Pope to visit Roman synagogue

religion | Oct 13, 2009 | By Spero News

UPDATED

On January 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Synagogue of Rome, to meet with the Jewish Community for the 21st Day for Reflection and Progress of Dialogue Between Catholics and Jews, and the feast of “Lead Mo'ed,” which coincides on that day. Known among Italian Jews as the Feast of the 'Mo'ed di Piombo', it commemorates a miraculous event of 1793 when the Jews of Rome escaped an attack by Roman anti-Semites thanks to a sudden storm which doused the fires that had been ignited against the gates of the Jewish ghetto.

"Ghetto", a word which has come to mean either an ethnic enclave or zone where poor people are confined, is of Italian origin. "Burghetto" - translated into English is "little town" and was the word used to describe the neighborhoods where Jews were confined by law in medieval Italy. In Venice the island once known as Spina Lunga has become known as La Giudecca "the Jewry" even while it was in the Cannaregio area in Venice where Jews were confined by law and custom. Giudecca is the term used in Italian as the name of Jewish neighborhoods throughout the peninsula.

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