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After the Ghetto, In the World at Large

20Feb6:30 pm8:00 pmAfter the Ghetto, In the World at Large6:30 pm - 8:00 pm(GMT+00:00) 3000 Whitehaven St, NW, Washington, DC 20008

Event Details


Centro Primo Levi, in partnership with NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the Library of Congress and The Jewish Museum, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC, as part of the Carnegie Hall festival La Serenissima present:


February 20, 5:00 pm.

Italian Embassy, 3000 Whitehaven St NW, Washington DC

While the program in New York focuses on the centuries of the Venetian Republic, the program in Washington explores the immediate aftermath of the end of the ghetto era. Through the stories of a family of collectors and entrepreneurs, the Treves de’ Bonfil and the work of Luigi Luzzat- ti, prominent economist, politician and intellectual of international renown, the panel will discuss the legacy of the ghetto and the ways in which it was understood during 150 years after its end.

A presentation of the online exhibition ‘Making Hebrew Books in Venice‘ will precede the talk.

Martina Massaro (Università Iuav, Venezia)

Giacomo Treves de’ Bonfil

The year 2016 has marked the 500th anniversary of the first Jewish Ghetto in Venice. This important event involved several institutions, international research centers and foundations. This occasion spurred studies and debates that have

helped shed light on the history of Venetian Jews. Today, the word ghetto com- monly refers to cases of physical and social isolation and has become a general term for situations that differ geographically, socially and politically. Five hundred years after the establishment of the Venetian Ghetto, we can attempt to recon- struct its everyday life, its contradictions, and its “porosity”. The Venetian Republic implemented an urban strategy of welcoming immigrants, offering them protec- tion. At the same time a more or less strict surveillance was exercised over national and religious communities, whose importance derived from their economic activi- ties. Like other minorities, the Jews were precious for the Serenissima. This presen- tation considers the ghetto retrospectively through the story of a family of entre- preneurs and collectors between the last decades of the Republic and the 19th century. The Treves Bonfil were merchants from the Levant who became one of the most active interpreters of Venetian cosmopolitanism and brought its legacy to the world of the modern nation state.

Cristiana Facchini (University of Bologna)
Luigi Luzzatti and the Idea of Religious Toleration

In 1893 the city of Chicago, alongside with the Columbian exposition, hosted the first World’s Parliament of Religions, offering what might be labeled as the first ec- umenical conference of representatives of different religious traditions. Religions known only to a small number of scholars became visible on a public stage.

In 1930 Luigi Luzzatto’s God in Freedom was published in English. The author was one of the most important political figures of European Liberal age, one of the first Jewish prime ministers of a western European country and among the first propo- nents of a European economic federation. An outstanding politician, Luzzatti held a strong passion for the study of religion, which is clearly visible in his book on reli- gious tolerance.


February 21, Library of Congress

Benjamin Ravid (Brandeis University), The Legal Status of the the Jews and Oother Minorities in the Venetian Republic.
David Malchiel (Bar Ilan University), The Governance of the Venice Ghetto.
Richard Schneider (Wake Forest University School of Law will lecture), Shylock and the Law.

The lectures will be accompanied by a display of rare books and materials from the collections of the Library of Congress documenting the legal situation of Jews in the Venice Ghetto and throughout Europe in the Renaissance and Early Modern period.

This program is made possibile through the generous contributions of the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, Peter S. Kalikow, and the Cahnman Foundation with additional support from the David Berg Foundation.

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