Tags / Jewish Community
Before the 1959 revolution in Cuba, there was about 15,000 Jews living within the country's borders. Today, a mere 1500 are left. Most Jews in Cuba were business people thriving due to the adequate business environment within the country. With the arrival of Fidel Castro and his Communist ideas, many of these Jews lost their business and moved to the US, mostly in Miami. Though never persecuted, but rather well treated by the regime, most prefered to leave to prosper economically somehwere else. There are three main Jewish/Synagogues within Havana which are quite active in keeping the renmants of the community together, with the help of money coming from Jewish organizations in the US and Israel.
An Iranian-Jewish family celebrates the Bar Mitzvah for their oldest son in Tehran's largest synagogue. Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel. Today, nearly ten thousand Jews live in Iran. Iran's Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority by the government and have their own seat in the Iranian parliament. Their cultural institutions remain strong in the country with a network of schools, hospitals, libraries, and seminaries.
Livorno is considered the most modern of all the towns of the Tuscany region. It has the biggest port of the region and it is the most populated coastal town. The emblem of the town is the monument of the four “mori” - pirates - a famous sculpture that represents dark-skinned pirates constricted by chains at
the feet of the Grand Duke Ferdinando I. The artwork has been realized during the time in which the town was enhanced itself as cosmopolitan town, through establishment of rules that allows the town to welcome with open arms Jewish people banished from Spain and Portugal. The story of Jewish people living in Livorno starts since that moment. Historical tradition of Livorno and Jewish culture are merged permanently until nowadays and Livorno is defined as the town of Judaism. It was held by Jew family the memorable bookshop and the publishing house named Belforte. Typical dishes the “roschette”,
caucciucco(fish stew) and the Livorno-style mullet are of the Sephardic tradition.
Like the typical words as “sciagattato” – ruined, and “gadollo” - fat or “gavinoso” – funny, which are picked up from the Bagitto and Hebrew dialect and still in use today . Jew was the Mayor of the prefascist town of Livorno, the Socialist Umberto Mondolfi. The list is including religious citizens like Rabbis Elia Benamozegh – was the Rabbi of Livorno for 50 years, Rabbi Sabato Morais and Alfredo Toaff, famous people like the philanthropist Moses Montefiore, sages and intellectuals like Attias, D'Ancona and Enriques, famous painters like Tivoli, Corcos and of course Amedeo Modigliani. These are only few
famous names of the entire Jewish community of Livorno. Livorno is housing of an old Sephardic Synagogue, considered one of the biggest and beautiful Synagogue around the world, it was built in 1591 but seriously damaged by the American bombing in 1945, then it became the goal of several raids during
the last time of second WW, and this led to a complete destruction of the Synagogue itself. The works for the new Synagogue committed to the architect Mr. Angelo di Castro started at the beginning of the sixties, a building of reinforced concrete inspired by the tabernacle (sanctuary tent) that accompanied the Jewish along the desert during the exodus- the new Synagogue has a modern style that it is not well accepted among the Jewish community of Livorno. Whatever, the young Rav Yair Didi religious leader of the community and well known and respected personality in the city is suggesting to not look the outside but the inside of the Synagogue. next to the synagogue is the center or the house of the Jewish community, there is the archive of the community,400 years of documents written in Portuguese, Italian or Hebrew. But the real oral memory is Gabriele Bedarida. He is keeping memories of what was the Jewish Livorno in the past. In the 1938, during the fascism period, before that the King enacted racial laws more than 1500 Jewish people lived in Livorno. More than 120 Jewish people of Livorno were wiped out in the Nazi concentration camps. Many of the people in the Jewish community of Livorno were rescued in the Nazi search, fleeing to the bush, hiding kids in convents, in religious colleges, or finding shelter by antiNazi friends. By the end of the WW II the Jewish community of Livorno had less than 1000 people.
Today there are around 600 Jewish people registered as Jewish community of Livorno, that leads, the community of Livorno to be considered one of the most important Jewish community in Italy after the one in Rome. But the Jewish community of Livorno is an old and aged community with no turnover. The last migration of Sephardic Jews in Livorno is dated to 1967 when due to the six days war many Jews abandoned Arab countries and part arrived in Livorno. Mainly people from the Bengasi community in Libya decided for moving to Livorno. Today the majority of the Jewish community of Livorno is made up by older people with only few young that rarely participate to the life of the community. There are around 70 Jewish people in Livorno that actively attend Jewish liturgies such as Shabbat and even more than 400 persons during Pesach or Yom Kippur. In the last three years 6 young Jews decided to leave Italy to
flee to Israel for aliyah. In the city center and in the market many shops are still run by Jew families: like the Disegni, Zarrugh, Doha, Modigliani, Bueno and Lombardo are some of the common names. On the other hand the Jewish school closed during the fascism has never been reopened and the same destiny
has occurred to the Jewish hospital and after a while to the old cemetery. There is no any Israeli restaurant in Livorno , the last running was closed four years ago. There is a bakery that works under Jewish rules producing bread without milk or animal fat/lard. There is also a kosher batcher that supplies
kosher meet to members of the Jewish community of Livorno. There is a Jewish museum, located in Villa Marini belonged to Marini family until 1867,was used as a synagogue until the new synagogue was open and on 1992 opened as a museum. the small collection is including a Hechal(temple) of the XVI
century,shofar,tallit on the wall are old marriage agreements.
There is an old cemetery closed and in a state of completely decay. The new cemetery is in use and located in the north of the city and it is near the general cemetery. In the new cemetery are the grave of Modeliani family and two memory boards one perpetuates the Jewish people that died during First World War and the other perpetuates the victims of the holocaust.
Gabriele Bedarida searches for Hebrew written documents in the archive of the Jewish community located in Livorno, Italy.
Rabbi Yair Didi of Livorno, Italy (on left) and
Gabriele Bedarida searching for Hebrew written documents in the Jewish community archive located in
In the Jewish community of Livorno,
Gabriele Bedarida holds a book containing documents, in Hebrew, related to the history of the Jewish community of Livorno, Italy.
Yair Didi ,the Rabbi of the Jewish community in Livorno, Italy, opens the faucet in the Mikveh (a bath used for ritual immersion in Judaism) located in the Jewish Community House next to the synagogue in Livorno, Italy.
A view from above of the synagogue in Livorno, Italy, during prayer.
Livorno, Italy, Rabbi Yair Didi, praying at the new synagogue.
Livorno, Italy, Rabbi Yair Didi praying in the Livorno synagogue.
Arvin , a 13 year old Iranian Jewish boy learning to read the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah at a Synagogue in Yussef Abad, in the North Of Tehran.
Arvin, a 13 years old Iranian Jewish boy celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Yussef Abad in the North of Teheran.
Out of the 80 000 Jews present in Iran under the Shah, there are barely 10,000 today. This religious minority has its Member of Parliament, schools ... but must live in discretion.
Arvin , learning to read the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah. His standing on carved altar carved in wood and gold in the biggest Synagogue of Yussef Abad, in the North of Teheran.
An iranian Jewish boy carrying the torah scroll with his father for his Bar mitzvah at a Synagogue in Tehran.
Arvin carrying the Torah scroll with his father for his Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Tehran.
Arvin 's friends reading the Torah. They are all educated in Jewish schools. Only five Jewish schools remain in Tehran. They subsist thanks to grants from the Ministry of Education.
An Iranian Jewish boy reading the Torah in the biggest synagogue of Tehran.
An Iranian Jewish boy reading the Torah in the synagogue of Yussef Abad in the North of Tehran.
Jewish boys reading the Torah during Arvin's Bar-Mitzva . Although Jews can be discriminated against , those who decided to stay declared feeling more secure in Iran than in other countries such as Israel.
Jewish boys reading the Torah during Arvin's Bar-Mitzvah. After the ceremony, guests gather around a sumptuous buffet. On the menu: traditional Iranian dishes and ... wine. Within the Islamic Republic, alcohol is prohibited for muslims, but tolerated for religious minorities like Jews and Christians.
Arvin celebrating his Bar Mitzvah and reading the Torah. He is surrounded by the Rabbi , his father and a friend.
An Iranian Jewish man praying during Arvin's Bar Mitzvah at the biggest Synagogue in Tehran.
Arvin and the Rabbi during his Bar Mitzvah in the biggest synagogue in Tehran.
The Rabbi advising Arvin during his Bar Mitzvah.
Arvin waiting to start celebrating his Bar Mitzvah in the biggest synagogue of Tehran located in Yussef Abad neighborhood.
Recognized as a minority in the 1979 Constitution, Jews are represented in the Iranian Parliament by a jewish member.
Despite their patriotism toward Iran, Jews's loyalty remain, in the eyes of the regime, questionable.
The menorah, one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith, in the Yousef Abad Synagogue.