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The Venetian Ghetto

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1516, fearful that the ``sworn enemies of Christ'' would pollute their religion, but practical enough to protect the health of their economy, the city fathers of Venice established a segregated Jewish section. Named ``Campo de Ghetto,'' it was the first ghetto in Europe. Until its destruction in 1721 by the French, the Venetian Ghetto was both haven and prison to a people expelled from most countries. During the day, Jews, identified by their colored badges, plied their trades on the Rialto, but at midnight the gates of their overcrowded citadel clanged shut. Up to 2000 Jews forged a community rich in religion, art and industry within barely seven acres that encompassed narrow alleyways, pawnshops, three remarkable Baroque synagogues. Illustrated with color photos of the restored haunts, this book tells too little of the life of the ghetto, while expounding at sometimes tedious length on its architecture. Cooperman is a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Maryland; Curiel is on staff at the Museum of Jewish Art in Venice. (Dec.)
Library Journal
This beautifully illustrated volume opens with a discussion of the establishment of the Ghetto and the origins of the Jewish community of Venice. The authors emphasize culture--particularly the art and architecture of the Ghetto--and place the Jewish experience within the context of Venetian history. They cover each of the five great synagogues in a separate chapter that details their history, architecture, and treasures, examining the institutions' development against the background of growing Venetian power and providing valuable information on Jewish ritual and belief as expressed in the architecture and function of the synagogues. The book concludes with chapters on the Cemetery of San Nicolo del Lido and the Museum of Jewish Art, where Curiel works. (Cooperman is professor of Jewish studies at the University of Maryland.) The carefully chosen illustrations are beautifully reproduced in exquisite detail. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, Ct.
Through some 140 brilliant color illustrations and a fascinating text by Cooperman (Jewish studies, U. of Maryland) and Curiel (curator, Museum of Jewish Art in Venice), reconstructs life in this historic quarter, documenting the cultural and artistic influences and treasures of the five major synagogues around which Jewish society revolved. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847812363
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 9/15/1990
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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