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Encyclopedia > Italian Jews
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Jewish religion (Judaism)
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Etymology of "Jew"  · Who is a Jew?
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The Bund Union · Kibbutz movement
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Jewish history timeline  · Schisms
Ancient Israel and Judah
Temples in Jerusalem
Babylonian captivity
Hasmoneans and Greece
Jewish-Roman wars · Era of Pharisees
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The Holocaust · Modern Israel
Persecution of Jews
Anti-Semitism: (History / "New")
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Download high resolution version (1024x1180, 21 KB)Created from Image:Wikipedia blue star of david. ... Jump to: navigation, search Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. ... Jump to: navigation, search Judaism affirms a number of basic principles of faith that one is expected to uphold in order to be said to be in consonance with the Jewish faith. ... Look up Jew on Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Jump to: navigation, search Who is a Jew? (Hebrew: מיהו יהודי?; transliterated as mihu yehudi) can be a complicated question because Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity, a religion, and a culture, making the definition of who is a Jew vary depending on whether a religious, sociological... Jewish leadership: Since 70 AD and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem there has been no single body that has a leadership position over the entire Jewish community. ... Secular Jewish culture embraces several related phenomena; above all, it is the culture of secular communities of Jewish people, but it can also include the cultural contributions of individuals who identify as secular Jews, or even those of religious Jews working in cultural areas not generally considered to be connected... Jewish ethnic divisions: The most commonly used terms to describe ethnic divisions among Jews presently are: Ashkenazi (meaning German in Hebrew, denoting the Central European base of Jewry); and Sephardi (meaning Spanish in Hebrew, denoting their Spanish and North African location). ... Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים Standard Hebrew, AÅ¡kanazi,AÅ¡kanazim, Tiberian Hebrew, ʾAÅ¡kănāzî, ʾAÅ¡kănāzîm, pronounced sing. ... Sephardim (ספרדי, Standard Hebrew SÉ™fardi, Tiberian Hebrew ardî; plural Sephardim: ספרדים, Standard Hebrew Sfaradim, Tiberian Hebrew ) are a subgroup of Jews, generally defined in contrast to Ashkenazim and/or . ... This article deals with those Jewish communities indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa. ... Yemenite Jews (תֵּימָנִי, Standard Hebrew Temani, Tiberian Hebrew Têmānî; plural תֵּימָנִים, Standard Hebrew Temanim, Tiberian Hebrew Têmānîm) are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen (תֵּימָן far south, Standard Hebrew Teman, Tiberian Hebrew Têmān), on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. ... The Bene Israel (Sons of Israel) are a group of Jews who, in the mid-twentieth century, lived primarily in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and parts of Pakistan. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Beta Israel (or House of Israel), known by outsiders by the term Falasha or Falash Mura (exiles or strangers), a term that they consider to be pejorative, are Jews of Ethiopian origin. ... Jump to: navigation, search The number of Jews in the world is difficult to calculate, especially given the constant debates of the definition of Jew. ... // Early History Tradition places Jews in southern Russia, Armenia, and Georgia since before the days of the First Temple, and records exist from the fourth century showing that there were Armenian cities possessing Jewish populations ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 along with substantial Jewish settlements in the Crimea. ... This article is about the history of the Jewish people in England. ... History of the Jews in Latin America. ... Main article: List of Jews. ... Jump to: navigation, search Jewish languages are a set of languages that developed in various Jewish communities, in Europe, southern and south-western Asia, and northern Africa. ... Jump to: navigation, search Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken by 6 million people mainly in Israel, parts of the Palestinian territories, the United States and by Jewish communities around the world. ... Yiddish (Yid. ... Jump to: navigation, search Ladino is a Romance language, derived mainly from Old Castilian (Spanish) and Hebrew. ... Jump to: navigation, search Dzhidi, or Judæo-Persian, is the Jewish language spoken by the Jews living in Iran. ... Judæo-Aramaic is a collective term used to describe several Hebrew-influenced Aramaic and Neo-Aramaic languages. ... The Judeo-Arabic languages are a collection of Arabic dialects spoken by Jews living or formerly living in Arabic-speaking countries; the term also refers to more or less classical Arabic written in the Hebrew script, particularly in the Middle Ages. ... Jewish denominations: Over time, the Jewish community has become divided into a number of religious denominations, also called branches or movements. Each denomination has a different understanding of what principles of belief a Jew should hold, and how one should live as a Jew. ... Orthodox Judaism is that stream of Judaism which adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmud (The Oral Law) and later codified in the Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law). It is governed by these works and all the Rabbinical... Conservative Judaism (or Masorti Judaism) is a denomination of Judaism characterized by: A positive attitude toward modern culture The belief that traditional rabbinic modes of study, and modern scholarship and critical text study, are both valid ways to learn about and from Jewish religious texts. ... Reform Judaism is the first modern branch of Judaism; it developed in Germany and is now international, and the largest in North America. ... Reconstructionist Judaism is a denomination of Judaism with a relatively liberal set of beliefs: an individuals personal autonomy should generally override traditional Jewish law and custom, yet also take into account communal consensus, modern culture is accepted, traditional rabbinic modes of study, as well as modern scholarship and critical... Karaite Judaism is a Jewish denomination characterized by reliance on the Tanakh as the sole scripture, and rejection of the Oral Law (the Mishnah and the Talmuds) as halakha (Legally Binding, i. ... Alternative Judaism refers to several varieties of modern Judaism which fall outside the common Orthodox/Non-Orthodox (Reform/Conservative/Reconstructionist) classification of the four major streams of todays Judaism. ... Jewish political movements refer to the organized efforts of Jews to build their own political parties or otherwise represent their interest in politics outside of the Jewish community. ... For other meanings, please see Zionism (disambiguation) Zionism is a political movement and an ideology that supports a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel, where the Jewish nation originated and where Jewish kingdoms and self governing states existed at various times in history. ... General Zionists were centrists within the Zionist movement. ... Revisionist Zionism is a right wing tendency within the Zionist movement. ... Jump to: navigation, search A Bundist demonstration, 1917 The General Jewish Labour Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia, in Yiddish the Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland (אַלגמײַנער ײדישער אַרבײטערסבונד אין ליטאַ, פוילין און רוסלאַנד), generally called The Bund (בונד) or the Jewish Labor Bund, was a Jewish political party operating in several European countries between... Kibbutz Dan, near Qiryat Shemona, in the Upper Galilee, 1990s A kibbutz (Hebrew: קיבוץ; plural: kibbutzim: קיבוצים, gathering or together) is an Israeli collective community. ... Jewish history is the history of the Jewish people, faith (Judaism) and culture. ... This entry contains a timeline of the development of Judaism and the Jewish people. ... Schisms among the Jews: // First Temple era Based on the historical narrative in the Bible and archeology, Levantine civilization at the time of Solomons Temple was prone to idol worship, astrology, worship of reigning kings, and paganism. ... In compiling the history of ancient Israel and Judah, there are many available sources, including the Jewish Tanakh (the Old Testament) and other Jewish texts such as the Talmud, the Ethiopian book of history known as the Kebra Nagast, the writings of historians such as Nicolaus of Damascus, Artapanas, Philo... The Temple in Jerusalem or the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash בית המקדש in Hebrew) was built in ancient Jerusalem and was the center of Israelite and Jewish worship, primarily for the offering of sacrifices known as the korbanot. ... Babylonian captivity, or Babylonian exile, is the name generally given to the deportation and exile of the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. ... The Hasmonean Kingdom (pronunciation) in ancient Judea and its ruling dynasty from 140 BC to 37 BC was established under the leadership of Simon Maccabaeus, two decades after Judah the Maccabee defeated the Seleucid army in 165 BC. Origin of the Hasmonean dynasty The origin of the Hasmonean dynasty is... Jewish-Roman War can refer to several revolts by the Jews of Judea against the Roman Empire: The First Jewish-Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the First Jewish Revolt. ... The Pharisees (from the Hebrew perushim, from parash, meaning to separate) were, depending on the time, a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews that flourished during the Second Temple Era (536 BCE–70 CE). ... Jewish diaspora (Hebrew: Tefutzah, or Galut, exile) refers to the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Talmud (תלמוד) is considered an authoritative record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories. ... This article incorporates text from the public domain 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia Jews in the Middle Ages : The history of Jews in the Middle Ages (approximately 500 CE to 1750 CE) can be divided into two categories. ... Jump to: navigation, search This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Haskalah (Hebrew: השכלה; enlightenment, intellect, from sekhel, common sense) was a religious movement among European Jews in the late 18th century that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew, and Jewish history. ... Hasidic Judaism (from the Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות, meaning pious, from the Hebrew root word chesed חסד meaning loving kindness) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ... Jump to: navigation, search Children survivors of the Holocaust before their liberation The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of various ethnic, religious and political groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. ... Main article: Israel. ... Related articles: anti-Semitism; history of anti-Semitism; modern anti-Semitism This article deals with various persecutions that the Jewish people have experienced throughout history. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster. ... This is a partial chronology of hostilities towards or discrimination against the Jews as a religious or ethnic group. ... The new anti-Semitism refers to the contemporary international resurgence of anti-Jewish incidents and attacks on Jewish symbols, as well as the acceptance of anti-Semitic beliefs and their expression in public discourse. ...


Under the Roman Empire

See also: Jewish-Roman wars Jewish-Roman War can refer to several revolts by the Jews of Judea against the Roman Empire: The First Jewish-Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the First Jewish Revolt. ...


The first definite appearance of Jews in the history of Italy was that of the embassy sent by Simon Maccabeus to Rome to strengthen the alliance with the Romans against the Syrians. The ambassadors received a cordial welcome from their coreligionists who were already established there, and whose number at the time of the emperor Claudius was comparatively so great that when, for some unknown reason, he was desirous of expelling them, he did not dare to do so. Moreover, when, toward the end of his reign, by reason of trouble provoked by a Christian propagandist, he actually expelled a portion of the Jews, there remained in Rome a fully organized community, presided over by heads called ἄρχοντες or γερουσιάρχοι. The Jews maintained in Rome several synagogues, whose spiritual head was called ἀρχισυνάγωγος; in their cemetery the tombstones bore the symbolic seven-branched candlestick. Even in the time of Tiberius—who pretended to be friendly to the Jews, but really was as hostile to them as Augustus had been—many converts to Judaism were made in Rome. It was when the wife of his friend, the senator Saturninus, became a convert to Judaism, that Tiberius showed his enmity toward the adherents of this faith by publishing, on the advice of his minister Sejanus, an edict commanding all Jews and proselytes who should not have abjured their faith before a fixed date to leave Rome under penalty of perpetual bondage. A large number of young Jews was ordered to fight against the brigands in Sardinia, where the greater part of them lost their lives. This was the first persecution of the Jews in the West. There were other Jewish colonies at that time in southern Italy, in Sicily, and in Sardinia, but they were neither large nor important. Jump to: navigation, search City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Mayor Walter Veltroni (Left-Wing Democrats) Area  - City Proper  1290 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,546,807 almost... A statue of Emperor Claudius Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus (August 1, 10 BC–October 13, 54), originally known as Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, was the fourth Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from January 24, 41 to his death in 54. ... A bust of younger Emperor Tiberius For the city in Israel, see Tiberias. ... Augustus (plural Augusti) is Latin for majestic or venerable. The greek equivalent is sebastos, or a mere grecization (by changing of the ending) augustos. ... Sardinia (Sardigna, Sardinna or Sardinnia in the Sardinian language, Sardegna in Italian, Sardenya in Catalan), is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (Sicily is the largest), between Italy, Spain and Tunisia, south of Corsica. ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,700 sq. ...


From Rome, where Judaism had many adherents and enjoyed a certain influence even at court, the Jews spread into other parts of Italy; but the greater number of those who came to such parts somewhat later immigrated from other countries. Thus in Sicily there came from Africa to Palermo about 1,500 families, and to Messina about 200 families. To Tuscany Jews came from Spain; to Lombardy, to Piedmont, and to the territory of Genoa, from central Italy. But they were never numerous; only in Milan, Turin, and Genoa were there communities of some importance; and even from these provinces they were frequently expelled and after an interval allowed to reenter. From the Orient, where the Venetian republic had important colonies, many went to Venice, and also to Ancona and Pesaro. From these cities, too, as from Ferrara, they were at times expelled; and, as elsewhere, they were readmitted. There were some Jews in almost every village of the Venetian possessions; at Padua, Verona, Mantua, and Modena there were long-established and important communities. In the south, the greater number of the Jews were settled in Naples, in Capua, and in other large coastal towns, such as Bari, Otranto, Brindisi, Taranto, Benevento, Sulmona, Salerno, and Trani. In the interior there were scarcely any Jews. Jump to: navigation, search City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Mayor Walter Veltroni (Left-Wing Democrats) Area  - City Proper  1290 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,546,807 almost...

The treasures of Jerusalem (detail from the Arch of Titus)
The treasures of Jerusalem (detail from the Arch of Titus)

After Judea had been declared a Roman province, the procurators sent thither by the Senate became more and more cruel in their treatment of the Jews, and finally incited them to a the First Rebellion which ended in the ruin of the Jewish state under the emperor Titus (70 C.E.). A large number of prisoners and soldiers were transferred to Italy; but naturally the vanquished did not feel disposed to emigrate to the land of their conquerors and oppressors. Titus had a reign of short duration; and his successor, Domitian, treated the Jews cruelly. To him is attributed the intention to execute a decree which he had forced the Senate to approve, and under which, within thirty days after its promulgation, all the Jewish subjects of Rome were to be massacred. The patriarch, with three of the most illustrious tannaim, repaired to Rome in order to prevent the carrying out of this infamous project; soon afterward Domitian died, and his successor, Nerva, showed himself favorable to his Jewish subjects. He remainedon the throne but a short time and was succeeded by Trajan, a persistent opponent of the Jews, and in whose wars many thousands of them lost their lives in Babylon, in Egypt, and in Cyprus. Hadrian, in turn, was at first inclined to favor the Jews, and he even granted them permission to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem (118). This concession he later withdrew, and, indeed, he became one of their most bitter enemies, issuing an edict forbidding them to continue their religious practises. sack of jerusalem on inside wall ot arch of titus in rome, italy This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... sack of jerusalem on inside wall ot arch of titus in rome, italy This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Jump to: navigation, search The first Jewish-Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115-117, the third was Bar Kokhbas... This is about the emperor of ancient Rome. ... Emperor Trajan Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus (September 18, 53-August 9, 117), Roman Emperor (98-117), commonly called Trajan, was the second of the so-called Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire. ... The word temple has different meanings in the fields of architecture, religion, geography, anatomy, and education. ...


Influence of Christianity

A few years later this hostile legislation, which for the most part had never been enforced, was repealed, and the condition of the Jews was for a short time improved. Through the growth and diffusion of Christianity, however, it soon became worse and worse. As the Christians detached themselves from the Jews, the former became the fiercest enemies of the latter. When Constantine, who at the beginning of his reign had advocated liberty of conscience, became a convert to Christianity, he established oppressive laws for the Jews; but these were in turn abolished by Julian the Apostate, who showed his favor toward the Jews to the extent of permitting them to resume their scheme for the reconstruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. This concession was withdrawn under his successor, who, again, was a Christian; and then the oppression grew considerably. Thus periods of persecution were followed by periods of quiescence, until the fall of the Roman empire. The word temple has different meanings in the fields of architecture, religion, geography, anatomy, and education. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ...


At the time of the foundation of the Ostrogothic rule under Theodoric, there were flourishing communities of Jews in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Palermo, Messina, Agrigentum, and in Sardinia. The popes of the period were not seriously opposed to the Jews; and this accounts for the ardor with which the latter took up arms for the Ostrogoths as against the forces of Justinian—particularly at Naples, where the remarkable defense of the city was maintained almost entirely by Jews. After the failure of the various attempts to make Italy a province of the Byzantine empire, the Jews had to suffer much oppression from the Exarch of Ravenna; but it was not long until the greater part of Italy came into the possession of the Lombards, under whom they lived in peace. Indeed, the Lombards passed no exceptional laws relative to the Jews. Even after the Lombards embraced Catholicism the condition of the Jews was always favorable, because the popes of that time not only did not persecute them, but guaranteed them more or less protection. Pope Gregory the Great treated them with much consideration. Under succeeding popes the condition of the Jews did not grow worse; and the same was the case in the several smaller states into which Italy was divided. Both popes and states were so absorbed in continual external and internal dissensions that the Jews were left in peace. In every individual state of Italy a certain amount of protection was granted to them in order to secure the advantages of their commercial enterprise. The fact that the historians of this period scarcely make mention of the Jews, proves that their condition was tolerable.


There was an expulsion of Jews from Bologna, it is true, in 1172; but they were soon allowed to return. A nephew of Rabbi Nathan ben Jehiel acted as administrator of the property of Alexander III., who showed his amicable feelings toward the Jews at the Lateran Council of 1179, where he defeated the designs of hostile prelates who advocated restrictive and odious anti-Jewish laws. Under Norman rule the Jews of southern Italy and of Sicily enjoyed even greater freedom; they were considered the equals of the Christians, and were permitted to follow any career; they even had jurisdiction over their own affairs. Indeed, in no country were the canonical laws against the Jews so frequently disregarded as in Italy. A later pope—either Nicholas IV. (1288-92) or Boniface VIII. (1294-1303)—had for his physician a Jew, Isaac ben Mordecai, surnamed Maestro Gajo.


Early literature

Among the early Jews of Italy who left behind them traces of their literary activity was Shabbethai Donnolo (died 982). Two centuries later (1150) there became known as poets Shabbethai ben Moses of Rome; his son Jehiel Kalonymus, once regarded as a Talmudic authority even beyond Italy; and Rabbi Jehiel of the Mansi (Anaw) family, also of Rome. Their compositions are full of thought, but their diction is rather crude. Nathan, son of the above-mentioned Rabbi Jehiel, was the author of a Talmudic lexicon ("'Aruk") which became the key to the study of the Talmud.


Solomon Parḥon compiled during his residence at Salerno a Hebrew dictionary which fostered the study of Biblical exegesis among the Italian Jews. On the whole, however, Hebrew culture was not in a flourishing condition. The only liturgical author of merit was Joab ben Solomon, some of whose compositions are extant. Toward the second half of the thirteenth century signs appeared of a better Hebrew culture and of a more profound study of the Talmud. Isaiah di Trani the Elder (1232-79), a high Talmudic authority, was the author of many celebrated responsa. David, his son, and Isaiah di Trani the Younger, his nephew, followed in his footsteps, as did their descendants until the end of the seventeenth century. Meïr ben Moses presided over an important Talmudic school in Rome, and Abraham ben Joseph over one in Pesaro. In Rome two famous physicians, Abraham and Jehiel, descendants of Nathan ben Jehiel, taught the Talmud. One of the women of this gifted family, Paola dei Mansi, also attained distinction; her Biblical and Talmudic knowledge was considerable, and she transcribed Biblical commentaries in a notably beautiful handwriting (see Jew. Encyc. i. 567, s.v. Paola Anaw).


About this period Frederick II., the last of the Hohenstaufen, employed Jews to translate from the Arabic philosophical and astronomical treatises; among these writers were Judah Kohen of Toledo, later of Tuscany, and Jacob Anatolio of Provence. This encouragement naturally led to the study of the works of Maimonides—particularly of the "Moreh Nebukim"—the favorite writer of Hillel of Verona (1220-95). This last-named litterateur and philosopher practised medicine at Rome and in other Italian cities, and translated into Hebrew severalmedical works. The liberal spirit of the writings of Maimonides had other votaries in Italy; e.g., Shabbethai ben Solomon of Rome and Zerahiah Ḥen of Barcelona, who migrated to Rome and contributed much to spread the knowledge of his works. The effect of this on the Italian Jews was apparent in their love of freedom of thought and their esteem for literature, as well as in their adherence to the literal rendering of the Biblical texts and their opposition to fanatical cabalists and mystic theories. Among other devotees of these theories was Immanuel b. Solomon of Rome, the celebrated friend of Dante. The discord between the followers of Maimonides and his opponents wrought most serious damage to the interests of Judaism.


Innocent III

The political and social status of the Jews was also destined to suffer because of the advent to the papal throne of Innocent III. (1198-1216), the chief originator of the many persecutions suffered in later times by the Jews in all Christian lands. This retrogressive pope, the most bitter enemy of freedom of thought, set into operation against the Jews most illegitimate measures; especially did he threaten with excommunication those who placed or maintained Jews in public positions, and he insisted that every Jew holding office should be dismissed. The deepest insult was the order that every Jew must always wear, conspicuously displayed, a special badge. In 1235 Pope Gregory IX. published the first bull against the ritual sacrifice . Other popes followed his example, particularly Innocent IV. in 1247, Gregory X. in 1272, Clement VI. in 1348, Gregory XI. in 1371, Martin V. in 1422, Nicholas V. in 1447, Sixtus V. in 1475, Paul III. in 1540, and later Alexander VII., Clement XIII., and Clement XIV.


The rise of poetry in Italy at the time of Dante influenced the Jews also. The rich and the powerful, partly by reason of sincere interest, partly in obedience to the spirit of the times, became patrons of Jewish writers, thus inducing the greatest activity on their part. This activity was particularly noticeable at Rome, where a new Jewish poetry arose, mainly through the works of Leo Romano, translator of the writings of Thomas Aquinas and author of exegetical works of merit; of Judah Siciliano, a writer in rimed prose; of Kalonymus ben Kalonymus, a famous satirical poet; and especially of the above-mentioned Immanuel. On the initiative of the Roman community, a Hebrew translation of Maimonides' Arabic commentary on the Mishnah was made. At this time Pope John XXII. was on the point of pronouncing a ban against the Jews of Rome. The Jews instituted a day of public fasting and of prayer to appeal for divine assistance. King Robert of Sicily, who favored the Jews, sent an envoy to the pope at Avignon, who succeeded in averting this great peril. Immanuel himself described this envoy as a person of high merit and of great culture. This period of Jewish literature in Italy is indeed one of great splendor. After Immanuel there were no other Jewish writers of importance until Moses da Rieti (1388), a writer of Hebrew as elegant as his Italian; but despite this, his wearisome and unnatural style could not compare with the pleasing and spirited works of Immanuel.


Benedict XIII

The Jews suffered much from the relentless persecutions of the antipope Benedict XIII.; and the accession of his successor, Martin V., was hailed with delight by the Jews. The synod convoked by the Jews at Bologna, and continued at Forli, sent a deputation with costly gifts to the new pope, praying him to abolish the oppressive laws promulgated by Benedict and to grant the Jews those privileges which had been accorded them under previous popes. The deputation succeeded in its mission, but the period of grace was short; for Martin's successor, Eugenius IV., at first favorably disposed toward the Jews, ultimately reenacted all the restrictive laws issued by Benedict. In Italy, however, his bull was generally disregarded. The great centers, such as Venice, Florence, Genoa, and Pisa, realized that their commercial interests were of more importance than the affairs of the spiritual leaders of the Church; and accordingly the Jews, many of whom were bankers and leading merchants, found their condition better than ever before. It thus became easy for Jewish bankers to obtain permission to establish banks and to engage in monetary transactions. Indeed, in one instance even the Bishop of Mantua, in the name of the pope, accorded permission to the Jews to lend money at interest. All the banking negotiations of Tuscany were in the hands of a Jew, Jehiel of Pisa. The influential position of this successful financier was of the greatest advantage to his coreligionists at the time of the exile from Spain. The Jews were also successful as medical practitioners. William of Portaleone, physician to Ferdinand, King of Naples, and to the ducal houses of Sforza and Gonzaga, was one of the ablest of that time. He was the first of the long line of illustrious physicians in his family.


Refugees from Spain

A great number of the exiles from Spain (1492) betook themselves to Italy, where they were given protection by King Ferdinand I. of Naples. Don Isaac Abravanel even received a position at the Neapolitan court, which he retained under the succeeding king, Alfonso II. The Spanish Jews were well received also in Ferrara by Duke Hercules I., and in Tuscany through the mediation of Jehiel of Pisa and his sons. But at Rome and Genoa they experienced all the vexations and torments that hunger, plague, and poverty bring with them, and were forced to accept baptism in order to escape starvation. In some few cases the immigrants exceeded in number the Jews already domiciled, and gave the determining vote in matters of communal interest and in the direction of studies. From Alexander VI. to Clement VII. the popes were indulgent toward the Jews, having more urgent matters to occupy them. Indeed, the popes themselves and many of the most influential cardinals openly violated one of the most severe enactments of the Council of Basel, namely, that prohibiting Christians from employing Jewish physicians; and they even gave the latter positions at the papal court. The Jewish communities of Naples and of Rome received the greatest number of accessions; but many Jews passed on from these cities to Ancona and Venice, and thence to Padua. Venice, imitating the odious measures of the German cities, assigned to the Jews a special quarter ("ghetto").


Expulsion from Naples

The ultra-Catholic party tried with all the means at its disposal to introduce the Inquisition into the Neapolitan realm, then under Spanish rule. Charles V., upon his return from his victories in Africa, was on the point of exiling the Jews from Naples, but deferred doing so owing to the influence of Benvenida, wife of Samuel Abravanel. A few years later, however (1533), such a decree was proclaimed, but upon this occasion also Samuel Abravanel and others were able through their influence to avert for several years the execution of the edict. Many Jews repaired to Turkey, some to Ancona, and still others to Ferrara, where they were received graciously by Duke Hercules II.


After the death of Pope Paul III., who had showed favor to the Jews, a period of strife, of persecutions, and of despondency set in. A few years later the Jews were exiled from Genoa, among the refugees being Joseph ha-Kohen, physician to the doge Andrea Dorea and eminent historian. The Maranos, driven from Spain and Portugal, were allowed by Duke Hercules to enter his dominions and to profess Judaism without molestation. Thus, Samuel Usque, also a historian, who had fled from the Inquisition in Portugal, settled in Ferrara; and Abraham Usque founded a large printing establishment there. A third Usque, Solomon, merchant of Venice and Ancona and poet of some note, translated the sonnets of Petrarch into excellent Spanish verse, which was much admired by his contemporaries.


While the return to Judaism of the Marano Usques caused much rejoicing among the Italian Jews, this was counterbalanced by the deep grief into which they were plunged by the conversion to Christianity of two grandsons of Elijah Levita, Leone Romano and Vittorio Eliano. One became a canon of the Church; the other, a Jesuit. They violently slandered the Talmud to Pope Julius III. and the Inquisition; and as a consequence the pope pronounced the sentence of destruction against this work, to the printing of which one of his predecessors, Leo X., had given his sanction. On the Jewish New-Year's Day (Sept. 9), 1553, all the copies of the Talmud in the principal cities of Italy, in the printing establishments of Venice, and even in the distant island of Candia (Crete), were burned. Still more cruel was the fate of the Jews under Pope Marcellus III., who wished to exile them from Rome because of a charge of ritual murder. He was restrained from the execution of this cruel and unjust project by Cardinal Alexander Farnese, who, animated by a true love for his fellow creatures, succeeded in bringing to light the infamous author of the murder.


Paul IV

But the most serious misfortune for the Jews was the election of Paul IV. as Marcellus' successor. This cruel pontiff, not content with confirming all the more severe of the bulls against the Jews issued up to that time, added others still more oppressive and containing all manner of prohibitions, which condemned the Jews to the most abject misery, deprived them of the means of sustenance, and denied to them the exercise of all professions. They were finally forced to labor at the restoration of the walls of Rome without any compensation whatever. Indeed, upon one occasion the pope had secretly given orders to one of his nephews to burn at night the quarter inhabited by the Jews; but Alexander Farnese, hearing of the infamous proposal, succeeded in frustrating it. Many Jews now abandoned Rome and Ancona and went to Ferrara and Pesaro. Here the Duke of Urbino welcomed them graciously in the hope of directing to the new port of Pesaro the extensive commerce of the Levant, which was at that time exclusively in the hands of the Jews of Ancona. Among the many who were forced to leave Rome was the illustrious Marano, Amato Lusitano, a distinguished physician, who had often attended Pope Julius III. He had even been invited to become physician to the King of Poland, but had declined the offer in order to remain in Italy. He fled from the Inquisition to Pesaro, where he openly professed Judaism. João Rodrigues de Castelo Branco better known as Amato Lusitano was a notable portuguese jewish physician of the 16th Century. ...


Expulsion from Papal States

But this tolerant pope was succeeded by Pius V., even more cruel than Paul IV., and excelling him in wickedness. He brought into force all the anti-Jewish bulls of his predecessors—not only in his own immediate domains, but throughout the Christian world. In Lombardy the expulsion of the Jews was threatened, and, although this extreme measure was not put into execution, they were tyrannized in countless ways. At Cremona and at Lodi their books were confiscated; and Carlo Borromeo, who was afterward canonized, persecuted them mercilessly. In Genoa, from which city the Jews were at this time expelled, an exception was made in favor of Joseph ha-Kohen. In his "'Emeḳ ha-Bakah" he narrates the history of these persecutions. He had no desire to take advantage of the sad privilege accorded to him, and went to Casale Monferrato, where he was graciously received even by the Christians. In this same year the pope directed his persecutions against the Jews of Bologna, who formed a rich community well worth despoiling. Many of the wealthiest Jews were imprisoned and placed under torture in order to force them to make false confessions. When Rabbi Ishmael Ḥanina was being racked, he declared that should the pains of torture elicit from him any words that might be construed as casting reflection on Judaism, they would be false and null. It was forbidden to the Jews to absent themselves from the city; but many succeeded in escaping by bribing the watchmen at the gates of the ghetto and of the city. The fugitives, together with their wives and children, repaired to the neighboring city of Ferrara. Then Pius V. decided to banish the Jews from all his dominions, and, despite the enormous loss which was likely to result from this measure, and the remonstrances of influential and well-meaning cardinals,the Jews (in all about 1,000 families) were actually expelled from all the papal states excepting Rome and Ancona. A few became Christians; but the large majority migrated to Turkey. A great sensation was caused in Italy by the choice of a prominent Jew, Solomon of Udine, as Turkish ambassador to Venice to negotiate peace with that republic, which was accomplished in July, 1574. As there was pending a decree of expulsion of the Jews from the Venetian domains, the Senate was at first in doubt whether it could treat with this Jew; but later, through the influence of the Venetian diplomats themselves, and particularly of the consul, Marc Antonio Barbaro, who esteemed Udine highly, he was received with great honors at the palace of the doges. In virtue of this exalted position he was able to render great service to his coreligionists, and through his influence Jacob Soranzo, agent of the republic at Constantinople, came to Venice. Solomon was successful also in having the decree of expulsion revoked, and he furthermore obtained a promise that it should never be reissued and that those Jews who had left Venice should be allowed to return and settle in peace. Laden with honors and gifts, Solomon returned to Constantinople, leaving his son Nathan in Venice to be educated. The success of this mission cheered the Jews in Turkey, particularly in Constantinople, where they had attained great prosperity.


Persecutions and confiscations

The position of the Jews of Italy at this time was pitiable; the bulls of Paul IV. and Pius V. had reduced them to the utmost humiliation and had materially diminished their numbers. In southern Italy there were almost none left; in each of the important communities of Rome, Venice, and Mantua there were about 2,000 Jews; while in all Lombardy there were hardly 1,000. Gregory XIII. was not less fanatical than his predecessors; he noticed that, despite papal prohibition, Christians employed Jewish physicians; he therefore strictly prohibited the Jews from attending Christian patients, and threatened with the most severe punishment alike Christians who should have recourse to Hebrew practitioners, and Jewish physicians who should respond to the calls of Christians. Furthermore, the slightest assistance given to the Maranos of Portugal and Spain, in violation of the canonical laws, was sufficient to deliver the guilty one into the power of the Inquisition, which did not hesitate to condemn the accused to death. Gregory also induced the Inquisition to consign to the flames a large number of copies of the Talmud and of other Hebrew books. Special sermons, designed to convert the Jews, were instituted; and at these at least one-third of the Jewish community, men, women, and youths above the age of twelve, was forced to be present. The sermons were usually delivered by baptized Jews who had become friars or priests; and not infrequently the Jews, without any chance of protest, were forced to listen to such sermons in their own synagogues. These cruelties forced many Jews to leave Rome, and thus their number was still further diminished.


Varied fortunes

Under the following pope, Sixtus V., the condition of the Jews was somewhat improved. He repealed many of the regulations established by his predecessors, permitted Jews to sojourn in all parts of his realm, and accorded to Jewish physicians liberty in the practise of their profession. David de Pomis, an eminent physician, profited by this privilege and published a work in Latin, entitled "De Medico Hebræo," dedicated to Duke Francis of Urbino, in which he proved to the Jews their obligation to consider the Christians as brothers, to assist them, and to attend them. The Jews of Mantua, Milan, and Ferrara, taking advantage of the favorable disposition of the pope, sent to him an ambassador, Bezaleel Massarano, with a present of 2,000 scudi, to obtain from him permission to reprint the Talmud and other Jewish books, promising at the same time to expurgate all passages considered offensive to Christianity. Their demand was granted, partly through the support given by Lopez, a Marano, who administered the papal finances and who was in great favor with the pontiff. Scarcely had the reprinting of the Talmud been begun, and the conditions of its printing been arranged by the commission, when Sixtus died. His successor, Gregory XIV., was as well disposed to the Jews as Sixtus had been; but during his short pontificate he was almost always ill. Clement VII., who succeeded him, renewed the anti-Jewish bulls of Paul IV. and Pius V., and exiled the Jews from all his territories with the exception of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon; but, in order not to lose the commerce with the East, he gave certain privileges to the Turkish Jews. The exiles repaired to Tuscany, where they were favorably received by Duke Ferdinand dei Medici, who assigned to them the city of Pisa for residence, and by Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, at whosecourt Joseph da Fano, a Jew, was a favorite. They were again permitted to read the Talmud and other Hebrew books, provided that they were printed according to the rules of censorship approved by Sixtus V. From Italy, where these expurgated books were printed by thousands, they were sent to the Jews of other countries.


In the ducal dominions

It was strange that under Philip II. the Jews exiled from all parts of Spain were tolerated in the duchy of Milan, then under Spanish rule. Such an inconsistency of policy was designed to work ill for the interests of the Jews. To avert this misfortune an eloquent ambassador, Samuel Coen, was sent to the king at Alessandria; but he was unsuccessful in his mission. The king, persuaded by his confessor, expelled the Jews from Milanese territory in the spring of 1597. The exiles, numbering about 1,000, were received at Mantua, Modena, Reggio, Verona, and Padua. The princes of the house of Este had always accorded favor and protection to the Jews, and were much beloved by them. Eleonora, a princess of this house, had inspired two Jewish poets; and when she was ill public prayers were said in the synagogues for her restoration to health. But misfortune overtook the Jews of Ferrara as well; for when Alfonso I., the last of the Este family, died, the principality of Ferrara was incorporated in the dominions of the Church under Clement VII., who decreed the banishment of the Jews. Aldobrandini, a relative of the pope, took possession of Ferrara in the pontiff's name. Seeing that all the commerce was in the hands of the Jews, he complied with their request for an exemption of five years from the decree, although this was much against the pope's wish. The Mantuan Jews suffered seriously at the time of the Thirty Years' war. The Jews exiled from the papal dominions had repeatedly found refuge in Mantua, where the dukes of Gonzaga had accorded protection to them, as they had done to the Jews already resident there. The next to the last duke, although a cardinal, favored them sufficiently to enact a statute for the maintenance of order in the ghetto. After the death of the last of this house the right of succession was contested at the time of the Thirty Years' war, and the city was besieged by the German soldiery of Wallenstein. After a valiant defense, in which the Jews labored at the walls until the approach of the Sabbath, the city fell into the power of the besiegers, and for three days was at the mercy of fire and sword. The commander-in-chief, Altringer, forbade the soldiers to sack the ghetto, thereby hoping to secure the spoils for himself. The Jews were ordered to leave the city, taking with them only their personal clothing and three gold ducats per capita. There were retained enough Jews to act as guides to the places where their coreligionists were supposed to have hidden their treasures. Through three Jewish zealots these circumstances came to the knowledge of the emperor, who ordered the governor, Collalto, to issue a decree permitting the Jews to return and promising them the restoration of their goods. Only about 800, however, returned, the others having died. The victories in Europe of the Turks, who brought their armies up to the very walls of Vienna (1683), helped even in Italy to incite the Christian population against the Jews, who remained friendly to the Turks. In Padua, in 1683, the Jews were in great danger because of the agitation fomented against them by the cloth-weavers. A violent tumult broke out; the lives of the Jews were seriously menaced; and it was only with the greatest difficulty that the governor of the city succeeded in rescuing them, in obedience to a rigorous order from Venice. For several days thereafter the ghetto had to be especially guarded.


Reaction after Napoleon

See also: Napoleon and the Jews Napoleon and the Jews. ...


Among the first schools to adopt the Reform projects of Hartwig Wessely were those of Triest, Venice, and Ferrara. Under the influence of the liberal religious policy of Napoleon I., the Jews of Italy, like those of France, were emancipated. The supreme power of the popes was broken: they had no longer time to give to framing anti-Jewish enactments, and they no longer directed canonical laws against the Jews. To the Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon at Paris (1807), Italy sent four deputies: Abraham Vita da Cologna; Isaac Benzion Segre, rabbi of Vercelli; Graziadio Neppi, physician and rabbi of Cento; and Jacob Israel Karmi, rabbi of Reggio. Of the four rabbis assigned to the committee which was to draw up the answers to the twelve questions proposed to the Assembly of Notables, two, Cologna and Segre, were Italians, and were elected respectively first and second vice-presidents of the Sanhedrin. But the liberty acquired by the Jews under Napoleon was of short duration; it disappeared with his downfall. Pius VII., on regaining possession of his realms, reinstalled the Inquisition; he deprived the Jews of every liberty and confined them again in ghettos. Such became to a greater or less extent their condition in all the states into which Italy was then divided; at Rome they were again forced to listen to proselytizing sermons. But the spark of the French Revolution could not be extinguished so easily; a short time after it burst forth into a flame more brilliant and enduring. In the year 1829, consequent upon an edict of the emperor Francis I., there was opened in Padua, with the cooperation of Venice, of Verona, and of Mantua, the first Italian rabbinical college, in which Lelio della Torre and Samuel David Luzzatto taught. Luzzatto was a man of great intellect; he wrote in pure Hebrew upon philosophy, history, literature, criticism, and grammar. Many distinguished rabbis, of whom several still fill important pulpits, came from the rabbinical college of Padua. Zelman, Moses Tedeschi, and Castiglioni followed at Triest the purposes and the principles of Luzzatto's school. At the same time, Elijah Benamozegh, a man of great knowledge and the author of several works, distinguished himself in the old rabbinical school at Leghorn.


19th century

The return to medieval servitude after the Italian restoration did not last long; and the Revolution of 1848, which convulsed all Europe, brought great advantages to the Jews. Although this was followed by restoration of the Papal States only four months later, in early 1849, yet the persecutions and the violence of past times had to a large extent disappeared. The last outrage against the Jews of Italy was connected with the case of Edgardo Mortara, which occurred in Bologna in 1858. In 1859 most of the papal states were annexed into the united Kingdom of Italy under King Victor Emanuel II. Except in and near Rome, where oppression lasted until the end of the papal dominion (September 20, 1870), the Jews obtained full emancipation. In behalf of their country the Jews with great ardor sacrificed life and property in the memorable campaigns of 1859, 1866, and 1870. Of the many who deserve mention in this connection may be singled out Isaac Pesaro Maurogonato. He was minister of finance to the Venetian republic during the war of 1848 against Austria, and his grateful country erected to him a memorial in bronze. There was also erected in the palace of the doges a marble bust of Samuel Romanin, a celebrated Jewish historian of Venice. Florence, too, has commemorated a modern Jewish poet, Solomon Fiorentino, by placing a marble tablet upon the house in which he was born. The secretary and faithful friend of Count Cavour was the Piedmontese Isaac Artom; while L'Olper, later rabbi of Turin, and also the friend and counselor of Mazzini, was one of the most courageous advocates of Italian independence. The names of the Jewish soldiers who died in the cause of Italian liberty were placed along with those of their Christian fellow soldiers on the monuments erected in their honor. See also ancient Roman Republic and Roman Republic (18th century). ... The Papal States (Gli Stati della Chiesa or Stati Pontificii, States of the Church) was one of the major historical states of Italy before the boot-shaped peninsula was unified under the Piedmontese crown of Savoy (later a republic). ... Edgardo Mortara (August 27, 1851–March 11, 1940) was a six-year-old Jewish boy living in Bologna, Italy, when he was seized by the Papal authorities in 1858 and taken to be raised as a Catholic. ... Bologna (from Latin Bononia, Bulaggna in the local dialect) is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy, between the Po River and the Apennines. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy Victor Emmanuel II (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele II; March 14, 1820—January 9, 1878) was the King of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia from 1849–1861, and King of Italy from 1861 until his death in 1878. ...


20th century

Pope John Paul II gave access to some formerly secret Vatican archives to scholars, one of whom, David Kertzer, used information thus obtained in his book The Popes Against the Jews. According to that book, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the popes and many Catholic bishops and Catholic publications consistently made a distinction between "good anti-Semitism" and "bad anti-Semitism". The "bad" kind directed hatred against Jews merely because of their descent. That was considered un-Christian, in part because the church held that its message was for all of humankind equally, and any person of any ancestry could become a Christian. The "good" kind denounced alleged Jewish plots to gain control of the world by controlling newspapers, banks, schools, etc., or otherwise attributed various evils to Jews. Kertzer's book details many instances in which Catholic publications denounced such alleged plots, and then, when criticized for inciting hatred of Jews, would remind people that the Catholic church condemned the "bad" kind of anti-Semitism. Jump to: navigation, search Pope John Paul II (Latin: ), born Karol Józef Wojtyła (May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005), reigned as pope of the Catholic Church for almost 27 years, from 16 October 1978 until his death, making his the third-longest pontificate in the history of the... David I. Kertzer is Paul Dupee, Jr. ...


Pope Pius XI issued many criticisms of Jews for many years, but shortly before his death in early 1939, was horrified by anti-Jewish violence then escalating in nazi Germany. After the overthrow of fascism in 1943, Pope Pius XII asked the new Italian government to repeal those sections of Italy's race laws that held marriages between persons reared Catholic and formerly Jewish converts to Catholicism were not valid. But, according to Kertzer's book, he did not object to other provisions of the race laws. Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti (May 31, 1857 - February 10, 1939), reigned as Pope and sovereign of Vatican City from February 6, 1922 until February 10, 1939. ... Jump to: navigation, search Fascism (in Italian, fascismo), capitalized, was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. ... Pope Pius XII (Latin: ), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (March 2, 1876 – October 9, 1958), reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City from March 2, 1939 to 1958. ...


During the Holocaust, about 20% of Italy's Jews were killed. A small community of around 40,000 Jews remain in Italy today. Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ...


References

The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ...

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