Jewish Communities in Italy to Preserve Their Art Treasures

The Council of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities has taken measures intended to save the cultural, ritual and artistic patrimony of Italian-Jewry in the face of a rapidly deteriorating situation, especially in the smaller Italian cities where Jewish communities are fast disappering.

The Council set up a five-member commission, including Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff, to undertake a survey of artistic treasures and religious objects now in the possession of all Italian Jewish communities and in the hands of private individuals and organizations. The commission, which will act as liaison agent between the Union and individuals and private organizations, will seek to prevent further dispersion and sales of Jewish religious objects of value.

The Council also decided to put all communities on formal notice to protect their art objects and historical material. Jewish community leaders will be warned against actions which might tend to rob the community of its historical treasures. Such material is often lost to Italian Jewry because of the inability of individual small communities to pay the cost of maintaining them.

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