The Bibliographical Centre “Tullia Zevi” – UCEI

The UCEI, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, and its Bibliographical Centre “Tullia Zevi” are among the partners of our forthcoming conference, Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context (Rome, January 20-22, 2019).

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The Bibliographical Centre was conceived in the 1980s on Tullia Zevi’s initiative  (at that time President of the UCEI) and started functioning since 1990. Its main purpose is to rescue, gather, preserve and promote books, manuscripts and archival documents related to Italian Judaism and promote Jewish Culture. By establishing a centralised national centre, it aims to avoid the decay and the dispersion of such items.

The Bibliographical Centre hosts a BA in Jewish Studies run by the UCEI, fosters exhibitions, musical and pedagogical seminars, book launches and scholarly conferences on topics related to Judaism in all its multifaceted dimensions. Furthermore, the Bibliographical Centre actively supports researchers in fields such as the millennial Jewish presence in Italy, the Italian Risorgimento and the Italian Racial Laws.

The Bibliographical Centre is composed by four sub-sections. Archives: in addition to several personal archives and other special collections, this sub-section preserves the archives of the Communities of Pitigliano  (XVII-XX centuries) and Senigallia (XVI-XX centuries) together with a collection of ketubboth once of the Communities of Senigallia and Ancona (searchable here: more than 25,000 either old (XVI-XIX centuries) or early modern and modern books (including some manuscripts) originally owned by the Communities of Pitigliano, Pisa, Ferrara, Mantova and Siena (beside the Florence ones after the 1966 flood); over 15,000 items belonged to the Italian Rabbinical College and have been rescued by the Allies after the 1943 Nazi pillage (the modern collection is searchable here). Photographic collection: a unique collection of photographs, especially from the 1930s and 1950s, concerning the inner life of the Italian Jewish communities; an archive of more than 5,000 diapositives of places and objects of Jewish interest. A small Music collection hosts several liturgical recordings (synagogue chants according to the old rite of some of the Italian Jewish communities).

The Bibliographical Centre is open to visitors from Monday to Thursday.

For info:


Early Modern Italian Jewish Ghetto Archive at Johns Hopkins

A couple of years ago, the Special Collections of the Sheridan Libraries Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University acquired a fascinating archive of printed and scribal material relating mainly to the Jewish community in Ferrara in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. We will have a look at this material in May for the second conference of our project. For a short presentation of the collection click here.

Many thanks to the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the History of the Book in the Renaissance and the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center of the Sheridan Libraries (Johns Hopkins University) for having co-sponsored the conference on State Building and Minorities: Jews in Italy (College Park and Baltimore, May 5–7, 2019).early modern italian jewish ghetto archive at johns hopkins

State Building and Minorities: Jews in Italy. Confirmed Speakers

Franco Benigno (Scuola Normale Superiore), Beyond the Courts: Rethinking Statehood and Governance in Early Modern Europe

Francesca Bregoli (The City University of New York, Graduate Center), Beyond Jewish “Autonomy”: State Reforms and Political Negotiations in Habsburg Italy 

Flora Cassen (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Jews in Spanish Milan: Between Local and Imperial State 

Bernard Dov Cooperman (University of Maryland), Papal Policy towards Jews and Papal State Building 1550–1600

Serena Di Nepi (Sapienza – University of Rome), Jews, State and Politics: The Trial against Bernardino Campello in the aftermath of the Cum nimis absurdum (Rome and Spoleto, 1562)

Lois Dubin (Smith College), State Building and the Politics of Intimacy: Marriage and Divorce, Jewish and Civil, in Early Modern Italy

Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti (University College London), Negotiating Power, Autonomy and Integration in late-XVIII and early-XIX century Leghorn

Andrea Gamberini (University of Milan), The State-Building Process in the Late Medieval Italy: An Overview

Davide Liberatoscioli (Potsdam University), The Idea of universitas Judaeorum as an Instrument for the Construction of Centralizing States: Rome and the Papal State between the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period 

Raffaele Pittella (State Archive of Rome), The Status animarum as an Instrument of Control over Fiscal Matters and Religious Minorities in the Ecclesiastical State 

Asher Salah (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design), Restrictive Tolerance: A Comparative Analyses of the Different Reception of Jews and Muslims in Livorno (1591-1614) 

Benjamin Ravid (Brandeis University), tbp

Pierre Savy (Ecole française de Rome), Cows, Cogs, Actors? Jews in the Political Processes of the Duchy of Milan (15th century)

Vincenzo Selleri (The City University of New York, Graduate Center), Iudeca: Jewish Communities and Jewish Space in Fifteenth Century Apulia 

Stefanie B. Siegmund (Jewish Theological Seminary), Forced in, Pushed out: The Medici State, the Ghetto Community, and the Control of Walls and Boundaries

Giacomo Todeschini (University of Trieste), Christian Financial Government and Jewish Political Culture in Italy (15th-17th Centuries): A Dialectic of Modernity

Mafalda Toniazzi (University of Pisa), At the Beginning of the Modern Era: The Jews and the Magistrates Dedicated to them in the Cities of Central and Northern Italy. The Case of Florence (15th century)

Justine Walden (Yale University), The Global and the Local: Sephardic Diaspora, Ottoman Entanglements, and The Medici State

Nadia Zeldes (Ben Gurion University of the Negev), Jews, Conversos, and Inquisition in the Italian Spanish Dominions (1503-1541)

The conference’s program will be posted in the following weeks

Scientific Committee: Marina Caffiero (Sapienza – University of Rome); Bernard Dov Cooperman (University of Maryland); Serena Di Nepi (Sapienza – University of Rome); Pawel Maciejko (Johns Hopkins University); Germano Maifreda (University of Milan); Yaakov Mascetti (Bar-Ilan University); Stefano Villani (University of Maryland)

State Building and Minorities: Jews in Italy (College Park and Baltimore, May 5–7, 2019)

The Conference will focus particularly on the social history of Italian Jews and their interaction with the Christian society.  We want to investigate the reasons that lead Italian princes and republics to refuse the Spanish policy on Jews (expulsion), in favour of an ‘Italian way’ (concentration in ghettos) of structuring Christian-Jewish relations. Our aim is principally to insert the study of Jewish institutions, norms and behaviours into the broader context of Italian and Mediterranean history.


Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context (Rome, January 20-22, 2019)

Participants will investigate the Sabbatean excitement and the movement’s activities in Italy. Others will address the aftermath of this messianic movement in later generations on the Peninsula. We hope to broaden the conversation in several ways, first through consideration of other millenarian preaching and excitement among Jews during the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries. Also participants have been encouraged to compare Sabbateanism with millenarian and heretical movements among Christians and Muslims in Italy, in the Mediterranean, and in Europe more widely. The conference will go beyond the enthusiasts themselves to describe the various types of reaction they elicited—whether celebration or suppression, passive disregard or active discipline.

Preliminary program:

Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context. International Conference, Rome January 20-22 2019_Page_1Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context. International Conference, Rome January 20-22 2019_Page_2Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context. International Conference, Rome January 20-22 2019_Page_3Sabbateanism in Italy and its Mediterranean Context. International Conference, Rome January 20-22 2019_Page_4