher" du chanteur et auteur français Renaud. L'engagement dans la défence des droits de l'homme a été constant dans la carrière de l'artiste, connu pour ses critiques à la societé. La chanson "Hypercacher", issue du dernier album de Renaud, est un hommage aux victimes de l'attentat du janvrier dernier au supermarcher Hyoperchacher de Porte de Vincennes juste avant le Chabat. L'album, qui s'appelle "Renaud", contient aussi une autre chanson sur les attentats de paris, au titre "J'ai embrassé un flic".

C'était un p'tit endroit pépère
Tout près du métro St Mandé
Qui vendait des produits casher
Pour les habitants du quartier
Un individu cagoulé
Suintant la haine de tous les pores
Armé comme un fourgon blindé
Et venu pour semer la mort
Soudain au magasin casher
Ce fut l'enfer, ce fut l'enfer Il a tiré à tour de bras
Avec de la haine plein les yeux.

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At the Movies


By Susanna Calimani*

I had never done it before, but they say there is always a first time: I have watched twice the same movie at the cinema. The first time it was in Venice, my hometown, I was at the Venice Film Festival, there were 1409 people from all over the world and I paid the ticket; the second, it was here in Frankfurt, there were about 200 people, mainly Germans and Italians and I had a guest ticket.
The movie was indeed the same, but the audience was slightly different, and it was not just a matter of numbers. Burning Love (Pecore in Erba) was screened at the Lichter Film Festival last week, and being the director my friend, I felt a moral obligation to go: I could not just tell him I had watched his movie already, as he did at least 30 times more than me, and my excuse would have been shameless.

*Susanna Calimani is a wandering economist, currently based in Frankfurt.

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By Guido Vitale

"The Polish government, led by Law and Justice, a radical nationalist party, appears intent on politicising historical discussion — and even criminalising it." (The Economist - April 8th 2016).

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Berlusconi, Trump
and Guy Debord


By Daniel Leisawitz*

The unanticipated popularity of Donald Trump in the ongoing U.S. primary elections has produced, among its many surprising effects, a slew of articles in the popular press comparing Trump to ex-prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi (e.g. Roger Cohen in The New York Times and Ruth Ben-Ghiat on CNN.com). As Silvia Marchetti points out in her piece in Politico.com, it has traditionally been Italy that has looked to the U.S. as the political trendsetter, but the rise of Donald Trump has now sent Americans studying recent Italian political history for explanations of our current situation and possible predictions. Indeed, the similarities between the two men are striking: both are real-estate moguls turned media magnates turned politicians; both fashion themselves political outsiders who can put the country’s political house back in order; both tout their business acumen as evidence of their ability to govern; both have aggressive, politically incorrect styles; both employ populist and nationalist rhetoric to attract voters;  both take harsh stands on immigration; both are billionaires who flout their wealth and yet manage to connect to people on the lower end of the economy; both position themselves on the political right; both have eerily unnatural skin tone; and both draw much of their power from their expert management of media.

*Daniel Leisawitz, professor at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA). The artwork is by Abraham Cresques a 14th-century Jewish Spanish cartographer.

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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.
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Realizzato con il contributo di: Francesco Moises Bassano, Susanna Barki, Amanda Benjamin, Monica Bizzio, Angelica Edna Calò Livne, Eliezer Di Martino, Alain Elkann, Dori Fleekop, Daniela Fubini, Benedetta Guetta, Sarah Kaminski, Daniel Leisawitz, Annette Leckart, Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Yaakov Mascetti, Francesca Matalon, Jonathan Misrachi, Anna Momigliano, Giovanni Montenero, Elèna Mortara, Sabina Muccigrosso, Lisa Palmieri Billig, Jazmine Pignatello, Shirley Piperno, Giandomenico Pozzi, Daniel Reichel, Colby Robbins,  Danielle Rockman, Lindsay Shedlin, Michael Sierra, Rachel Silvera, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves, Lauren Waldman, Sahar Zivan