Jewish Heritage Europe

Event: Places and Life of the Jewish Diaspora in Southern Italy

Interior of the Scolanova synagogue, Trani. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

For those in New York, there will be a program March 31 — Places and Life of the Jewish Diaspora in Southern Italy —  dedicated to the lifetime work of  the late Prof. Cesare Colafemmina, exploring the richness of Apulia and Southern Italian Jewish history, current research and communal experience.

Presentations include:


Mauro Perani (University of Bologna, Italian Association for Jewish Studies)



Fabrizio Lelli (University of Salento, University of Pennsylvania)

Colafemmina, who died in 2012,  was a professor of Hebrew Epigraphy and Antiquities at the University of Bari, Italy, and of Hebrew Literature at the University of Calabria. He researched and wrote extensively on the Jewish presence in Calabria, Apulia (Puglia), Basilicata and Sicily and was the first scholar to identify the burial chambers and inscriptions in the Jewish catacombs of Venosa (Basilicata).

Author of more than 200 essays as well as seminal historical books, Colafemmina oversaw the installation of the Jewish museum of Trani at the “Scola Grande,” one of two 13th century synagogues to survive virtually intact in the coastal town.  He was on the executive committee of the Italian Association for Jewish Studies and the editor of «Sefer Yuḥasin», a journal of Southern Italian Jewish Studies which he founded in 1985.  The Cesare Colafemmina Center for the Research and Documentation of Judaism in the Mediterranean Region was founded in his honor.

Information panel in the Jewish Museum in the Scola Grande synagogue in Trani. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

The program is sponsored by the Primo Levi Center and the Italian Cultural Institute.

It will be held March 31, at 6 p.m. at:

The Italian Cultural Institute
686 Park Avenue



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