Two people, one womb:

The Jews of Italy

Sunday, May 5

USA 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

UK 8:00 pm / France 9:00 pm / Israel 10:00 pm

The talk will last approximately 90 minutes

About this talk

Rebecca, the Book of Genesis' second matriarch, Isaac's wife, feels two babies fighting each other in her womb while pregnant and goes to consult the Lord: the answer is: "Two People are in your womb, and one will fight the other".

According to a rabbinic interpretation, one people is Israel, Jacob, and the other, Esau, is Rome, Italy, Christianity. The Jews of Italy have been living in this "womb", Italy, one of the first and oldest Diasporas, before the destruction of the Second Temple. They've been "stuck" together with their twin, Esau, and have embraced both identities: Jerusalem and Rome. They've felt rooted, secure and tolerated, adopted local music, food, language, style and customs more than in any other "diaspora". There have been tough times too, but overall it is a story of co-existence and mutual respect.

We'll explore the history of Jews during the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the ghettos of Venice, Mantua and Rome through emancipation, the World Wars, and the present day. We'll discover language, poetry, theatre, and liturgy. 

You can also join us for our session about Jewish Italian music and cuisine here 

About Miriam

Miriam Camerini is a theatre director, jewish scholar, writer, singer and actress. She's the founder and artistic director of Benhashmashot, Jewish Theatre in Milan, with which she tours all over the world. On the academic side, Miriam holds a BA in Linguistics and Literature from the State University of Milan and attended an MA program in Theatre Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studied Bible and Talmud at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and is now a rabbinical student at Beit Midrash Har'El, one of the first orthodox institutions to ordain women rabbis. Miriam published a book about food and religion, Ricette e Precetti (Giuntina, Firenze 2019), which has been published in German by Hentrich&Hentrich in 2021, with the title Rezepte und Gebote.

Choose your contribution amount

With your contribution, you will also be donating to the American Sephardi Federation, which preserves and promotes the history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture of Greater Sephardic communities as an integral part of the Jewish experience.

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