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Postby alberto » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:06 pm

.ASKENAZITI italiani
"In the last one thousand years, two important traditions flourished in Jewish life, which corresponded to the two groups that held a spiritual hegemony: first, the Spanish Sephardi and then, in the following period, the Ashkenazi. […] The Ashkenazi community includes the descendants of those Jews that moved from Babylon and from Palestine towards the Balcans and Central and Eastern Europe, and that since the end of the Middle Ages began speaking Yiddish. Until 19th century, all the Ashkenazi Jews who where living in the area surrounded by Reno and Dniepr, by Baltic and Black Sea and also in the nearby regions, created a culturally uniform group. […] What distinguishes the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi cultures is, above all, a difference in form rather than substance. It is a difference that cannot be explained with those categories that oppose rationalism to mysticism or a speculative to an intuitive mind. This difference can be adequately explained with a distinction between a static form [Sephardic], in which the spontaneous element subject to rigour and an abstract order, and a dynamic form [Ashkenazi], that does not force the substance to conform to what was already established. The dynamic form can be reached with more subtle and direct elements. It gives rise to explosion, surprise, to the instantaneous. The inner experience is far more important than the exterior one."

(Abraham Joshua Heschel, «Le due grandi tradizioni» in La terra è del Signore. Il mondo interiore dell’ebreo in Europa orientale, Marietti, Genova, 1989, pp.19-26). ... itien.html

"Therefore, following the aftermaths of persecutions caused by the plague, there was a growing immigration of German Jews in Italy. “Between the end of XIII and the beginning of XIV century many people – with typically Jewish first names and with surnames that indicate their origins from German towns – begin to meet assiduously in northern Italy : Ashkenazi, from Ashkenàz, a word whose origin is unknown, was used in the medieval rabbinical literature to indicate Germany".

In northern Italy, at the beginning of XVI century, the German communities became predominant. But a good stability was reached after the expulsion of the Jews from southern Italy and Spain, who then gathered in Central and Northern Italy.
The German immigration brought numerous Rabbis and erudites to Italy; this was a positive element for our country where, from XV century on, the talmudic studies were not as advanced as they used to be. Usually, German Rabbis were more severe than Italian ones, who referred to the liberal doctrine of Maimonide.
[quotations from Jomtov Ludovico Bato, “L’immigrazione degli ebrei tedeschi in italia dal Trecento al Quattrocento”, in Scritti in memoria di Sally Mayer, Gerusalemme, 1956]

In XIV century some Jews of German origins created a solid bank trade in Trieste.
“IIn XIV century, the activity of the German Jews was not yet very intense in Friuli, Istria and Dalmazia, because these areas were dominated by Christian bankers from Tuscany. But eventually the greediness of the Florentine and Sienese bankers caused rebellions and eventually the Jews returned. Between the end of XIV and the beginning of XV century Istria was swarming with Jewish loan agencies.
Lombardia, a tempting destination for those who managed to cross the mountains, was dominated by German Jewish bankers”. Cremona becomes the main centre. Pavia is less important..
[quotations from Attilio Milano, Storia degli ebrei in Italia, Einaudi, Torino, 1963].
"The Jews for whom the ghetto was founded come, more or less directly, from Germany. Their names prove it […] Some printed German books, with Hebrew characters, are found in this period [XVI century] in Venice”.
In the Venetian ghetto the Jews of German origins “continued to dominate, numerically but also for their importance and wealth, until the era of decadence of the Community".

[Cecil Roth, Gli ebrei in Venezia, Cremonese, Roma, 1932].

Slowly, the immigrates spread through Veneto, Lombardia and Piemonte, proceeding up to the Republic of Venice and Marche.

Many German Jews decided to settle in Naples because of the Aragon’s pro-Hebraic attitude, which supported the Jewish presence, and in particular thanks to the concession (1468) of the citizenship to those who chose to live in the cities of the Reign of Naples.
The relationship with the newcomers was usually good, although the immigrates’ customs were rather uncivilised, compared to the Italian ones. For instance, they sometimes used to fight, which was inconceivable for the Italian Jews.
[Nicola Ferorelli, Gli Ebrei nell’Italia meridionale, Arnaldo Forni, Bologna, 1915]. ... itien.html
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