Art & Culture

Maiori celebrates Hanukkah

The village participates in the Festival of Lights to commemorate the importance of the Jewish community in the town.

By Editors, cover photo by Rodnae Productions

The Amalfi Coast has always been a crossroads of cultures and traditions from the Middle Eastern world. This fusion of East and West is still visible in many religious institutions. At the time of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, there were many trade exchanges with Eastern countries. These trades brought economic wealth and an explosion of artistic beauty to the country. 

Historical evidence

Open since medieval times to cultural diversity, historian Giuseppe Ferrigno Lucibello, in his text Gli ebrei in Costa d’Amalfi al tempo di Ferdinando I d’Aragona: il caso di Maiori (The Jews in the Amalfi Coast at Ferdinando I d’Agarona: the Maiori case), emphasizes, among other things, the openness to customs other than local ones, of the area. In this text, we read how the Jewish community, we are at the end of the 1400s, found themselves in a small room in the heart of the town, where the present Church of the Madonna della Libera stands. Moreover, according to historical sources, the Jewish presence in Maiori was characterized by a profitable banking activity. 

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya, courtesy of Pexels.com

The Menorah

It is no coincidence, then, that among the celebrations of Christmas, it is precisely in Maiori that Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is also celebrated. It is a Jewish Holy-Holiday that lasts eight days, and in 2022 its climax coincides precisely with the day of the Christian celebration of Christmas. The entire community deeply feels the Festival of Lights. On the days of its commemoration, the ritual of lighting candles is to place on the famous nine-armed candelabra (Menorah), a candle each day, as the disclosure of the sacred way requires. 

The Maiorese event

on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at the foot of the plaque placed on Casale Dei Cicerali Street in Maiori, to commemorate the historical and current importance of the Jewish community, they will light the third candle in memory of the local Ancient Jewish Community and Rabbi Elio Toaff. The Menorah will be lit and carried by Rav Yisroel Piha and accompanied by poems by poet Suzana Glavas and traditional songs. 

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