Passions & Places

Jewish Itineraries

Hebraic Itineraries

To any potential visitor a Synagogue must appear like it’s from a world of its own. However the Jewish temples have always been in the heart of many cities of the Marche and are filled with a rich culture and ancient traditions. Many Jewish communities settled in the Marche region, including the “aschenaziti” Jews (the Germanic branch), “levantini” (coming from the East) and “sefarditi” (Spanish), in an attempt to escape the various forms of persecution that has plagued their sad history over the centuries. Today, there are various Synagogues still operating and used for study and prayer. The praying space within a Synagogue is usually divided into two beautifully decorated areas, the “Aròn-it has-qòdesh” and the “bimà”.  The “Aròn-it has-qòdesh” is the area that faces the east and preserves the “Aròn” (sacred cupboard) where the “Sifrè Torà” or Coils of the Law are kept. The “bimà” on the other hand is set on a slightly higher level and usually faces the west. It is where the singer stands on the “tevà” (podium) and directs the prayers and reads from the Bible. The Synagogue also contains a “miqwè (the ritual bath) and Sukkah (ceremonial hut).  

The sumptuous and neo-classic Synagogue of Urbino stands at the corner of “via Scalette del Teatro” and “via Stretta”, close to the Palazzo Ducale. This ancient temple still has its wide windows and elegant 13th century loggia although is no longer used for religious purposes. It is however thought to be the place where the most ancient “aròn” in the world was conserved (the “aròn” is now on exhibition at the Jewish Museum of New York).

The Synagogue of Pesaro (Via delle Scuole, 25) astonishes most visitors due to the magnificence and opulence of its internal decorations that are representative of a community once numerous and wealthy.  The remains of the people who use to gather there and pray are buried in the “Beth has-chajìm” (house of life or house of the livings) cemetery, on the Saint Bartolo Hill.

 The Jewish community of Senigallia was renowned for being powerful and dynamic. Today it is made up from a few local families and is also affiliated to the Ancona community.  During the most important festivities it is still common practice to meet in the recently restored Synagogue of via Commercianti. Nearby in Piazza Simoncelli it is possible to see an inscription written in memory of the old ghetto, while in the place where ancient graves used to be there is a public garden dedicated to Anna Frank.

Ancona, “the City of Merchants”, accommodated a large number of native Jews although today the ancient streets of the ghetto no longer exist. However the 19th century Synagogue “levantina” is still open to the reading of the “Sifrè Torà”. In fact, in the lower floor there is an Italian ritual Synagogue, and its “aròn” is placed exactly under the levantino one.

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