February 22, 2017 – The lecture “Understanding Seclusion: The Legal Dimensions of the Ghetto”, held on February 21 at the Library of Congress, concludes the series “La Serenissima” (February 3-21, 2017). The Music and Arts Festival was organized by Carnegie Hall in collaboration with the Library of Congress, the Jewish Museum, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York, Centro Primo Levi, and Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, NY. With this event the Law Library of Congress commemorates the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, and the speakers were Professor Benjamin Ravid (Brandeis University), Professor David Malkiel (Bar-Ilan University), and Professor Dick Schneider (Wake Forest Unversity).
Previously two other lectures related to the topic were hosted by the Embassy of Italy in Washington: “The Venice Ghetto at 500: A Jewish Community’s Past, Present, and Future”, held on February 16 by David Laskin, author of the recent The Family: A Journey into the Heart of the 20th Century and The Children’s Blizzard, and “After the Ghetto, in the World at Large, a multimedia presentation and talk”, that took place on February 20 with the participation of Martina Massaro (Iuav University of Venice) and Cristiana Facchini (University of Bologna). During his articulated speech, David Laskin discussed the history of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice and considered how the city’s Jewish community has evolved and developed over the past half a millennium. The program of the event After the Ghetto, instead, explored the immediate aftermath of the end of the ghetto era.
The Ambassador of Italy to the United States said: “The contribution that Jews have given to Italy’s civic, economic and cultural growth through the centuries has been truly exceptional. For over 2000 years, Judaism has played a pivotal role in my Country. And it is precisely because of the great, diverse and enduring contributions that Jews have given to our country that we must pause and think, and preempt the creation of new ‘ghettos’, in the word’s negative connotation, thus avoiding any form of racial, social and cultural segregation.”
The series “La Serenissima” had the purpose of exploring the wonderful magnificence that the Republic of Venice represented for a millennium, and was able to bring to the United States a piece of Venice, this great capital of culture. The program, presented by the Carnegie Hall’s artistic director Clive Gillinson, covered the thousand years of the San Marco Republic’s history as an independent sovereign State, until the French occupation under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte and the consequent ending of the Doges’ era. As stated by the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Armando Varricchio, a festival of this magnitude “ensures that the United States, once again, speaks Italian.”