"I'm Italian - Could I Be Jewish, Too?"

Rabbi Barbara Aiello explains how hidden Jewish traditions are uncovered. Here she demonstrates how the woven "vancale" scarf from Tiriolo has its origins in the Jewish prayer shawl, called a "tallit." Rabbi Barbara Aiello explains how hidden Jewish traditions are uncovered. Here she demonstrates how the woven "vancale" scarf from Tiriolo has its origins in the Jewish prayer shawl, called a "tallit."

“I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to find information on my great-grandparents and their surnames…For years now I have felt a deep connection with Judaism, and was wondering if it was simply a spiritual connection, or if it’s something that runs a bit deeper.” A.F.

A request like the one sent by A. F. represents only one of dozens of requests that I receive each week and it was from a plea like A.F.’s that the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria added surname research to our mission so that Italian Americans like A. F. could determine if their Italian surnames hold the key to a secret Jewish ancestry.   

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