Italian Jewish community to raise money to cover earthquake damage


(JTA) – The Italian Jewish community launched a campaign to raise money for synagogues and other Jewish properties that were damaged in earthquakes that struck northern Italy last month.

“The Jewish communities in the towns, along with their members, were affected by the occurrences,” the Union of Italian Jewish Communities said in a statement. It said several major Jewish properties were “severely damaged” in the quakes.

“The community of Italy is trying to estimate the damages caused by the earthquake and to evaluate the cost,” the union said. “This estimation is difficult since new waves of earthquakes are happening and might be happening more in the future.”

Quakes on May 20 and May 30 killed at least 24 people, left thousands homeless and caused widespread damage to art and architectural heritage.

According to a report released by the union at the end of last week, synagogue buildings in the Italian cities of Ferrara, Modena, Mantova, Sabbioneta and Soragna suffered damage.

In Mantova, roof tiles were displaced, cracks appeared in some walls and plasterwork, and stucco decorations fell away. In Modena, the tympanum over the entrance to the synagogue was damaged as well as the railing in front of the bimah; the floor shifted and was cracked.

At the 18th century synagogue in Soragna, walls, the entrance to the women’s gallery, the ark and other features were damaged. The synagogue is now a Jewish museum.

“UCEI anticipates that the immediate and long-term needs will be profound and is coordinating with its in-country representatives to respond as well,” the community organization said.

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