There’s something unique about the way authors of the Jewish community of Rome can take readers behind the parochet (curtain) of how their stories are told. Italian authors bring the same vigor and adroitness to the narratives of their cultural heritage. They turn the Jewish origins of their accounts into something educational, leading readers to view the telling of their unique history.
Whether you’re looking for a visit, or simply seeking a greater understanding of Rome’s Jewish heritage culture, there’s plenty to learn from these fascinating literary works.
Treasures Of The Jewish Museum Of Rome: Guide To The Museum And Its Collections (2016)
This is the first illustrated guide to the collection of the Jewish Museum of Rome. The objects photographed belong to the Museum’s magnificent collections. The catalog also describes how its content concerns a series of itineraries reflecting the museum exhibition, depicting the history of the Jewish community from its origins to modern times. The book is divided into themes explaining the basic cultural and religious aspects of Judaism and the rituals used in Rome. The book itself is a new step towards enhancing the cultural heritage of the Jewish community of Rome.
Antique Roman Mappot: The Precious Textile Archive of the Jewish Museum of Rome (2017)
This catalogue illustrates the artistic historical heritage of ancient mappot collections from the Jewish community of Rome. In the community’s museum, one of the most important collections of Jewish ceremonial textile artifacts in the world is preserved. The various mappot are the large wimples that wrap around the Pentateuch (Torah) scroll. They can be seen in the display cases and in the cabinet drawers arranged in the Textile Preservation room in the museum. Included in this marvelous collection are parochot, me’ilim, wimples, and tikkun tevah, all of which were donated over four centuries, from the end of the 1500s to the end of the 1800s, to synagogues, by families forced to live in the Roman Ghetto.
Antique Roman Ketubot: The Marriage Contracts of the Jewish Community of Rome (2018)
This catalogue narrates the history of a collection of an interesting authentic Jewish Roman tradition, the artistically drafted and elegant marriage contracts ketubot. A close examination of these documents highlights connections among Jewish juridical traditions, general marriage customs, and the specificities of the Roman community. These specifics are explained by the meticulous studies accompanying the photographic documentation. The Jewish Museum of Rome houses and exhibits a rich collection of marriage contracts, ketubot, of the Roman Jewish community.
Upon request, scholars are permitted to examine the intricate fabrics textiles and the actual ketubot, which are extremely important for their aesthetic historical value. In addition, since so much of the content of these artifacts is predicated upon Roman Jewish religion, customs, and traditions, the museum offers private guided visits with museum educators. The didactic visits are designed to provide an in-depth historical overview, as well as an understanding of the Jews of Rome fostered by a member of the community.
Brenda Lee Bohen
Brenda is a Latina and a proud Veteran of the United States Army Reserves. She holds dual citizenship in both the United States and Italy. She is a trained historic preservationist who tirelessly advocates the scholarship and history of the Jews of Rome. She has her certification in Jewish leadership and continues advanced studies at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Brenda is also a licensed and accredited tour guide at the Jewish Museum of Rome and the Vatican Museums.
Read more blogs from Brenda: Jewish Rome
Treasures Of The Jewish Museum Of Rome: Guide To The Museum And Its Collections, by Daniela Di Castro. Araldo De Luca Editore, Rome 2010; reprinted 2016
Antique Roman Mappot: The Precious Textile Archive of the Jewish Museum of Rome, edited by Doretta Davanzo Poli, Olga Melasecchi, Amedeo Spagnoletto. Campisano Editore, Rome, 2017
Antique Roman Ketubot: The Marriage Contracts of the Jewish Community of Rome, edited by Olga Melasecchi, Amedeo Spagnoletto. Campisano Editore, Rome, 2018