Intimate Strangers covers the history of Jews in Rome from antiquity to the present with particular focus on the encounter between the Jewish and Catholic communities. That 2000 year history is not always pretty or inspiring. But in good times and bad–and there were significant periods of relative harmony—Jews and Catholics used the language of family, metaphors of brotherhood, marriage, divorce, and adoption, to conceive of their lives together. Then, during the Holocaust in Rome (1943-1944), Catholics, both lay and church officials took grave risks to save Jewish lives. In the decades after World War II and with the work of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the Jewish Catholic encounter in Rome grew to become a relationship of mutual admiration and respect that continues to this day.
A fascinating story of the Jews’ unique resilience and strength living in Rome without interruption for twenty-two centuries.”Riccardo Shemuel Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome.
An engaging and sometimes surprising exploration of the intriguing history of Rome.”Mark Kurlansky, author of thirty-five books including Cod, Salt, A Chosen Few The Resurrection of European Jewry, and The Importance of Not Being Earnest.
Most involving. There is always fascinating material on the next page.”Judith Roumani, author of Jews in Southern Tuscany During the Holocaust: Ambiguous Refuge.
An absolutely new approach. Investigating an unusual relationship—the one between Jews and Catholics that in Rome could develop uninterruptedly over almost two thousand years—Intimate Strangers frames it anthropologically while revealing notable knowledge about the life of Jews in Rome and their mutual relationships with the Catholic world. This is a well-written, well-documented and well-argued book.”Gabriela Yael Franzone, coordinator of the Department of Heritage and Culture for the Jewish Community of Rome.