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Traditions of Roman Jews: Life and Religion

09Nov6:30 pmTraditions of Roman Jews: Life and Religion6:30 pm(GMT+00:00) Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16 Street, New York, NY 10011

Event Details

Rav Amedeo Spagnoletto, Collegio Rabbinico Italiano.

Free and open to the public. Reservations:

Traditions of Roman Jews: Life and Religion

In the history of the Jewish people, the minhag (custom) has not been a factor of division and exclusivity but represented facets of a cohesive system which, over time, has helped Jews to adapt and survive. Roman Jews have always regarded their customs as a direct link to Eretz Israel. Over the centuries they developed rites and traditions through which they articulated independent religious and cultural models and transmitted them from generation to generation as emblematic traits of their identity. This presentation will explore places of worship, liturgy, ways to prepare and perform the Holy Days, which are distinguished by unique traditions, the life-cycle rituals such as circumcision, bar mitzwà and marriage. It will trace the origins of the most typical rituals of the Jewish community of Rome.

Rome in the Talmud and in the Rabbinical Literature

Rabbinic literature, the Talmud and the collections of Midrashim, offer among other texts, important instruments to shed light on the way in which the Jewish world represented Rome and its cultural models in the early centuries of the common era. What comes under our eyes is a contradictory and fascinating picture of the relationship between two civilizations that were deeply different at root and yet demonstrated, over time, mutual respect and consideration. This picture spans through centuries thanks to the presence of a Jewish community that flourished in the eternal city since the 2nd century before the birth of Jesus building institutions and academies that were in contact with those of Palestine and other centers of learning in the diaspora.

Readings from original sources will help understand a relationship between a dominant and a subaltern culture, shaped on one hand on mistrust and ambiguity and on the other on the awe for the majesty of the Empire and the fascination for Oriental cults.



Amedeo Spagnoletto, obtained a degree in History and completed his rabbinic studies at the Collegio Rabbinico Italiano. He graduated from the Vatican School of Library Economics and attended various Rabbinical institutes in Jerusalem where he was awarded the degree as a sofer. For thirty years he has been a scribe and restorer of Jewish traditional texts in Rome and worked for many Jewish communities and institutions around the world. He also conducts research on Hebrew bibliography. He has published widely in many catalogs and volumes on Hebrew book and manuscript treasures of Italian collections. He is also the author of several volumes on rabbinic literature and Italian Judaism for the general public. He teaches at the Collegio Rabbinico Italiano where he is also a member of the Master of Jewish Studies of UCEI.

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