Tal Bassali
Zehud Jewish Online School & Foundation Jewish Life Europe

My Story, My Journey

I’ve lived a long life for someone my age. I was born and educated in England, I lived in Israel for 12 long and beautiful years, where I became an adult and a professional. So when I came to live in Italy I really was all grown up.

My younger sister married a man from an original Venetian family who are priveliged to be able to trace their family back, all the way to the Spanish Inquisition. Their family tree graces their living room wall. One of the original ghetto families with their very own family crest. It was in their merit that I met my husband at their wedding, here in Venice. It was my third visit to Venice – but eachtime I came back felt like I was coming home. Strange for such an unspiritual being such as myself.

At the time, I was finalizing my divorce, on my way out of a marriage I had long overstayed. The bride insisted I chase down M. from Milan, and offer him the honour of a final seventh blessing. “I can’t” he said. “I have to catch a train.” Odd fellow I thought. That was June. Fast forward to August – where me and my sister and her new husband were having dinner at a Tel Aviv Restaurant. There he was. We offered him to join us at a bar for drinks afterwards. “I can’t” he said. “I have to catch a bus”. Like the Mr. Men series: Very strange indeed.

Fast forward to April, when we had been dating for 6 short weeks. M. asked me to marry him. “Of course I’ll marry you,” was my response. “But I don’t want to live in Milan.” “Where would you like to live then?” he asked. “Well, the only other place I have visited in Italy is Venice. “We’ll have to try Venice then” was his response. And that really was the beginning, middle and end of that discussion. Those of you who know me, know that there is no embellishment to this tale. I tell it straight up. 

I inherently knew, that for this new chapter of my life I needed somthing different and new. I didn’t want to do anything the same as I, or anyone had ever done before. And that I was finally willing to take such risks, that I was ABLE to take those risks, to change my life completely and utterly with this man – in a partnership.

We married in August and that is when the big adventure began. I was so unprepared for the unpredictable days ahead. Lucky me, my life partner, never let up in his unwavering support, his constant attention, his steady back to fall on. Me with a decade long experience in high tech, came to a country that is seemingly in western Europe, but feels much more like East. From a vibrant economy to one that is a little more sluggish then the freight train I was used to. To a totally different culture and way of getting anything done that was absolutely foreign to me – all the multi cultural training done in the workplace didn’t begin to blur the lines! From being the international traveller to living on an island. And last, but not at all least….falling madly, head over heels in love with a part of Jewish history and culture that is precious and central to the Jewish people in Jewish Italy. Stick with me on my journey, I promise you won’t have a dull moment. I certainly don’t!

Shabbat shalom from Venice to the Jewish people all over the world.


About the Author
Tal lives in Venice, Italy, in an antique Jewish Orthodox community that enjoys over 500 years of colorful history. She has fallen hopelessly in love with Jewish Europe and runs The Zehud Jewish Online School & Foundation for Jewish Life in Europe. Most communities today don't have a Jewish School, by virtually uniting smaller groups to create a critical mass, we have connected it with high quality Jewish education . Passionate about promoting sites of Jewish interest and Jewish personalities , Tal especially enjoys social encounters and hosts locals and internationals for eclectic Shabbat dinners. She has taken her management skills and applied them to various multicultural challenges, family life and even parenting. Tal believes in the power of the WE.