Jewish Italian culture is both rich in tradition and persistent in its presence in Italy, dating back more than 2,000 years to the pre-Christian Roman period. Undeterred by a history of expulsions and persecution, the Italian Jewish community has continued until now throughout Italy – from Rome to Southern regions of Apulia, Sicily and Calabria. The Italian Jewish wedding, as a result, observes a traditional Jewish wedding replete with customs we see to this day. The Italian Jewish wedding could take place outdoors, in a house or in a synagogue, and encompass the rabbinic custom of beginning with the betrothal, where the groom takes the bride to be his wife in front of two witnesses and he gives her something valuable or money (which eventually came to be a gold wedding ring) the reading of the ketubah and ending with the actual marriage and recitation of the Sheva Brachot and breaking of the glass. This is followed by a festive celebration, including dancing, singing, entertainment and food.
Destination? Italy, for your Italian Jewish Wedding
As mentioned above, various Italian Jewish communities have been well established in Italy, which means synagogues are found in larger cities like Venice, Rome, Florence, Torino, Milan, Sicily, Apulia and Trieste. Showcasing beautiful synagogues with a rich and incredible history, providing you with a variety of incredible destinations for your Italian Jewish wedding. Bear in mind that the synagogues found in Italy are Orthodox, meaning the ceremony is a Jewish Orthodox wedding which will require you to consult with your Rabbi regarding proper documentation to present to the Italian Rabbi to use a synagogue in Italy for your Italian Jewish wedding.
An Italian Jewish wedding would not be replete without the inclusion of the ketubah, and it’s worth noting that the artistic tradition of decorating the border of the ketubah was well established in Italy. Ancona, a port city and home to a thriving Jewish community, became a significant player in Jewish religious art. The ketubah could be so lavish and opulent, that the Jewish authorities set a maximum allowable price. Thus, the Italian Jewish wedding, well established in the history of Italy, with an abundance of potential destinations to choose from is complete with a rooted artistic history in Judaic art producing stunning ketubot.
While not necessarily Italian (but completely suitable for your Italian Jewish wedding), the ketubah artistry produced by Danny Azoulay is most certainly comparable to that of even the most luxurious historical Italian ketubah. Have a look for yourself, and you will come to see that a ketubah by Mr. Azoulay, is worthwhile.