Strangers at My Door
Secret Jews – Strangers at My Door
Welcome to another episode of, Secret Jews, brought to you by Dr. Randi I Ross and the William David Company. Inspired by the documentary film, The Secret Jews Of Calabria, a story about Rabbi Barbara Aiello was created by producer Carl Perkal and IbexMotion film makers.
In this episode of Secret Jews Uncovering Hidden Jewish History entitled, “Strangers at My Door” Stories of people who knock on the rabbi’s door with Jewish stories to tell”, Rabbi and Carl discuss how often people will knock on rabbi’s door of the synagogue on the mountain top in Italy, with stories and family heirlooms and artifacts that they don’t always understand the meaning of or the connection to their jewish heritage. It is only through all of rabbi’s detective work that she can often share meaning and provide answers to these century old family secrets. (If you would like to be a guest on a future show, click here to submit your information.)
The story, The Secret Jews Of Calabria, takes you on the incredible journey of the little know history of the Jews of southern Italy. Begining at the time of the Macabees, continues through the horrors of The Inquisition, and arrives at the modern day when Calabrians began to discover and embrace their Jewish roots. When an American rabbi of Italian descent, Barbara Aiello, returns to her ancestral village in Calabria to encourage the locals to discover their Jewish heritage, not everyone (Jews and Christians) welcomes her. Rabbi Barbara takes you on this challenging journey through the “toe” of the Italian “boot,” as she shares the joys and struggles of the “bnei anusim,” – Italians whose families were forced into Christian conversion centuries ago. Obscure alley ways, secret rooms and hidden traditions come to life as locals share family stories of Jewish traditions that for centuries were hiding in plain sight. “I’m Italian but could I be Jewish too?” Rabbi Barbara’s journey courageously answers that question that has mystified southern Italians for centuries and offers a glimpse into a piece of Jewish history that has only recently come to light.