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Presenting the Italian Jewish Heritage Foundation and the National Museum of Italian Judaism

New York, NY, April 25, 2016 – On Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 12 noon at 690 Park Avenue, the Consulate General of Italy and Centro Primo Levi NY will present a talk by Dario Disegni, President of the Italian Jewish Heritage Foundation and the National Museum of Italian Judaism in Ferrara. Reservation is required at or by telephone at (212) 439-8605.

Mr. Disegni will address an audience of curators, archivists, librarians, and cultural entrepreneurs and will highlight the scope and importance of Italy’s Jewish heritage from Sicily to Naples, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Turin, Venice and Trieste.

Italy’s Jewish cultural heritage represents a large portion of Jewish treasures worldwide and is unique for its diversity and hybridity reflecting twenty-two centuries of uninterrupted Jewish presence in the peninsula. Thirty per cent of the known Hebrew manuscripts are of Italian provenance, the first Hebrew books were printed in Calabria. Each region offers unique examples of ritual architecture, liturgical books, objects, textiles, Judeo-languages, and cantorial traditions.

Mr. Disegni will illustrate a selection of projects coordinated by the Foundation and pertaining to archeology, museums, archives, libraries and other areas of research and preservation.

The presentation will highlight the newly established National Museum of Italian Judaism in Ferrara, MEIS, the result of a partnership between the Italian Jewish communities and the  Italian Ministry of Culture.

The presentation is meant to foster awareness of the Italian Jewish heritage and of the preservation and access projects undertaken by the Foundation in collaboration with the Italian government and international entities. It is the hope of the organizers to inspire and facilitate future exchanges and collaborations between the Foundation and American cultural institutions.

Dario Disegni is President of National Museum of Italian Judaism (Ferrara) and the Italian Foundation for Jewish Heritage. He is Vice Chairman of the Primo Levi International Study Center in Turin. Mr. Disegni received a degree in law from the University of Turin. In 1976 he joined the San Paolo Bank, first as Manager of Economic Research and then in the Department of International Relations. In 1988 he became Economic Adviser at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1992 to 2009 he was Head of Cultural Affairs at Compagnia di San Paolo. From 2002 to 2013 served as Secretary General of the Compagnia’s Fondazione per l’Arte. Mr. Disegni was Chairman of European Foundation Centre (Brussels) and LAB for culture (Amsterdam).

The Italian Jewish Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1986 by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities to promote, preserve and restore the historic, artistic and bibliographical heritage of the Jews of Italy. Projects pertaining to the Foundation include cultural and material heritage in the fields of religion, archeology, archives, libraries, languages and music which embody and document the Jewish presence in the peninsula over the course of twenty-two centuries.

The Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (Ferrara) will open its first building in the fall of 2017. It is conceived to foster knowledge of Italian Jewish history and culture. One of its wings will be dedicated to the history of the anti-Jewish persecutions in Italy.

Centro Primo Levi is a New York based organization inspired by the humanistic legacy of writer and chemist Primo Levi. The Center offers public and academic programs and publications on the history of Italian Jews and Judaism. Its main focus on 20th century totalitarianism expands to a history of over two thousand years in an ongoing effort to present the experience and perspective of a minority and its relation with mainstream culture in ancient and modern societies.

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