The Jewish Community in Italy Essay

The Jewish Community in Italy Essay

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The Jewish Community in Italy
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For centuries, there has been a Jewish community in parts of present-day Italy, dating back to the Roman Empire. In addition to religious differences, Jews were faced with political challenges as well. The Emperor was included in the pantheon of Roman tradition, which added a political obligation to religious, and thus Roman citizens were required to ?conciliate the gods.? For Jews, this requirement created many consequences.[1] According to estimates, there were five to seven million Jews in the Roman Empire during this time. The relations between the Jews and the Romans have always been complicated. For in 186 B.C. measures were taken against the Bacchanalia, but in 161 B.C., a friendly treaty was made with the Maccabees. In 139 B.C., the Jews were banished from Rome, yet Julius Caeasar gave Jews privileges, allowing them to meet on the Sabbath and settle their religious disputes privately. Despite the ambiguous treatment of the Jews, the Romans usually blamed the Jews for any disorder in the Empire.

Ancient writers, Josephus and Tacitus, discussed the Jews banishment from Rome in 19 C.E.? The Roman senate also sent 4,000 Jewish men to Sardinia to put down an uprising there. Though the harsh climate could potentially kill the men, it was but a small loss to the Roman government.[2] Modern historians assume that the Tiberius? reason for the banishment was a ?deep-seated animosity against the Jews fostered by their reputation for exclusiveness and their assumption of superior righteousness.?[3] Yet, Josephus attributed the cause to a ?worthless? Jew from Judea and three other men who persuaded Fulvia, a Roman woman, to give goods for the Jerusalem temple, but use...


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...?Narrating over the ghetto of Rome. (Jews in Italy.)? Jewish Social Studies. (Winter-Spring (2002) 1.

[16] Elizabeth Mahler Schachter. ?Perspectives of nignteenth-century Italian Jewry.? Journal of European Studies. (March 2001) 29.

[17] Gene Bernardini. ?The Origins and Development of Racial Anti-Semitism in Fascist Italy.? The Journal of Modern History. (Sept, 1977): 431-453.

[18] Shira Schoenberg. ?Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust.? Jewish Virtual Library. 26 November 2003. <http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html>

[19] Barry Lank. ?Decency in Italy played role in helping nation?s Jews.? Bulletin. April 19, 1996.

[20] Gerald Schwartz. ?Assisi 2002: an encounter with history.? Canadian Jewish News. Sept. 5, 2002.

[21] Frank Bruni. ?Nearly 40 Jewish Graves are Desecrated in a Rome Cemetery.? The New York Times. July 19, 2002: A.

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