LISTEN: Michael Freund on Sicily’s Jewish roots and future

LISTEN: Michael Freund on Sicily’s Jewish roots and future

Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund was interviewed on Israel Radio’s English-language service about the dramatic developments taking place in Sicily and southern Italy.

In the radio program, Michael discusses the long Jewish history of Italy, including the impact of the Inquisition which drove many Jews underground to become Anousim, and the country’s resurgent Jewish future.

That future has been in the news in recent weeks when, on January 12, 2017, Archbishop of Palermo Corrado Lorefice transferred to the Jewish community a facility owned by the church and monastery of St. Nicolo Tolentino, which was was built atop the ruins of the Great Synagogue of Palermo. 

Michael’s radio interview took place same day from the IBA studio in Jerusalem. It was also the 524th anniversary of the deadline for the expulsion of Jews in Italy (by order of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon).

“It is a miracle that after more than 500 years there are still people in Sicily who proudly cling to their Jewish roots and it is testimony to the fact that neither the expulsion nor the Inquisition was able to extinguish the eternal Jewish spark in their hearts,” Freund said. 

You can listen to the full interview here.