Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Narrating Over the Ghetto of Rome

Narrating Over the Ghetto of Rome

Ratings: (0)|Views: 187|Likes:
Published by villegas2367
Narrating the Jewish Ghetto --Rome (Required first 5 pages of this article)
Narrating the Jewish Ghetto --Rome (Required first 5 pages of this article)

More info:

Published by: villegas2367 on Jan 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Narrating Over theGhetto of Rome
L. Scott Lerner
Rome, 1555–1885
or three centuries a walled ghetto separated the city’s Jews fromthe rest of the population, its gates opening at dawn and closingat dusk.
In the form of a rectangular trapezoid, the ghettocontained two main streets running parallel to the Tiber, several smallstreets and alleys, three
and four
that together occupieda third of the seven-acre enclosure. The space was densely populated,and extraordinary measures had followed population growth: addi-tional stories perched atop row houses with annex constructions pro-truding every which way. (See Figure 1.) Except for interludes underNapoleon and the Roman Republics (1798–99, 1808–15, 1849), theghetto operated under papal control until the unification of Rome with Italy in 1870.
Even under the new regime, the quarter remainedthe center of Jewish life in the city. Shops lined the streets, and many  Jews, especially the poor, continued to reside within the old confines,together with a religious school, a rabbinical college, benevolent aidsocieties, and five small synagogues in a single edifice called theCinque Scole.
(See Figure 2.) Then, in 1885, 330 years after Paul IV ordered local Jews into the ghetto, the City of Rome ordered them out.Rome was now the capital of the Third Italy, and city officials hadbegun to worry about its appearance. Major public works wereannounced; after centuries of neglect, whole districts were slated forface-lifting. At the top of the list appeared the ghetto, whose
was deemed “indispensable before any other urban initia-tive.”
As a bureaucratic term, “risanamento” is unusually evocative.
means healthy; risanamento connotes a return to health. When
applied to a part of town, its meaning lies somewhere between
slum clearance.
In relation to the ghetto, the term alsoevoked a moral and cultural renewal consistent with the ideology of regeneration. Central to the vision of the French Revolution, regener-ation had carried a particular meaning in relation to Jewish emancipa-tion, where it served to justify equal rights on the grounds that Jews would naturally regenerate themselves once they achieved parity withother citizens.
Both the revolutionary vision of national regeneration
Fig. 1. Ghetto in Rome, late nineteenth century.(Courtesy of Alinari/Art Resource, N.Y.)
[2] JewishSocialStudies
and the specific notion of Jewish regeneration subsequently foundtheir way into Italy, converging in 1848 when patriot Massimo d
 Azegliodeclared that the cause of one was also the cause of the other.
Asthough to seal this union, Giuseppe Verdi
s chorus of Hebrew slaveslonging for freedom in their own land became the unofficial anthemof the Risorgimento.
The risanamento of the ghetto visibly served this shared cause. Just as, in the eyes of the Church, a subordinate Jewish presencetestified to Christian Truth, the Roman ghetto bore witness to thetemporal power of popes. The new leaders could hardly allow sotelling a vestige of the old order to remain, because it contradictedthe image of a regenerated Italy. The risanamento of the ghetto, incontrast, offered a symbolic as well as a practical cure not only forthe Jewish quarter but also for the city and the nation. And so thebenign, bureaucratic term acquired yet another meaning:
todemolish thoroughly. . . , erasing a source of epidemics and a dis-grace to the Capital.
A correspondent for the
Corriere israelitico 
 would describe the moment, in the 2,000-year history of JewishRome, as a
critical period of transformation.
Fig. 2. Le Cinque Scole, Rome, as they appeared in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. (Courtesy of Museo di Roma
 Archivio Fotografico Comunale)
The Ghetto of Rome 
L. Scott Lerner

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->