Rome celebrates Jewish culture

The 13th edition of the European Day of Jewish Culture takes place on 2 September under the theme "The spirit of Jewish humour", a trait organisers describe as a cultural phenomenon and psychological coping mechanism developed by Jews over centuries of persecution.

There are guided tours in Italian and English of the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum of Rome, which contains important Jewish manuscripts and artefacts and documents relating to the Nazi occupation of Rome. There are also tours of the Jewish ghetto, around points of historical Jewish interest in Trastevere, and the synagogue at Ostia Antica. In addition there are art exhibitions, lectures and tasting of traditional Jewish food on Via del Portico d'Ottavia.

From 8-12 September Rome hosts the fifth edition of the International Festival of Jewish Literature and Culture. Under the theme "Beyond the borders", this year's festival branches out to include Jewish theatre, contemporary art and music.

Like last year, the festival opens with Night of the Kabbalah, with cultural events dedicated to Jewish mysticism. The event features Italian and international artists who provide music, theatre and literature from 21.00 until dawn.

Included in the line-up of cultural figures participating in the festival are Polish writer Marek Halter, Israeli musician David Broza, Italian classical musican Gabriele Coen, Israeli dj Ofer Gal, and Israeli muralist Rami Meiri who performs at the Ermanno Tedeschi Gallery in the ghetto. The festival also hosts important Israeli authors such as Moshe Idel, Yoram Kaniuk and Etgar Kere, and American writers Shalom Auslander and Charley Rosen.

Closing the festival is a theatrical performance celebrating two women who left their mark on modern history: Italian political journalist and war correspondent Oriana Fallaci, and former prime minister of Israel Golda Meir.

For full details on all Jewish cultural events in Rome see www.italiaebraica.it.

Jewish Museum of Rome, Lungotevere Cenci 15, tel. 0668400661

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