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At the beginning of the twentieth century, the numerous existing Jewish youth movements, cultural societies, and newspapers in Italy aimed to encourage the rebirth of Judaism and to attempt to define its “essence.” This aspect of Italian Jewish history is still largely unfamiliar to the American and English public. To date, there are only a small number of studies about Jewish youths in Italy, and these have been published mainly in the Italian language. With the exception of the translation to English of Mario Toscano’s essay “Italian Jewish Identity from the Risorgimento to Fascism 1848 1938” (2005), the works published in recent years in English on Italian Jewish history have not taken into account the initiatives of Italian Jews; their origins, motivations, and aims; and their relations with the gentile world and the culture from the time of the Emancipation to the advent of the racial laws in 1938.1 All of these factors contributed to the so called rebirth of Italian Judaism. It is for this reason, Toscano argues, that the history of Italian Judaism, especially in the age of Emancipation, is perceived by most historians2 as the complete assimilation of the Jews into the Italian nation.
KeywordsJewish Population Jewish Identity Jewish Life Jewish History Italian Nation
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