21.04.2011 17.Nisan, 5771 Chel Hamo'ed 1; Tag 2 des Omer
Chef Dennis Wasko looks into the rich culinary history of the Jews of Italy.
The History of Jews in Italy goes back over 2,000 years. Jews first appeared in Rome in the 2nd century B.C.E when Judah Maccabee sent envoys to the Roman Emperor. The Jewish community in Rome is one of the oldest Jewish communities in Europe and also one the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world. After the Romans invaded Judea in 63 B.C.E., Jewish prisoners of war were brought to Rome as slaves; Jewish delegates came to Rome on diplomatic missions and Jewish merchants traveled to Rome seeking to do business in the Imperial capital. Many of those who visited Rome stayed and the Jewish population began to grow.
The Jewish community in Rome was actually treated better that the Jews who remained in conquered Judea. Julius Caesar, who was known to be a friend of the Jews, allowed them to settle anywhere in the Roman Empire. It is said that when Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.E., Roman Jews wept at his tomb. His successor, Augustus, also acted favorably toward the Jews and scheduled his grain distribution so that it would not interfere with the Jewish Sabbath. The Emperor allowed synagogues to be built in Rome without restriction….