Essays

Venice: A Symbol of Jewish History

Should we assume, as we usually assume in ordinary parlance, that the word “symbol” signifies something beyond what appears at first glance, we should, I will argue, agree that Venice…

Primo Levi’s Love

In the chapter Phosphorus in the Periodic Table Levi tells us of a love story that took place in 1942, when he was employed in futile research after an oral…

Fascist Antisemitism in the US

  Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish-Italian Relations in the United States Courtesy American Jewish Archives Journal, 56 NO. 1 & 2 (2004) Courtesy of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the…

Primo Levi Anthropologist of Normality

I first met Primo Levi in February 1963, a month before the release of his book The Truce. I had just walked into the press office at Giulio Einaudi publishing…

Italy and the Voice of America

The Italian Section of the Voice of America during WWII 1. On the evening of January 20, 1944, in Lima, Peru, my father Antonello sat down to write a long…

Rhodes: Our Piece of the Earth

Seventy years ago, on July 23, 1944, Jewish life on this Island of roses came to an end. Today we convene here in Kahal Shalom to mourn the interrupted and…

Women and the Torah

In Italy, a Unique Connection Between Women and the Torah. Creating special Torah coverings—often from discarded scraps of fabric—has a long history for Italian women A Torah scroll takes years to…

On the Dark Side of History

The historian Carlo Ginzburg talks about his publications and his historical method of microhistory, which he pioneered. Ginzburg dismisses the prevailing relativism of historical truth as intellectually, politically, and morally lazy,…

The Enigma

The Enigma of a Rare Jewish Sixteenth Century Portrait from Cremona Recently, while visiting an art fair in New York, I was surprised and intrigued by a painting by Antonio…

From Odessa to Florence

From Odessa to Florence: Elena Comparetti Raffalovich. “Non capisco come possono affollare chiese e sinagoghe, quando si puo avere come tempio l’universo interno Abstract In the nineteenth and the first…