La Giudecca [la dʒuˈdɛkka] was a term used In Southern Italy and Sicily to identify any urban district (or a portion of a village) where Jewish communities dwelled and had their synagogues and businesses.
Unlike the compulsory ghettos of Northern Italy and elsewhere, in some Southern Italian hamlets and cities Jewish families and their members voluntarily chose to live in certain areas but were free to travel and even contribute together with their Christian neighbours to the success or commercial, cultural and artistic progress of a region. A very few Sicilian Giudeccas were unhealthy and declined, in fact, the majority included many craftsmen, doctors and tradesmen.
Judeca and Giudecca are the corrupt or jargonized medieval versions of the Latin female adjective Judaica, meaning Jewish or Judaean. The Jewess or The Jewry are other plausible meanings.
It is not known why the Venetian island of Giudecca acquired that name, as there is no evidence of Jewish settlement there.
Jewish neighbourhoods in southern ItalyEdit
|Italian Region||Southern Italian cities, small towns, villages with their Hebrew districts|
Historical events: On 15 August 1474, the Christian community of Modica wreaked a brutal havoc on the Jewish dwellers of Cartellone, the so-called "Strage dell'Assunta".
This episode has been the first and most horrible antisemitic massacre to the detriment of the Sicilian Israelites.
During the evening of Assumption's Day, with a single collective raptus numberless citizens (fomented by fanatic Catholic preachers) slaughtered about 360 innocents causing a total and fierce devastation.
The incitement that echoed through the streets was: "Hurrah for Mary! Death to the Jews!" (Viva Maria! Morte ai Giudei!)
Some names and their meaningsEdit
Notes and referencesEdit
- Balarm was the Arab name of Palermo.
- In Saracenic Sicily the Synagogue or the Temple were commonly called Mosque, since synagogues were sometimes established in abandoned Muslim places of worship. The words Meskita, Moschetta, Muschitta, Moschella are the Siculo-Arab variants for Little Mosque. After 1492, Moschetta, Muschitta and Moschella were widely adopted as surnames by several Southern Italian Neophytes. Nowadays, they are three very common last names highly diffused in all the southern regions of Italy.
- Sicilia Judaica, N. Bucaria. Flaccovio Editore (1996).