Virtues of Memory: Six Decades of Holocaust Survivors’ Creativity
A fourteenth-century tower which, immersed in a centuries-old and fairytale park, is part, with its bastion, of the ancient defensive walls of Padua. Massimago Wine Tower, an oasis of peace in the heart of the city, offers three elegant suites named after three prominent historical figures who contributed to making Padua extraordinary: Giotto, Donatello and Galileo Galilei. Massimago Wine Tower is not just a period residence, it is a unique, exciting and exclusive experience. The majesty of this tower that rises between the river and the city of Padua will make your stay unforgettable. The suites, elegantly furnished and equipped with every comfort, are steeped in the ancient history of the city. The cultural association "Il Cenacolo della Torre", our partner, aims to enhance the centuries-old park and the bastion adjacent to the tower. In this regard, the association organizes various experiences that include guided tours inside the Massimago Wine Tower complex, visits to the city and wine tasting from our cellars. Massimago Wine Tower aims to make each guest experience the atmosphere of the 14th century in a unique and timeless experience. In the perfect union between the history of the city and the wine of the Massimago winery, we want to introduce Paduan, Italian and international guests to a secret and wonderful place in the beating heart of a UNESCO city of Padua for its fourteenth-century masterpieces. Massimago is the name of the winery, based in Mezzane di Sotto in Valpolicella, which has belonged to the Cracco family since 1883. Wine has always been a tool for communicating and sharing beauty, which is why it is the only winery in Italy to have created a group of facilities where you can enjoy unique experiences related to wine. Massimago is therefore our first partner, indeed, our family.
Caffè Pedrocchi is the oldest and most famous historical café in the city of Padua. It's a unique place for coffee tasting and cuisine, it is recognized as the most exclusive venue in the center for the most important and spectacular events and celebrations. At Caffè Pedrocchi, it’s impossible to resist! Tradition and innovation come together beautifully, giving you a truly exquisite experience. A modern patisserie with sophisticated design elements where you can enjoy endless moments of pure pleasure savoring our sweet treats, including the famous “Torta Pedrocchi” (Pedrocchi Cake). The Pedrocchi Café was founded in the 18th century in central Padua, Italy. It has architectural prominence because its rooms were decorated in diverse styles, arranged in an eclectic ensemble by the architect Giuseppe Jappelli. The café has historical prominence because of its role in the 1848 riots against the Habsburg monarchy, as well as for being an attraction for artists over the last century from the French novelist Stendhal to Lord Byron to the Italian writer Dario Fo. Because of its central location and proximity to the seat of government the café soon became the cultural and commercial center and meeting place for students, artists, writers and patriots. It was also the scene of the 1848 student uprisings against the dominant Austrian, as evidenced by the souvenir plates on the wall of white room, and meeting place for writers and artists such Nievo, Fusinato, Stendhal, which even extolled the wonders of eggnog pedrocchiano, D'Annunzio, Eleonora Duse and the futurist Marinetti. Owned by the City of Padua since 1891, the coffee houses, along with the Galleries of Pedrocchi and the Museum of the Risorgimento, the public can still read one of the newspapers available in the Green Hall, have a meal or pastry and coffee, and discuss politics, culture and life.
The presence of a Jewish presence in Padova dates back to the 1200s. The Jewish quarter, or ghetto, is set in the heart of historic Padova, just off Piazza delle Erbe. Our Jewish Heritage walk will provide you with an overview of Jewish life in our city throughout the centuries, leading up to today. Your visit begins at the Jewish Museum of Padova as an introduction to the history of the community. The museum is located in the former “German” Synagogue, used by the Ashekazic community, which dates back to 1525. Leaving the museum, your guide will accompany you through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Jewish Ghetto, in the heart of historic Padova, dating back to medieval times. See where the Jewish community was forced to live from approximately 1603 to 1797. Next you will visit the Italian rite Synagogue of Padova, the only one still in use of the several that functioned from the Renaissance up to World War II. It dates back to 1584 and has gone through many renovations since its original construction. Your program will conclude with a visit to the Jewish cemetery on via Wiel, the oldest of such cemeteries in the city, dating back to the 16th century.
Levinsky Market was established primarely to fulfill an existential need of the residents of the Florentine neighborhood. Not only was this market essential to offer basic goods and groceries to the locals, but also to create new jobs. The founders of the market immigrated from the Balkan area (Greece and Turkey). Back in the day, famous chefs would come from near and far to the Levinsky market, solely to seek out special and secret ingredients needed to serve the needs of their gourmet restaurants.
Kubeh is the product of Chef Melanie Shurka and husband David Ort; a restaurant dedicated to lesser known cuisines of the Middle East. Kubeh is named after a dish with widespread tradition across the Middle East and It comes in many forms. Sometimes there’s an outer dough-like shell and an inner filling, sometimes the ingredients are ground together into a ball; and sometimes it’s prepared in layers like a pie. It can be fried, boiled, baked or served raw. In any shape, Kubeh, or any dish we serve at Kubeh is comfort bundled in freshness and is a labor of love. We specialize in the boiled version served in a broth, its origins in Kurdish, Iraqi and Syrian cuisine. In the 1940s and 50s Kurdish, Iraqi and Syrian Jews migrated to Israel and brought Kubeh with them, a few opened up Kubeh restaurants and today, Kubeh is a staple of Israeli cuisine. At our Middle Eastern restaurant in Greenwich Village, we hand roll each Kubeh with great care and with only the finest and freshest ingredients. Our meats come from small family farms in the US that practice humane treatment of their animals and are 100% antibiotic and hormone free. We also have many gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. In addition, we have prepared for you a wide variety of delectable middle eastern mezes, spreads, and main dishes. Enjoy!
As the capital and cultural center of Spain, Madrid is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Immerse yourself into Spanish heritage with streets invigorated by rhythmic Flamenco music, cultural venues at the Prado and Reina Sofia showcasing world-class European art, and a deep Jewish history hidden in its timeless neighborhoods. Madrid is interwoven in the fabric tale of Spanish Jews, or Sephardic Jews, that were part of a mass expulsion from the country during the 15th century. The city awaits you to discover its rich history preserving the city’s Jewish legacy and modern attractions giving hope to a returning Jewish diaspora once excluded. Jewish Culture and History in Spain Traces of Jews in Spain on record date back as early as the 3rd century, with a Latin burial inscription found in the Spanish village of Adra—references to Safarad, Hebrew for Spain, can be found in earlier texts in the Book of Obadiah, the specific location can’t be concluded. However, it was not until the 11th century that documents Jews in Madrid. Madrid wasn’t always the vibrant and energetic capital it is today—a hub more heavily focused on Toledo, less than an hour’s drive southwest of the capital. Like many Sephardic communities, those living in Madrid thrived in the Judería, or Jewish quarter. It was a four-block district near present-day Teatro Real, survived by period Jewish homes. It was a self-sustained community with businesses owned by and serving the community. The decline of Jews in Madrid came in 1391 when angry mobs destroyed much of the community during countrywide riots leaving 50,000 Jewish casualties who refused to convert to Christianity during the reconquest. By 1481, only approximately 200 Jews remained in Madrid. The Spanish Inquisition of 1478 arranged for a mass conversion to Catholicism and led to the Alhambra Decree, signed in 1492, effectively expelling Jews from Spain. As a result, up to 100,000 Sephardic Jews were displaced, leading to a global Jewish diaspora in Cuba and around the Mediterranean. With the expulsion happening soon after the riots, Madrid’s Jewish population would not get a major uplift until the 20th century. A Jewish Community Rebirthed Today, Madrid is a center for Spain’s efforts to make the country welcoming to Sephardic Jews and their descendants. Legislation continues to pass in favor of the Jewish community, such as the Religious Freedom Law that allowed the building of the Beth Yaacov Synagogue in 1968; also, to the Sephardic Jewish diaspora being granted Spanish citizenship for proving a descendant line. In addition, the upcoming Jewish Museum of Spain will exhibit more than 3,000 years of history and successful contributions to society from the past and present. These efforts have blossomed Madrid into the most populous city in Spain for Jews—home to more than 15,000 Jews. Experience Jewish Heritage in Madrid at These Attractions Uncover remains of the Jewish Quarter in Lavapiés Trace the steps of Medieval Spain through the narrow streets of Lavapiés, Madrid’s trendiest neighborhoods for culture, dining, entertainment, and nightlight. You’ll discover colorful graffiti, restaurants from different cultures, and plenty of traces of the Jewish heritage that once thrived here. People watch in the Plaza de Lavapiés while reflecting on this site that once featured a fountain local Jews used to wash their feet. Wander down Calle de la Fe, formerly Calle Sinagoga, for the local synagogue no longer standing. Enjoy nightlife with a live theatrical performance at Teatro del Barrio. Visit the Beth Yaacov Synagogue Sephardic tunes ring throughout the Beth Yaacov Synagogue as if a ‘welcome home’ siren to the Jewish diaspora. It’s the first official synagogue built in 1968 since Sephardic Jews were expelled in the 15th century. The synagogue is open to practicing Jews to participate in prayer time and Shabbat meals. [caption id="attachment_40493" align="alignnone" width="1956"] Beth Yaacov Synagogue in Madrid | Image credit: 24 Mars 2006, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Discover Jewish Art at The Prado Museum Step into the UNESCO Golden Triangle of Art to discover the masterpieces of the Prado Museum that hold an abundance of Jewish history and secrets. For more than two centuries, the Prado Museum has built its collection of more than 20,000 artworks. Private tours lead you through the galleries to see the famous Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, a Spanish Jewish painter known for his royal portraits, scenes of Sephardic tales, and artistic renditions of Biblical stories. Pay Tribute to Jewish Lives in the British cemetery of Madrid Cemeteries hold countless stories forever buried beneath the Earth. Browsing the tombstones in the British Cemetery of Madrid allude to early Jewish communities that returned to Madrid during the mid-1800s. Tour the grounds to see gravesites from the Bauer family, a prominent Jewish family, amongst 30 other gravesites. The Bauer Family was headed by Ignacio Bauer, a Jewish Banker operating as an agent with the Rothschild Bank in the 1850s. In addition to the Bauer family tombs, you can also visit the Bauer Palace, the former residence. Celebrate the Holidays with Janucá en la Calle One of the best times for Jewish travel to Madrid is during the holiday season. Gather in the Plaza de la Villa with crowds of up to 50,000 people for the Janucá en the Calle, a festive Hanukkah celebration. The holidays kick off with this festival of lights, featuring musical performances, reading of Hebrew scriptures, lighting the menorah, and more for the entire family! Ready to experience the Jewish side of Madrid? Engaging cultural tours like the Nora Kapan Sephardic tour explore Jewish history across Spain with a brief stop in Madrid, or the Jewish Heritage tour Madrid that takes you to all of Madrid’s most iconic sites. You’ll enjoy authentic Spanish and Jewish cuisines with dining experiences at Cafe Madrid, La Escudilla, and other Jewish-inspired restaurants. And cozy accommodations that put you within steps of connecting your Jewish heritage to the Spanish Capital.
The Jewish Story of Venice, Italy It’s a scene most of us picture when we think of Venice: rows of shiny black gondolas, gently bobbing on the water. Gondoliers in striped jerseys loll against weathered dock posts, drawing lazily on cigarettes as they wait for their next fare. Behind them, across the busy waterway, rises the unmistakable dome of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Turn around and you’ll be facing the magnificent Doge’s Palace on the fringes of iconic St Mark’s Square. There are few places as beautiful in all of Italy. Stroll a while, ducking down narrow alleyways and crossing tiny bridges, loosely following the sweeping curves of the Grand Canal. Before long you will reach the northernmost of the six historic sestieri of Venice. This is Cannaregio, the focal point of the city’s Jewish community. Packed full of historic landmarks yet off the beaten track, it’s one of the most rewarding parts of the city to explore. Jewish life in Venice: turbulent beginnings Blessed with such a distinctive culture, it feels like Italy has been around forever. But in fact, it didn’t exist as a nation before 1871. Instead, the country as we know it was a collection of city states and independent republics. One of the most influential was Venice, “La Serenissima”. A maritime republic that had earned a substantial fortune through trade, it thrived for over 1100 years. Business needs funds and in Venice, Jews were welcomed as money lenders. However, anyone looking for permanent resident status in those early years could forget it. In 1385, though, all that changed. Conflict between the Venetians and their neighbors in Chioggia brought about a need for even more money. It forced a change in Venetian policy. Nevertheless, although Jews could now settle in the city, the largely Christian population neither trusted nor assimilated them. For more than a century, things jogged along, but it was an uneasy relationship. The birth of the ghetto Things came to a head in 1516, when a decree from Doge Leonardo Loredan established the Venice ghetto in Cannaregio. The name was no accident. The authorities cleared metal workshops to make way for housing; in Venetian dialect geto means foundry. Over time, geto became ghetto and now indicates a place where a minority group settles. Under Venetian law at that time, Jews could run a pawn shop, lend money, trade textiles and practise medicine. But to do so, they had to live within the ghetto. Hastily erected walls blocked off parts of the Ghetto Nuovo that opened onto the canal. Locked gates confined Jews overnight and they even had to foot the bill for the security guards they never asked for. [caption id="attachment_40484" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The Jewish ghetto in Venice, Italy[/caption] At its peak, the ghetto was home to around 5000 Jews. They came from Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the Ottoman Empire. Each group built its own synagogue and maintained a separate existence. Everything changed in 1797 with the arrival of Napoleon. When he marched into Venice, he tore down the gates and abolished the ghetto restrictions. Those who could afford it departed for more affluent and desirable parts of the city, but returned each Sabbath to worship at the ghetto synagogues. Post holocaust By the outbreak of World War II, about 1200 Jews lived in the Venice ghetto. The Nazis rounded up and deported more than 246 of them to Auschwitz. Fewer than ten survived. Yet, the figure could have been much higher if it hadn’t been for the sacrifice of Giuseppe Jona, then leader of the Jewish community. [caption id="attachment_40485" align="alignnone" width="1116"] Memorial plaque for Guiesppe Jona | Christian Michelides, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] The time, the Nazis demanded that he hand over a list of all the Jews in the ghetto. In an act of selfless bravery, he destroyed every written record he had that identified Venetian Jews, and committed suicide. A plaque in Campo di Ghetto Nuovo commemorates his sacrifice. Post-war, Venice has experienced a rapidly declining population. Today, around 450 Jews reside in the city. Thanks to high rents, only a privileged few can afford to live in the ghetto itself. Exploring the Jewish quarter of Cannaregio Broadly speaking, Jewish Cannaregio comprises the Ghetto Nuovo, the Ghetto Vecchio and the Ghetto Novissimo. A quirk of history, the Ghetto Nuovo was actually settled by Jews before the Ghetto Vecchio. The Ghetto Vecchio and Ghetto Novissimo were incorporated as the Jewish population grew. A good place to start exploring is in Campo di Ghetto Nuovo. A bronze memorial to the horrors of the Holocaust is set into the brick wall of the square. Sculptor Arbit Blatas created “The Last Train” to depict how Jews were mistreated. The names of the victims are carved into wooden planks. As you stroll through Cannaregio, look out for stumbling blocks. These tiny brass plaques form a memorial by German artist Gunter Demnig. Find them along Campo Ghetto Vecchio and Campiella Santa Maria Nova. [caption id="attachment_40486" align="alignnone" width="1600"] Holocaust memorial in the Jewish ghetto of Venice, Italy[/caption] The Jewish Museum hosts guided tours of the area’s synagogues. The central European Ashkenazim built the oldest, the Scuola Grande Tedesca, in 1528-29. They were also responsible for the Scuola Canton which dates from 1532. The third synagogue in the Ghetto Nuovo is the Scuola Italiana, erected in 1575, which served the Italian Jews. In the Ghetto Vecchio, you’ll find two Sephardic synagogues. Prosperous Levantine Jews built their synagogue in 1541. Its interior boasts an intricately carved wooden ceiling and bimah (pulpit). Close by in the Calle del Forno, a bread oven was used for making Matzah. Nearby is Scuola Grande Spagnola, the Spanish synagogue. Renaissance man: Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel was born into a well-connected family that advised royals and rulers in Portugal and Spain. Philanthropist at heart, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the Jewish community. However, in 1492, a decree forced Jews to convert to Christianity or leave Spain. He chose the latter option and sailed for Italy. Eventually he wound up in Venice and joined the government. As a respected statesman of the Venetian Republic, he led negotiations for a spice trade agreement between Italy and Portugal. Later, he dedicated his life to study. By the time he died in 1509, he had secured a place for himself in Venetian history. Next time you find yourself in Venice, why not take a walk in his footsteps and explore Cannaregio for yourself?
The History Jewish Vienna: Amazing and Devastating Vienna is a city with a rich artistic and intellectual legacy. With its palace-like architecture, decadent chocolate and iconic waltz, it is one of Europe’s shining jewels. Vienna’s Jewish community had a large hand to play in forming this respected reputation. For years the Jewish community was the intellectual life blood of Viennese culture. Several times throughout their history the community has known devastation and rejection. Even till today antisemitism occurs within the nation, despite the lessons of history that followed the destruction of the Holocaust. The Difficult Beginnings of Jews in Austria Since the 12th century Jews have made a home for themselves in Vienna. The first employment Jews had within Vienna were as financial advisors and mintmasters to Duke Leopold V. Not long after they arrived they were in need of protective orders. The antics of the third crusade had resulted in murderous devastation for the community. In 1238 Emperor Frederick II gave the Jews a charter of privileges allowing them a certain level of protection and autonomy. However, this didn’t last long. Over the next few centuries the Jews of Vienna continued to fall victim to brutal persecution. Oftentimes they were either annihilated or baptized by force. The community was finally expelled in 1420, although some families remained undercover or lived their lives as Christians. Judenplatz: The Jewish Ghetto of Vienna There would not be another large wave of Jewish immigration till the 17th century with the arrival of Jews from Ukraine. Around that time Emperor Leopold established the first Jewish ghetto, Judenplatz, which is today the Leopoldstadt area of Jewish Vienna. There were roughly 130 households within the ghetto, and within its walls Jews were left to conduct their affairs in peace. The Jewish Ghetto of Vienna, Judenplatz This small window of acceptance allowed the community to thrive both financially and intellectually. However this happiness was not meant to last with more waves of increasingly violent antisemitism crashing through the walls of the ghetto. The Emperor eventually liquidated the ghetto and evicted all its inhabitants. One of two great synagogues in the ghetto was repurposed as the Church of Leopold. Today the quarter remains a historic site, complete with additional monuments dedicated to preserving Jewish history. The Rise and Fall of Jewish Vienna Despite all the barriers, expulsions, and pogroms the Jews of Vienna continued to grow exponentially. This had a great deal to do with the fact that Jews had been granted lawful citizenship in 1867. With this development waves of Jewish immigrants arrived to make the city their home. By the 19th century Jews played major roles in the academic, musical, intellectual, and artistic worlds of Vienna. Three out of four Nobel Prize Winners at the time were Jewish. This was also when the birth of the Haskalah movement, or Jewish enlightenment, took place. It is no surprise that with such a rich intellectual and cultural pulse the Jewish community of Vienna has produced some of the most influential Jewish figures in history. One area of expertise in which Jews seemed to thrive was in the concert halls of Vienna. Arnold Schoenberg is one such name with a heavy degree of weight and brilliance. He is hailed as being one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Most notably he is recognized for his unique contributions to Austria’s expressionism movement. Arnold Schoenberg twelve-tone composition for the opera Moses and Aron, on loan from the Arnold Schoenberg Foundation By 1938 the community of Jewish Vienna had made a reputation for itself as one of the most influential Jewish communities in the world. The antisemitism Jews had experienced seemed to be a thing of the past. However under the surface the seeds of hatred still ran deep. When Austria was annexed to Germany, an event known as the Anschluss, violence and torment amongst the community returned. Jews were forced to close their businesses, were banned from most public spaces, and had their property confiscated. The Viennese Jewish community was also one of the first to be deported to concentration camps. More than 65,000 Jews were sent to the camps and only a handful returned. Encounter the Past of Jewish Vienna All this history and more can be found at the Jewish Museum of Vienna. Established in 1895 the museum houses some of the oldest surviving Jewish Viennese artifacts. While most of the artifacts were either destroyed or sold by the Nazis, the museum has managed to reclaim numerous items. However, the whereabouts of over half the original collection remains unknown. Nevertheless, the museum manages to take visitors on a journey of discovering the religious, cultural, and spiritual history of Viennese Jews. [caption id="attachment_40458" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Jewish Museum of Vienna[/caption] Of course when discussing the history of Jews in Austria, attention must be paid to sites commemorating the Holocaust. The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial also known as the Nameless Library almost resembles more of a military bunker than a monument. The concrete shelves house books, whose spines have been turned inward. The intention behind this choice is to commemorate the empty space of memory that came with the murder of 6 million Jews. Entire generations were lost and with them their knowledge, traditions, and families. [caption id="attachment_40455" align="alignnone" width="800"] Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial[/caption] Austria is Celebrating Jewish Culture Once Again While there are plenty of avenues to explore the extensive past of Jewish Vienna there are also ways to celebrate its present. The Vienna Jewish Film Festival offers a rich outlook into the various shades of Jewish life from around the world. The films shown at the festival cover a whole range of international Jewish films. At the end of screenings guests can ask the director questions, sit in on specialist lectures, and other activities to better connect with each film. Jewish culture and history is once again being celebrated in Vienna, yet the horror of its past will never be forgotten. It is even more amazing that with such a dark history the Jewish community of Vienna managed to fulfill a major Torah requirement. They were and are a light unto their nation.
The Western Wall, otherwise known as the Wailing Wall, often shortened to The Kotel, and known in Islam as the Buraq Wall, is an ancient limestone wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a relatively small segment of an ancient retaining wall, originally erected to expand the Second Jewish Temple. Herod the Great initiated this construction, resulting in the enclosed, natural, steep hill that today, Jews and Christians refer to as the Temple Mount. It is a large rectangular structure topped by a flat platform, creating additional space for the Temple itself, auxiliary buildings, worshippers, and visitors. The Western Wall's holiness in Judaism is a result of its proximity to the Temple Mount. Because of the Temple Mount entry restrictions, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though the Foundation Stone, the most sacred site in the Jewish faith, lies behind it. The original, natural, and irregular-shaped Temple Mount was gradually extended to allow for an ever-larger Temple compound to be built at its top. This process was finalized by Herod, who enclosed the Mount with an almost rectangular set of retaining walls, made to support the Temple platform and using extensive substructures and earth fills to give the natural hill a geometrically regular shape. On top of this box-like structure, Herod built a vast paved platform that surrounded the Temple. Of the four retaining walls, the western one is considered closest to the former Holy of Holies, which makes it the most sacred site recognized by Judaism outside the previous Temple Mount platform. Just over half the wall's total height, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, and is commonly believed to have been built by Herod the Great starting in 19 BCE, although recent excavations indicate that the work was not finished by the time Herod died in 4 BCE. The very large stone blocks of the lower courses are Herodian, the courses of medium-sized stones above them were added during the Umayyad period, while the small stones of the uppermost courses are of more recent date, especially from the Ottoman period. The term Western Wall and its variations are mostly used in a narrow sense for the section traditionally used by Jews for prayer; it has also been called the "Wailing Wall", referring to the practice of Jews weeping at the site over the destruction of the Temples. During the period of Christian Roman rule over Jerusalem (ca. 324–638), Jews were completely barred from Jerusalem except to attend Tisha B'Av, the day of national mourning for the Temples, and on this day the Jews would weep at their holy places. The term "Wailing Wall" was thus almost exclusively used by Christians, and was revived in the period of non-Jewish control between the establishment of British Rule in 1920 and the Six-Day War in 1967. The term "Wailing Wall" is not used by religious Jews, and increasingly not by many others who consider it derogatory. In a broader sense, "Western Wall" can refer to the entire 488-metre-long (1,601 ft) retaining wall on the western side of the Temple Mount. The classic portion now faces a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, near the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, while the rest of the wall is concealed behind structures in the Muslim Quarter, with the small exception of an 8-metre (26 ft) section, the so-called Little Western Wall. The segment of the western retaining wall traditionally used for Jewish liturgy, known as the "Western Wall" or "Wailing Wall", derives its particular importance to it having never been fully obscured by medieval buildings, and displaying much more of the original Herodian stonework than the "Little Western Wall". In religious terms, the "Little Western Wall" is presumed to be even closer to the Holy of Holies and thus to the "presence of God" (Shechina), and the underground Warren's Gate, which has been out of reach for Jews from the 12th century till its partial excavation in the 20th century, even more so. Whilst the wall was considered Muslim property as an integral part of the Haram esh-Sharif and waqf property of the Moroccan Quarter, a right of Jewish prayer and pilgrimage existed as part of the Status Quo. This position was confirmed in a 1930 international commission during the British Mandate period. The earliest source mentioning this specific site as a place of Jewish worship is from the 17th century. The previous sites used by Jews for mourning the destruction of the Temple, during periods when access to the city was prohibited to them, lay to the east, on the Mount of Olives and in the Kidron Valley below it. From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none was successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish and Muslim communities, the latter being worried that the wall could be used to further Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and thus Jerusalem. During this period outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace, with a particularly deadly riot in 1929 in which 133 Jews were killed and 339 injured. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War the eastern portion of Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan. Under Jordanian control Jews were completely expelled from the Old City including the Jewish Quarter, and Jews were barred from entering the Old City for 19 years, effectively banning Jewish prayer at the site of the Western Wall. This period ended on June 10, 1967, when Israel gained control of the site following the Six-Day War. Three days after establishing control over the Western Wall site, the Moroccan Quarter was bulldozed by Israeli authorities to create space for what is now the Western Wall plaza.
Al Madina is also and above all a space of culture, of discovery, comparison and encounter with the other. An ideal environment to meet and be together, savoring tasty dishes; an ever-new meeting of different worlds and cultures that you want to know each other by communicating with appetite. The wide choice of dishes is cooked with original ingredients and fresh of the day, according to a menu that varies over time: no skewers of frozen meat or prefabricated products from large distribution. At Al Madina everything is prepared day by day, with loving care. For this reason we can say that we have tasted the real Middle Eastern cuisine, spending little: we are wary of imitations! In addition, Al Madina offers in the menu of the day many other even more elaborate dishes such as: - grilled chicken or beef skewers - beef with apricots and almonds accompanied with basmati rice. At Al Madina you can also find mixed grilled lamb and sirloin ... and much more that you will discover in Al Madina, day after day.
Join Martina in this evocative walk through Pisa’s Jewish heritage and visit a hidden treasure of the city, that is the Jewish cemetery! As a city port, Pisa was probably the first place in Tuscany where Jewish families setttled as early as in the 9th century. Besides, there they were not confined to a specific neighbourhood of the city, ‘the ghetto’. The Jewish community lived and prospered in this town, enriching it with their culture, traditions and buildings until World War II. Although at present only 200 Jewish people lives in Pisa, the restored nineteeth century Synagogue* and the fascinating Jewish cemetery** attest the presence of a large community in the past. The historical city walk will hit some of the most famous sights in the very center of the city, among them Piazza del Duomo, Piazza dei Cavalieri and Piazza delle Vettovaglie. Martina will capture your attention on aspects of particular interest and bring you to specifically Jewish sites. * It is possible to visit the Synagogue, but only if guided by a member of the local Jewish community. This will incur an additional cost of € 50,00 ** It is possible to visit the Jewish Cemetery, but only if guided by a member of the local Jewish community. This will incur the additional cost of € 3,00 per person