Having trouble viewing this email? Click here September 5, 2022 – 9 Elul 5782 


Jewish culture celebrated all across Europe

The European Days of Jewish Culture 2022 kicked off yesterday in the French town of Schirmek, in Alsace, France. Coordinated by the AEPJ through a large network of institutions, the festival, where the Jewish heritage is opened to the general public with the aim of promoting dialogue, recognition and exchange, will take place in Italy on September 18th and see Ferrara as the leading city.
The reason behind the choice of Schirmeck is highly symbolic. In a historical act, the Sefer Torah of this small town, saved during the Holocaust by the Christian friend of a young Jewish deportee, was returned to the synagogue after an extraordinary journey that lasted 77 years and crossed Europe, Northern Africa, and Jerusalem.
To the ceremony participated the deputy Secretary general of the Council of Europe Bjorn Berge and the board of the AEPJ in the figures of the two Italian components of the executive: Annie Sacerdoti and Claudia De Benedetti. The first also as vice president of the Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation in Italy. This year, the European Days of Jewish Culture, which has a partnership with the National Library of Israel, has as a central theme Renewal. More than a hundred Italian locations, all across the country, will take part on September 18th with meetings, lectures, and cultural itineraries.

From top, the historical Sefer Torah returned to Schirmeck; the AEPJ board at the ceremony.

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Catalogage du patrimoine juif en Italie,
un réseau d’importance nationale

Le catalogage du patrimoine culturel juif est un projet qui n’est pas seulement fascinant mais aussi complexe. Selon Dario Disegni, président de la Fondation du patrimoine culturel juif (Fbce), l'ouverture récente du site internet patrimonio.beniculturaliebraici.it est une initiative que dans son absolue unicité est “la prémisse indispensable à toute intervention qui se développe dans le domaine de la recherche et la valorisation de ce patrimoine”. A partir de ce printemps, dans le réseau on peut trouver un nombre des pages connectées aux signes d’une présence bimillénaire caractérisée par “sites archéologiques, catacombes, synagogues, quartiers urbains, mémoires funèbres, archives, bibliothèques, musées. Manuscrits enluminés, artefacts artistiques”. 
Il s’agit d’un premier résultat d’un parcours commencé en 2016 avec le double objective de mettre à jour “scientifiquement et photographiquement” le projet des années 80 dans le domaine du plan de travail Ars-Presenza Ebraica en Italie, mais aussi d’inventorier à nouveau “le matériel non encore catalogué mais conservé auprès de chaque Communauté et dans les cimetières juifs”.
La réalisation de cet objectif a été permise grâce à la convention stipulée avec l’Istituto centrale per il catalogo e la Documentazione – Institut centrale pour la catalogage et documentation. Conclu en 2015, le travail s’est développé sur plusieurs régions grâce aussi à la participation d’un groupe des jeunes catalogueurs. 

Traduction de Onda Carofiglio, révisée par Alida Caccia, étudiantes à l’École Supérieure de Langues Modernes pour les Interprètes et les Traducteurs de l’Université de Trieste, stagiaires dans le bureau du journal de l’Union des communautés juives italiennes – Pagine Ebraiche.

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The man who saved Yiddish literature

It was defined as one of the biggest efforts of cultural rescue in Jewish history. It was Aaron Lansky, a then-young student of Yiddish language and literature, who set it up in the 70s. Failing to find books in Yiddish to read, Lansky began to check around by asking institutions and private citizens if they had some to borrow or donate. The response was tremendous, given that many books would otherwise have gone to the shredder or ended up in landfills. “Lansky’s undertaking has become a real and incredible one.
He tells it in a wonderful book of several years ago now, which is titled Outwitting History: How a Young Man Rescued a Million Books and Saved a Vanishing Civilisation” says Anna Linda Callow, a translator and teacher of Yiddish and Jewish.
“Thanks to him and the center he established in Massachusetts, the reading in Yiddish was the world’s first to be digitalized. That is why you can choose among a large amount of uncopyrighted material that’s available simply going to the National Yiddish Book Center website”. As Lansky tells in his book, we are talking about a rescue and restoration work which began by chance.
“At the beginning he needs the books just to improve the language and the attempt to recover them is disastrous. For example, he goes to a religious books salesman who kicks him out of his shop because he doesn’t want to sell him any text in Yiddish, since he thinks they do not comply with the Jewish laws.” collective memory. 
Then the word about his research gets out, and many approach him to get rid of pages and pages with which nobody knows what to do. “It’s the second generation who can’t read the language anymore and wants to dispose of piles of books it considers useless. So, Lansky starts having them sent everywhere, even to his girlfriend’s house, who threatens to leave him. Meanwhile, he works on the idea of opening a center, having understood that if he’s not the one who cares about that, nobody will. Then an entire heritage would end up in a landfill.” Thus began the attempt to find and raise funds for the center.  

Translation by Sofia Busatto, revised by Valentina Megera, students at the Secondary School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste, interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities – Pagine Ebraiche.

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Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe
Autumn 2022 Grant Programmes

Applications are open for the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe’s Autumn 2022 grant programs and welcome in several categories with deadline September 12. In the category Archives and libraries, the goal is to increase access to documents that will enhance future academic research in European Jewish history and culture and encourage people to engage with communal documentary heritage, whether for educational purposes or personal family research. The areas supported are conservation and preservation, inventories and cataloguing, digital resource creation and digital humanities, professional training, and language grants. The Foundation also supports digitization of material to make these collections accessible to people around the world.


Para Daniela Fubini

Vivimos en una época de fuertes confusiones climáticas y esto vale para todos, en todas las latitudes y longitudes. Sin embargo voy a reírle en la cara al próximo europeo que me diga: “pero qué calor terrible hace este verano, ni hablemos de dónde vivís vosotros que estáis en el desierto”. Ese “dónde vivís vosotros” puede que se entienda como Oriente Medio, como Israel, o como la zona específica cerca de Ashkelon, donde vivo yo, elegid vosotros. Y de todas formas esto es incorrecto. ¿Desierto? Claro, pero no por todas partes. Quizás hace medio siglo Israel estaba considerablemente más árida, aunque más o menos hacía menos calor que ahora, como en el resto del mundo. ¿Pero qué pasa hoy? En las ciudades y en los lugares habitados que se fundaron antes o en los tiempos de la fundación del Estado los árboles son altos y contribuyen al menos a bajar la temperatura percibida ahí donde los han colocado con el objetivo de crear un poco de sombra.

Traducido por Diana Drudi, estudiante de la Escuela Superior de Intérpretes y Traductores de la Universidad de Trieste, pasante en la oficina del periódico de la Unión de las Comunidades Judías Italianas – Pagine Ebraiche.

An ambassador of Jewish civilization

By Amy Rosenthal*

Dror Eydar concluded his three-year term as Israel’s ambassador to Italy on Sept. 4, being succeeded in the position by Alon Bar, the outgoing head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Political Strategic Division. Neither a career diplomat nor a politician, Eydar came to the post as a historian, intellectual and former columnist and op-ed editor for Israel Hayom. Upon stepping into his home in Rome, there are books in Hebrew, Italian and English wherever one gazes. On the coffee table alone there’s a Siddur, the Talmud and a book of commentaries on the Bible next to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy on the one end, and a book of poetry and a couple of novels, as well as a tall stack of history books, on the other.
*This article was originally published on Jewish News Syndicate on September 4, 2022.

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Realizzato con il contributo di: Francesco Moises Bassano, Susanna Barki, Amanda Benjamin, Monica Bizzio, Angelica Edna Calò Livne, Alain Elkann, Dori Fleekop, Daniela Fubini, Benedetta Guetta, Sarah Kaminski, Daniel Leisawitz, Annette Leckart, Gadi Luzzatto Voghera, Yaakov Mascetti, 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, Adam Smulevich, Simone Somekh, Rossella Tercatin, Ada Treves, Lauren Waldman, Sahar Zivan.