For the first time in history, a weekly, online news report in English is being published by the Italian Jewish press
Everybody knows about Italian food, art and clothing. Everybody has seen Venice at least once in their lives, either in person or in a movie. Everybody recalls Shakespeare’s balcony scene, the one set in Verona, in which Juliet cries, “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”.
However, very few people know about the Jewish population living in Italy.
As a wandering Jewish student from Turin, I was asked several times whether there are Jews in Italy. And, even after the 10,000th time, I still get upset. Of course, there are. Jews have been in Italy ten times longer than they have been in the States – more precisely, since two thousand years ago.
So why do very few people know about Jewish Italy? The Jewish community in Italy is small. It is mostly based in Rome and Milan, and then spread around the rest of the country. At the same time, though, it is a lively, active community, and it has many more stories to tell than most of the people might imagine. That is why Guido Vitale, editor-in-chief of the main Jewish newspaper in Italy, Pagine Ebraiche, decided to gather some of the best Italian English-speaking journalists and writers, and launch the first media outlet of the local Jewish community. Every week, on Pagine Ebraiche International, there are stories published that include hard news reports from the different cities, op-eds, and feature stories about the cultural traditions that the Italian Jews have passed down from generation to generation
“Italian Jews have a great history to tell. But also a future to conquer”, wrote Mr. Vitale in an editorial published on the day of the launch of the newsletter, referring to the great challenge of maintaining a millenary past filled with rituals and traditions while shaping today’s role of Italy within the Jewish, globalized world.
From now on, whenever someone asks me about Jews in Italy, I will not respond with a grunt, neither with a three hour long report of the last two millennia of Italian Jewry. Instead, I will give the following link: www.moked.it/international