Italian treasures saved

Over $1.5 million was donated to save the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, which now belongs to the Italian Jewish community of Jerusalem.

June 19, 2014 11:48
3 minute read.
mid-18th century Italian illuminated and lavishly-decorated Esther Scroll

18th Century Italian Esther Scroll 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Sotheby's)

THE U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, located on Hillel Street, was in danger of closing down recently. The museum houses the early 18th-century Conegliano Synagogue, and many ritual artifacts, among them an ark curtain dated 1572.

The abandoned Italian synagogue was brought to Israel in 1952, reassembled in the abandoned former German compound – an area that has served as a monastery, a Catholic school for Syrian girls and a pilgrim’s hospice. In the 60s the Italian Jewish Community began to rent the Hillel Street premises, moved the synagogue, got a permit to reinaugurate the house of worship, and the venue became an Italian Jewish heritage site. But the Italian Jewish community in Israel did not own the land, and two years ago the Organization of Italian Jews was given first option to buy – or else to evacuate.


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