Jerusalem’s Museum of Italian Jewry, and the Synagogue It Houses

In central Jerusalem, there is a synagogue that takes its name from a small town located 30 miles north of Venice, which, like the museum attached to it, preserves the history of Europe’s oldest Jewish community. Shmuel Munitz writes:

The synagogue was originally established in the early 18th century in the town of Conegliano Veneto in northern Italy. Its entire contents were meticulously transferred to Jerusalem, and in 1952 it was inaugurated in the Beit Schmidt building, where it remains today. This structure has a diverse history, serving as a Catholic establishment in the distant past and housing a girls’ school. More recently, it was home to the religious Ma’aleh High School.

The Jewish community in Italy is one of the oldest in Europe, likely dating back to the time of the Second Temple. Over the years, migration from various diasporas led to the formation of a diverse Jewish population in Italy, with descendants of Sephardi exiles living alongside Ashkenazi Jews. The prayer rite of the Bnei Romi, also known as the Italian Rite, is unique to Italian Jews who are not of Ashkenazi or Sephardi origin.

The Museum of Italian Judaism, named after Shlomo Umberto Nahon, was founded in 1983. The current exhibit, The Hidden Revealed, sheds light on the story of the museum’s collection and offers a glimpse into the treasures housed in the museum. Alongside permanent exhibit items such as an ornate ark of the covenant and chairs originally donated to the synagogue in Mantua in 1543, the exhibit also features a Hebrew learning cube set, a diary, and other personal items that provide insights into the lives of Italian Jews.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Italian Jewry, Jewish museums, Synagogues

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion