Rome Jewish Ghetto Tour – Why Choose RomanJews?

Filming for a Discovery documentary on Ancient Rome, the Menorah and the Ark of the Covenant

Joining me on a Rome Jewish Ghetto tour is the most intimate and authentic way to discover the Eternal City’s most treasured district. During the three hours we spend together you become part of our community, meeting and interacting with locals. And because my family and ancestors have been integrated into Rome’s Jewish community for […]

The 5 Best Kosher Restaurants in Rome

Shabbat menu at BellaCarne in Rome

No trip to Rome would be complete without indulging in the city’s renowned Roman-Jewish cuisine at one of the best kosher restaurants in Rome. Central to the capital’s culinary culture is its innovative creation, ‘la cucina ebraica-romana’ which translates as Jewish-Roman Cuisine. Its dishes bring out the best in Jewish and Middle Eastern flavours and […]

Visiting the Great Synagogue of Rome

The Great Synagogue of Rome. Photo Credit: Paolo Menchetti

Steeped in history and rich in culture, the Jewish Ghetto is among Rome’s most atmospheric historical neighborhoods, but no exploration of the Jewish Ghetto would be complete without visiting the Great Synagogue of Rome. For more than 100 years, the synagogue has stood at the physical and metaphorical center of Rome’s Jewish community, serving as […]

Can Jews Go Inside the Sistine Chapel?

Can Jews go inside the Sistine Chapel? Feature image: Michelangelo - Creation of Adam

Can Jews Go Inside the Sistine Chapel?  Today I’m addressing a question my guests ask me all the time: can Jews go inside the Sistine Chapel?  Rome boasts an abundance of attractions and cultural curiosities. Running through the Eternal City is a rich vein of Jewish history and patrimony: not just in and around the […]

Pope John Paul II and his Protection of the Jews

Rome’s Jewish community still harbours considerable respect for Pope John Paul II. No pontiff before him had done more to bridge the divide between the Catholic Church and the Jews, which had split Rome’s population for centuries. Nor had any Pope before him extended the Church’s olive branch of friendship by stepping into Rome’s Great […]

Rabi Yehudah and the emperor Antoninus: the Great Switcheroo

Rabi Yehudah ha-Nasi (Judah ‘the Prince’) was a fascinating figure. While remembered chiefly for his role in editing and redacting the Mishah, he also helped broker peace between the Jews of occupied Judea and their Roman overlords in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. According to the Talmud, Yehudah was highly respected among the […]

The Vatican’s Hebrew Manuscripts

vatican-torah-1509986853-Aviya-Kushner -

The nature of the Jewish Diaspora determines that Hebrew manuscripts are dispersed widely throughout the world. Fortunately, the Vatican – a magnet of global treasures – has accumulated  a sizeable collection. For centuries, this collection was hidden, available only to a select group of archivists and scholars granted exclusive access to the Vatican’s vaults. For […]

Visiting Rome with a Jewish tour guide

St. Peters Basilica Jewish Vatican tour

Rome’s Jewish history stretches back much further than people think, predating even the time of Julius Caesar over 2,000 years ago. My family, of Orthodox Sephardic origin, have been here for  just over a quarter of that time: the last 500 years. Not so long in the grand scheme of Rome’s history, but certainly long […]

The Vatican’s Jewish Treasures

Could the Vatican's Secret Vautls house the Vatican's Jewish Treasures?

When the Romans breached Jerusalem’s walls in 70 AD, they set upon a spree of slaughter and pillaging, the barbarity of which truly chills the blood.  Josephus records the death toll at 1.1 million – a number compounded by the many visitors who had come to celebrate Passover. Jerusalem’s houses were burned, its walls were […]

The Gold of Rome: an Incredible Story from the Nazi Occupation

Photo of the Ghetto's liquidation during the Nazi occupation

The Allied bombing of Rome on July 19 marked a crucial turning point in Italy’s involvement in the Second World War. With the razing of the capital, popular support waned among the Italian people. Benito Mussolini, his reputation in tatters, was arrested and replaced as leader by king Victor Emmanuel III. The new Italian government […]