“Case di vita. Sinagoghe e cimiteri in Italia” — “Houses of Life: Synagogues and cemeteries in Italy”
The exhibit, curated by Andrea Morpurgo and the MEIS director Amadeo Spagnoletto, focuses on the architectural, ritual, and social dimensions of the synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Italy.
It displays architectural plans, documents from state archives and Jewish communities, family heirlooms, and prestigious loans such as the Ark of the Jewish Community of Vercelli.
The conference starts on the 12th of September at 18:00 at German Historical Institute and ends on the 14th of September at 16:30 in POLIN – Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
The synagogues that remained standing after World War II have facedan uncertain destiny. As abandoned buildings,they were susceptible to decay quickly and, as former buildings of worship, for legal, cultural and architectural reasons, posed a great challenge in terms of their reuse. Consequently, many synagogues simply fell into ruins, some were turned into secular buildings of various purposes, and few could have been used as houses of prayer again.
In postwar Europe, synagogue architecture was culturally categorized as an element of Jewish heritage that appeared to be isolated from the common heritage of a city or town – wherever a synagogue stood.
At first, synagogues were not considered a shared but a distinct patrimony of a place. A shift in such a state of affairs could have been observed in the last three decades that witnessed a ‘rediscovery’ of synagogues. Though one can still find abandoned synagogues in small towns, in most of the bigger municipalities, these buildings were ‘rediscovered’ as a part of local history and culture and thus became part of the common heritage. In many regions of Europe, the ‘rediscovery’ of the former synagogues led to their restoration and opening to the public, and in rare cases, to their reuse by Jewish communities.
The aim of the conference is a historicization of the processes of rediscovery in the recent past.
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