XIV Edition of the Jewish Book Festival

From October the 12th, the MEIS in Ferrara will be celebrating the XIV Edition of the Jewish Book Festival

To what extent do great historical events affect our daily lives? How do habits, interpersonal relations, love, and disaffection change when time undermines each and every certainty?

The XIV Edition of the Jewish Book Festival is back from the 12th to the 15th of October. The Festival was created and is organized by the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah-MEIS in Ferrara.

The theme is this edition is La Storia, le storie (History and Stories). MEIS has invited historians, novelists, sociologists, journalists, and museum directors to tell the fascinating intertwining of History interfaces with individual stories, a page turner.
Little lives surface behind leaders’ deeds, the disasters of dictators, the negligence of the powerful, and are written into literature finding unforeseen immortality. After all, what would history be without the patchwork of its stories?
In past years, Italian and international guests of the Jewish Book Festival included famous Israeli novelists such as Abraham B. Yehoshua, David Grossman and Eshkol Nevo, US authors such as Joshua Cohen, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize. Great relevance has been given to cultural and institutions and museums, to the presentation of the new National Library of Israel to meetings with Eike Schmidt, Director of Florence’s Uffizi Galleries, Christian Greco, Director of the Turin Egyptian Museum.
What can we expect from this edition? The opening is on Thursday, October the 12th with an event on museums and the appealing stories informing their collections: Massimo Osanna, General Director of Museums (Ministry of Italian Culture), Francesca Cappelletti, Director if the Galleria Borghese, Alfonsina Russo, Director of the Colosseum Archeological Park and Amedeo Spagnoletto, Director of the MEIS.
On Friday the 13th the morning is devoted to schools: Secondary High School students will retrace and study more in depth the stages on the Shoah in Italy for the 80th anniversary of the Raid of the Rome Ghetto that took place on October the 16th 1943, in a meeting with authors Gaetano Petraglia (author of La matta di piazza Giudia) and Yael Calò (co-author of Il ricatto dell’oro). The younger pupils will also commemorate October the 16th through the wonderfully illustrated pages of the book Il bambino del tram focusing on the story of Emanuele Di Porto who avoided deportation by seeking refuge on a trolleybus. Art has its place in a workshop on comics led by Benedì the very young author of a graphic novel on Yemenite Jews (Il racconto della roccia). Technology also does with the videogame Menorah by Rome’s Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico di Roma).
The closing event of the day will be at 4 pm with the presentation and discussion of L’ebrea errante, a book that retraces the steps of one of the most famous women of the Jewish Renaissance: Gracia Nasi. Hiding under the facade of a converted Jew and taking on the name Beatriz de Luna, Nasi managed to keep her Jewish identity alive. She established herself thanks to her skill in managing her fortune and lived in several cities, including Ferrara and Venice. Anna Maria Quarzi, President of the Ferrara Contemporary History Institute (Istituto di Storia Contemporanea di Ferrara) and the entrepreneur Pina Mengano Amarelli will be debating the book with the author Edgarda Ferri.
On Saturday at 9 pm there will be an itinerant or wandering book presentation with Marcello Simoni, author of Il pozzo delle anime. Un’indagine dell’inquisitore Girolamo Svampa: we will discover the sites of Jewish Ferrara following in the steps of the main characters of his book.
The Jewish Book festival will end on Sunday the 15th with a large number of events: at 11:30 am chef Ruben Bondi, the Instagram and Tik Tok star, will be presenting his recipe book Cucina con Ruben. Le migliori ricette della tradizione giudaico-romanesca e non solo (Cooking with Ruben. The best recipes from the Jewish-Roman tradition and beyond) in an exchange with Claudia De Benedetti. At 3:30 pm we will travel east with Denise Pardo’s remarkable novel La casa sul Nilo; Benedì’s graphic novel Il racconto della roccia is set in Yemen in the early 1900s will be discussed with David Meghnagi, Psychology lecturer at the University of Roma Tre. At 4.45, a session on the relationship between Italian Jews and Fascism starting with family histories: Paolo Salom presents his book Un ebreo in camicia nera and Micol Sarfatti telling the life of her famous ancestor Margherita Sarfatti. Simon Levis Sullam, historian and lecturer at the Venice University Ca’ Foscari will be debating with the two authors.
At 6 pm the touching story of a family overwhelmed by the consequences of a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv described in Cinzia Leone’s enthralling novel Vieni tu giorno nella notte. The author will be presenting it with Maurizio Molinari, the Editor-in-chief of the daily La Repubblica. After the event Cinzia Leone will be available for a happening with copy signing: every member of the audience can have a portrait sketched in their book.