Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Image of the Day: Siena Synagogue

Plus a really lousy joke

Print Email

Tucked away in a corner of Siena, Italy, is the Sinagoga Ebraica. Built in 1786, it still hosts weekly Shabbat services for the tiny remnant of the Jewish community in the town as well as a few of the visiting students at the University of Siena.

The history of the Sienese Jews has many of the normal benchmarks of European Jewry: centuries’ old roots, a former ghetto, some anti-Jewish measures including a tax, noted success in trade and excellence in study, susceptibility to the whims of local marauders, an eventual decrease in the community’s population, and a number of deportations during World War II (commemorated by the plaque to the left of the door).

It’s a beautiful synagogue in a stunning little town. While en route to the synagogue, I befriended a Jewish pilgrim from Queens–by way of Brazil–who told me the following joke:

What is the difference between an Italian mother and a Jewish mother?

An Italian mother says “If you don’t eat, I’ll kill you!”
A Jewish mother says “If you don’t eat, you’ll kill me!”

Turns out, there are crickets in Italy.

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Siena is also the setting for Aaron Jastrow’s villa in Wouk’s The Winds of War.

The beautiful Synagogue is Siena is open to visitors on a regular daily basis, and the community is establishing a museum in the women’s gallery and other rooms in the building, showcasing community documents and Judaica. (Some exhibits are already in place). About 500 people attended a series of events there (including food-tasting) last Sunday, on the European Day of Jewish Culture. Development of the Synagogue and museum are part of a broader project, Toscana Ebraica, to preserve and promote Jewish heritage in all of Tuscany. See http://www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu/2012/08/15/jewish-tuscany-news-on-new-digital-itineraries-project/”

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Image of the Day: Siena Synagogue

Plus a really lousy joke

More on Tablet:

The Jewish History Behind the Girl Scouts

By Tal Trachtman Alroy — From Jewish troops to kosher cookies, the organization’s roots a century ago in Savannah are still evident today