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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Turin Synagogue

Turin Synagogue

12, Primo Levi Square– Turin – ITALY



The Turin Synagogue is the most important place of worship for the Jewish community in the region. It is located in Primo Levi Square, in the multi-ethnic San Salvario district. Inaugurated on February 16th 1884, it has a massive rectangular structure, bounded by four large towers 27 meters high, surmounted by onion domes. This "Neo-Moorish" style was chosen to distinguish the temple from other religious buildings. Inside it has a large room (rich in decorations with coffered ceiling), capable of holding 1400 people (a figure close to the members of the entire Turin Jewish community of the late nineteenth century). On the upper floor, the matroneo runs. In November 1942, a bombing hit the temple destroying the roof and furnishings. The interior was rebuilt and redecorated in 1949. In the underground there was a smaller synagogue, built in 1972, in the shape of an amphitheater typical of the era preceding emancipation, whose splendid furnishings come from the Baroque synagogue of Chieri. In the nearby prayer hall there is a precious Aron on which are reproduced two precious golden images that recall Jerusalem.
The history of the Turin Synagogue is linked to the vicissitudes of the Piedmontese Jews. Enclosed in the ghetto of Turin wanted by the Savoy in the seventeenth century, similar to other cities (Venice 1516, Rome 1555, Florence 1571), the Piedmontese Jews obtained emancipation in 1848 with the Statute Albertine. Integrated in the city, in 1861 they decided to build a new synagogue of great proportions, worthy of the capital of the newborn Kingdom of Italy. The project was entrusted to the architect Alessandro Antonelli (1859), but the building he built (today known as Mole Antonelliana, symbol of the city), due to economic problems, was ceded to the Municipality, and never hosted the Jewish temple. In exchange for the Mole, the City of Turin ceded another land on which to build the synagogue, not far from the Porta Nuova railway station. Its historical relevance is also linked to the tragic events of the approximately 400 Jews deported to the concentration camps, among them Primo Levi who, surviving, will become one of the most authoritative world-wide witnesses of the horror of Auschwitz. Many were also the Turinese and Piedmontese Jews involved in the Resistance, like Emanuele Artom.
The Jewish Community of Turin has for years been engaged in the rediscovery of the roots of Judaism so that every Jew, conscious of his own origin, can open himself to dialogue in the recognition of the other and his rights. For this reason it has been involved, since 1996, in the Intercultural Center of the City of Turin, a place of exchange and exchange, which aims to offer all opportunities for intercultural training as well as opportunities for meeting, dialogue and discussion on issues and issues of common interest between non-believers and believers in different faiths. As far as the international context is concerned, it is attentive to the Israeli-Palestinian question, it follows with attention the developments and is deployed on the line of peace in respect of all the components and the populations.
Until the mid-twentieth century, relations between Jews and Christians were tense, often marked by mistrust and contempt for the people of the Bible, guilty of denying the divinity of Christ. This hostile attitude has for centuries influenced the habits and behaviors of the Jewish community, forced, until 1848, to reside within the walls of the ghetto and forced mostly to carry out small craft work and loan on pledge. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), however, operates an epochal change defined by Norberto Bobbio "a true turning point, greater than the Reformation and the French Revolution itself". Today the Catholic Church stands in an attitude of dialogue with the Jews and rejects the accusation of "deicide" and "the teaching of contempt", emphasizing on the contrary the great common heritage of faith that unites Jews and Christians. (the blue part is the same on all three cards dedicated to Jewish sites) The community of Turin is the third, by resident population, in Italy and is composed of three main structures: the synagogue, the school, open to Jewish and non-Jewish children, and the retirement home. It includes the sections of Alessandria, Asti, Acqui Terme, Carmagnola, Cherasco, Chieri, Cuneo, Ivrea, Mondovì and Saluzzo. The current Chief Rabbi is Rav Ariel of Porto, elected by community members on 7 August 2014.
Direct visit: with local guides.
Virtual visit: presentation of the religious site through the video-tour
Classroom activity (pre and post the visit):
Artistic itinerary through some in-depth information on the Synagogues and the ghetto.
Liturgical itinerary with detailed information on sacred furnishings.
Activity of verification of the acquired knowledge and skills.


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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.