New Book: The Cat that Ate the Canoli: Tales of the Hiddens Jews of Southern Italy
A tabby cat, an Italian confection, and a young girl on the threshold of adulthood… A family gathers atop a mountain in Calabria, Italy where hidden Jews have practiced in secret for 500 years. As a rabbi unrolls a Torah scroll, inscribed in Hebrew in 1783, the ancient words illuminate the restored sanctuary, once a hidden prayer room, now brought to life in worship and song. The Italian-American rabbi is determined to uncover the Jewish roots buried in these hills, lost through centuries of persecution and obscured by decades of misunderstanding. Faced with more questions than answers, the tenacious rabbi overcomes the obstacles thrown her way by traditional colleagues to uncover the Jewish heritage that many believe had been lost forever.
Rabbi Barbara Aiello, the first woman rabbi in Italy, begins her 11th year as Italy’s only modern, liberal rabbi. She continues to serve Jews throughout Europe as a spokesperson for Pluralistic Judaism – a movement that deliberately blurs denominational lines and extends the hand of Jewish welcome to Jews of all backgrounds.