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After the Ghetto, In the World at Large, a multimedia presentation and talk



After the Ghetto, In the World at Large, a multimedia presentation and talk

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After the Ghetto, In the World at Large.

This program explores the immediate aftermath of the end of the ghetto era. Through the stories of a family of collectors and entrepreneurs, the Treves de’ Bonfil and the work of Luigi Luzzatti, prominent economist, politician and intellectual of international renown, the panel will discuss the legacy of the ghetto and the ways in which it was understood during 150 years after its end.

A multimedia presentation on the history of the Venice Ghetto and the online exhibit Making Hebrew Books in Venice will precede the talk with Martina Massaro (Università Iuav, Venezia) and  Cristiana Facchini (University of Bologna).

This event is part of the series La Serenissima (February 3-21,2017), a Music and Arts Festival, organized by Carnegie Hall, in collaboration with the Library of CongressThe Jewish Museum, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, the Italian Cultural Institute in New YorkCentro Primo Levi, and NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò.


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Embassy of Italy - Auditorium
3000 Whitehaven Street NW 
Washington, DC 20008






Martina Massaro (Università Iuav, Venezia)
Giacomo Treves de’ Bonfil

The year 2016 has marked the 500th anniversary of the first Jewish Ghetto in Venice. This important event involved several institutions, international research centers and foundations. This occasion spurred studies and debates that have helped shed light on the history of Venetian Jews. Today, the word ghetto commonly refers to cases of physical and social isolation and has become a general term for situations that differ geographically, socially and politically. Five hundred years after the establishment of the Venetian Ghetto, we can attempt to reconstruct its everyday life, its contradictions, and its “porosity”. The Venetian Republic implemented an urban strategy of welcoming immigrants, offering them protection. At the same time a more or less strict surveillance was exercised over national and religious communities, whose importance derived from their economic activities. Like other minorities, the Jews were precious for the Serenissima. This presentation considers the ghetto retrospectively through the story of a family of entrepreneurs and collectors between the last decades of the Republic and the 19th century. The Treves Bonfil were merchants from the Levant who became one of the most active interpreters of Venetian cosmopolitanism and brought its legacy to the world of the modern nation state.

Cristiana Facchini (University of Bologna)
Luigi Luzzatti and the Idea of Religious Toleration

In 1893 the city of Chicago, alongside with the Columbian exposition, hosted the first World’s Parliament of Religions, offering what might be labeled as the first ecumenical conference of representatives of different religious traditions. Religions known only to a small number of scholars became visible on a public stage. In 1930 Luigi Luzzatto’s God in Freedom was published in English. The author was one of the most important political figures of European Liberal age, one of the first Jewish prime ministers of a western European country and among the first proponents of a European economic federation. An outstanding politician, Luzzatti held a strong passion for the study of religion, which is clearly visible in his book on religious tolerance.

Making Hebrew Books in Venice - An Online Exhibit

Culture, artisanship and the transmission of knowledge in one of the most important centers of modern Hebrew book printing. Based on a project by Gadi Luzzatto, scientific director of the Renato Maestro Library and on the exhibition “Venice, the Jews and Europe” curated by Donatella Calabi.

This online exhibition, developed on an innovative multimedia platform, popular among youth and students and readily available to the general public, will feature treasures from the Renato Maestro Library of Venice and the Library of Congress spanning from 1521 and 1862, the dates of the oldest and most recent historic Hebrew book preserved in Venice.

For each books, the exhibition will offer a multimedia narrative illustrating its physical and conceptual making, its history, author, publisher, editors, artists, censors, its travels, its impact on the communities that used it, its significance for the broader emerging world of printed books.

By pairing books, manuscripts and other kinds of documents from two prestigious institutions, the exhibit will also solicit reflections on the functions and challenges of libraries as places of preservation and transmission of knowledge from the era of manuscripts to that of the Internet.

Among other magnificent items, visitors will be able to browse through a 14th century illuminated Torah and a Mishneh Torah by Maimonides dating 1405.

A Siddur Minhag Bnei Romi (14th century) and a copy of the Miqra’ot gedolot, (Bomberg, 1524-25) curated by Ya’aqov ben Hayyim ibn Adoniyyah (Tunis 1470- Venice 1538). This is the second printed volume of the Torah with targum, massorah and commentaries. The first one, printed in Rome, was banned by rabbinical authorities.

The exhibit will remain permanently available to the public, students and scholars through the website of Centro Primo Levi, the Library of Congress, the Renato Maestro Library, New York University and Carnegie Hall.

To visit the online exhibit click HERE




Date: Monday, February 20, 2017

Time: From 7:00 pm To 9:30 pm

Organized by : Embassy of Italy/Italian Cultural Institute

In collaboration with : Library of Congress, Law Library of Congress and C

Entrance : Free


Embassy of Italy