Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy

Jewish souvenirs in Trani, Italy


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hmm... "Ebraismo Virtuale" - virtually "Virtually Jewish?"

I've just discovered that the Israeli scholar Ariel Toaff has published a book called "Ebraismo Virtuale" -- or "Virtual Judaism."

I haven't seen the book yet, but there have been comments in the Italian media noting that he drew the title from my own "Virtually Jewish."

In "Il Sole 24 Ore," Giulio Busi wrote Sept. 14, "Unfortunately, the title of the book is copied from 'Virtually Jewish' by Ruth Ellen Gruber, and as for new ideas, there are not many."

Well, at least someone has read my book!

Toaff's book seems to be about how the memory of the Shoah holds Judaism "hostage." Toaff (accoring to Busi) apparently stigmatizes "the current state of Judaism and its image in the media on a global level."

Toaff, the son of Rome's emeritus chief rabbi, is the author of some wonderful books, including a terrific history of Jewish life in medieval Umbria. But last year he caused a huge scandal with his "Pasque di Sangue," in which he said there was evidence to back up blood libel allegations that Jews in medieval times murdered Christians.


  1. Ruth, don't be so surprised. My sense is that your book has been widely read.

    It is a shame that it has not (yet) been translated into Italian, as your insights on Italy are a tremendous asset in understanding what has been going on in this country.

  2. Actually, I'm not surprised that the book was read so much as surprised that Busi mentioned it in his article...