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June 20, 2016 - Sivan 14, 5776


A Special Exhibit Narrates
Centuries of Jewish History

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By Pagine Ebraiche Staff

The exhibit “Venice, the Jews and Europe - 1516-2016” opened on Sunday, June 19. Curated by Donatella Calabi, the exhibit portrays Jewish life in Venice at the time of the Ghetto and beyond. The venue is the historic Palazzo Ducale; the very same building where the decree establishing the first Ghetto in history was signed in 1516.
The exhibit also focuses on the relations between Venetian Jews and the rest of contemporary society in Venice and in Europe. It features original documents, artifacts as well as books and paintings (among the artists exhibited are: Bellini, Carpaccio, Foraboschi, Hayez, Poletti, Balla, Wildt, Chagall).
The Jewish Community of Venice offered a crucial contribution in putting together the exhibit, which was organized with the cooperation of MUVE (Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia).
Other contributors to the support of Venetian Heritage were, the David Berg Foundation, Save Venice, Gladys Krieble, the Delmas Foundation, and Fondazione di Venezia.

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International Media Devote Their Attention
to UCEI Campaign against Free Distribution
of Hitler’s Mein Kampf

By Adam Smulevich
The firm reaction of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) against the free distribution of Adolph Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf (My Battle) made the front pages of Italian newspapers and captured the attention of many international media such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, BBC, Le Figaro, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine. The communication campaign opposing the choice of right-wing Italian newspaper, Il Giornale, which distributed a copy of the book to every reader on Saturday, June 11, was also covered by the news of the main radio and TV stations. There were tens of thousands of posts on social networks.

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“It is a squalid fact that is light years away from all the logic of studying the Shoah and the different factors that led the whole of humanity to sink into an abyss of unending hatred, death and violence. Nothing has changed. It must be stated clearly: the Giornale’s operation is indecent,” the president of the UCEI Renzo Gattegna said in a statement sent out by UCEI press office.

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Exploring the Life of Jews in Libya,
50 Years after Their Flight

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By Francesca Matalon
With the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Libyan Jews in Rome approaching, many events are being held in the city to remember their escape from this Arab country in 1967 and their integration in Italy. The University of Rome 3 hosted an international conference on, Italy and Italian Jews in Colonial Territories During WWII: Libya, Dodecanese and East Africa. The two-day conference was organized by the Documentation Center of North African Jewry During WWII, the Ben Zvi Institute, the World Organization of Libyan Jews and the CDEC – Centro di documentazione ebraica contemporanea, a Milan-based center that researches Italian Jewry in contemporary history.
After the greetings by David Meghnagi, a clinical psychologist at the University of Rome 3, its Dean, Mario Panizza, Haim Sadoun, Director of the Ben Zvi Institute,the  Israeli Ambassador to Italy, Naor Gilon, and CDEC Director Michele Sarfatti, the conference featured lecturers coming from all around the world.

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Discovery the World of Philosophy on DafDaf

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By Ada Treves

Filò is the protagonist of issue 69 of DafDaf, the Jewish magazine for kids, that at the very end of the school year has decided to offer young readers new pages, on philosophy. And Filò - this is the name that the author, Sara Gomel, has chosen for the the character that will be her help in the coming months - has become protagonist of the cover as well, thanks to the illustration by Luisa Valenti: "Dear readers, I invite you to follow me on a journey into the mysterious world of philosophy! My name is Filò, and I will accompany you in the discovery of this ancient discipline, born in Greece more than two thousand years ago. Together, and with the help of many philosophers from the past, we will try to observe with attention the world around us but also our inner world, with what happens in our heads and in our hearts. If you will follow me, you will find that by trying to be philosophers you will learn new ways, and the adults will go back to asking 'why' about many things, just like when they were kids." Luisa Valenti, again, is the author of the "Stregario filosofico," which explains that drawing and philosophizing are roads to know oneself, not to forget that every philosopher is a scientist and that every child is an artist, and a philosopher.

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bechol lashon - Français

«Nous vivons un tournant historique préoccupant»


LE FIGARO. - Quel est votre bilan et quels sont vos objectifs?
Joël MERGUI. - Le Consistoire et ses communautés assument un rôle opérationnel et religieux au service de chaque juif, pratiquant ou non. Dimanche, le président sera élu par les dirigeants, eux-menses élus, des communautés juive de France et d'outre-mer. Il porte leurs aspirations. Leurs projets et leurs attentes et agit, en leur nom, notamment auprès des pouvoirs publics et des acteurs de la société civile. Ces dernières années, j'ai défendu sur tous les fronts les intérêts généraux du judaïsme français (sécurité, lutte contre l'antisémitisme, sauvegarde de la circoncision, de l'abattage rituel, liberté de conscience des étudiants, dignité pour nos morts...). Nous avons consolidé l'organisation du Consistoire, son unité, ses finances pour accroître notre efficacité. Notre institution doit prolonger ses actions pour défendre notre sécurité et préserver notre liberté religieuse face à une laïcité qui se durcit. A l'heure où de nombreux juifs quittent la France, notre défi sera de «faire mieux avec moins» et de donner l'envie de judaïsme à ceux qui en sont encore éloignés.

Le Figaro, 18/6/2016.

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The Earth’s Mouth
and the Power of Words


By Yaakov Mascetti*

I was never a rebellious child, never a rebellious adolescent, and of course I have had to experience the yoke of rebellion (to everything except Yeshayahu Leibovitz, and maybe lasagna…) in my early 40s – seriously, I have a soft spot for revolutionary ideologies, I have a very hard time tolerating authority, and personally find those who challenge accepted systems of power and cultural values as much more interesting and attractive. For these reasons, and of course many others, when I took a seminar course on “Milton’s Poetry” the first year of my Ph.D. in English Literature, Satan became my hero. I couldn’t stop reading his bold and rebellious arguments against the unbearable absolutism of G-d; I loved his rhetoric, and physically felt the thrill while reading his speeches to the rebel angels in Hell, in the newly built Pandemonium.

*Yaakov Mascetti holds a Ph.D. and teaches at the Department of Comparative Literature, Bar Ilan University.

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In Italy, a Unique Connection
between Women and the Torah

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By Chavie Lieber*

A Torah scroll takes years to finish, is written on a special parchment made of animal skin, by a select few who learn the craft, and is locked away, safely, in a special closet when it’s not in use. It is celebrated: It gets kissed, danced with, stood up for, and is ornately decorated. There are endless stories of people risking their lives, even running into a burning building, to save a Torah scroll. There’s the rather daunting tradition of fasting for 40 days to atone for having dropped a Torah scroll.
For the women of Italy, though, the Torah scroll is not just a beloved ritual entity: It is a witness to their special role within their Jewish communities. In Italy, the women have traditionally held a deeply personal relationship to the Torah scroll - a rapport so unique, and so persistent, that there is a prayer said about this connection every Shabbat in Italy.

*This article was published in Tablet Magazine on June 9, 2016.

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We All Need One Another


By Guido Vitale

“(…) I felt the reality that we are living in a time of enormous pain. But I also felt that the night was a tremendous learning experience for me. I learned that when a rabbi and members of an Orthodox synagogue walk into a gay African American bar, it is not the opening line of a joke but an opportunity to connect. It is an opportunity to break down barriers and come together as one. It is an opportunity to learn that if we are going to survive, we all need one another.” (Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Ohev Sholom synagogue in Washington).

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Pink Passover


By Daniel Leisawitz*

The Jews of Rome have the curious custom of referring to Shavuot as “Pasqua rosa” or “Pink Passover.”  It is generally thought that this epithet derives from the profusion of flowers that decorates Jewish homes and synagogues on this occasion, meant to remind us of the miraculous blossoming of flowers on Mt. Sinai and the flowery perfume that emanated from the desert mountain during the giving of the Torah according to the midrash.

*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.
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, 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.

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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