This inviting Judaica shop is located in the Venician Jewish ghetto and sells a variety of Jewish decor made in Venice. Their store is filled with silver, Murano glass, crystal, mosaics, and bronze pieces from mezuzot and menorahs to Shabbat candles and Hebrew-emroidered cloth. Arte Ebracio Shalom also creates and sells a variety of unique pieces for shops, museums, and synagogues.
In 1633 the Ghetto Novissimo was added to the existing two ghettos, mainly for the purpose of accommodating Ponentine Jews. Situated at the confluence between the San Girolamo and Ghetto Novo canals, it is the smallest of the three. The area was formed of three blocks of houses, with fine buildings (such as the Treves and Vivante palaces), but did not contain shops or scole. At the end of Calle del Portòn was the gate, which was kept closed.
The Ghetto Novo is the area of the city to which, in 1516, the Jewish population of Venice was forced to move. The first ghetto in Europe, it stands on an island demarcated by the canals of San Girolamo, Ghetto Novo and Battello. It was originally only connected to the city by two gates. Initially, seven hundred Jews of Italian and Central European descent lived there. However, the population expanded rapidly following later waves of migration. The central square (“campo”) is where daily life was played out, with synagogues, workshops, pawnbrokers (note the sign of the Banco Rosso at number 2912) and wells for the water supply. As it could not expand beyond its borders, in order to increase its capacity for accommodation construction in the ghetto began first to become fragmented and then to take a vertical direction, so that some houses were extended up to as many as eight storeys (which was exceptional considering the instability of Venice’s sandy foundations). During the 19th century some buildings were demolished and rebuilt. This is the case of the current seat of the Rest Home, (n° 2874), where inside is preserved the aron of the Scola Mesullamim, which was demolished in the 19th century. On the wall of house number 2874 is the Holocaust Monument (1980). It consists of seven bronze bas-relief plaques depicting scenes from the Holocaust, by sculptor Arbit Blatas. Not far from here, another memorial by the same artist, from 1993, presents on planks of wood the names of the 246 Jews deported from Venice. Of them, only seven would return; a bronze panel depicts them boarding the train carriages. The main square of the Ghetto Novo leads to the first three synagogues and the Jewish museum. Visits: a guided tour of the area is available, visiting three of the five synagogues. This is run by the Jewish Museum of Venice.
Levantine Jews built this synagogue between 1538 and 1561. It was then rebuilt in the course of the 17th century, and some elements of the façade suggest that it was designed in the workshop of Longhena. The entrance in use is on Calle del Ghetto Vecchio; from the entrance hall, a staircase leads to the synagogue on the first floor. Above the doorway note the liagò, or loggia, which houses the bimah. The sanctuary retains the traditional bi-focal layout with the aron and bimah on opposite walls. The sumptuous interiors are embellished by woodwork, plasterwork and red damask textiles. The most striking element is the bimah, an imposing carved walnut structure painted black, possibly designed by Andrea Brustolon of Belluno (1660-1732). Two lateral semi-circular staircases lead to the officiant’s raised level; the balustrade of the podium is flanked by twisting columns decorated with plant motifs, supporting the high canopy. Equally impressive is the aron, on the opposite wall. Similar to that in the Scola Spagnola, it is framed by an archway with a sky blue, starry background. An architectural structure with columns and double tympanum encloses the doors of the ark. The steps leading up to it are enclosed by a balustrade in multi-coloured marble, and a brass gate made in 1786. The Scola Levantina is still used regularly, alternating with the Scola Spagnola.
Along the San Nicolò shore at the Lido is the old Venetian cemetery, founded in 1386. It has been overhauled several times over the centuries, mainly due to expropriation, during which many tombstones were lost. A new area adjacent to the first was opened in 1763, with the entrance on Via Cipro. It is currently still in use. The old cemetery was restored and rearranged in 1999: its 1200 tombstones were catalogued. They date from a period spanning the first half of the 16th century to the second half of the 18th century and denote the many different origins, cultures and languages of the Venetian Jews. A further 140 tombstones from the old cemetery are now at the new one: some are placed near the entrance, others in a nearby gallery room.
The project known as the Secret Garden is on about 110 sqm at the back of the Spanish Synagogue. The garden both reclaims an unkempt area and offers the Community an area suited to teaching and religious ceremonies. The wealth of plants recalls the ones mentioned in the Texts that can thrive in the local climate. Species include olive, fig, jujube, palm and pomegranate trees as well as apricots, almonds, strawberry trees, tamarisks and cedars of Lebanon with thick foliage. Amidst the plants, a teaching area for school, a sukkah – the hut for Sukkoth High Holiday – and a fountain recalling the River Jordan and its tributaries. Tours organised by the Jewish Museum of Venice