Classical and Modern Anti-Semitism in the Mortara Case

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According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, anti-Semitism is hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group. There are two main types of anti-Semitism: classical anti-Semitism and modern anti-Semitism. Classical anti-Semitism is the hatred and intolerance towards Jews because of their religious differences. According to remember.org, “Modern anti-Semitism, in contrast to earlier forms, was based not on religious practices of the Jews but on the theory that Jews comprised an inferior race. Anti-Semites exploited the fact that Jews had been forced into exile by extolling as ‘fact’ that their ‘rootlessness’ had a genetic basis. A Jew was a Jew not because he or she practiced any particular religion, but because it was a character of his or her blood.” The main difference between classical and modern anti-Semitism is that Jews who faced classical anti-Semitism were given the opportunity to convert and erase their stain of Jewishness, and be able to have access into Christian society. Whereas Jews facing modern anti-Semitism would forever be Jews no matter what proceedings they partook in. The Mortara case, a famous and controversial case in Jewish history that took place around 1858, demonstrates both classical and modern anti-Semitism. The Mortara case involves the kidnapping of a young Jewish boy named Edgardo Mortara. The story begins when the Italian police inform the Mortara parents, Marianna and Momolo Mortara, that Edgardo has been baptized and according to the law of the Pontifical State, a Christian is not permitted to live in a Jewish home. Marianna and Momolo Mortara figure out that their old caregiver, Anna Morisi was guilty of secretly baptizing their son Edgardo... ... middle of paper ... ...y 2010. . Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print. Kertzer, David I.. The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. 1st Vintage Books Ed ed. New York: Vintage, 1998. Print.

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