Sunday, June 14, 2009

For Israel is not widowed, nor Judah, of his God, - כִּי לֹא-אַלְמָן יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה, מֵאֱלֹהָיו- (Yirmyahu 51:5)

I spent a few days in Milan, Italy last week. This was not my first trip there but came after a hiatus of several years. I was advised by a local acquaintance to stay at the Marriott which is close to the Jewish neighborhood and that I would find minyanim for Shacharit and Mincha - Maariv daily at Josef Tehillot - the Lebanese shul. I was taken completely by surprise. The first day we came in for Mincha and found a beit hamidrash with talmidei chachamim sitting in groups learning with members of the community gemara be'iyun. Next morning at 6:30AM we came in for Shacharit and two members of the community were discussing in Italian the difference between a kinyan and chazaka. Apparently about ten years ago a Kolel was started named after the Safra family. It has flourished into a community of Jews who take their religion seriously. It was extremely heart warming to see Torah flourish in Italy. Every time I go there and read the names of the towns on the highway signs takes me back to those times when so much Torah came from that part of Europe - Fano, Cremona, Venezia, Mantua, Trani etc...

Jewish life in general seems to have come back to life in Milan. We frequented a Kosher restaurant nearby, Re Solomone, which was well patronized by the locals which is always a sign of a healthy community that does not stray to the more appealing non-kosher offerings, especially the famed Italian food. The food was in fact very tasty though leaning more to the middle eastern than Italian.

1 comment:

  1. Although more academic/cultural than focused on inyanei Torah, the Primo Levi Center often hosts events on Italian Jewish themes at the Center for Jewish History on 16th Street in Manhattan.