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`Shalom Italia’ celebrates heritage of 0
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by TERESA STRASSER, Bulletin Staff Jew Tunes:
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For one thing, it informs us that Jews like Colli were widely
Slate: ‘Shame on the entertainers
accepted into the mainstream Christian culture of Italy, at a
boycotting Israel this summer’
time when this was not the case in other parts of Europe. The
Latin wording on the University of Padua document says, "In The Art Scene:
the Lord's eternal name," not "In Christ's eternal name," as “Jews and Baseball: An American
was usually the custom. Colli's diploma was changed so as not Your Elegant Love Story” plays SFJFF in
to offend him. Ketubah Berkeley, Palo Alto
Beautiful, hand
personalized ketubot, Chai Life:
The document is part of "The Italian Jewish Heritage: Selections from the quick turnaround Chelsea and Marc wedding pics
Magnes Museum Collections," which opens Saturday, Jan. 13 and kicks off a
four-month celebration of Italian Jewish culture, "Shalom Italia." show all blogs > | blogs home >

The event opens with a feast for the eyes at the museum, and concludes in
April with a feast for the stomach, an Italian-inspired Passover dinner Italy Travel Package
Free Night Stay on
served by celebrated chef Joyce Goldstein at Square One Restaurant. Any 2010 Trip of 6
Nights or More.*
In between are lectures, films and concerts highlighting the achievements of
Italian Jewish artists and scientists throughout history.

"It's a very unknown reality. Many people are amazed hearing there are
Jews in Italy," says Shalom Italia chair Esther Prigioni, a Swiss Jew who is married to Italian Consul
General Giulio Prigioni.

"In fact, it's the oldest Jewish community that has continually existed in the western world," she adds.
"There's been no interruption for the last 2,000 years. They gave us a very rich heritage in culture,
economics, politics, you name it."

Shalom Italia aims to display treasures of this legacy, from the work of Italian Jewish composer Mario
Castelnuovo-Tedesco, which the Sausalito String Quartet will perform in March, to the writings of
scientist and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi, which U.C. Berkeley Professor of Italian Gian-Paolo Biasin
will discuss in February.

Film screenings include "The Righteous Enemy," a 1987 film about Italian resistance to the Final
Solution. After the film's screening in early February, Ginetta Sagan will discuss her years in the anti-
fascist resistance in Italy. Sagan was the co-founder of Amnesty International in the Bay Area.

Italian Jewry was decimated during World War II. Deportation and Mussolini's anti-Jewish campaign
cut the country's Jewish population by 40 percent.

Today, the Jewish community numbers 34,500 Jews, concentrated mostly in Rome and Milan. Despite
its small size, Prigioni says contemporary Italian Jewry continues to have a strong cultural impact.

As part of Shalom Italia, 1985 Nobel Prize winner Franco Modigliani will be discussing both economics
and growing up in Italy. Author Alexander Stille will read from his acclaimed novel "Benevolence and
Betrayal," which follows five Italian families under fascism.

Tania Coen, who will be giving a lecture on Italian ketubot (marriage contracts), says she hopes
Shalom Italia will educate Bay Area Jews about a community most find mysterious. Coen, who grew up Page 1 of 2
`Shalom Italia' celebrates heritage of Italian Jews | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California 8/5/10 11:18 PM

in Rome, now works for the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco.

"The most confusing thing is that most Jews in the Bay Area, and America in general, believe Italian
Jews are Sephardic. This is not entirely true. They have their own customs, traditions. Much of what
they absorbed over the years is Sephardic, but they also added something from the Italian culture and
from Ashkenazic," Coen says.

"It's a mix of all different traditions. This is what makes them different from all other communities."

According to Coen, Passover seders in Italy are a product of this mix of traditions. The seder plate is
filled with the usual Ashkenazic ceremonial foods, but artichokes, a popular side dish in Rome, are also
served. To complete the marriage of several Jewish traditions, Italian Jews eat rice on Passover, which
is a Sephardic custom.

The Magnes exhibit of Italian art makes this convergence of customs obvious and visual.

A preserved page from a 15th century Rosh Hashanah prayerbook, for example, uses Ashkenazi
calligraphy but is decorated with bright rosettes and a red-headed bird -- indicating to art scholars
that the manuscript is Italian in origin. Date Jewish Singles
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The Magnes exhibit and other Shalom Italia events were organized by the Amici Dell'Italia Foundation Beautiful Jewish Singles. Join
and the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco. Funding for the program was provided by the
Bernard Osher Jewish Philanthropies Foundation and Olivetti Atc.


For information on Shalom Italia programs, call (415) 837-0235. Jewish Singles
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