The Silk Tallit Renaissance
You are cordially invited to join us for an evening dedicated to the Italian silk talit tradition. Presenters: Dora Piperno, Celeste Pavoncello Piperno, Rav Umberto Piperno Tasting of kosher Italian bottarga,
You are cordially invited to join us for an evening dedicated to the Italian silk talit tradition.
Presenters: Dora Piperno, Celeste Pavoncello Piperno, Rav Umberto Piperno Tasting of kosher Italian bottarga, wine and citron sweets from Calabria
Organzied by the American Sephardi Federation, Centro Primo Levi, Talled Di Seta.
Seating is limited and reservation is required: firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us remember well the years Rav Umberto Piperno spent in New York: his enthusiasm, wisdom and tireless efforts to present the specific traditions of Italian Jews from liturgy to food and beyond. In July he is back in Manhattan to present yet another intriguing project: the revival of the dying Italian tradition of the silk tallit, the prayer shawl. An enterprise rooted in the wisdom of the past, the passion of the present and the innovation of the future.
Alessandro Cassin: The tradition of the Italian tallitot involves not only a long tradition of craftsmanship, but also a cultural history, and mercantile exchange.
Rav Piperno: Absolutely. Today it gives an added dimension to the many stories that concern the Silk Road, the fascinating network of trade routes. It was central to cultural interaction between different parts of the world comprising both a terrestrial and the maritime routes, connecting Asia with the Middle East and southern Europe.
The effort to highlight and revive the Italian Jewish tradition of the silk tallit is spearheaded by two entrepreneurs, Dora and Sofia Piperno, with rabbinical guidance and assistance.
AC: How and where did the project begin?
RP: It began in the Veneto region in two phases. In phase one, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni went to Venice, historically one of the main cities in the west connected to China through the Silk Road. The idea was, to begin with, an in-depth analysis of the precious robes of the Venetian Doge which were made in silk and gold. One of the aims being creating silk tallitot decorated with actual gold thread. The challenge was to find a silk production facility, where 100% Italian silk could be spun under rabbinical supervision, starting from the silkworm’s cocoon to arrive at the silk thread that will form the tzitziot. One such artisanal manufacturing plant was found in Nove, near Venice.
With an eye to marketing the new silk tallitot, they came up with the catchphrase “filo-so-fare” a wordplay which means both “I know how to spin thread” and “to philosophize.”