Italy’s Torah Day limited to men

‘In the 13 cities involved, the only woman who figures is someone assigned to take reservations for lunch’

ROME (JTA) – Yom HaTorah in Italy, a day devoted to group study of the Torah in 13 Jewish communities across the country, excluded women, critics complained.

Sunday’s Torah Day, promoted as a milestone in Jewish learning in Italy, included lectures, discussions, study sessions led by rabbis and teachers, and post-study parties. It was organized by the education department of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and dedicated to the memory of the noted 20th century Italian Jewish scholar Rabbi Elia Samuele Artom.

In Rome and Milan, Italy’s two largest Jewish communities, events started in the morning and ended at night. The Jewish community of Naples marked the day with the festive dedication of a new Torah scroll for its synagogue.

Italian Jewish scholar Laura Mincer pointed out a gap in the programming, however. “It is a splendid initiative,” she wrote in a commentary published on the Union of Jewish Communities news site. But, she noted, “in the 13 cities involved, the only woman who figures is someone assigned to take reservations for lunch.”

Furthermore, she wrote, the study sessions in Rome were listed specifically for “fathers and sons.”

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