Invisible Enlighteners: The Jewish Merchants of Modena, from the Renaissance to the Emancipation 0812253140, 9780812253146

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Invisible Enlighteners: The Jewish Merchants of Modena, from the Renaissance to the Emancipation
 0812253140, 9780812253146

Table of contents :
Cover
Invisible Enlighteners
Title
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Note on Spelling, Translations, and Currency
Introduction
Chapter 1. A Network of Jewish Families in the Early Modern Period: The Road Toward Ghettoization
Chapter 2. Jewish Leaders, Their Circles, and Their Books Before the Inquisition: A Parallel Story
Chapter 3. The Jewish Household: Family Networks, Social Control, and Gendered Spaces
Chapter 4. The “Invisible” Wealth of Silver: The Journey of the Formigginis from the Ghetto to the Ducal Court
Chapter 5. Jewish Female Agency in the Ghetto Mercantile Elite
Chapter 6. The Jewish Urban Geography of the Ghetto and Beyond
Chapter 7. Moisè Formiggini Before Napoleon: Two Steps Toward Emancipation and One Step Back
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

Citation preview

Invisible Enlighteners

JEWISH CULTURE AND CONTEXTS Published in association with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania Series Editors: Shaul Magid, Francesca Trivellato, Steven Weitzman A complete list of books in the series is available from the publisher.

Invisible Enlighteners The Jewish Merchants of Modena, from the Renaissance to the Emancipation

Federica Francesconi

U n i v e r s i t y of Pe n ns y lva n i a Pr e s s P h i l a de l p h i a

Copyright © 2021 University of Pennsylvania Press All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of review or scholarly citation, none of this book may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. Published by University of Pennsylvania Press Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112 www.upenn.edu/pennpress Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 A catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-8122-5314-6

For my parents, Emilia and Floriano

Contents

Note on Spelling, Translations, and Currency Introduction

ix 1

Chapter 1. A Network of Jewish Families in the Early Modern Period: The Road Toward Ghettoization

24

Chapter 2. Jewish Leaders, Their Circles, and Their Books Before the Inquisition: A Parallel Story

64

Chapter 3. The Jewish Household: Family Networks, Social Control, and Gendered Spaces

90

Chapter 4. The “Invisible” Wealth of Silver: The Journey of the Formigginis from the Ghetto to the Ducal Court

127

Chapter 5. Jewish Female Agency in the Ghetto Mercantile Elite

177

Chapter 6. The Jewish Urban Geography of the Ghetto and Beyond

202

Chapter 7. Moisè Formiggini Before Napoleon: Two Steps Toward Emancipation and One Step Back

237

List of Abbreviations

255

Notes

259

Bibliography

309

Index

339

Acknowledgments

353

Note on Spelling, Translations, and Currency

In conforming to the fluidity of writing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I have retained all the original spelling and orthography applied to personal names, Jewish institutions, and places located in the ghetto of Modena as I found them in the archival documents I have consulted. For the sake of clarity, when quoting from primary sources, I have adjusted the punctuation to standard modern English. In the case of Hebrew words and expressions written in Latin characters and according to the Italian pronunciation from the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, I have transliterated them according to modern standards. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are my own. The principal currency used in Modena and the Este Duchy in the period analyzed in the book were the Modenese lira and zecchino. The Modenese lira was a silver coin worth 20 soldi; there were 12 denari per lira. In 1600 one Modenese lira was valued at 1.5403 Italian lire (plural for lira); in 1639 the value diminished to 0.9242, and in 1679 to 0.5721. In the following century, the Modenese lira’s value diminished further to 0.3695 in 1739, 0.3733 in 1782, and 0.3846 in 1796. The zecchino in circulation since 1261 was valued per Modenese lira as follows: 8 in 1608, 13 in 1639, and 37½ in 1737. Unless otherwise specified, in this book the term lira is used for the Modenese lira. Other coins produced by the Ducal Mint and widely circulated were the scudo di Ercole III, scudo di Francesco III, giorgino, sesino, mezza lira, and ducato. The above key information draws on Angelo Martini, Manuale di metrologia, ossia misure, pesi e monete in uso attualmente e anticamente presso tutti i popoli (Turin: Loescher, 1883), 370–73; and Arsenio Crespellani, La Zecca di Modena nei periodi comunale ed estense corredata di tavole e documenti (Modena: Tipi di G. T. Vincenzi e Nipoti, 1884), 189–90.

FEDERATION OF SWITZERLAND DUCHY OF SAVOY

HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

N PRINCIPATE OF PIEDMONT Turin

DUCHY OF MILAN Milan

REPUBLIC OF VENICE DUCHY OF MANTUA

MARQUISATE OF SALUZZO

KINGDOM OF HUNGARY

Padua Venice DUCHY OF PARMA Modena Genoa Ferrara DUCHY OF REPUBLIC MODENA AND Bologna OF GENOA REGGIO MARQUISATE OF MONFERRATO REPUBLIC OF LUCCA Florence Livorno DUCHY OF URBINO DUCHY OF TUSCANY

CORSICA (REPUBLIC OF GENOA)

OTTOMAN EMPIRE

PAPAL STATES

Rome

KINGDOM OF SARDINIA

Naples

KINGDOM OF NAPLES

Palermo

KINGDOM OF SICILY

0 0

50 50

100 mi 100

150 km

Figure 1. Italy in 1600 after the 1598 devolution of Ferrara. Prepared by William Nelson.

Introduction

In January 1598, forced from his palace in Ferrara, the magnificent city that his family had governed for seven centuries, Duke Cesare d’Este moved his court to Modena. Citing the illegitimacy of the duke’s birth, Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini had denied Cesare’s claim to Ferrara at the end of 1597, and the city was absorbed into the Papal States. The loss of Ferrara, a place that even today continues to echo the magnificence of the Italian Renaissance, was an irreparable blow to the Estes. In its stead, Cesare chose as the new seat of his duchy a city that was small, medieval, and according to local contemporary sources, dirty. Small though it was, by 1598, when Cesare and his retinue arrived, there were already a considerable number of Jewish families in Modena. Among them were the Modenas, originally from Viterbo and Provence, but taking their name, as was the custom of the time, from the place in which they had established their residence. Present too were the Ashkenazi Sanguinettis, originally from Sanguinetto near Mantua and Germany. Both the Modenas and the Sanguinettis were influential moneylenders who would later become silk producers and traders. The Formigginis, at the time small mercers and artisans, had arrived from Ferrara and in two generations would become ducal silversmiths and reach the highest ranks of the ghetto elite of Modena. They were joined by a number of other Ferrarese Jews who, along with the nobles and courtiers, had decided to follow the duke to Modena. Although publicly humiliated, politically weakened, and economically impoverished because of the loss of the Duchy of Ferrara and lands in Romagna and Comacchio, once established in Modena, the Este dukes would maintain the government of the city and the duchy for the entire early modern period and beyond. During this time, Modena’s Jewish population would increase, from a few hundred in the sixteenth century to 750 in 1638, when a ghetto was established in the city; at slightly less than 6 percent of the entire population, this was an impressive percentage within the early modern western and

2

Introduction

central European context. Cesare (r. 1598–1628) and his immediate successors Alfonso III (r. 1628–29) and Francesco I (r. 1629–58) inaugurated a long, if not tranquil, period of dynastic continuity that lasted until the arrival of French troops and Napoleon in 1796. The story of the Modenese Jewish merchants who lived and prospered under the Este dukes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries may be said to constitute the backbone of a wider history of early modern Italian—and ultimately European—Jewish history. The Modenese Jewish mercantile elite enacted a process of sociocultural transformation and legal and political integration that evolved in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through a complex dialogue with Jewish identity, without suffering the traumatic ruptures or dramatic divides that sometimes led to assimilation and conversion elsewhere. Modenese Jewish merchants, while absent from the public discourse of the Estes, lived in a sociocultural environment that gave rise to unique forms of Renaissance culture, early modern female agency, and Enlightenment practice. Invisible Enlighteners tells the social and political history of these Modenese Jewish merchants of the early modern era as it traces their settlement, ghettoization, and emancipation, and explores the means by which they established a network of upper-middle-class Jewish families and maintained their role as community leaders through business, interfamilial alliances, and the production of religious and secular culture over the course of more than two centuries. It begins with the election of Modena as the capital of the Este Duchy and the subsequent immigration of dozens more Jews from Ferrara into the city. It ends with the 1796 establishment under Napoleon of the Cispadane Republic and the beginning of the so-called first Italian Jewish emancipation.1 The early modern period in Jewish history has no firmly established chronological boundaries. Most broadly defined, it covers the period between the fifteenth and the long eighteenth century, though some historians place its end as late as 1815.2 Scholarly discourse on Jewish transformations in the early modern period and the passage to the modern era has enriched the field of Jewish history over the past four decades. Since the 1970s and 1980s, scholars have considered the early modern period to be a new phase in Jewish history, one that would include the impact of the Iberian expulsions, the establishment of the Italian ghettos and the syncretic society and culture therein, the diffusion of Sabbateanism from east to west, the development of Hasidism, and finally the Jewish Enlightenment.3 Accordingly, I consider the Iberian expulsions and the French Revolution as the points that frame early modern Italian Jewish history on each side. In Modena, the transformations brought

Introduction

3

about by the Iberian and other Jewish expulsions and migrations emerged most visibly in the early sixteenth century, with demographic and ethnic transformations of the local Jewish community, while the challenges of the French Revolution became more evident with the 1796 French occupation led by Napoleon Bonaparte, when the ideals of the Revolution effectively changed Jewish political participation as well as the practices of daily life. In Ferrara, the earlier capital of the Este dynasty, the Jewish presence at court, in intellectual cenacles, and within the city’s commercial activities was often the focus of lamentations by local chroniclers, clergy, and individual citizens. Yet fifteenth- and sixteenth-century artistic works by Francesco Del Cossa, Ercole de’ Roberti, Lorenzo Costa, and Ludovico Mazzolino, such as the frescoes of Palazzo Schifanoia and the painting The Dispute of the Temple (c. 1515–20)—all with an abundance of Hebrew inscriptions—reflect the cultural interchange between Christians and Jews and the reciprocal appreciation that characterized the golden age of the city. On the other hand, Benevenuto Tisi detto Garofalo’s fresco Crucifix with Ecclesia and Synagoga (1523), originally produced for the Augustinian refectory of Sant’Anna, with its violent image of the synagogue’s demise, shows not only the centuries-long anti-Judaic sentiment but also the wide discontent regarding the growing Jewish presence in the city after the recent immigration of Jewish refugees from elsewhere in Europe and the Mediterranean.4 In nearby Bologna, one of two cities of the Papal States from which Jews had been permanently expelled after 1569, similar if more radical sentiments were expressed in Jacopo Coppi’s painting Miracle of the Crucifix in Beirut (1579). Its iconography represents an old trope of the triumphant crucifix spilling blood on top of the Jews, who were believed to be guilty of torturing Christ. In Modena, where Jews remained a continuous and prominent presence in the city, both within their ghetto and in their shops, stalls, and mills spread throughout the historic center, no painting or fresco of that kind was commissioned or completed in any palace or church. Apparently, no artifact was created to suggest either appreciation of cultural interchange or discontent regarding the Jewish presence. If the city of Modena’s visual culture were a book, the city’s Jews would be a missing chapter. Their lack of representation in the arts seems to correspond to the dukes’ attempts to conceal what was a permanent characteristic of the new politically and financially reduced Este Duchy, that is, the prominent Jewish presence in the economy and culture of the city. Yet, by the mid-seventeenth century, the Modenese Jewry was a composite group—including new arrivals from Hamburg, Amsterdam, Livorno,

4

Introduction

Venice, and Constantinople—that had been amalgamated without friction into the preexisting Jewish population. The Portuguese Jewish community from Antwerp had already established branches in Modena before 1598. In 1652–53 Francesco I invited sixty Sephardi-Portuguese former conversos (Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism and often suspected of Judaizing in secrecy), entrepreneur and merchant families to settle in the duchy, for mercantilistic reasons, and many, including the Fanos, Tilles, and Francos, permanently settled in Modena.5 In seventeenth-century Modena, a new ambiguous, mostly utilitarian connection shaped the relationship between the Estes and the Jews. Perhaps because the presence of Jews in Ferrara had been so visible—too visible, according to sixteenth-century local chroniclers scandalized by Jews who “even dared to play chess with the dukes”6—in Modena the dukes made attempts to render invisible the numerous entrepreneurial activities that the Jews developed. Ducal authorities were cautious about mentioning them and imposed compulsory enclosure and other ghetto restrictions on the Jews in 1638, while also granting them state monopolies and the right to purchase property and conduct commercial activities. Modenese Jewish families established trade networks throughout the Italian peninsula and beyond. They worked as book dealers, silversmiths, printers, and silk weavers. Elsewhere in the duchy, in cities and towns including Reggio Emilia, Scandiano, and Finale Emilia, Jews were also ghettoized throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And as in Modena, Jews in those places held all the state monopolies, including those for grappa (the grape-based brandy popular in Italy), glass, coral, diamonds, and even books for the ducal library. Moreover, beginning in 1622 both Jewish major entrepreneurs and Jewish small traders could enroll in all city guilds. After 1643, they could also conduct their activities outside the ghetto, in the city squares and streets— opportunities quite extraordinary in both the Italian and European contexts. Modena became an important Jewish center not only because of the arrival of migrants and former refugees but also due to the presence of individual kabbalists and preachers from Safed; itinerant rabbis from the Italian peninsula; and maggidim (Jewish religious itinerant preachers), scholars, and healers from eastern and central Europe with strong ties to the Sabbatean messianic movements in the Middle East. It was the role played by Jewish merchants that made Modena the unique cultural crossroads that it was, however, a place where Humanism, Kabbalah, medical science, and Sabbateanism coexisted, and where later the values of the Enlightenment would challenge

Introduction

5

traditional Jewish culture. Modenese Jews shared these cultural aspects with Catholics and heterodox Christians in the city.

Archives, Historical Methodology, and Representativeness Through both a synchronic and diachronic approach, Invisible Enlighteners connects the microhistories of Jewish individuals and families in Modena to macrohistorical processes. Its protagonists are Jewish men and women who stood out in their communities but who, despite their culture and prominence in the city’s economy, had been disenfranchised and ghettoized since 1638. In Modena, male and female Jewish identities were constantly contoured by internal cultural developments (such as Lurianic and Cordoverian Kabbalah, both liturgical and nondevotional Hebrew poetry, and Sabbateanism) and Jewish-Christian interactions (for example, with Jesuits, converts, and inquisitors). At times, these blurred both social and cultural boundaries even as theological borders continued to be rigidly upheld. In their capacities as jewelers, silk entrepreneurs, and librarians mediating between the duchy and other states, Modenese Jews often served as both cultural and financial intermediaries. In the 1770s, for example, Laudadio Formiggini, Moisè Beniamino Foa, and Emanuele Sacerdoti were, respectively, the duke’s silversmith, banker, and bookseller. Despite their important roles, these men’s lives remained constrained by theological anti-Semitism and restricted by ghettoization and legal norms, social codes, and limitations imposed by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities.7 New Jewish conceptions or ways of performing gender emerged in the seventeenth century, which reconfigured the domestic sphere. In addition, Jewish households were transformed by cultural hybridization, social control, and political negotiation. What was initially a sort of confinement to the house or, more properly, to the domestic sphere became the catalyst for the transformation of silent women, wives, and daughters of successful Jewish merchants into an active, almost entrepreneurial female community— the confraternity So‘ed H> olim (To Benefit the Sick)—devoted to assisting, employing, and socializing in the ghetto. What went on between Jewish women and men, Jewish and Christian women, and Jewish women of different social classes within the walls of houses, synagogues, and tribunals too often remains unknown. But following connections between gender and class among Jews in early modern Modena helps elucidate this largely unknown area and contributes to a new

6

Introduction

understanding of Italian Jewry in its transition from the early modern to the modern age. Moving beyond the traditional periodization of Renaissance and baroque Italy challenges our perception of Jewish culture within the wider context of Europe and the Mediterranean in the early modern period. By singling out the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a defining age for Italian Jewry, Invisible Enlighteners explores the ways in which the Italian Jewish mercantile intelligentsia took part in the emancipation process during the Napoleonic era, ultimately reaching beyond Italy to set this story in a transnational context. A wealth of previously unexplored sources in Italian, French, Hebrew, and Latin from state, private, and Jewish communal archives in Italy, Israel, and the United States allows an in-depth analysis of social and ideological structures within a long chronological framework. Thanks to abundant documentation of Jewish merchants’ lives and their prominent roles as Jewish community leaders, cultural intermediaries, and even politicians active on the national scene by the eighteenth century, Invisible Enlighteners challenges the criticism often leveled at microhistory as an approach suffering from lack of representativeness.8 The representativeness of this book’s protagonists is evinced by the fact that they were the only actors on Modena’s Jewish and non-Jewish social stage who displayed strategies of both conservatism and a tolerance for gradual changes, solidarity, cohesion, and social prestige. Each chapter of Invisible Enlighteners employs—to use the Italian microhistorian Edoardo Grendi’s terminology—“exceptional” archival evidence (“extra-ordinary” documents) that, if properly read and interpreted, do not simply tell exceptional stories but also illuminate broad historical trends and macrohistorical phenomena.9 The Jewish banker Moisè Modena’s lists of books submitted to the Holy Office in a 1600 trial, showing thorough familiarity with medieval and Renaissance Jewish and Italian culture, and Moisè Formiggini’s first public speech before Napoleon in 1796, demonstrating deep knowledge of the French Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation, are excellent examples. Both sources reflect broader cultural trends of their times. Modenese Jewish merchants participated in early modern Italian humanistic culture and in the European political and cultural arena of Jewish and non-Jewish modernity. Yet, instead of acculturating in the sense of progressing toward modernity, the Jewish milieu of Moisè Modena and Moisè Formiggini underwent a process of cultural hybridization. My conceptualization of both cultural hybridization and hybridity responds to Peter Burke, who elaborated and brought this definition into Renaissance studies and early modern history. Jews in Italy did not

Introduction

7

submit to cultural colonization: Italian and Hebrew cultures were in their eyes equal, and agency and intention were often included in the process. Modenese Jewish merchants’ cultural hybridization evolved into a relationship I would describe as an intimate cultural communion between Jews and Christians, marked by intellectual interchange and reciprocal accommodation.10 Invisible Enlighteners, compared to other studies in Jewish history, does not consider individual inquisitorial archival sources in isolation but rather within the context of other available documentation.11 For example, the 1600 trial sheds light on the otherwise unknown book culture of a Jewish banker and philanthropist in Hebrew, Italian, and Latin side by side with a series of other unpublished complete inquisitorial proceedings and records. This includes documentation concerning the confiscation and expurgation of Hebrew and non-Hebrew texts in early seventeenth-century Modena; denunciations, pretrial investigations, trials, and sentences; letters to and from the Supreme Congregation in Rome; correspondence of the Modenese Inquisition with various parties, including its branch offices, the vicariates; contemporaneous Hebrew autobiographies and ethical literature; various unpublished booklets (known as indices) containing instructions for the expurgation of Hebrew books; and copies of Hebrew books bearing the mark of censorship through the erasure of blasphemous passages. These additional sources help place the trials in question in their proper judicial and historical context, while also preventing factual errors and misinterpretations.12 Carlo Ginzburg has shown that records of Inquisition tribunals are an extremely valuable historical source when the defendants’ voices did not echo inquisitorial stereotypes and the inquisitors faced some unexpected declarations when their knowledge did not filter the words and gestures of the defendants. In some exceptional cases, we have a real dialogue, and “can hear distinct voices, we can detect a clash between different, conflicting voices.”13 Inquisitorial records do not just chart the unusual and exotic, or serve to prove the truth of the accusation or the defense. Rather, these sources provide insight into the daily lives of witnesses and defendants and give us a glimpse of their neighborhoods and the ghetto, their family and community relations, and even the ways in which these played out in both the public and private spaces. Like their Christian neighbors, Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants as well as middle and lower-class Jewish men and women notarized their marriage contracts, apprenticeships, business partnerships, testaments, donationes inter vivos (literally, gifts between living people), and other acts that virtually covered all their transactions. In each chapter of the book, I use notarial documents

8

Introduction

from Modena, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, and Milan issued since the mid-sixteenth century to shed light on the Jewish mercantile elite’s commercial, entrepreneurial, and artisanal activities; their marriage politics; individual choices, options, and also renunciations about both their inheritances and dowries; and confraternities’ foundations, transactions, and fusions. The chapters thus bring together not only testaments dictated by the Modenas, Sanguinettis, Formigginis, and other Jewish merchants but also autobiographical documents, rabbinic responsa, and kabbalistic and Sabbatean literature, authored by intellectuals and merchants such as the kabbalist Aaron Berekhiah Modena (1578–1639), and the Sabbatean Abraham Rovigo (c. 1650–1713). Jewish families in Modena often caught the attention of local chroniclers (e.g., Lucia Poppi and Giovanni Battista Spaccini in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, respectively) who reported their stories, often with ambivalence about a Jewish presence in the city. These chronicles show that Jews were present in Modena and that their Christian contemporaries recognized their role. They also help us place the vicissitudes suffered by Jewish individuals or the larger community within the context of the history of Modena, the Este Duchy, and the Italian peninsula. The Modenese Jewish mercantile society, among them the Formigginis—whose family archive, preserved in the Biblioteca Universitaria Estense di Modena, was forgotten for decades—flourished in the eighteenth century. The Formiggini’s archive includes twenty-three folders covering the years 1629–1955. These materials were donated to the Biblioteca Estense by Emilia Santamaria Formiggini, the widow of the known editor Fortunato Formiggini who committed suicide after the promulgation of the racial laws in Italy in 1938 by jumping from the Torre della Ghirlandina in Modena. The first eight folders include documentation from 1629 through the end of the nineteenth century. These materials have not had an easy life. The entire archive was originally deposited in the family villa Collegara in San Damaso, in the Modenese countryside, where in the second half of the nineteenth century hundreds of papers were thrown away or used to wrap fruits and vegetables and even monetary donations to the village poor.14 The original archive included Moisè Formiggini’s copies of speeches and correspondence with Italian, French, and German politicians and intellectuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Other documentation, preserved in the notarial records of the state archives in Modena and Reggio Emilia (the second city of the duchy), to some extent compensates for these losses.15 Despite its limitations, the existent evidence allows us to reconstruct the history of the Formigginis in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and more broadly to study the culture, economy, and society of

Introduction

9

Modenese Jewish mercantile elite in the context of both the Italian and Jewish societies during the ghetto period. By studying the domestic sphere, we also gain insight into the lived experiences of Jewish women in early modern Europe. We get a sense of the choices that were available to them and how these varied regionally, ethnically, and by class. As elsewhere, Modenese Jewish women were relatively silent in comparison to the rich variety of women’s voices that survive from the contemporary Christian world. Yet, through various sources—the register of the female confraternity So‘ed H> olim and records of the Jewish court that deal with cases of illicit sexual activity together with notarial acts, dowries, and records of financial transactions—this book attempts to echo formerly silenced yet instructive voices of women from the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Modenese Jewish society.16 I also discuss how rabbis’ and elite men’s prescriptive pronouncements about the female nature and ways in which women’s choices were conditioned and limited alongside the new options men were reimagining for women—a complexity often neglected or underestimated by Jewish and general historians. The pinkas of So‘ed H> olim, now preserved in the archive of the Comunità ebraica di Modena, was kept for forty years by the same man, Leone Moisè Usiglio, a silversmith who served as a scribe (sofer), a fact that in itself deserves attention. The pinkas is a handwritten volume in quarto and has never been published. It is a sort of open book, periodically updated and expanded, with no proper author. Apparently, Usiglio simply recorded the meetings of So‘ed H> olim’s boards once or several times a year. He transcribed rules and decisions taken by So‘ed H> olim’s members in the distribution of work, organization of the economy, and even social aspects of the confraternity. However, when looking at its structure as an open book, the pinkas of So‘ed H> olim reveals much more complexity. We can consider So‘ed H> olim women to be coauthors of the pinkas because of their primary role in the confraternity whose actions were transcribed by the sofer. At the same time, they were the main readers of the pinkas—the minutes were often read aloud during the meetings in order to recall past discussions and decisions. Both Usiglio and Modenese Jewish women were listeners and auditors, although in different moments. In addition to these written archives, Invisible Enlighteners also incorporates the insights into early modern Modenese Jewish life provided by material culture and the built environment. Domestic and synagogue architecture suggest a deep interplay between the visible public space and the invisible domestic sphere populated by Jewish merchants, and a consequent blurring

10

Introduction

of boundaries between the domestic and institutional. Modenese Jewish merchants commissioned, realized, and donated ceremonial textiles and objects to adorn their own synagogues (and those of others), houses, and confraternities. Some of those textiles and objects are still extant and preserved in public institutions and private collections. Objects in Modenese Jewish houses and synagogues help us gain a broader picture of cultural hybridity, material culture, and gender within the mercantile Jewish household. At the same time, these objects pose important challenges to the historian. For example, the silver ‘atarot (crowns) and rimmomin (finials) owned by the Formigginis are a patrimony that provides a unique glimpse into the history of the family’s cultural and artistic choices given that they had begun acquiring those objects in the early seventeenth century, passing them from one generation to another all the way to the twentieth century. We also must take into account the fact that—as occurred in the patrimonies of Judaica of other Modenese Jewish families—starting in the late nineteenth century those objects were often donated to public institutions and sold to private art collectors, exchanged, and donated, while some were never reclaimed after World War II.17 Moreover, in the absence of precise descriptive documents, it is not always possible to identify the synagogue of provenance of every Modenese seventeenth- or eighteenth-century silver artifact (often of Venetian craftsmanship) that is now preserved in the Tempio Israelitico in Modena or in private collections in Italy, Israel, and the United States. Despite all the challenges, for social, cultural, and intellectual historians, Modenese papers and material culture uniquely illuminate a world otherwise rarely visible, a world in which men and women belonging to the Jewish mercantile elite were deeply involved in their community and in the vast sociocultural changes of those times.

Bridging Europe and the Mediterranean In a recent study on a group of Sephardi merchants in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Livorno, Francesca Trivellato has coined the expression “communitarian cosmopolitanism” to capture “the experience of Sephardic merchants who, in Livorno as elsewhere, synthesized multiple traditions and mingled with non-Jews but did so within the framework of corporatist society of unequal separate groups. The forms of communitarian cosmopolitanism changed from place to place, but everywhere they sought to contain fluidity

Introduction

11

and regulate the interaction between Jews and Christians.”18 Modenese Jews were subjected to the restrictions described by Trivellato but, by January 1638, they had also been permanently ghettoized. The experience and role of Jewish merchants in Mediterranean and Atlantic ports in the early modern period has previously served to further the historiographical discourse on European Jewish integration and emancipation. By introducing the category of “port Jews,” Lois Dubin has argued that, “perceived in their day as acculturated and useful agents, purveyors and facilitators of international maritime commerce, they benefited from relatively favorable civil-legal status and trod a particular road to modernity.”19 For Dubin, participation in general civic councils and the possibility of voting—as in Mantua, Florence, Pisa, Livorno, and Trieste—was “civil inclusion” and a positive step along the path to emancipation.20 Similarly, the cultural historian David Sorkin proposes an analysis of the “social type of the port Jew, that is, merchant Jews of Sephardi or, to a lesser extent, Italian extraction who settled in port cities of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic seaboard and the New World.”21 The study of the Modenese mercantile Jewish elite aims to enlarge these perspectives in order to focus more deeply on the relations of Italian Jewish merchants with other classes, political authorities, and their specific contexts— missed elements, according to Sanjay Subrahmanyan, in recent analyses of merchant communities.22 Modenese Jewish merchants confronted ghettoization as well as the political and legal impacts of the state and the Catholic Church, which affected all Italian Jews with the exception of those in Livorno. In analyzing their stories, Invisible Enlighteners bridges Europe and the Mediterranean in the early modern period, bringing into dialogue two different historiographical paradigms that have recently emerged: Nicholas Terpstra’s new approach to the Reformation by studying European communities of exiled and migrant refugees; and Natalie Zemon Davis’ and others’ attempts to ultimately focus on transcendence of cultures and identities through the stories of remarkable individuals in the Mediterranean. Terpstra has reshaped the history of the early modern age in Europe by attributing much more significance to the 1492 Jewish expulsion from Spain than to the beginning of Martin Luther’s Reformation. This expulsion, Terpstra emphasizes, was the first attempt to purify an entire country of unbelievers and purge it from heresy. Beginning in 1492, forced expulsions reshaped Europe’s social geography, as communities of refugees were on the move throughout European regions. Within decades, along with Jews, groups of Dutch Anabaptists, Italian Calvinists, English Catholics, and Bohemian

12

Introduction

Hussites were forcibly removed from their places or voluntarily decided to leave. They often constituted new communities that adhered to the same principles of exclusiveness, purification, and purgation that had characterized the communities within which they had been marginalized or from which they had been rejected.23 In fact, at the turn of the sixteenth century, the Modenese Jewish community was a Mediterranean and European society of refugees that was partially exclusive because of religious tenets and ethnic boundaries as well as external theological discriminations, legal constraints, and popular hatred; yet it was never governed by principles of purification and purgation. One of the consequences of following those principles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as was also the case in many other European cities, was the enclosure of communities of prostitutes and the sick in gated buildings and neighborhoods, followed by the ghettoization of Jews in 1638, which reshaped the fabric of Modena. As we shall see, the dukes never embraced the kind of violent public language of purification and pollution that characterized other cities such as Barcelona, Frankfurt, and Rome, where the Christian clergy were much more influential. In her Trickster Travels, Natalie Zemon Davis has explored the vicissitudes and adventures of Al-Hasan Al-Wazzan (also known as Giovanni Leone and Leo Africanus), an eclectic diplomat and author who crossed religious divides, social boundaries, and empires and states in the sixteenth century. She asks, “Did the Mediterranean waters not only divide north from south, believer from infidel, but also link them through similar strategies of dissimulation, performance, translation, and the quest for peaceful enlightenment?”24 With regard to this interpretation of the Mediterranean context, early modern Modena was a cosmopolitan center not only because of the arrival of migrants and former refugees but also because of the presence of eclectic and unorthodox intellectuals from eastern and central Europe and the Middle East. Modena became a unique cultural crossroads in which mediterraneanizing themes such as the Lurianic and Cordoverian Kabbalah, the art of memory, and Sabbateanism coexisted together with Western-Europeanizing instances such as Counter-Reformation influences that could include a restriction of popular manifestations, control over what women could read, and separation between men and women in the religious and public spaces. Given the economic freedom enjoyed by Modenese Jewish merchants, it is also important to compare their status with that of port Jews in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Certainly, when Francesco I invited the SephardiPortuguese merchant families to settle in the duchy in 1652–53, he aimed

Introduction

13

to bring the grandeur and wealth of the past back to his court. He tried to transform Modena and Reggio Emilia into important hubs of commerce— port cities without ports—following the precedent of the Medicean port of Livorno.25 Yet, compared to their Sephardi counterparts in Livorno, Trieste, Hamburg, and other port cities, Modenese Jewish merchants did not limit their connection to the city to only a few decades. Rather, they invested in Modena, settling there for centuries, transforming and adapting themselves and their ghetto to the changes of the times within the city and the duchy, different historico-political international circumstances, and social and cultural challenges within the Jewish world. Modenese Jews remained in the Mediterranean of Al-Wazzan, never venturing into the remote lands of Recife and Goa as their Anconitan and Livornese counterparts had. Similarly to Sephardi merchants in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, Modenese Jewish merchants were conversant in the language and culture of the local Christian populations, created a commercial and artisanal network vital to the city and the state economy, and took care of the poor in their community. Yet, unlike the Sephardim in Amsterdam, for the Modenese Jewish merchants Judaism was an all-embracing way of life rather than a religion. Their community infrastructure was not created suddenly in a vacuum, but was rather the product of a presence in the Italian peninsula several centuries long and complex negotiations with local authorities and the church. Finally, their wealth was never exorbitant, nor did they have any role in state and international diplomacy until the last decade of the eighteenth century.26

Navigating the Early Modern Age amid Italian and Jewish History According to the Italian historian Attilio Milano, the Este Duchy was one of the few, more generous terre di rifugio in the Italian peninsula until 1598, while the period from 1600 to 1789 represented a pronounced decline, an “age of oppression” for the duchy and Italian Jewry as a whole.27 The historian Vittore Colorni, in his work on the legal history of Italian Jews in the early modern period, emphasizes how at the beginning of the seventeenth century the legal status and living conditions of Modenese Jews dramatically declined and remained so throughout the end of the Restoration and the annexation of Modena to the Savoy Kingdom in 1859.28 Both the historian Lino Marini in his deep analysis of the history of the Este state and Andrea Balletti in his 1913

14

Introduction

history of Jews under the Estes remark on the prominent presence of Jews in the economy of the duchy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.29 Invisible Enlighteners departs from these views in two ways. First, it rejects the idea of a sudden decline; second, it goes beyond the community and city to explore the complexity of merchants’ lives outside of the confines of the duchy.30 The history of the Modenese Jewish community stands out for various reasons. Modenese Jewish leadership was marked by a great degree of continuity: Jewish bankers were not replaced by Jewish merchants like in Mantua at the turn of the sixteenth century, but rather the former transformed themselves into the latter. Perhaps even more remarkably, Modena and the Este Duchy were the only places in the Italian peninsula where Jews did not experience local expulsions or eradications from small villages during the early modern period. Considering the contemporary nearby states, traumatic expulsions at micro and macro levels had been carried out since the mid-sixteenth century in the Papal States, the Gonzaga Duchy (where Jews were expelled from Mantua in 1630 in the aftermath of the plague and then found refuge in the Este Duchy), and the Medicean State. Indeed, despite their contradictory attitude toward the Jews, the Estes did not produce Jewish refugees but, rather, admitted and even invited them.31 The emergence of a new Jewish leadership in Modena coincided with the community’s path from the late Renaissance to modernity, and is a key topic for understanding the development of Italian Jewish history in general. The first decades of the seventeenth century were crucial for the emergence of some families and their aggregation and for the intensification of ties between Jewish and Christian society and institutions. In a sense this social and political transformation seems to confirm Jonathan Israel’s claim that the period between 1570 and 1713 marked the beginning of a process of reintegration of Jews into Western Europe. With this reentry, the Jews began to exert “a most profound and pervasive impact” on Western Europe in both cultural and economic spheres.32 The case of Modenese Jews does not completely conform to either the model of integration or that of exclusion. Rather, what we see here is the emergence of a civil society out of the private sphere of family networks. This Jewish civil society also played an important role in the wider, non-Jewish world. Whereas the Christian nobility in Modena was weak due to their inability to take part in mercantile activities, the more influential Jewish families in the decades immediately before the institution of the ghetto succeeded in creating, through opportune matrimonial alliances and commercial associations, a close-knit Jewish mercantile community. This enabled Modenese Jewish merchants to exercise a certain influence after 1638

Introduction

15

and avoid precarious conditions. In the eighteenth century, this kind of civil society evolved into a sort of unique laboratory for governmental skills within the ghetto. Members of the Jewish community learned to administer the ghetto through commitment to local Jewish affairs and by playing an active role in the struggle to improve their status, as well as by involving themselves vigorously in the wider cultural and commercial affairs of the city. They forged governmental skills by constantly reinterrogating what Jewish identity meant and also by negotiating with Italian rabbis. An example of these governmental skills in action was their efforts to address problems such as the vicissitudes suffered by Jewish servants who faced seduction, exploitation, and pregnancy under the Jewish roof in the eighteenth century. In early modern Italian Jewish society, the lives of these women, young and in the majority of cases unmarried, were at times shaped by a sexual component in their relationship with their masters or coworkers. The Modenese Jewish community was able to contain destabilizing behaviors within their society, and to reintegrate women who would otherwise have been tragically lost by obliging their seducers to marry them or support them as well as their illegitimate children. As recent scholarship has demonstrated, in both contemporary Italian Christian contexts and other European Jewish communities, women in similar conditions were often rejected and left alone with their illegitimate offspring.33 This study of the Modenese Jewish mercantile elite also sheds light on the history of the Italian Inquisition, the building of Italian states, and absolutism in the ancien régime as seen through the prism of ghettoization.34 When the general political and social situation of Italian Jews dramatically changed with the onset of the Reformation, Modenese Jews found themselves caught between the peculiar situation of the Este Duchy after January 1598 and the general politics of the Counter-Reformation that led to the reinforcement of the Inquisition and the ghettoization of Jews. As the historian of the Inquisition John Tedeschi has demonstrated, the new Roman Inquisition, established in 1542, “was not a drumhead court, a chamber of horrors, or a judicial labyrinth from which escape was impossible.” Despite the fact that moral justice was impossible and although misuse and abuse of authority and arbitrary decisions occurred, the Inquisition assured judicial procedures that guaranteed a legal framework and dispensed legal justice.35 This portrayal corresponds to the Modenese local Holy Office’s procedures and to the role that the central Inquisition in Rome played in supervising it during the early modern period.36 After 1598, as the local Holy Office’s structures were reinforced, inquisitors in Modena combined the persecution of impurity with the need to collect

16

Introduction

funds by commuting sentences into sums of money—inquisitors accused Jews of profaning Christianity, persuasion of neophytes to return to Judaism, improper employment of female Christian servants, and ownership of forbidden books. At other times, Modenese Jews such as the crippled Pellegrino Formiggini were subjected to the torture of the rack (tabula): his hands were bound behind his back and he was lifted by a rope tied to his wrists, which was then attached to a beam on the ceiling in early December 1617.37 From inquisitorial sources we gain insight not only into the social and political negotiations of the emerging Jewish elite—often protected by the dukes—vis-à-vis the church but also into theological controversies involving Christians’ view of Jewish culture and Jewish attempts to combat assaults on Hebrew literature particularly after the promulgation of the Index of Prohibited Books (1596) that definitively banned the Talmud and the Bible in the vernacular. Sources documenting the role of the Inquisition are an important tool for investigating not only the history of a specific state or a specific Jewish community but also for exploring in-depth general Italian history. At a time when the Italian peninsula was highly fragmented from a political point of view, the Inquisition was indeed the only institution present in all Italian states. The Inquisition pushed for the establishment of more ghettos or for stronger discipline until Italian states established ghettos.38 In Modena the Inquisition’s role in forwarding the establishment of a ghetto was notable. Not accidentally, it was as soon as the ghetto was established that the harsh inquisitorial campaign against Jews drastically lost strength. At this time, the most influential Jewish families—such as the Modenas, Sanguinettis, and Usiglios—formed and reinforced a shared leadership in both the commercial and economic sectors. The multifaceted politics and dynamics of Jewish life in Modena suggest that ghettoization might have served as an instrument of early modern state building as had happened in Rome and Florence in the previous century.39 Dukes in Modena imposed ghettoization, but it was negotiated step by step by Jewish leaders. In 1638 the mercantile Jewish elite was capable of leading the Jewish community into the enclosure without traumatic effects or sharp ruptures. Modenese Jewish leaders and merchants created a multilayered Jewish community with a moderately self-regulating body, a planned living community, and a perfect embodiment of Talmudic, halakhic, and kabbalistic conceptions of space and time (e.g., the ‘eruv, sabbatical regulations that involved Gentiles, and elimination of the sof tum’ah la-tze’t—impurity because of death). Ghettoization was carried out without a final divorce from the city, as occurred in Rome when at the time of the enlargement of the ghetto in 1589

Introduction

17

(almost thirty-five years after its foundation) Jews had realized that both their separation from the city and their subservient social position were final.40 Modenese Jews never perceived this kind of separation from Modena or the Este Duchy. Rather, they perceived the need to occasionally formulate new forms of negotiation with the city and state as a moderately self-regulating body. In Modena, ghettoization—or the imposition of new physical boundaries limiting the movement of Jews—produced an eclectic microcosm whose more prominent factors were political negotiation, social interplay, cultural intimacy, and theological separation. Early historians debated the roles the Renaissance and ghettoization played in Jewish life, and a sharp divide emerged between those who saw it as an age of progress and those who saw it as perhaps a negative turn in Jewish life. The proponents of the “Harmonistic Interpretation” identified the golden age of Italian Jewry with the Renaissance defined by enlightened progress and open-mindedness, and idealized for the opportunities it offered Jews to mingle with Christians in a new spirit of cosmopolitanism.41 In this interpretation, the ghetto age was by contrast a period of persecution tout court, social isolation, and recession of Jews from the Italian cultural scene.42 Though different in their approaches to the study of the Renaissance within the Jewish milieu, the historians Robert Bonfil, Kenneth Stow, and David Ruderman reached similar conclusions when they analyzed Italian Jewish history in the ghetto age. They found that ghettoized Jews in Italy were intentionally secluded, considered polluters of the Christian body of the society, vexed by state fiscal pressures and violent intrusions from the Inquisition and Houses of Converts. Additionally, in the Papal States, Jews were purposefully impoverished in an attempt to push them toward conversion. Yet they pursued a complex, ongoing process of negotiation.43 As in Rome, Venice, Florence, and Mantua, the walls of the ghetto in Modena similarly bound Jewish life in a permanent state of separation from the Christian world. Nevertheless, the walls did not bar a continuous exchange between the enclosed Jewish community and outside society and culture. Indeed, the approach adopted in this book helps us move beyond black-andwhite views of the ghetto. Despite the harsh conditions Jews had to deal with because of segregation, Modenese Jewish merchants transformed their ghetto socially, culturally, religiously, and ethnically in one of the most fluid enclaves of the early modern world that sometimes upheld and sometimes ignored the rules regarding sociopolitical separation. Moreover, this approach adds to our understanding of the significance of the Italian ghettos in early modern Italy

18

Introduction

from a historico-anthropological dimension. In Modena, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Jewish ghetto inadvertently became a successful planned community, profoundly shaped by the interplay between Jewish and non-Jewish concepts of purity. Whereas historians have shown that planned spaces and planned towns failed to generate living communities, Italian ghettos suggest otherwise. In Italian ghettos like that of Modena, Jewish merchants and Christian civic authorities administering in different capacities created communities from the top down. Spaces were constantly negotiated between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. The Modenese ghetto was specifically characterized by a notable number of synagogues and public services when compared to other nearby neighborhoods. In contrast to other urban areas built from the top down such as the cittadella—a protective city, planned and built by the dukes for defensive purposes in the 1630s—the ghetto was not only the center of Jewish daily life but it also embodied Jewish spiritual, cultural, and emotional aspirations at times expressed through verbal exchanges that could culminate in outbursts of violent language against converts and Gentiles. During the entire ancien régime, leading Modenese Jewish families were in charge of building and maintaining organizational and administrative structures. Leading families’ authority was accepted by all social levels of the Jewish community, which at the time functioned as a moderately selfregulating body called “universitas” or “università.” However, as Kenneth Stow remarks, in the ius commune, Roman law as then used in Italy, it was illegal for the Jewish community to be accorded normative corporate status.44 Leading Modenese Jewish families constituted a moderately self-regulating body that even if elitist was not monolithic. In fact, as will emerge through the examination of their fortunes as ducal silversmiths, the Formigginis were able to move from the periphery to the center of ghetto society in less than half a century.

Modenese Jewish Merchants in the Eighteenth Century The eighteenth century was an “age of definition” for Italian Jewry, notwithstanding the scarce attention or even the blame that it has received from Jewish historians.45 Modenese Jews operated within the framework of what has ingeniously been called by the Italian historian Lino Marini an “incomplete absolutism” in which the Este dukes may have aspired to full power but could not

Introduction

19

achieve it because of their intrinsic weakness.46 Jewish merchants evolved into a burgeoning community amid the multiple contradictions presented by the constraints of the ghetto. Despite their commercial privileges, ducal authorities forced Jewish merchants to keep a low profile. Jewish merchants operated behind the scenes of the state’s cultural and commercial life; they were almost invisible. Modenese Jews had no true self-government, nor could they formally engage in civic affairs or stop actions taken by members of the House of Converts, who in the mid-eighteenth century had launched a new conversion program, which included kidnapping minors and women from the ghetto.47 The community of Jewish merchants in Modena had porous boundaries. Yet, at times, it defied consolidated traditions of anti-Judaism manifested in policies of seclusion and ghettoization imposed by state, civic, and church authorities.48 In the second half of the eighteenth century, for example, the Formigginis acquired landed properties out of town, thus increasing their patrimonies which also included shops and storage space in the city. These properties symbolized a sort of half-mercantilism: the Formigginis were allowed to own and administer but not to inhabit them. They were required to reside in the insufferably small ghetto like poor Modenese Jews, as did the Rovigos, the Sanguinettis, and other leading Jewish mercantile families. Yet, as ducal silversmiths, the Formigginis chose the best of the eighteenth-century silver ornaments and furnishings acquired in Venice and Rome for the ducal palace, and the best of the rocaille and neoclassic artistic production for the court. They dictated artistic choices, mediating between the dukes and the most important artisans and artists in Italy and beyond and in so doing they acted as cultural intermediaries between the state and major Italian centers of artistic production. Another Jewish merchant who played a very similar role in the same period was the ducal bookseller Moisè Beniamino Foa, who brought to Modena the book culture of the Western European canon, from the classics of the Renaissance and the Reformation to the modern works of the French Enlightenment. Starting in 1764, Foa, Duke Francesco III, and the Jesuit and ducal librarian Francesco Antonio Zaccaria joined together in a successful enterprise: they opened the first public library of the Este Duchy in Modena. The books that Foa acquired in the following decade included the opera omnia by Machiavelli, and works by Erasmus, Luther, Galileo, and Pico della Mirandola, along with Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Condillac, and the Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et du métiers. The public ducal library was

20

Introduction

a great success and became a model for other Italian states. It was well attended and open every day, with full access to all the books, including those that were prohibited in other states and by church authorities because of Catholic and state censorship. However, the daily contact and fruitful cultural exchange between Francesco III, Antonio Zaccaria, and Moisè Beniamino Foa did not extend to intercultural and religious appreciation. For example, the collaboration had no bearing on the Jewish community’s vain struggle to release the young Sara Usiglio, who was kidnapped from the ghetto after false rumors about her intentions to convert, and who died imprisoned in the House of Converts in 1765.49 Modenese Jewish merchants also attempted (and often succeeded) in asserting their distinctiveness by keeping theological divides, imposing sumptuary laws, and maintaining physical borders by surveilling and protecting women by controlling their movement and exposure to the gaze of others. For example, in the ghetto and in the city, Jewish women were generally required to wear a black shawl that entirely covered their face and chest. Paraphrasing Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre’s famous declaration from 1790, the Este Duchy refused to grant Jews any civil rights, yet accorded everything to them as merchants. Officially, in Modena there was no Jewish question, no public debate, and no requests by individual Jews to vote or sit on civic committees while Jews in eighteenth-century Mantua, Livorno, and Trieste could participate in the general councils of the city and could vote.50 This precarious political position prompted Modenese Jews to become deeply involved in their community, which helps explain why members of the leading Modenese families did not reject their Jewish culture or identity.

Modenese Jewish Merchants’ Alternative Model In the last three decades, historians have emphasized that the Haskalah’s Western and German models, which had been highlighted by both pioneers of the Wissenschaft such as Heinrich Graetz and more recent historians such as Jacob Katz, do not adequately explain the complexity of Jewish emancipation in Europe.51 It now seems clear that integration, acculturation, and the actual legal process of emancipation varied in their pace and nature from country to country, and from region to region. Yet recent attempts have been made to trace common phenomena shared by different European Jewish communities in their path toward integration in the early modern period and in the passage to the modern era.52

Introduction

21

Considering the seventeenth century as a time when modernization accelerated within European and Mediterranean Jewish communities, David Ruderman recently defined the early modern era in Western and Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire. In so doing, he emphasizes the following five factors: first, an accelerated mobility produced unprecedented contact not only between Jews and other Jews but also between Jews and non-Jews; second, there was growing communal cohesiveness; third, according to Ruderman the seventeenth century was also characterized by an explosion of knowledge and circulation of sources highly impacted by the invention of printing; fourth, there was a crisis of rabbinical authority, often expressed in active messianism, mystical prophecy, individual enthusiasm, and heresy; and finally, religious identities became blurred due in particular to the presence and influx of conversos.53 The existence of a Jewish mercantile elite in Modena complicates these categories. For example, accelerated mobility in early modern Modena was characterized not only by the influx of Sephardi families in the mid-seventeenth century but also by the presence of itinerant scholars in the houses and yeshivot of Aaron Berekhiah Modena and Abraham Rovigo, both rabbis, scholars, and merchants. Yet the number of conversos in seventeenthcentury Modena was not high enough to impact or substantially challenge the Jewish society. Their amalgamation into Italian Judaism was more fluid than frightening. Finally, this book complements Ruderman’s study, adding not only the history of Jewish women per se but also the narrative of early modern Jewish history through the prism of gender as a category of interpretation. By contrast, the historian Moshe Rosman considers the eighteenth century to be a more significant point of transition of European Jewry into the modern age, particularly in the Polish-Lithuanian context. He singles out a “constellation of processes” typical of this period—such as cultural, economic, and social integration, political and legal emancipation, nationalism, voluntary community, enlightenment, secularization, and the breakdown of tradition— as challenging factors.54 Modenese Jewish merchants in the eighteenth century not only welcomed the culture of the Enlightenment but they also imported it into the state through the ducal library. In addition, they created their own form of the Enlightenment. This prepared them to integrate relatively easily into the new Napoleonic society as citizens, politicians, and ultimately public men and leaders of Italian Jewry. It was not just the erudite rabbis, but also the poor and less literate members of the community who were coopted into this process. Most importantly, this process was not specifically rooted in the seventeenth or the eighteenth century, nor was it sudden. Rather, it evolved

22

Introduction

gradually throughout this period through a continuous redefinition of the phenomenology of Judaism. This was the result of the confluence of multiple and entangled cultural, religious, and societal phenomena described above and thoroughly analyzed in the chapters of this book.

Toward Emancipation The story of the Modenese ghetto’s mercantile elite suggests a specific Italian Jewish path that gradually led to integration, thus adding a new dimension to debates on Jewish emancipation in Europe. The first Italian legal improvement of the status of the Jews began in 1796 with the establishment under Napoleon of the Cispadane Republic, which incorporated the Este Duchy, and therefore with the beginning of the so-called first Italian Jewish emancipation. Modenese Jewish merchants became important interlocutors for the new French government and their political leadership expanded on a national scale because of the strength of their community. Invisible Enlighteners argues for a unique Italian model of integration and emancipation rooted in the particularities of the Modenese Jewry that follows neither the French or American pattern of total and instant legal equality, nor the German one of reluctant involvement in a state that always remained primarily Christian. The major agents in the shift Italian Jewish society underwent were not outstanding contemporary Jewish scholars. Rather, it was the Modenese cultured merchants such as Moisè Formiggini and Moisè Beniamino Foa who combined active participation in the political struggle for Jewish emancipation with the creation of a special form of the Enlightenment embedded in scholarly and French-oriented lay culture rather than the Prussian Haskalah, a form of Jewish Enlightenment. The ghetto leadership prepared them for the political and legal emancipation they would eventually obtain under Napoleon. As a result, they integrated relatively easily into the new Napoleonic society as citizens, politicians, and public men. While in other contexts, such as Germany and France, Jews often expressed a need to improve themselves socially and culturally, Modenese Jews showed a genuine optimism regarding their role as merchants and their participation in commerce, which they viewed as a sign of progress. In his speech delivered in front of the new government of Modena after Napoleon’s conquest in October 1796, Formiggini advocated for full political rights for Jews. A close analysis of the speech shows that he drew largely from celebrated Jewish apologetic works extolling Jewish commercial utility and

Introduction

23

entrepreneurial savvy. Unlike some of his predecessors, Formiggini saw himself as a member of an informal body of merchants, and as such asked that Jews be recognized as “active citizens.” This would entail the responsibility of voting, the ability to hold public office, and having access to university education and the liberal professions, thus demonstrating clear awareness of the legal rights obtained by Jews in 1791. This phase marked a shift in the role of Modenese Jewish merchants from invisible enlighteners to active Italian citizens, engaged protagonists of the political scene, and prominent interlocutors of the European debates on Jewish emancipation55—in short, visible enlighteners.

Chapter 1

A Network of Jewish Families in the Early Modern Period The Road Toward Ghettoization

On January 31, 1598, during the feast of its patron Saint Geminiano, Modena, having just become the new capital of the duchy, was in turmoil because of the recent move of the Este court, exiled from Ferrara. The family’s established position in Ferrara was definitively interrupted after seven centuries in late 1597, when Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini used the illegitimacy of Duke Alfonso II d’Este’s successor Cesare as an excuse to depose the duke and to incorporate Ferrara into the Papal States. Cesare had been proclaimed duke with the support of Ferrarese citizens as well as the Este family’s Spanish and imperial allies, yet the pope’s claims gained spiritual and physical force when he excommunicated Cesare and sent troops to nearby Faenza. Cesare left his former capital and moved to Modena in early January. A local chronicler, Giovanni Battista Spaccini, wrote that on January 31 in Modena, “the children cried in the evening: ‘Out the Jews,’ saying that they did not want them in the city.”1 Shortly after, on February 3, during the Carnival, the Conservatori of Modena, the most important ruling magistracy of the town council aside from the Anziani, received a procession that included the representatives of all the corporations: “The majority of the massari of the corporations arrived in front of the council, referring to the request they had already presented several other times, and again pleaded with the Conservatori to embrace them and help them in expelling the Jews.” The Conservatori heard the request and declared that they would take it into consideration.2 The unusual procession arrived

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even before Duke Cesare. Spaccini reported: “A general council has been summoned. Then they went to the duke, praying for him to expel the Jews of Modena, because they constitute a great damage. . . . His High Majesty told them that this is a most important question, because if Jews are expelled from Modena, the same should be done similarly in the rest of the state.”3 The celebration for the patron saint and the Carnival belonged to the peculiar logic of the civic ritual of the early modern period: beyond other social functions, public celebrations and processions translated and interpreted the social world through a popular vocabulary.4 In 1598 Modena the effects went even further: the feasts prepared the emotional scene with a mixture of the holy and profane for a predetermined, political action—the request for the Jews’ expulsion. Moreover, the procession that petitioned the expulsion of the Jews from the city had a great political effect because the request was also made according to a precise hierarchical apparatus. First, it was addressed to the Council of the Conservatori, which in Modena always maintained a strong autonomy and was often in competition with the dukes; and second, before the duke himself.5 Even if the request was rejected,6 in reality in 1598 the status of the Jews was no longer recognized as a fixed and unmovable component of the city and its social order as it had been in the past. One year later, in January 1599, just two days before the new feast of Saint Geminiano, the first confiscation of Hebrew books (two more followed) took place, enacted by the local Inquisition. The timing of the two events was not accidental. The ritual procession and confiscation of Hebrew books represented the means for civic and church authorities to articulate the identity of the city and protect its political and Christian body.7 By the end of the sixteenth century, Jews and their books apparently remained the most visible sign of impurity within the Modenese Corpus Christianum since local inquisitors had already harshly persecuted Reformation movements and hunted down witches and sorcerers in previous decades.8 In May 1603, the inquisitor Arcangelo Calbetti da Recanati published a document, Contra gli abusi del conversare de Christiani con Hebrei, that was an attack against all the forms of what was perceived as dangerous Jewish-Christian social interchange: participation in reciprocal holidays and rituals, conversations on theological issues, sexual relations, and so forth.9 This change also paralleled an important transformation of the Este state that occurred after the 1598 devolution, that is, a general redefinition of the relations among the various powers and institutions in Modena and within the duchy overall. This redefinition was also determined by economic factors. The famines that had devastated the whole Italian peninsula in the previous

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Chapter 1

decades harshly damaged the economy in Modena. In the period from the 1560s to the 1580s alone, Modena’s agricultural sector lost half of its products and income. The effects of this were still occuring in the 1590s. Compared to other Italian cities, Modena was incapable of any vigorous recovery. From the 1590s through the 1630s, it was vexed by economic deficits, state debits, weakening of the currency, high costs of raw materials that dramatically hurt Modenese merchants, indebtedness of middle and small farmers, and the economic stagnation of all the professional corporations, with the exception of the hatters, who were still competitive on the national scale with their production of felt hats.10 The devolution of 1598 caused further economic damage that had significant consequences for the Estes’ finances. The loss of the Duchy of Ferrara and lands in Romagna and Comacchio brought an end to the previous influx of numerous and conspicuous resources that was gained from the spoils of agriculture, natural resources, and human capital.11 In addition, the economic crisis contributed to irrecoverable damage of the duchy’s image within international politics. At the time, the state was reduced to the duchies of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the Garfagnana Estense, and the nearby Podesteria di Varano, and the new capital city was close to the Apennines. Indeed, the axis of city powers changed together with an inevitable confrontation with the mountain areas and its social classes.12 Nevertheless, the “connection of the privilege,” consolidated for centuries, continued. Those noble families more involved with the Estes moved with Duke Cesare from Ferrara and its nearby areas to Modena. Cesare granted them numerous offices and lands using the old feudalistic system, which his predecessors had reinforced over the last fifty years.13 As the new capital city of the Este Duchy, in 1598 Modena earned the honor of receiving a general inquisitor—Giovanni da Montefalcone—and the Inquisition was brought to full inquisitorial status and embarked on a strong campaign against the influential Jews of the state. Modenese Jews found themselves caught between the peculiar situation of the Este Duchy and the general politics and dynamics of the Counter-Reformation. Policies of the papacy included the burning of the Talmud in 1553; the promulgation of the Cum Nimis Absurdum bull in 1555, which created the Roman ghetto, restricted Jewish economic activity and property ownership, and ultimately led to local expulsions and the establishment of ghettos throughout the Italian peninsula; and finally the promulgation of the Index of Prohibited Books, which definitively banned the Talmud and the Bible in the vernacular.14 The religious and cultural repression conducted by the Modenese Inquisition paralleled, and at times clashed with, the ducal program aimed at embellishing,

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restructuring, and reorganizing the new capital, taking into account “security, sanitation, and decoration.”15 Indeed, the promotion of Modena as the new capital inevitably implied not only a number of political changes but also a complex program of urban restoration and transformation devoted to the “abbellimento della città” (embellishment of the city) in the name of magnificenza. The image of Modena had to correspond with the dignity of the court, which had recently moved to the city; consequently, a number of construction sites opened up in different urban areas. While the ancient Roman walls and network of streets such as the Strada Maestra and Via del Castellaro still shaped the structure of the city, its axis was redesigned based on the system of central squares around the Cathedral, the City Hall Palace, the Palazzo della Ragione, and the Castellano. In a few years, the little square nicknamed del Giogo del Pallone was entirely paved and redesigned to allow the Modenese nobility to play the ballgame after which the square was named. The open space overlooking the Castellano was later organized as riding stables. The City Hall was completely restored, and its sala del Consiglio was refrescoed with images of “emblematic virtues”—truth, harmony, calm, preservation, and religion.16 This program was not devoid of criticism and at times was the object of serious obstructionism by the Conservatori. This also involved the Jewish presence in the city fabric: in 1600 the chronicler Giovanni Battista Spaccini, who had proposed the expulsion of the Jews from the city many times, declared himself scandalized by the prince’s initiative to take “all the beautiful stones of the land where Jews are buried” for his own buildings. It is difficult to say if his comment was sincere or ironic but nevertheless it denotes that, when lucrative opportunities were offered, the dukes did not hesitate in exploiting Jews, in this case expropriating their tombs from the Jewish cemetery (owned by the Modenas since the fifteenth century), and ultimately erasing their presence in perhaps the most visible Jewish place in the city’s fabric.17 On December 1617, a new procession went through the streets of Modena. The representatives of the arts—the tailors, hatters, apothecaries, shoemakers, wool workers, and barbers—again presented themselves before Duke Cesare: it was not the expulsion they requested—an extreme and impracticable act for the Estes—but rather the seclusion and establishment of a ghetto “as is common in the other Italian cities.”18 They requested that “Jews, explicitly enemies of Christianity by nature and vocation, be consolidated into only one area of the city and obliged to live there and not in any other place, separated, for as much as Your Majesty would like to tolerate them within the walls [of

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Modena].”19 They also presented their plea emphatically, claiming that they refused to believe that “Your Majesty would leave it to others to take the merit of this so saintly enterprise [the institution of the ghetto], already promoted twice under your favorable domination and now it has been again initiated by the city as being truly important because it includes both secular and spiritual issues, is propelled by the love and honor that the city has for its bishop and shepherd that they requested with vigor, and also because it was encouraged by the nobility, promoted by the corporations, and requested by all the people.”20 This parade was also connected to the Carnival. Spaccini reports that, in the following days, “the weather being amazing, people dress up and play ring toss [giocano all’anello]. . . . And the affair of the Jews goes on: there are rumors that it [the ghetto] will be established in the area of San Pietro, in Contrada Mazzocchi and in the streets behind unless it would not be annoying for the duke, being the area so close to the walls; Jews probably would not accept it, even if it is a saintly enterprise having Jews [constrained] in an enclosure.”21 The fact that the 1617 petition was addressed directly to the duke is emblematic of the political system on which the state was built, the incomplete absolutism. At the time, the state was accompanied by various forms of privileges of feudal nobles and the concentrations of power in the hands of bishops such as Obizzo d’Este (in Modena), and Rinaldo d’Este (in Reggio Emilia); the inquisitors; and the clergy, both secular and regular.22 Ultimately, the request to seclude the Jews was successful and granted a few days later after a Dominican preacher reinforced the request through public anti-Semitic sermons; yet the ghetto was ultimately established only in 1638 after some delays due to economic and political agreements between the duchy and the Jewish community. Thus, in the new cultural and political framework after the devolution of Ferrara to the Papal States and the election of Modena as the capital city of the Este Duchy, it became increasingly difficult for Modenese Jews to maintain their previous social standing.23 Only a few decades earlier, in 1561, Alfonso II, who had become Duke of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio Emilia only two years earlier, entered Modena triumphantly, accompanied by a procession of the most important magistrates of the town council as well as the local clergy; on that occasion Jews had played a role. The procession paraded along a traditional route in the city, divided for the occasion by six triumph arches built with contributions from all the city corporations—among them bankers, notaries, bakers, and tanners—and the Jews. The Jews had two arches: the first, located at the Cittanova gate, was dedicated to the virtue of clemency, while the second, placed near the Strada Maestra, the main road of the city

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on the ancient Roman decumanus (currently Via Emilia), was dedicated to the virtue of prudence.24 In the balance of the institutional structures mirrored there, the political and social position of the Jews had its own legitimization despite their precariousness. Whereas, after the changes of 1598, the Christian nobility in Modena remained weak and trapped in old privileges and unfruitful land ownership and the middle class was impoverished, two Jewish families of moneylenders and merchants—the Modenas and the Sanguinettis and their entourage, who emerged as cohesive households made up of nuclear families, business partners, coworkers, rabbis, teachers, and servants—succeeded in creating a closeknit trading community. Since the end of the sixteenth century, a number of elites in many urban centers in northern and central Italy (Milan, Siena, Venice, Cremona, Genoa, Lucca, and Verona) had consolidated their prominent roles not only with respect to the general political sphere but also within their own circles of government. A few families had obtained high office through major wealth or because of their superior demographic strength.25 Among these urban elites, the competition for wealth and power created iniquities in society that made patrician regimes unstable or, following the apt definition by Cesare Mozzarelli, formed “precarious groups of alliances.”26 In a sense, Modenese Jewish mercantile families succeeded where those Christian elites failed: through similar dynamics, advantageous matrimonial alliances and commercial associations, they gradually evolved into a cohesive network and consolidated its ties—navigating amid private and public, both within and beyond Jewish society. In an interplay between interrelation and exclusion, Modenese Jewry in the early modern period originated as a sort of “civil society” that emanated from the private sphere of a family network.

Settlement and Assessment: Jewish Families in Modena In 1618–19, Leone Modena, the celebrated Venetian rabbi whose family had Modenese origins, wrote in his Autobiography: I received the tradition from my father, my teacher of blessed memory, that our ancestors came from France. In his house there was a family tree going back more than five hundred years, which had been found among writings of my grandfather, the gaon [sage] of blessed memory.

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From my uncle, Rabbi Solomon Modena of blessed memory, it had passed to his daughter’s son, my kinsman Rabbi Aaron, the son of Moses of Modena, may God his Rock protect him and grant him long life, who lives at present in Modena. He told me that it had left his possession, and although I have searched for it thoroughly I have so far been unable to obtain it. Nevertheless, I know that it is so, from tradition passed on by my elders that this family has always combined Torah with stature, riches with honor, and great wealth with charitableness. He [Rabbi Aaron Berekhiah Modena] told me that after our forebears left France, they dwelled for a long time in Viterbo, and then came to Modena, where they acquired property and became fruitful and multiplied. Because they  were the first to establish a pawnshop there and become wealthy, they took their name from that city. To this day, control over the cemetery there is in the hands of my aforementioned kinsman Moses, because our first forebears in the city purchased it for their own use. The first house they acquired in Modena is still in the possession of Moses, and I have seen it. In some places therein is found our crest in marble, the figure of a leopard standing on its two hind legs with a palm branch in its paw. Moses told me that it [the crest] has been in our family for more than five hundred years. He also has in his possession in writing the privileges of all those who ruled Modena—popes, emperors, dukes, and the like—who confirmed it.27 Archival evidence confirms that the Modenas were the first family to settle permanently in Modena over the course of the fifteenth century, and because of privileges and ducal charters conducted moneylending activities. The Modenas arrived in Viterbo in central Italy from France, presumably after the expulsions of 1306.28 The settlement of the family in Modena was due to a typical mechanism of immigration connected to the need for moneylenders in the city: the forebear was Daniel, son of Dataro. He moved to Modena in 1393 as procurator and factor of Guglielmo, who together with other Jews had obtained the first charter released in the city by the ducal camera (chamber) for managing a pawnshop for fifty years. Apparently, the decision had been made because the lending market had been previously considered “indecent” and Christian bankers were requesting exorbitant taxes of interest.29 Thus, the presence of Jews in Modena was formally authorized. As in many other cities and towns in northern and central Italy, in Modena Jews were useful

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in providing loans to the needy poor.30 Indeed, geographical movement and displacement ceased to characterize the Modenas’ vicissitudes in the late fourteenth century while their Ashkenazi and Sephardi merchant counterparts, active in the Mediterranean and central Europe, were much less stable and secure during the whole early modern period. What I have called the “urban model of Italian city Jews” originated in this kind of permanent settlement. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the vicissitudes of the Modena family were very similar to those of other contemporary Jewish families in the north and center of the Italian peninsula. The bank allowed the settlement and stabilization of the first generation in the city. The Jewish bank of late medieval and early modern Italy has been defined as the first element necessary for any kind of settlement. It was characterized by both an advantageous mobile structure and networks of mutual protection that could connect an individual with other moneylenders throughout Italy.31 In the mid-fifteenth century, Bonaiuto and Angelo Modena were able to expand their relations in various cities in northern Italy—mainly in Bologna, Ferrara, and Venice— through family matrimonial strategies and professional networks.32 At the time, the rights of the Modenas (then called also de Mutina, the Latin cognate of “from Modena”) were rather limited. They mainly consisted of freely practicing Judaism, owning a cemetery, and slaughtering animals according to Jewish law (sheh>itah).33 Moreover, as moneylenders they were allowed to have a synagogue in their private house, open only to relatives, business partners, and collaborators. Only in 1473 did Italian Jews in the duchy obtain authorization to celebrate their own ceremonies publicly.34 The house of the Modenas and the bank were located in Contrada San Giorgio,35 in the city’s historical downtown district. The synagogue, established in the house, was the center for prayer and the social life of Modenese Jews; the rite adopted was the Italian one, and the place was protected by ducal decrees against theft, damages, and potential offenses.36 In 1472 Elhanan Modena furnished it with a precious wooden engraved aron ha-kodesh (Torah ark) coated with paint and gold, which is now preserved at the Cluny Museum in Paris.37 At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Modenas were considered to be the most illustrious Jewish family in the city. Perhaps due to their ancient presence in the peninsula and to the adoption of the Italian minhagim (customs), they presented themselves as Italian Jews and were recognized as such in the duchy—a label that in the previous century had assured Jews more possibilities for obtaining a charter in an Italian city. In 1519 there were two banks in the city: the first, in the area of San Giorgio, belonged to the cousins

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Graziadio and Bonaiuto Modena, while the second, in Contrada de’ Servi, belonged to Isac Della Volta, son of Salomone d’Argenti.38 Furthermore, by this time, some members of the family had gained fame as rabbis and literati throughout northern Italy; at the end of the century, Leone in Venice and Mordechai from Ferrara were acknowledged as important scholars.39 What was considered to be a peculiar, utilitarian business association between a Christian notary and the moneylender Graziadio Modena appeared in the local chronicler Tomaso Lancellotti’s writings in September 1555: Zirolino the son of Ser Julio, the son of Ser Zacharia de Pazan, Modenese notary. . . . People who were not willing to pay used to go to him and Zirolino defended and negotiated a lot, and he seemed to have the podestà and the other officials in his hand and also he took care of all the contracts of Bonaiuto, a Jew who died two years ago; Zirolino acted as a notary on behalf of the Jew Gratiadio [Graziadio Modena] and he was always in business with these Jews during both holidays and working days and they were always together. Ask about this the farmers of the campaigns in the south in which they have been treated by Jews because of Zirolino’s contracts and then by others in Modena.40 In 1553 the moneylender Bonaiuto Modena died; he owned part of the bank in Contrada San Giorgio that was acquired entirely by Graziadio. Bonaiuto and his brother Beniamino had previously moved to nearby Vignola and had acquired a bank in that town thanks to previous privileges such as the one accorded by the marquise of Puglia. Bonaiuto’s heirs continued his business. The following year, after the death of Isac Della Volta, the already mentioned owner of the bank in Contrada de’ Servi in Modena, this activity was continued by his son David as the principal manager who owned two-thirds of the bank. Isaac and his brothers, the sons of Angelo, acquired and administered the remaining third.41 Later, Shemaiah Modena also acquired the bank in Contrada de’ Servi; his business brought tragic consequences. Both the nun Lucia Poppi’s diary and Modena’s Autobiography record that, on March 15, 1557, Shemaiah Modena was murdered. Shemaiah, who had a passion for alchemy, was betrayed by the Modenese Christian Antonio Salvatico who, after convincing him to dress as a king in elegant clothes and jewels as a joke in order to practice a particular kind of alchemic-magical ritual, led him into his house, killed him, and stole

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all Shemaiah’s goods. Shemaiah’s body was found a few days later; investigations were conducted after “the loud reactions (clamor) of Jews in Modena.”42 The Jewish community of Modena had clearly acquired a collective voice rather than being represented by just a few individuals. Furthermore, despite different fortunes and vicissitudes, in two centuries the Modenas had firmly consolidated their position as an affluent and active family within both the local Jewish community and the non-Jewish society.

A Diverse Jewish Diaspora in Modena: Challenges, Adaptations, and Changes At the beginning of the 1560s, the Sanguinettis, an Ashkenazi family (hebrei tedeschi) of bankers, moved from Sanguinetto near Mantua to Modena because of a ducal invitation and guarantee of privileges.43 Led by the family patriarch Jacob, the Sanguinettis settled in a large building with a house, the bank, and a synagogue in Contrada de’ Servi. The Sanguinettis retained their Ashkenazi minhagim, and played an important leadership role among the other Ashkenazim in the city’s Jewish community. When the Sanguinettis arrived, the cultural influence and economic prominence of the Modenas was challenged and their banking monopoly ended. Graziadio Modena tried to fight the newcomers. Starting in 1565, the Modenas filed a long series of lawsuits against the Sanguinettis, charging them with irregularities.44 These lawsuits lasted over ten years. A report (memoriale) from May 5, 1565, presented by the Sanguinettis’ lawyer states: During the last months, at the instigation of Graziadio Modena, in the name of Your Majesty an order was issued to the most faithful servant Jacob Sanguinetti, banker in Modena at the de Servi bank requiring him to show his books to the consultant of the ducal chamber in the bank of San Giorgio. This he did, and then once the aforementioned books were examined diligently by the aforementioned consultant, and eventually declared to be in order, free of the irregularities that had been charged [by Graziadio], nevertheless, being still unsatisfied after the books were returned [to Sanguinetti], Graziadio arranged and declared by sending new letters to the podestà and the judge in Modena that those books be confiscated [again]. This took place on the Holy Thursday. From that time on these books were able

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to be examined [again] and even ten copies of them are not yet been returned as [Graziadio] so wished, and yet, with all this useless delay in the complete restitution of these books, the magistrates still did not find anything illicit. Because, Your Majesty, it is not right that at a request of Graziadio, a real enemy of both Sanguinetti and all of his household, he [Sanguinetti] had been severely damaged and left without his books (which contain the majority of the accounts of his business in Modena), he pleas with Your Majesty that You deign to enjoin that his books be returned without delay with the prohibition that [Sanguinetti and his family] not be troubled any more on the matter. And this he humbly begs, notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary.45 Thus, in spite of some inspections of the Sanguinettis’ bank ordered by the duke in person in 1565 and 1572, and after the examination of the account books of the bank of Servi, Jacob Sanguinetti was declared innocent of any irregularity. However, ten years later, probably after the death of Graziadio (1578) and before that of Jacob (1589), the two families began to respect each other’s role and helped each other in dealings with the duke in order to avoid new competitors in their commercial activities. In the 1580s, the two families managed a third bank together in San Felice, a village near Modena, whose rent amounted to around 200 scudi per year.46 Every ten years, beginning in 1553, the Modenas—first Graziadio Modena and then his son Moisè (1539– 1630), Leone Modena’s relative—had requested and obtained from the ducal authorities the renewal of their banking charters in the name of the entire family and partners.47 Similarly, Jacob was the leader of the Sanguinettis and regularly petitioned the duke and the ducal chamber in order to have his own charter renewed. In 1621 the heirs of Calmo, Samuel, and Viviano (1553–ante 1610) and the heirs of Moisè, all members of the Sanguinetti family and bankers, requested and obtained the renewal of the license of their bank in Contrada de’ Servi for the following ten years.48 In addition to Italian and Ashkenazi Jews, Modena was also inhabited by Sephardi Jews, many of whom had previously settled in nearby Ferrara, after the 1492 and 1497 expulsions from Spain and Portugal, and then in 1598 moved to Modena. In sixteenth-century Ferrara, Spanish and Portuguese Jews established a large and prosperous Sephardi Jewish community.49 Some Sephardi Jews had already moved to Modena via Genova in 1492—according to a local chronicle, “famiglie di Iudei che sono capitate lie a Genova venute de le parte

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di Spagna [Jewish families who ended up in Genoa from Spain].”50 In 1548 a group of Portuguese Jews settled in Modena.51 Other Jewish refugees arrived in Modena after the 1591 expulsion from Milan.52 Nevertheless, despite those settlements, in Modena Sephardi Jews (and conversos) never had the strength to challenge the leadership of the Modenas and Sanguinettis, nor did they exercise the influence that their counterparts had in Ferrara or in Reggio Emilia—the third city of the duchy—in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Rather, they integrated into the preexisting Jewish society after some failed attempts to avoid taxation.53 In addition, the Modenese Jewish population increased with the arrival of Jewish immigrants from Bologna from where Jews were expelled in 1569 and from Ferrara after the devolution of 1598.54 Among them were members of the Malachim and Norsa families—the latter perhaps the most illustrious Jewish family from Ferrara—moved to Modena. While in Modena, Elia Malachim de Mutina, a branch of the Modena family, and Isaac Norsa and their sons expanded family connections, moneylending, and commercial activities. Their bank in Ferrara had provided them a dimension of networking within and beyond the Jewish world.55 At the turn of the sixteenth century, Modenese Jewish bankers transformed their economic activities. The potential of the banks was limited, but their mobile structures were demonstrated to be extremely useful in building networks of commercial, economic, and social contacts within and beyond the duchy. In the case of expulsions or the nonrenewal of a charter, the activity could easily be transplanted elsewhere, and its networking nature was extremely useful for connecting with other Jewish and non-Jewish operators throughout central and northern Italy. Thus, mobility and networking ability were perhaps the greatest resources for affluent Jewish families at the time. This was not just characteristic of the Modenese Jewish society; for example, the Venetian Leone Modena was able to exploit, even if not always successfully, his broad family connections in Venice, Ferrara, and Modena. From 1604 to 1607 he lived and worked in Ferrara with his uncle and maintained ties with his Modenese relatives also via business interactions.56 By the second half of the sixteenth century, the Modenas and the Sanguinettis had expanded their activities into trading, and eventually developed credit activities on a large scale. They opened shops and businesses, alone or together with other Jewish families. These shops manufactured and sold textiles, clothes, jewels, and silverwork. At the same time, they developed a large number of short-lived commercial associations, which became one of the main characterizing factors of the Modenese Jewish community in the seventeenth and

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eighteenth centuries. These partnerships and small firms began to specialize in the manufacture of a few commodities and in trades with satisfactory incomes. Around 1600 Abram Modena traded precious stones with Viennese jewelers.57 In 1607 his son Moisè obtained, together with Leone Fano, a charter for trading “mercanzie e traffici e di potere cambiare denari.”58 In the same years, Pellegrino Formiggini and his brother Mirra traded jewels with the duke of Mantua.59 In 1609 Abram Bondi from Ferrara managed a business trading oil with his nephew Pellegrino Sanguinetti, grandchild of the aforementioned Jacob.60 Moisè Modena died in 1630 during the plague, but in the two previous decades he had sold the two-thirds of the bank he had previously managed with the Sanguinettis to Isaac Rovigo, and had expanded his own activities trading in textiles, jewels, and silver. In the ghetto, during the mid-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Modenas owned three shops for the production and trade of silver objects and jewels: one inside the ghetto and the other two in the Strada Maestra, where the most important shops of the city were located. His house in Contrada San Giorgio hosted the family synagogue and a Jewish school for children.61 In the seventeenth century, the Sanguinettis began to specialize in the manufacture and trade of silk and other textiles. In the following century, as we shall see, they owned all the waterwheels of the city and a factory for the production of veils. In the 1630s, Pellegrino and Simone, heirs of Isaac and Jacob, respectively, rented out in the name of all their brothers the fourth part of their bank to a relative, Samuele Sanguinetti, recently arrived in Modena.62 By the 1650s, all the family members had sold their quotas of the old bank and were active in different forms of craftsmanship.63 For both families, the Modenas and the Sanguinettis, the evolution from moneylending to craftsmanship and trade of silver objects, jewels, textiles, and other goods became a crucial factor for both the expansion of their influence within the Modenese Jewish community and for the emergence of their leadership in commerce and economy in Modena and the duchy. Their leading position was mirrored in different phases of settlement and spatial organization in the city. The two Sanguinetti synagogues, for example, were the main cultural centers for Ashkenazi Jews in Modena. Between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, Calmo, Simon, Emanuele, and Moisè, sons of Jacob, adopted a rotation system in order to administer both the bank and the synagogue. Each of them owned one-fourth of the family properties, as Simon Sanguinetti stated to the inquisitor in 1601: “All the Sanguinettis took care of and are owners of the synagogue, but in

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particular the care of the synagogue is in [the hands of ] the ones who eventually administer the bank.”64 For the Sanguinettis, the synagogue was not only a necessary place for liturgical activities but also a symbol of the family’s pride and unity to be exhibited in front of the Jewish community and the city. In this sense, the function of a family synagogue was very much like that of a family chapel in Italian Christian society before the Council of Trent (1545–63). Even when he owned a private synagogue in the 1620s, Simon still maintained his portion and took part in the administration of the family synagogue.65 At the beginning of the seventeenth century, at least twenty-two families belonged to the Sanguinetti “public synagogue” and maintained their minhagim and original prayer books, some with Yiddish translations, in different buildings in the central Contrada de’ Servi around the Canalchiaro neighborhood.66 Thus, the two areas around Canalchiaro and San Giorgio were the two poles where all Modenese Jews (including the poor) settled and lived before 1638. Both were, and are, located nearby the main Modenese squares (Piazza Grande and Piazzetta Torre). During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, these sites were very similar in many aspects to Jewish areas in other towns, such as in Veneto outside of Venice.67 In the case of the Modenas and the Sanguinettis, the settlement had originally been determined by professions, daily politics, old habits consolidated over the decades, and rituals, but perhaps also by the necessity of defense against potential attacks from the non-Jewish population.68

“Beggars, Vagabonds and Similar, and Others Also Jews” Despite their economic mobility, the Modenas and the Sanguinettis had not been immune from being associated with other marginalized groups such as the poor and prostitutes. Yet, thanks to their and other merchants’ leadership in Modena, Jews faced marginalization with some opportunities for negotiation, while the poor and prostitutes became the center of attention within both the ducal and church attempts at reformation of the city without any collective agency. Jewish bodies had been publicly stigmatized through the imposition of the badge, enforced in Christian Europe since 1215. In a pioneering study, Diane Owen Hughes demonstrates how, in early fifteenth-century Umbria, Franciscan rhetoric contributed to marking Jewish women who wore earrings as sexually promiscuous and comparable to prostitutes, an association

Figure 2. Camillo Sappori and Cornelio Gadaldini, Pianta di una parte della città, zona di Canalchiaro, 1621. Shown is the area of Canalchiaro with Contrada Castellaro and Contrada della Cervetta (Sanguinetti), where the Sanguinettis moved in 1614 and lived in a complex of buildings they owned until ghettoization. Archivio Storico Comunale di Modena. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali per il Turismo.

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that then extended up to the north of the Italian peninsula. Later on, Jewish women were required to wear earrings while Jewish men had to exhibit a badge, an “O” (a thin circle in yellow cloth), attached to their clothes in many cities in central and northern Italy. In late medieval and early modern Italy, sartorial marks were used to brand Jews and prostitutes. Yet, as the politics of isolation and confinement, beginning in the mid-sixteenth century, were enlarged to other “suspicious” groups, the tool of the sartorial mark was also employed.69 For example, only three years after he had promulgated the Cum Nimis Absurdum and ghettoized the Jews of Rome, with a new bull, Postquam Divina Bonitas (known also as Contras Apostatas), Paul IV intended to have all former monks who had left their orders in the previous decades return to their monasteries; those who were recalcitrant were condemned to wear a black cloth beret encircled by two white bands.70 Jews and prostitutes were essential to promoting social tranquility, mostly providing money and sex, respectively, to the needy social classes in the city. Similarly to prostitutes, Jews were considered polluting elements within the city, who would glorify the purity of members of the Christian society by contrast.71 In Modena the association between prostitutes and Jews emerged clearly in a ducal edict (grida) published in 1549 that stated, “In order to keep the distinction between good and bad individuals, believers and infidels,” prostitutes, dishonest women, and Jews, both men and women, were forbidden from wearing gold, silver, and velvet and silk clothes, although Jewish men and women could decorate their clothes with small bands in those precious materials. Finally, Jewish women and men could avoid these limitations if they agreed to wear a distinctive badge, a yellow or blue letter or other sign on their chests.72 In 1570 distinguishing marks became obligatory for both Jews and prostitutes: Jews had to apply an orange badge to their clothes, while prostitutes had to always walk in pairs, bareheaded and carrying a glove in their hands. As has been suggested, the presence of both the poor and Jews was also functional and even considered necessary to the social balance in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy and its Christian values.73 The plague of 1576 marked one of the most difficult moments in the history of northern Italian cities like Modena, Mantua, Bologna, and Ferrara. The anxiety regarding the spread of the plague constantly emerged in the publication of new laws promulgated by magistrates. In 1576 the lords of the Modena Board of Health issued a decree that prohibited prostitutes—along with tricksters, rogues, knaves, herbalists, street singers, and comedians— from entering Modena because of the fear that they could transmit the disease.

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The same edict announced that state officials were “to often inspect the houses of Jews and should make sure that they are kept clean, along with the houses of the poor of St. Peter.”74 Significantly, Jews were not denied entrance to or residence in the city like prostitutes, but they were associated with them and put under surveillance along with the poor because of the virtual danger from their houses. The association of Jews with prostitutes or the poor as potential elements of contagion is significant in and of itself in order to understand their role in Counter-Reformation Modena. Yet, importantly, in Modena Jews were not considered to be diabolical infectors as in medieval western and central Latin Europe. In the entire Italian peninsula, from the second half of the sixteenth through the seventeenth century, the poor and peddlers came to be seen as a more and more alarming, potentially subversive, and threatening presence for the civic and ecclesiastical authorities, mainly because of their high concentration in urban areas. During the ancien régime, there were two basic attitudes toward poverty, both tracing back to the fourteenth century: poverty could be considered “a blessed condition, even if at times idle, dishonest, and hypocritical people could abuse it,” or “a social status, both sordid and degrading,” capable nevertheless of being ennobled by the heroic decisions of splendid champions of Christian virtues such as Saint Francis’s followers to embrace Madonna Povertà as their own lover.75 In the major Italian cities, one of the more important developments in this attitude emerged before the end of the sixteenth century through an action that aimed to virtually segregate all beggars, including those who had been granted permits to reside in town in enormous institutions similar to barracks. The poor were strictly prohibited from performing degrading actions like the questua (begging). The only exceptions were those who had collected money from hospitals, monasteries, convents, or charity structures since the previous century. 76 The practice of periodically gathering the sick and mendicants in the cities and attempts to reallocate them in existing hospitals traces back to the fourteenth century; in Milan, for example, these measures had been in force since 1396. In Modena, by 1592, places devoted to gathering prostitutes, the poor, and the sick had been established;77 in September 1598, a grida was published against the presence in town of “li mendicanti, vagabondi et smili, et altri anche hebrei . . . [per] causa di sanità [beggars, vagabonds and similar, and others also Jews for sanitary reasons].”78 The novelty in the early modern period consisted of the institution of “special hospitals” for hosting and rehabilitating beggars; in some cases, these were invested with both judicial and

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administrative power over individuals who were considered recalcitrant to the new discipline.79 Jewish leaders in Modena and elsewhere, who often adopted the system of the kibbutzim (gathering letters), in part shared control over their own poor and due to anxiety about their presence in the city. Jewish leaders, scholars, and rabbis supported and signed letters on behalf of the poor, who were requesting from the gatherers (kabhatzim) admission into cities and at times permission to beg there, usually in front of synagogues. Poor fathers needing to collect money for their daughters’ dowries used a similar procedure. For example, in 1603 Viviano Sanguinetti, Moisè di Eliseo, the hazan (cantor) of Modenas’ “Sinagoga Grande,” the rabbis Netanel Trabotti, Isac Alatrini, and Isaia Samuele da Iesi put together a kibbutz addressing the rabbi Meshullam (Kapman ben Shemayah) to welcome Angelo Tedesco in Mantua and help him because he was in danger of being called in front of the local Inquisition in Trieste on false accusations.80 The kibbutz system was widely used in Modena to control, admit, prevent entrance, and even send the Jewish poor away.81 Yet the Jewish poor consolidated themselves, and in so doing were helped by the emerging Jewish elite. In 1616, for example, Salvatore Modena and his brothers conceded a house to them that had originally belonged to the Melli family, to be used as a synagogue.82 Concerns about cleanliness, sanitation, and health along with attempts by the clergy to impose concepts of Christian purity and Catholic perfection had characterized Modenese urban transformations since the 1590s and notably affected Jews. Because of the initiative of the noble Ludovica Rangoni, a convent to host female neophytes was built in 1596 in the center of the city. After years of tension and at the expense of the Sanguinettis, the Church of San Bartolomeo, the new Jesuit church, was constructed in 1607 and consecrated in 1613. In 1614 the Sanguinettis were obliged to leave their house in Contrada de’ Servi “that [was] large, including four couryards and thirty rooms,”83 because the Jesuits needed a large palace to locate their collegium and their church. The Sanguinettis moved their buildings and storehouses to Contrade Castellaro and Cervetta (always in the area of Canalchiaro); significantly, at least since 1621, the latter was nicknamed “Contrada Sanguinetti” (see Figure 2).84 Even if this public recognition of their presence in the city did not compensate them for the loss of their family buildings, it showed a dynamic of ongoing negotiation of their presence in the city vis-à-vis their political disenfrachisement. Since the beginning of the seventeenth century, periodic expulsions of the destitute, seclusion of mendicants in assigned charitable hospices, and

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segregation of prostitutes had occurred in the city. In 1621 prostitutes, who had resided in the Strada delle carceri (today’s Via Albinelli), south of Piazza Grande, were obliged to move to a specific area next to Porta Bologna near Piazzale San Pietro, although at first the Modenese owners refused to rent them their houses.85 Enclosures for prostitutes, the sick, and Jews, along with other marginal people such as catechumens, nuns, and orphans, were common in the early modern period. Being cloistered in nunneries was a condition considered necessary for religious women, who only as nuns could be theologically and socially accepted, especially after the Council of Trent; catechumens were often questioned in their devotion to Christianity and loyalty to the church; and orphans lacked the protection and respectability of a family.86 With the ghettoization of Jews in 1638, Modena had completed a sort of gradual “internal exile.”87

Modenese Jewish Families Before the Duke and His Government During the first quarter of the seventeenth century, Modena had become the site of increased feudalization and acquisition of nobility, a city of political opportunism, and a weak headquarters of the major administrative, fiscal, and judiciary state powers. At the same time, the city found itself caught between various attempts at urbanization, pressures from the Modenese urban proletariat, and strong requests advanced by weakened workers and farmers in the state. The latter’s precariousness was due to the persistent importance of the landed propriety along with the economic crisis in the production and sale of wheat.88 In 1600 one Modenese lira was valued at 1.5403 Italian lire; in 1639 its value had diminished to 0.9242; and by 1679 it had fallen to 0.5721.89 In Modena civic magistracies preserved a remarkable political and cultural influence because of the autonomy they had enjoyed from the Este family and its court during the sixteenth century. According to the statutes promulgated in 1548, which mostly referred to a previous version of 1487, the Conservatori were in charge of ruling the government of the duchy, judging merchants and artisans, and regulating the marketing of various food commodities. In addition, they exercised broad control over the urban decor of the city and public education. The City Hall council was also in charge of determining estimi and boccatici (tax assessments on the basis of real properties and personal taxes on the basis of the number of family members). The magistracy of

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the Conservatori, characterized by a strong oligarchic organization and relative independence, inevitably entered into competition with the duke shortly after the arrival of the court in Modena.90 The duke’s 1603 attempt at administrative reformation was in vain, and the new politics of the Estes consisted only of fiscal imposition on farmers and the distribution of monopolies for the production and commerce of iron, soap, glass, grapes, leather, and paper to Jewish operators. The exploitation of the land was never accompanied by a parallel and compensatory development of the mercantile activities led by influential classes as occurred elsewhere, such as in Venice.91 The economic depression involved crafts, commerce, and finance, and was very similar to the other contemporaneous crisis that affected the areas of Bologna, Ferrara, and Mantua. Yet only Modena persisted in its incapacity to face this crisis both politically and economically. These are the reasons that Lino Marini has specified to explain the inclusion of Jews in trades and exclusive licenses (appalti and privative), along with other economic advantages that the dukes granted Jews. These circumstances would have determined the development of utilitarian bonds that connected Modenese Jewish merchants with the state.92 Yet to a certain extent the ducal politics toward Jews appears more complex than Marini’s analysis presupposes. The fact that the Estes favored Jewish settlements and economic activities does not imply a philo-Jewish politics, something that remained unknown overall in Italy and Europe during the whole of the early modern age. Furthermore, although in the previous century the Estes had granted the Jewish community in Ferrara the right to establish a rabbinical tribunal with broad, almost absolute autonomy, at the beginning of the seventeenth century in Modena such liberal concessions were unknown.93 Within this vacuum, Jewish merchants demonstrated their usefulness, a component characteristic of Jewish settlements and resettlements in early modern Europe. In the Este Duchy, a semiabsolutist state deprived of a real mercantilism, this usefulness remained the basis for the utilitarian relationship between the Jewish community and the dukes during the entire early modern period. Since the late sixteenth century, the status of the Jews had become a crucial territory of struggle and confrontation for the ducal chamber, not only with the Inquisition but also with the other institutions and powers in the city: the Conservatori and the Anziani of the city council, the nobility, members of professional corporations, local clergy, and the ecclesiastical authorities in Rome. Indeed, Jews not only had to face the European wars like their Christian neighbors but also to confront the hostility of local merchants, the presence of Dominicans and Franciscans, and the ever-ambiguous attitude of the ruling family.

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During the first quarter of the seventeenth century, the Modenas and Sanguinettis dealt with this historico-political context as individual actors, keeping relationships ad personam with the ruling family and the state secretary Giovanni Battista Laderchi, and negotiating charters and permissions for their own family networks or for the entire Jewish community when issues involved questions of general interest, such as when the Sanguinettis acquired a new cemetery in 1621 to be used by the entire Jewish community. The Sanguinettis—according to some citizens of Sgarzeria Street—acting “in the name of the whole Modenese Jewry,” stipulated a contract with the nobles Montecuccoli “for a plot of land of this contrada and nearby to the northern walls” to “farvi il luoco per sepelirvi i loro morti” (in which to make a place where they could bury the dead).94 Moreover, since the beginning of the century in Modena, inquisitors such as Giovanni da Montefalcone and Arcangelo Calbetti da Recanati intuited that these influential families were the key to the Jewish community, and gradually took action against them.95 The question of the Jews’ status was often a pretext for Este dukes to test their supremacy over the ecclesiastical and city authorities, interfering in favor of Jews against inquisitorial proceedings or favoring the inquisitors, the clergy, and also the local corporations in consenting to the establishment of the Jewish ghetto. If, as we shall see, ducal intervention in defending Jews from accusations of the erection of new synagogues was successful, in cases of accusations concerning prohibited and/or uncensored books the duke had no loopholes to use on the Jews’ behalf.96 Some Dominicans (padri zoccolanti) contributed to inflaming the city, culminating in well-attended sermons against the Jews’ presence in Modena and their moneylending activities, especially during the seasons of Carnival and Easter when anti-Jewish sentiments tended to intensify. Spaccini’s chronicle reports: On January 7, 1618, Father Fidele, the preacher, celebrated the communion with many people, and then in his sermon declared that he knows that the ghetto of the Jews will be established because he knows that the principle [at its base] is good. A possessed woman has annoyed him, but immediately he won her over and made people cry. After lunch the Carnival parade began. After sundown, the aforementioned father has delivered in his church a wonderful sermon and has repeated it so many times: “Blood, blood [on Jews],” and he delivers those sermons while the holy Eucharist is on the altar and he made all [devotees] genuflect and all the people around were crying.97

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The presence of Dominican and Franciscan friars, who delivered ferocious sermons against Jews in Modena following the fifteenth-century tradition initiated by Bernardino da Feltre in Florence, was not a novelty. The chronicler Spaccini also describes in detail a visit from the popular Franciscan preacher Brother Bartolomeo Campi da Saluzzo, who came to Modena on July 24, 1602, leaving one week later.98 During this time, he took the opportunity to denounce, among other excesses, the privileges given to the Jews of the duchy.99 Yet the sermon by the Dominican friar Fidele in 1618 reached an until then unknown success without a particularly astute strategy. It presented all the anti-Judaic elements of medieval derivation—the declaration of hatred, the invocation of blood, and the presence of the Eucharist—associated with popular violence against Jews. Most important, he also supported the corporations’ request to seclude the Jews of Modena in a ghetto. His sermon was indeed efficacious. The decision made by Cesare to ghettoize the Jews in December 1617, and then reiterated after the friar Fidele’s sermonizing, was one of the more evident changes in the relations and balances that had occurred within the duchy since 1598.100 It was one of the various compromises adopted by the dukes during the first half of the seventeenth century in order to navigate the different pressures with which the court had to struggle. The following year, all the representatives of the corporations went before the city council and made contributions to the city expenses for the erection of the serraglio, or ghetto.101 Yet the same complex, ambiguous, and utilitarian relationship between the dukes and the Jews also affected the corporations’ attitude toward the Jewish minority. When the Corporation of the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths reformulated its own statutes in 1622, it specifically included the presence of Jews as ubbidienti ebrei (Jewish affiliates) as did the other city corporations.102 The presence of Jews in all the city guilds was an almost unique feature in the Italian peninsula and elsewhere; this special status had supported the creation and consolidation of a leading Jewish mercantile elite in the city for more than two centuries. Although Jewish merchants had an impressive presence in the economy of the state in the nearby Duchy of Mantua, like their counterparts in Modena, they were never allowed to enroll in the city guilds and their relation to them was always conflictual.103 The further process of ghettoization was enacted along with the promulgation of a series of restrictions, imposed on the Jewish minority by the duke himself. In December 1620, Duke Cesare published a grida with the strength of “inviolable law,” which established that all Jews older than nine years of age, both male and female, must display a visible orange or yellow badge on their hats or clothes. The edict included other ordinances whose goal was to keep Jews and

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Christians separate; for example, the centuries-long prohibition against Christian servants (with an emphasis on women) in Jewish homes that had already been reiterated by Alfonso II was extended to “shops and elsewhere.”104 Jews were authorized to hire Christian artisans and workers only under the condition that the employees would work in their own houses, without direct and continuous dependence on the Jewish master. Inquisitors were entitled to try Jews for lodging Christian servants in their houses or having intimate contact with Christians, practices that were considered to be offenses against Christianity. In addition, every Christian under the age of forty-five was prohibited from entering a Jewish house. Those who were older than forty-five were authorized to provide small services such as laundry, porterage, and keeping the fire for the Sabbath during the day. The rationale for these prescriptions was that youth, especially women, could be easily influenced and might even be attractive in the eyes of the Jews. Finally, Jews were prohibited from opening schools that would admit non-Jews and generally teaching Christians “any sort of science, abacus, singing, playing instruments, dancing, and other [ludic] activities.”105 The edict reflects centuries-long church obsessions about Jewish pollution of Christian society; it ends with the list of fines for individuals who would dare to offend Jews.106 These prohibitions did not affect the roles of the Modenas, the Sanguinettis, and the Usiglios, who as Jewish massari (lay leaders) continued to negotiate the charters for the permanence of Jews in Modena until 1631.107 Their roles became more and more influential in moments of difficulty for the Jewish community, such as in February 1624 when the Holy Office started a trial against some Jewish women—Angela Consili, Pellegrina Camerini, Marianna Modena, and Smeralda Pontassi—and Salomone Bondi di Rubiera, accused of improper employment of Christian servants (hiring Christian women under the age of forty-five who worked after sundown). In the end, eight families including the Modenas were summoned by the inquisitors; all were residing in Contrada Coltellini (also called Contrada de’ Macari and Contrada Hebreorum or degli ebrei) with the exception of the banker Moisè Modena and his wife, Marianna, who lived in Contrada San Gorgio.108 In 1600 Moisè had already been tried by the Holy Office for owning prohibited books, as we shall see in Chapter 2. In 1624 Moisè and his wife were accused of having a Christian female servant in their house all day, assigned to cleaning the house, sewing, and keeping the fire on the Sabbath, duties that brought the servant visibly outside of the household. Rabbi Moisè Della Brunetta and his wife, Anna Della Rocca, were accused of the same crime.109 Only

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the intervention of the massari Pellegrino Sanguinetti and Elia Malachim Modena led to a compromise with the inquisitors: the defendants admitted their error and paid a multa (fine) of fifteen scudi per family.110 The 1620s and 1630s were marked by a series of events that brought home the fragility of dynastic power. Alfonso II abruptly abdicated on July 24, 1629, to become a Capuchin monk only six months after his accession, and French armies descended into northern Italy while Spanish troops besieged the nearby Duchy of Mantua. The reign of the new and young duke Francesco I bracketed the Italian phase of the Thirty Years’ War, beginning in 1629 only months after the French and Spanish invasions and ending with his death one month after the Spanish sued for peace in 1659. Alice Jarrard has explored in detail the role of Francesco I in the Este Duchy, probing the role of culture in statecraft and the dynamic role of art in seventeenth-century political discourse. According to her analysis, Prince Francesco I tried to model his public persona on Domenico Gamberti’s Idea di un principe (Modena, 1659), defining his princely status in heroic terms and referring to the “grand concept” and to “princely splendor” in his letters.111 In Modena social stability was at the base of political security. Both had to mirror a clear and orderly urban structure: believing in God, following the prince, and accepting discrimination and divisions among classes were the foundation of the hierarchical organization of urban space. Thus, the decorum of a wellordered city included more and more clean streets, and beautiful and uniform facades. It represented by itself the attempt to realize order in a society divided by hierarchical bodies and inviolable social boundaries.112 The attention placed on the aesthetic represented a consistent element of change within the city that only in 1629 had been described by the poet Alessandro Tassoni as “smoky porticos and narrow streets / crooked, full of holes and manure / an air always thick and unpleasant / a continual emptying of little canals.”113 Francesco I aimed precisely at challenging this status, not only by restructuring and renovating urban spaces and the ducal palace but also by displaying governing gestures that restricted the movements of his subjects. One grida even prohibited carrying a sword in the town or ducal squares and other public spaces on pain of death. Other measures, such as a ban on card playing among the “plebeians” in Piazza Grande, were promulgated in order to make a good impression on visiting foreigners.114 The organization of Modena reflected the attitudes toward society elaborated by Italian political authors and literati at the Este court in the second half of the sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century. Writings by

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Figure 3. Piazza Grande a Modena (during Carnival), oil on canvas, mid-seventeenth century. Museo Civico d’Arte, Modena. Fotografia Istituto per i Beni Culturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna (PatER–Catalogo digitale del Patrimonio Culturale).

Leon Battista Alberti, Nicolò Gozze, and Giacomo Lanteri seem particularly poignant with respect to society, classes, and urban transformations. These authors considered their contemporary society to be structured into orders or classes; at times they actualized this perspective in proper theoretical social and urban programs. In the mid-fifteenth century, Alberti theorized a new domestic economy in its entirety, while Gozze and Lanteri devoted much attention to the relationships between social hierarchies and housing developments, offering premises for a completely new urban program of “aristocraticization” of the city of Modena.115 In this process, Marco Folin sees an encounter between the prince and the upper classes under the tutelage of the CounterReformation Church.116 The need to marginalize Jews, both poor and affluent, and make them invisible in the city fabric was also a product of this context.

The Jewish Influential Families and Their Leadership After the changes of 1617 and early 1618, Modenese Jewish banking and merchants further challenged the organization of their community. In November

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1618, they obtained authorization from Duke Cesare to “appoint leaders (massari) and tax collectors (tassatori) among themselves, empowered with the authority of administering the business of this Università from time to time, and [to] take care of the details of their expenses, alimonies, and other aspects aimed at public goals and [to] call for meetings on the basis of their needs.”117 In so doing, the more affluent members of the community were granted the institutionalization necessary to exercise more influence within the Jewish society because of their role as intermediaries with the ducal chamber. This further step was evidently not accepted without resistance within the Jewish community at large; shortly after, the Sanguinettis requested that Duke Cesare intervene against “meetings that both national [naturalized] and foreign Jews gather without their intervention, and requested that it be prohibited to have deliberations in the three synagogues regarding general matters without the presence of the same Sanguinettis.”118 Another important turning point for the consolidation of the Jewish leadership occurred in March 1619 during negotiations between the Jewish community, the Conservatori, and the ducal authorities regarding the location of the ghetto, the exchanges and rent of houses between Christians and Jews, the condition of the houses, and the charges for renovations of the area. The Jewish leaders succeeded in establishing the ghetto’s location in the center of the city—around the Contrade Blasia and Coltellini, where the majority of Jews already lived (only forty-three Jewish families were living outside this area), rather than in the more peripheral area of Contrada Mazzocchi, as proposed by the municipal authorities.119 As is evident from contemporary maps and the project of the approved ghetto, the area was very close to Piazza Grande and Piazzetta della Torre, ancient marketplaces characterized by daily commercial exchanges and contact.120 A peripheral area would have implied the relocation of almost all the Jewish families, their isolation, and damage to their commercial activities. Apparently, the opposition that had emerged within the Jewish community against the Sanguinettis’ sole leadership had been successful since, in the 1620s and 1630s, the massari were always elected from the banker families, the Sanguinettis, Modenas, and Usiglios; middle-class merchants held office in the kahal (the elected council of the community). In June 1621, the Jewish community decided to proceed with the election of a small council (va‘ad katon) of twelve members, who would administer the economy and finances of the community for the following decade. The elections took place in the Sanguinetti synagogue. The elected included eight shop owners (bottegari)

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Figure 4. Plan of the ghetto in Modena, c. 1619. Archivio di Stato di Modena, Archivio per Materie, Ebrei, busta 15. Photo by author. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali per il Turismo.

(Moisè Crimonese, Benzion Rico, Salamon Usiglio, Abram Sanguinetti, Isac de Norzi, Amadio di Verona, and two Malachim heirs) and four bankers (Pellegrino, Samuele and Simone Sanguinetti, and Aaron Berekhiah Modena). The offices were administered on the basis of a rotation by pairs; close relatives were not allowed to hold office at the same time.121 Instead of a subversion of the balance within the Jewish community, bankers and middle-class merchants reached an agreement and created their own space within the emerging va‘ad gadol. This balance became one of the means by which the Jewish community remained cohesive in the following two centuries.

Jewish Leaders Facing the Plague In 1630 the Jewish massari had to deal with the unexpected contagion of the plague that devastated Europe and new pressures from the ducal court. In Modena, the population was almost halved. The sick totaled 7,147 out of a population of 10,000.122 The number of deceased in 1629 was 892, while during

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the plague the dead totaled 4,062, of whom 3,623 died in houses in Modena, 217 Christians in the lazzaretti (the structures for receiving the sick and dying in order to contain the contagion), and 217 Jews (exactly the same number as the Christians) who died in their own lazzaretto.123 The association between Jews, foreigners, and potential carriers of the contagion was not new in early modern Europe; Jews had to be restricted to a specific place. Of note, no accusations against Jews as voluntary spreaders of the plague were ever made in Modena in the seventeenth century. Moreover, while due to the plague all the Jews who were residing in Mantua (at the time 1,600 souls) were expelled in the first months of 1630, hundreds found refuge in Modena and the Estes allowed them to stay in the city until the following year when the Gonzagas revoked the expulsion.124 Yet, in Modena since January 1630, the Conservatori had requested a restriction of Jewish moneylending activities.125 Shortly thereafter, in April when the contagion reached its apex, the new duke enforced a series of measures in agreement with the Conservatori that were without precedent: Francesco I authorized the inspection of all Jewish houses and inventories of Jews’ furniture and properties under the pretext of conducting a census of both the sick and the dead. He then declared that, in the case of the death of Jewish householders and relatives, their properties would be confiscated by the ducal camera.126 The legal justification at the base of such “illegal confiscation” is enunciated in a document preserved in the Cancelleria dei Conservatori: “Because of the decimation of the population in our city and that many casati [meaning a man’s immediate descendants and the other relatives living under the same roof ] have been annihilated and many have actually disappeared and that in the hands of the Jews who died, who conducted moneylending, it is well known that there is a large amount of gold, silver, and furniture [of members of those casati] and it will never occur that debtors [now dead] will redeem [their objects]. Consequently, in order to avoid that, these Jews do not inherit others’ goods with damages for the city.”127 If the rationale was to not allow Jews to remain in possession of pledges that would never be redeemed, which would be difficult to legally justify, the reason for the inspection of the houses of the Jews who died and the confiscation of the objects therein was evidently a slap in the face of the Jewish community. The ducal secretary, Andrea Codebò, was in charge of sending the duke a daily detailed report on the number of dead Jews, their names, and the location of their homes.128 The attempts at isolating Jews and restricting their autonomy in this dramatic framework became more aggressive: on August 2 an edict imposed a

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prohibition against burying any Jew outside of a prescribed place, and on August 26 another edict prohibited Jews from gathering to worship or socialize (“far precetto agli Hebrei che non facciano sinagoghe”). After October 3, Francesco I instituted an enclosure around Jews’ houses and prohibited them from leaving the designated perimeter.129 By reporting punctiliously the deaths in Jewish families, the notifications of Jewish dead relate both the devastation of the plague and the violence of the abusive expropriation of the Jews’ property. For example, on November 15 the Rubiera (or Rubieri) family died, and the report by Deputy Barbieri reads as follows: In the house of the Malachim (Modenas), above Mister Cornelio Codebò, Madona Diamante, wife of Rubieri, died during childbirth in a small room that is located above the courtyard of the aforementioned house. Shortly thereafter, her husband and one of her girls got sick and died in a small room with only one window that faces the roof nearby the Misters Codebò. After a while, the brother of the aforementioned Rubieri got sick and thank God died and so did another brother, called Loredano Rubieri, in the room that faces the street. In the second room Dineto, the father of the aforementioned sons and children, died and in the same room the aforementioned women got sick and recovered. In the same rooms are beds complete and some pallets.130 Thus, if the massari Modena, Sanguinetti, and Usiglio were capable of facing the plague and of assuring assistance to the sick within their lazzaretto, their attempts to stop this ducal expropriation turned out to be of no avail. The ever-ambiguous attitude of the ruling family that arbitrarily confiscated the familial patrimonies of Jews who died in the plague emerged once again with more dramatic consequences than in the previous years.

Jewish Leaders Facing Ghettoization The end of the plague coincided with another important change that took place in 1631 within the Jewish community: the formalization of the role of the most prominent individuals and their families as massari, a formal office instead of the “bankers,” and the formal recognition of the Università as a moderately self-regulating body to address the authorities. From this point on,

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the ducal authorities negotiated with the Università and the massari instead of the bankers as they had in the past.131 Only a few years later, in 1635, were Modenese Jews ordered by Francesco I to attend weekly conversionary sermons, a policy that was based on Pope Gregory XIII’s 1584 bull Sancta Mater Ecclesia, which introduced this ruling in the Papal States.132 The Jewish community wrote a letter of complaint to the duke stating that they were unwilling to obey this order and asking permission to instead attend sermons only once a month, with not all members of the family required to attend but just one representative from each.133 The request was temporarily granted.134 In the same year, the massari—Salomone Fiorentino, Pellegrino Sanguinetti, and Michele Malachim (Modena)—in the name of the Jewish community, tried again to oppose the establishment of the ghetto, presenting a plea to the duke with a humble incipit followed by determined and precise argumentation. The plea was aimed at showing the negative impact of creating a ghetto for both sanitation and economic reasons. Local merchants, dwellers, and owners of the houses in the area designed to host the ghetto, and the workers who would be involved in the construction—a minority of the population as was emphasized by the massari—were targeted as antagonists. The more compelling argument elaborated by the massari was that the inevitable decadence of the Jewish merchants that would follow ghettoization would bring disastrous consequences to the wealth of the nobility and the duke himself as well as a general impoverishment of the larger city population: This [the construction of the ghetto] should not be thought of as of greater advantage to Your Highness since [Your Highness] also will not desire the destruction of his subjects [the Jews]. Rather it behooves this Most Serene House [of yours] to help and favor [the Jews] beyond the fact that any commercial activity would be extinguished by the destitution and misery of the nation; the tax revenues would little by little be driven down to nothing; the [financial] rights of Your Highness would be reduced; and extraordinary imposts would not be worth anything. Thus, it cannot be claimed that the construction of the ghetto is in the interest of the city, because when the merchants are more numerous and more wealthy, they are better able to extend credit to the citizens and improve the prices of the goods in competition with others just as the Jews continuously do. And their books and accounting registers can confirm that the Jews are known beyond the

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city, from one city to another by means of their trade and number of shops and warehouses that make magnificent the city. . . . For who then would gain more advantage from this new construction? Only part of the citizens, merchants, and workers would receive any benefit from this new construction. The citizens who own the houses in the ghetto would because their houses are worth little at present on account of the quality of the place in its ruined and old condition and fetid air. For the erection of the place [i.e., the ghetto] would raise the value of the houses. In contrast, the houses of the Jewish poor that are outside the ghetto and because of the condition of their new material and perfect air are worth thousands of scudi, would lose their value with the alienation. The merchants would get some benefits because they would no longer have competition of the Jews. They would become wealthier because of the increase of their prices but the consequences will be damaging to the court, a loss to the nobility, and ruin for citizens and artisans. The workers would get benefits because the construction industry is their secure business and would have a certain profit.135 In the conclusion, the plea was extended to a broader picture, comparing the Este Duchy with the other states in the Italian peninsula and considering the difficult history of the last decades in order to demonstrate the unfavorable results of establishing a ghetto: Perhaps in this respect it should not be a reason of wonder that the number of ghettos in Italy is limited, being without such the State of Savoy, the State of Parma, the larger part of Tuscany, the larger part of the Venetian area, Alessandria in the State of Milan and the entire State of Monferrato. The fact that Rome, Florence, Mantua, Ferrara, Venice, and Padua make use of a ghetto is not surprise, given that these sites originated by a grace obtained by the Jews for the convenience of commerce, and for other requisites and circumstances. Not without reason did the Most Serene Duke Cesare of splendid memory in the years of Your Most Serene Majesty 1602–1618 avoid the construction of the new ghetto; after information about it was given orally and in writing the deliberation was suspended, and indeed in a time of famine and of plague, when the trade was reduced

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to nothing, when the Lucchese and Mantuan war were going on, and when the revisions of the system of taxation, and other fiscal pressures had also destroyed this nation [i.e., the Jews]. And therefore in view of each of the reasons we have put forth, even though cumulatively they are thirteen in number, we hope from the mercy of Your Highness Serenissima another deferment will occur until the aforementioned nation revives, and that on every occasion a ghetto not be to the liking of your Most Singular Prudence, and that the matter continues in the future as it has in the past, with the city being found incapable of having a ghetto because of the scant space of the site, the misery of the nation, the density of the people, the concourse of foreigners who now come among the Jews and who in the case of their new transmigration would in fact be so impeded that it would not take place at all.136 Three years later, the Venetian Jewish author Simone Luzzatto (1583–1663) published the famous Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei et in particular dimoranti nell’inclita Città di Venezia (Discourse concerning the status of the Jews, particularly those dwelling in the noble city of Venice; 1638), the first work that employed commercial usefulness along with civic loyalty and ethical standards as grounds for the toleration of Jews. Salomone Fiorentino, Pellegrino Sanguinetti, and Michele Malachim’s plea originated and remained in a local dimension, yet the idea of invoking mercantilism, even if in a micro key, as an argument for avoiding ghettoization in Modena is significant in and of itself. This argument, shortly after the publication of Luzzatto’s Discorso, would become a locus classicus in the absolutist discourse on Jews in Western Europe.137 The fact that the Modenese Jewish massari emphasized both a culture and an economy strongly connected to Modena and the Este Duchy was a reflection of their being “Jews of Italian cities,” that is, Modenese. By that time, the Sanguinettis and the Modenas had transformed themselves into lay leaders because of the prestige they enjoyed within the Jewish community and the evolution of their moneylending activities into the trade of silk textiles and jewels; ultimately, their leadership position evolved into a de facto formalized office. Because of their business networks, Modenese Jewish lay leaders were familiar with life in the Italian ghettos, and clearly in Venice. From their plea we have a precious indication of what the ghetto meant to them: spatial narrowness, misery of the nation, overcrowding of the population, and also the “presence of foreigners,” potentially dangerous for the Jewish community as a whole.

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Modenese Jewish Merchants and the Politics of Segregation While Luzzatto’s Discorso succeeded in avoiding the threat of a Jewish expulsion from Venice, the Modenese Jewish massari’s plea did not avoid ghettoization. The Jewish massari in their assertion in 1635 that the majority of the northern and central cities in the Italian peninsula did not host a Jewish ghetto was correct even though, in fact, the majority of Italian Jews were ghettoized: it suffices to think about the communities of Venice, Rome, Mantua, Ancona, Ferrara, and Padua whose Jewish populations were in proportions similar to Modena’s.138 Indeed, considering the history of the establishment of the ghettos in the Italian peninsula, ghettoization in Modena was enforced rather late. When comparing Modena on an Italian and European scale, the particular nature of the Modenese Jewish community and its leadership emerges. The first Italian ghetto was established in Venice in 1516 by the government of the Serenissima in an attempt to establish a compromise between the religious teachings of the Catholic state and its socioeconomic needs. First Italian and Ashkenazi Jewish bankers and then Sephardi merchants were allowed to settle in the Venetian Lagoon permanently, even if under the condition of the renovation of five-year and ten-year charters, respectively. Moreover, because of their status as polluters of the Corpus Christianum of the city, they had to live in a peripheral, confined area that would meet the approval of the Catholic Venetian society.139 Richard Sennett has aptly dubbed the image of the ghetto an “urban condom,” designed to shield Christian citizens in cosmopolitan Venice from the tactile pollution of Jewish flesh due to an intrinsic weakness of the government and an obsessive fear of mixing with the Other that could bring infection and seduction.140 As a result of the 1492 decree expelling Jews from countries under Spanish dominion, Jews were driven out of Sicily; other Jewish expulsions were from the Kingdom of Naples (1541), the Papal States with the exceptions of Ancona and Rome (1569), and the Duchy of Milan (1597). Starting in the 1570s and through the two following centuries, various states and cities in the Italian peninsula, such as the Este Duchy and Modena, which were independent from the Papal States and usually in favor of the inclusion of Jews in their city contexts, opted for Jewish ghettoization. The historical reasons were different in each city depending on the times and the local political circumstances, but it appears evident in cases such as Florence (1571), Siena (1572), Padua (1603), Mantua (1612), Turin (1679), and the eighteenth-century cases of Casale Monferrato (1724) and Moncalvo (1732), as well as Reggio Emilia (1670) in the Este

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Duchy that there was a precise intention to contain and control rather than pushing out the Jews. In the cities in which Jews were not expelled, the ghettos were usually located near the historical centers where Jews were already living, such as in Florence, Siena, Ferrara, Padua, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Verona, and to a certain extent even Rome.141 In Rome, though, the erection of the ghetto in 1555 was due to a new conversionistic fervor that grew within the Counter-Reformation climate.142 With the exception of the Este Duchy, often the politics of ghettoization included local expulsions and concentrations in a few urban centers in each state. Yet Italian governments found similar ways to perpetuate the canonical politics of balance toward Jews instead of expulsion in order to protect the Christian society from the polluting contact with Jews. At the same time, they found similar ways to permanently fix the Jewish presence in the city fabric—“paradoxically,” to quote the astute comment by Robert Bonfil.143 Because of ghettoization after medieval expulsions, the Italian peninsula was the only area in Western Europe where Jews could continue to live with a certain degree of stability.144 As in Rome, because of the ius commune, Jews in Modena were granted the right of residence because their presence was de populo romano, even though in a position of second-class citizens; indeed, the expulsion of Jews from the city was never taken into consideration by the ducal chamber. As Kenneth Stow describes it, the Jewish community of Rome lacked the typical Jewish leadership found in Modena, Mantua, and Venice. The community was administered by notaries and rabbis from the middle class, who succeeded in disciplining the entire Jewish community in adherence to orders imposed by the papal authorities.145 We can define this model of administration of the Jewish community of Rome as “collective.” The networks that the Modenas and Sanguinettis created were based not only on the economic activities and social prestige that derived from it but also on the role they played in the religious and cultural sphere as rabbis, scholars, and philanthropists. The categories of interpretation of the public domain and the private sphere are also based on the dynamics of this role. I consider the model created by the prominent Jewish families of Modena as an urban, conservative, and yet flexible system, a mixture of oligarchy and primi inter pares. By contrast, at the end of the sixteenth century in Mantua, Jewish merchants and artisans emerged as a new elite leading a community revolt against the Jewish bankers, accusing them of profiting from large incomes and a de facto tax exemption without contributing sufficiently to the community’s social welfare.146

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Despite the Este Duchy having been an offshoot of the Holy Roman Empire (whose throne was occupied by the House of Habsburg from 1438 to 1740) since 1598, the Modenese Jewish merchants had always remained at the periphery of its economy. In contrast, because of their prominent role within the imperial economy, the court Jews of Frankfurt had created an individualistic and vertical model on which the entire community depended. The residence of Jews in Frankfurt had always been a volatile situation since the late Middle Ages. In 1372 it passed to the direct control of the city, even though the emperor maintained the dominium eminens until 1685.147 Even if Modenese Jewish merchants stood out in their community, they never reached the level of affluence and influence of court Jews in the empire nor did the settlement of the Jewish community in the city depend on their prominence.148 Yet, in spite of the differences in proportions and contexts, Modenese Jews, similarly to Frankfurt’s, found themselves at the center of conflicts within their respective city councils. Both the emperor and the duke considered relations with Jewish bankers and merchants to be crucial points for demonstrating their own supremacy. In the Este Duchy, a typical controversy arose when the Jews of one community decided to open or build a second synagogue against the papal dispositions, which included the existence of only one synagogue per city in adherence to the 1555 papal bull Cum Nimis Absurdum.149 In villages in the duchy—Soliera in 1608, Spezzano and Spilamberto in 1631, and Finale Emilia in 1631 and 1633—the dukes and their adviser Andrea Codebò did not accede to the pressures of local bishops and inquisitors, who were strongly advocating their authority in administering Jewish subjects. Codebò adopted an astute escamotage: the second synagogue in each village was to be considered a private oratory instead of a public synagogue, and consequently there was no violation of the papal bull.150 As Stefanie Siegmund shows, the ghettoization of Jews in Florence was an act of state although it originated in the context of the religion in which no economic or utilitarian reasons played any role. The ghettoization was preceded by reinforcement of the politics of the badge, general CounterReformation anti-Jewish influences, and an edict of Jewish expulsion from all cities and villages (a year earlier, in 1570). Ultimately, the Medicis pursued ghettoization strategically and programmatically as part of their state administrative reorganization. In so doing, their intention was to preserve the presence of Jewish moneylenders and Levantine merchants while getting rid of poor Jews who had moved to Tuscany from Rome and other parts of Italy. The 1570 expulsion displaced all the Jews (officially 750) in the state.151

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The Estes never planned to expel Jews from villages and concentrate them only in one city nor ever targeted specific strata of the Jewish population; Jews in the Este Duchy were never displaced. In fact, in small villages that counted the Jewish population, as in Vignola, Spilamberto, Rubiera, and Scandiano, ghettos were never established or were established only later in the eighteenth century, as in Finale Emilia (1736), Carpi (1772), and Correggio (1782).152 Yet the Estes concentrated on developing their cities; in so doing, they could never ignore the need to satisfy ecclesiastical demands. After all, these were confessional governments with the ius commune always in the background, which, by its nature, was confessional.153 In 1571 Cosimo I ordered that the Jewish ghetto be located in the former prostitutes’ quarter with the precise intent of humiliating Florence’s Jewish population by linking them to religious and sexual pollution.154 The Estes did not pursue any calculated dishonor of the Jewish population. Francesco I commemorated the establishment of the ghetto with the Latin inscription on the ghetto’s gates, recycled from a demolished Mantuan palace: “The Best Prince, who segregated the Jews from the Christians in the  year 1638.” In this inscription the gesture of the prince was celebrated in the name of Christianity, but its significance is devoid of the rhetoric that at the time was inflaming Dominicans’ and Franciscans’ sermons in the city, with invocations of blood on Jews or exhortations to purify Modena from the “Jewish plague.”155 Given that in 1638 forty-three families were living outside of the ghetto’s planned area, and the area was in need of an adequate number of dwellings with “healthy and bright spaces,” the Jewish lay leaders considered the addition of about thirty-two shops requested by the Conservatori to be unreasonable for both hygienic and aesthetic reasons. They requested that these spaces for work be located beyond the ghetto and that the ghetto be devoted only to dwellings. On April 16, 1638, Andrea Codebò granted Jews the right to keep shops outside the enclosure as long as specific declarations were presented.156 In addition, Jews could move all the preexisting synagogues into the ghetto, if they were located outside the designated perimeter.157 The ghetto included two blocks between via Coltellini (formerly de’ Macari) and via Blasia (formerly del Sole) and faced the Strada Maestra. The erection of the ghetto was contemporaneous with the construction of the new ducal palace, which constituted the center of the new seventeenth-century urban ducal area as opposed to the medieval urban pole around the cathedral and the main square, a traditional aggregation of places and activities of other

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Figure 5. Pianta prospettica di Modena, first half of the seventeenth century. Gallerie Estensi, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena), Ms. it. 1734, G. 10.3. Shown are the City Hall, the Duomo, and the ghetto. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali per il Turismo.

authorities—the church and the commune. The ghetto stood between Piazza Grande and the ducal palace. During the same years that the Estes were conducting their urban renovations, individual citizens were also succumbing to the same passion for renovation that animated the court, and their requests for restorations, changes, and erection of new buildings were almost always motivated by the necessity “to benefit the public and embellish the city.”158 In the following decades, the reference in official requests for architectonic modifications and renovations to the decor of buildings became an excellent strategy for Jews, not just for their Christian neighbors. For example, in 1700 “Abram and the Sanguinetti brothers Jewish merchants” asked for and obtained permission “to reinforce a part of the surrounding wall of their house . . . and that surrounding wall presently is sustained by three wooden supports called pinelle and instead of those they [Abram and his brothers] would build three columns in a proper shape because of major security and beauty.”159 By emphasizing the necessity for healthy and bright spaces or recognizing the importance of beauty as in this case, Modenese Jews were able to conform to the public discourse of the dukes at a time when decor and order were ideals to pursue.

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The work in the area of the ghetto began in 1636, after various postponements and delays in the negotiations between the community and the civic and ducal authorities. Recent scholarship demonstrates the existence of common urban models that Italian Jews referred to in designing their fabrics and the recurrence of features that characterized the phases of construction of the ghettos in Venice, Modena, Florence, Padua, and Lugo, as well as the other ghettos established in the Este Duchy:160 prolonged negotiations with local authorities; the costly acquisition of houses from previous owners, speculative operations, and the controversial distribution of lodgings; the establishment of a considerable number of buildings for religious, devotional, and educational purposes—synagogues, schools, butcher shops, and so forth; and the explicit request for a small square at the center of the quarter.161 The massari Sanguinetti, Modena, and Diena also requested “to have at their disposal a puocho de piazzola [a small square] . . . as it is custom in the other Italian ghet [ghettos].”162 In order to obtain the construction of the square, the Modenese Jewish lay leaders Sanguinetti, Modena, and Diena accepted some changes regarding the number of houses to be demolished.163 The small square was located at the center of the enclosure at the corner of Contrada Coltellini, now in Piazza Mazzini (see Figure 4). The limited spaces were not unusual in Modena: Piazzetta del Pallone (currently via Scudari) and Piazzetta delle Ova (on via Emilia between the City Hall and Palazzo della Spelta) were similar in both dimensions and structures to the ghetto’s square. In itself, the specific demand for a square, the actual limitation of the space, as well as the fact that since the beginning of ghettoization Modenese Jews had called it “piazza” or “piazzetta” reveal that Jews shared with non-Jews a precise urban culture throughout the early modern period. The culture of the piazza was particularly widespread around the Po Valley. Since the medieval period, centers such as Bologna, Milan, Modena, and Ferrara had been strongly characterized by the existence of a foro that symbolized both the political and religious strength of the civic communitas, fulfilling at the same time an increasing need for mercantile exchange. According to a typology widely prevailing throughout Europe, squares in Modena often marked spaces near places of worship and were replete with stalls at the center, shops that leaned against the cathedral’s sides, and stands crammed under the Palazzo Comunale’s loggias. In these same squares, disparate activities took place that presented expressions of the sacred, displays of disorder, and scenes of pollution through feudal celebrations, scherzi di Carnevale (popular

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and grotesque manifestations associated with Carnival), bruciamenti delle Vanità (bonfires of the vanities), plays, feasts, processions, executions, fights, weddings, and revolts.164 Along the nearby streets and widenings, other stalls were often located for selling grain, timber, fish, and meat. These structures were always precarious, often constructed from wood. Indeed, Modenese Jews had internalized a general Italian cultural model: the square in medieval and early modern Italy as the earth of a city and the basic feature of any Italian quartier, town, or city, inhabited by Christians and Jews alike. Ghettoization also marked an important aspect of the relations internal to the Jewish community and its leadership, the incorporation of the Jewish poor into this new planned community. To paraphrase Philip Jones, the ghetto, similarly to the neighborhood and vicinanza (vicinato, small neighborhood) in Renaissance Italian cities, was “not only the natural scene and center of most social life but . . . a forum also of politics, government, and public life, city-states in miniature.”165 Since the beginning of ghettoization, the Jewish poor had declared their discontent with the allocation of lodging. In 1641 they banded together in their own brotherhood and presented a plea to the duke requesting that no one should be obliged to accept lodging imposed by the Jewish massari and protesting their status as “victims of speculation and exorbitantly expensive leases.”166 Many of the Jewish poor claimed both the assigned lodging and its cost to be unacceptable. Duke Francesco I asked the massari to intervene and solve the situation. At that time a group of prominent Jews, who were emerging as the new leaders of ghetto society, volunteered to help the more destitute coreligionists: Pellegrino Formiggini, Leone Poggetti, Isach and Michele Malachim, Simone Modena, Jacob Donati, Moisè Camerini, Angelo Romano, and Abram Sacerdote offered vacant rooms in their houses or, in some cases, entire apartments to benefit the poor. In doing so, they declared that they were aiming to help the lower classes in contrast to speculation in the ghetto, such as those conducted “by the heirs of Moisè Modena who, even despite being Jews, imposed high prices on the [Jewish] poor of the city.”167 A sort of civil society emanating from the private sphere of a family network emerged: the more influential Jewish families in the decades immediately before the institution of the ghetto had succeeded in creating a close-knit Jewish mercantile community. However, this community was not static; in this precise circumstance Pellegrino Formiggini, at the time an emerging merchant, and Leone Poggetti, an influential rabbi (originally from Asti in Piedmont, northern Italy), took a stand against Moisè Modena’s heirs, until then the most influential Jewish family in the city along with the Sanguinettis.

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By standing up in favor of the weakest members of the Jewish population, Formiggini anticipated the leading role his family would play in the following decades.168 In the end, social control was regained with minimal friction within Jewish society. After the 1640s, the voices of the poor no longer rose up, nor apparently did any discontent against the Jewish massari as eventually occurred elsewhere in Italy, such as in eighteenth-century Ancona.169 At the same time, the Modenese Jewish leadership continued to display the kind of ambivalence toward the poor and foreigners and anxiety regarding social control of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, as the 1640–41 ducal chapters on the administration of the ghetto seem to demonstrate: That the permission of residence of some foreigner Jews [can]not be renewed if previously these foreigners had not been admitted by the [Jewish] local lay leaders, and this is in order to avoid the inclusion of useless and outrageous people, that the aforementioned [Jewish] massari could expel a person they consider outrageous with the help of the local militia at service of Your majesty, and then rent [their] lands to sustain their families.170 In 1648 the same Jewish massari presented a request to the ducal authorities to exempt them from the obligation to accommodate Jewish foreigners, vagabonds, and delinquents in their ghetto. In so doing, they remarked on the fact that Jews in Ferrara, Mantua, Verona, and Finale Emilia had already been granted the same concession. The request was granted.171 Modenese Jewish merchants built a porous and dynamic civil society that enabled them to negotiate with the external authorities, to exercise a certain long-lasting influence within the broader Jewish society, and so to avoid inequalities and potential discontent between wealth and authority or at least to navigate challenging social dynamics within the ghetto.

Chapter 2

Jewish Leaders, Their Circles, and Their Books Before the Inquisition A Parallel Story

In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants as well as the rabbis, clerks, teachers, and matrons in their circles read Talmudic treatises, Rashi, David Kimh>i, Jacob ben Asher, and Leone Ebreo, along with Dante, Boccaccio, Raymond Lull, Cornelio Agrippa, Marsilio Ficino, and Ariosto. They learned about midnight devotions such as the tikkun h>atzot from Palestinian emissaries, including Gedaliah Cordovero.1 The intellectual world of the Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants shows an increased level of literacy in the Jewish community beyond the scholars with whom they were in contact, such as Abraham Hananiah De Gallichi (1553–c. 1623), Mordechai Dato (1525–1600), and Menachem Azariah da Fano (1548–1620).2 Modenese Jews not only spoke fluent Italian and preserved the knowledge of Hebrew for liturgical and educational purposes but they also read in Italian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and even Latin. From the end of the sixteenth century to the establishment of the ghetto (1638), the Modenas and the Sanguinettis along with the Usiglios and the Dienas were consolidating their social and cultural leadership in the Jewish community through their own synagogues, confraternities, and schools open to all the Jews in the city. Exactly at that time, they found themselves as well as their institutions and their books continuously scrutinized and searched by the local inquisitors. At this complex and critical historical juncture, the consolidation of their leadership helped them face surveillance, negotiate boundaries, and build

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community culture. Indeed, Jewish books were also instrumental to internal cultural transformation and to the negotiations of Modenese Jewish merchants and leaders with the authorities from 1598 to 1638, after the political, cultural, and religious changes of the 1550s and the promulgation of the Index of Prohibited Books by Clement VIII in 1596.3 The Clementine Index definitively banned the Talmud and notably affected Jewish reading.4 Moreover, due to the fact that the Catholic clergy considered Modena to be one of the most dangerous Italian heretical centers, both Jews and Christians experienced strict surveillance of forbidden or suspicious non-Hebrew books, mostly in the vernacular. Since the 1540s, the city had been variously dubbed a “diabolical synagogue” and a “land of Lutheran infection” for its heterodox readings, Protestant heresies, witchcraft, magic, and Jewish population.5 A tremendous passion for reading “dangerous” books engulfed Modenese Jews and Christians alike.6 In the sixteenth century, Modena was the most important Italian center of Reformation thought, and suspected Christian heretics—both ordinary men and women, and devoted followers of Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli—owned, exchanged, and read authors that the church considered to be heterodox, such as Erasmus, Melanchthon, Bernardino Ochino, and Celio Secondo Curione, and freely discussed forbidden topics such as the devaluation of sacraments, free will, purgatory, and the Eucharist.7 Indeed, the promulgation of the Clementine Index marked a decisive cultural shift involving Jews and Christians alike. After 1596, only a few decades after the burning of the Talmud, more book burnings lit up the piazzas of Modena. Among those fed to the flames were vernacular Bibles (one of the books with which Italians were most closely familiar), “lascivious” books, lectionaries, and books by the transalpine reformers. The Index caused a veritable trauma for both intellectuals and common people, Christians and Jews alike,8 but Italian Jews seem to have been doubly traumatized. In Modena, after the strong persecution produced against the Reformation movements as well as witch and sorcerer hunting, Jews and their books remained as more visible signs of impurity within the Modenese Christian society. The definitive prohibition against the Talmud effectively extended beyond that text, attracting the attention of the Congregation of the Holy Office and local inquisitors to other Hebrew books that potentially presented a broad spectrum of blasphemous offenses.9 The most grievous of these were the denial of the principal theological doctrine common to both religions—the belief in one omnipotent God—and blasphemy against the basic dogmas of the church,

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such as the virginity of Mary and the divinity of Christ.10 While censorship of blasphemous texts had been underway since the 1550s (and at times, Jews even opted for preventive censorship), the Clementine Index was promulgated within a system of control that was still largely untested and that invested Jewish communities with strong control over the censorship of Hebrew books such as commentaries, prayer books, and philosophical works.11 In Modena the new inquisitor Giovanni da Montefalcone launched the first of three massive operations of confiscation and correction of Hebrew books in November 1599, which were aimed precisely at the extirpation of Jewish blasphemy against Christianity. These three campaigns closely paralleled the complex city dynamics of social negotiation and political confrontation between Jews and Christians. The first campaign in 1599 coincided with the first popular requests to expel Jews from the city.12 The second campaign (1613–14) took place as Modenese guilds put forth their strongest demands for the ghettoization of the Jews.13 The third, in 1626, occurred as leaders of the Jewish community mounted opposition to the construction of the ghetto and later attempted to improve its conditions by, for example, requesting that its location be in the center of the city and not in a peripheral area as proposed by municipal authorities.14 The pioneering studies by Mauro Perani on the so-called Italian Genizah, that is, the collection of fragments from Hebrew manuscripts on parchment folios and bifolios (preserved in northern Italian public and private archives and libraries), show the vastness of these confiscations in Modena through the seventeenth century. Out of the eight thousand fragments discovered, the highest number—over three thousand—had been found in Modena.15 Because of these vicissitudes, we discover the prominent roles of Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants in shaping a complex cultural hybridity at the crossroads of Judaism, Christianity, and Western cultural tradition and, to a certain extent, transmitting it to the Modenese Jewish community as a whole.

Hebrew Books Under Attack The 1599 confiscation of Hebrew books took place in January, just two days before the Feast of Saint Geminiano, the patron saint of the city. The year before, the feast had coincided with the procession of the representatives of all Modenese guilds asking Duke Cesare to expel the Jews.16 According to a brief by Clement VIII (August 17, 1593) and the 1596 Index Commission,

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expurgations were to be undertaken by Jews alone.17 The reason for this was clear: it was not the duty of the Inquisition to approve such literature since this would suggest active sanction of the portions of these works not actually censored as blasphemous. However, it would be the duty of the Inquisition to exercise retrospective censorship by punishing Jews caught in possession of works that could be construed as attacking true religion.18 In Modena the Dominican Luigi da Bologna, a neophyte, directed and signed the expurgation order, while the rabbi Netanel Trabotti worked on correcting the books in his own study.19 Very little is known about the actual correction procedures, but Luigi da Bologna had already conducted similar campaigns in Mantua, Cremona, and Casale Monferrato.20 In November 1599, da Montefalcone wrote the Holy Congregation in Rome that the operation in Modena had been successfully completed, even though the Jews had initially opposed it. Da Montefalcone reported that Luigi da Bologna had begun with the book Tzeror ha-mor by Abraham Saba, owned by the affluent Abraham de Bondi, “a Jew who had just arrived from Ferrara.”21 Tzeror ha-mor is a commentary on the Pentateuch that was notoriously controversial in the eyes of Christian theologians and censors. In its Modenese copies, da Bologna found “such an incredible number of errors, blasphemies, and curses against Jesus our Savior, against the Mother, against the saints and our faith, as well as against all the clergy of the Church, the Pope, and the Christian princes that just reams and reams of paper could not contain all of them.”22 According to Robert Bonfil’s analysis of the sixteenth-century Venetian editions of the Tzeror, one of the incriminating passages of Saba’s commentaries was on Deuteronomy 32:17. In this passage, Christians in general and their priests in particular are defined as “demons” (shedim): “For as the nations of the world, all their abominations and vanities come from the power of the demons, hence, the monks would shave the hair from their heads and leave some at the top of the head like a stain . . . and those who are still more impure, like the bishops and the Pope, shave their entire heads, like a marble, and leave only a bit of hair around their ears so they resemble the demon.”23 While the passage appeared in the Bomberg edition of 1523 and in the Giustinian edition of 1545, it was eliminated in the Cavalli edition of 1565.24 The fact that da Bologna found a blasphemous copy of Tzeror in Modena in 1599 indicates that at least one of the previous two editions was still in circulation there throughout the second half of the sixteenth century. Modenese Jews must have owned copies published before 1565 and in need of expurgation. The inquisitor da Montefalcone also asked the Holy Congregation if he would have to persecute owners of uncorrected books

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since enforcement of the law was new, and he noted that “in this State no corrections took place in the previous years.”25 Modenese Jews had protested against confiscation and correction of Hebrew books in 1599 because “they [knew] nothing about the Index and the new order.”26 Nevertheless, Cardinal Santa Severina, prefect of the Roman Inquisition, gave an order to burn the Hebrew books that were considered noncorrectable because of blasphemy against Christianity and common beliefs.27 The following year, the strategy of the local inquisitors changed: affluent members of the Modenese Jewish community such as Moisè Modena were singled out for possession of prohibited Hebrew and non-Hebrew books.

The Open Library of Moisè Modena In February 1600, soon after the 1596 ban, Moisè Modena was tried by the inquisitor Giovanni da Montefalcone.28 A list of his books, presented some days before, contained not Hebrew books but forbidden or censored classics, including a folio Bible in Spanish, De Vanitate by Cornelius Agrippa “in lingua italica,” a book by Raymond Llull, Conrad Gesner and Arnold Arlenius’s Lexicon sive Dictionarium Graecolatinum (printed in Basel in 1548), and Boccaccio’s Decameron. Raymond Llull was considered to be a proponent of judicial astrology. The works by Conrad Gessner, the Swiss physician and botanist author of Bibliotheca Universalis (1545) as well as those by the librarian Arnold Arlenius were banned because of the authors’ religious affiliation to Protestantism. Agrippa’s De Vanitate was deemed censorable because the author delivered a fierce polemic denouncing poetry as a deceitful and obscene art, and his dogmatic opinions were themselves considered to be lascivious. Lastly, the Decameron was allowed only if censored. The question of the Bible in the vernacular was fundamental in the struggle between the Congregation of the Index and the Holy Office; however, the “nude” or unannotated text of the scripture remained strictly prohibited.29 Moisè was accused of owning forbidden or unexpurgated (specifically, donec corrigantur, allowed only after correction) classic works. Moisè Modena made a series of attempts to conceal the actual list of his books; he returned three times to the Holy Office with different lists because da Montefalcone was not convinced of their truthfulness. Modena’s final list of books is the only record of a complete library among the many inquisitorial proceedings I have retrieved. It consists of 100 titles of Latin and Italian books

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and 145 titles of Hebrew books.30 These titles reveal some features of the background of one cultured Italian Jew at the turn of the sixteenth century. This library paralleled the cultural world of the Jewish Mantuan historian Azariah de’ Rossi (1511?–1577?), who used more than 150 Jewish sources (excluding the Talmud and midrashic literature) and more than 100 non-Jewish sources for his Me’or ‘enayim.31 As we know, the library owner, Moisè Modena, was neither a rabbi nor a famous scholar or physician but a wealthy and cultured banker and merchant who had successfully combined philanthropic and educational endeavors. He was a cousin of the famous Leone Modena. Under the guidance of R. Leone Poggetti, Modena’s synagogue and school were centers of cultural and religious life for the city’s Italian Jews. In 1600 two of Moisè’s sons, Aaron Berekhiah and Salomone (1585–?), were twenty-two and fifteen years old, respectively; the former was already a rabbi and the second was soon to be.32 At the time, Aaron Berekhiah Modena, together with Natanel Trabotti and Yosef Yedidià Carmi, began to enrich Modenese and Italian Jewish life through their intellectual activity and their production of rabbinic and kabbalistic literature.33 Given the importance of the instruction offered in the house, school, and synagogue of Moisè Modena, his library is analyzed by taking into account the typical curriculum studiorum of an Italian Jew at the time.34 We can take as a model of comparison the program for educating young men in the Torah and sciences elaborated in 1564 by Abraham and David Provenzali, two known rabbis and scholars from Mantua, a city near Modena—it was meant for a college, bet va‘ad. The text, long forgotten, was rediscovered at the beginning of a book that belonged in 1645 to Abraham Joseph Solomon Graziano of Modena.35 According to the Provenzalis’ program, Bible study was to be combined with the study of the best of the old and new commentators as well as the reading of the foremost Jewish philosophers “whose writings were considered in harmony with the teachings of the Torah and rabbinical authorities.”36 In the library of Moisè Modena, along with various Hebrew Bibles and prayer books, we find not the Talmud (undoubtedly due to the prohibition) but rather Tosafot and the Code by Alfasi, as well as Mishnah and halakhic codes such as Mishnayot; Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah; Moses of Coucy’s Sefer mitzvot gadol (Semag; first published before 1480); the Arba‘ah turim (Piove di Sacco, 1475) by Jacob ben Asher; and the Shulh≥an ‘arukh (Venice, 1565) and the Beit Yosef (Venice, 1564–65) by Joseph Caro. The library also included more traditional commentaries on the Bible such as those by Rashi and Jonah ben

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Abraham Gerondi, the philosophical commentaries of Gersonides, and Maimonides’ Guide for the Perplexed. Moreover, Moisè’s choices clearly demonstrate the importance of Hebrew grammar and the Masorah, linked with training in rhetoric and oratory and the reading of “the best of the poets” (as the Provenzalis framed it),37 through the presence of the classical works Masoret ha-masoret (Venice, 1538) by Eljiah Levita, Dikdukei Rashi, Sefer ha-shorashim (Venice, 1542) by David Kimh>i, and the more sophisticated treatise on rhetoric Nofet tzufim (Mantua, before 1480) by Judah Messer Leon. Moisè’s library included classic Jewish medieval works like Sefer ha-Kuzari by Judah ha-Levi, the late medieval book Or ‘ammin by Obadiah Sforno (Bologna, 1537), Or Adonai (Ferrara, 1555) by H.asdai Crescas, and a group of “humanistic” books such as Minh≥at kena’ot by Yehiel Nissim da Pisa (1539) and Me’or ‘enayim by Azariah de’ Rossi.38 This library mirrors the many different cultural tendencies that arose during this period in the reading, production, and printing of books. A corpus of midrashic literature such as Midrash Tanh>uma and Midrash rabbah reflects the printing production of Venice in the 1530s and 1540s.39 In addition, the classical corpus of kabbalistic literature (Sefer yetzirah, Sefer ha-Zohar, Tikkune ha-Zohar, and Or ne‘erav by Moishe Cordovero) is found side by side with other texts important to Italian Jews, such as Perush ‘al ha-Torah (Venice, 1523) by Menachem Recanati, and H≥ ai ha-‘olamim and H≥ eshek Shelomo by Johanan Alemanno.40 The corpus of Hebrew literature in Modena’s library represents a complete overview of major classical and recent works by Jewish authors along with various editions of the Bible in the vernacular and Hebrew. But what seems particularly interesting is the possibility of a concrete connection between Jewish culture, the medieval and Renaissance classics, and the general Italian culture of the time. Moisè Modena’s library included all the auctoritates on whom these cultures were based: Omnia diuini Platonis opera tralatione Marsilii Ficini (Venice, 1556); Ethicorum ad Nicomachum libri decem . . . with the commentary of Acciaioli (Venice, 1535); S. Thomae Aquinatis In octo Physicorum Aristotelis libros commentaria (Venice, 1558); In un unico libro Themistius, Themisti peripatetici lucidissimi Paraphrasis in Aristotelis Posteriora, et Physica . . . (Venice, 1570); Aristotelis Metaphysicorum libri XIIII . . . Auerrois digressiones omnes (Venice, 1541); En accuratissime lector Expositio Jacobi Forliuiensis in primum Auicenne canonem with the commentary of Giacomo della Torre (Venice, 1518); and Tomo primo delle divine lettere di Marsilio Ficino, tradotte in toscano per M. Felice Figliucci (Venice, 1549).41 All these texts were also read by contemporary Italian Jewish intellectuals, such as the kabbalist, poet, and preacher Judah Moscato

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(c. 1530–c. 1593), who lived in nearby Mantua for many years. In addition to biblical and Talmudic sources, Moscato had in common with Moisè Modena the same biblical commentaries, philosophical works, and kabbalistic authors as well as Greek and Latin authors—Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Hippocrates—and Renaissance figures such as Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola.42 Moisè Modena read Greek authors in Latin translation; in fact, he owned the Lexicon sive Dictionarium Graecolatinum, banned by the 1596 Index.43 Moisè was not unique in his use of Latin and Italian translations of Greek texts; Azariah de’ Rossi was also unable to read classical Greek and therefore used Latin and Italian translations.44 Italian Jewish curricula often mentioned the importance of training in writing “essays in Hebrew and in good Italian and Latin, graced with the niceties and elegance of style that are characteristic of each language,”45 but nothing is known regarding which texts were used or what level of proficiency was reached in these languages.46 Moreover, the actual mechanisms of preaching and learning remain to be fully investigated, even though there is ample evidence that the Italian Jewry was characterized by the cultivation of homilies as an honorable discipline in education and that preaching was actually taught in the schools.47 Moisè’s library contributes to filling this lacuna. In addition to the already mentioned works on Hebrew rhetoric and grammar, it included important sixteenth-century writing manuals such as Giovanni Antonio Tagliente’s Il presente libro insegna la vera arte delo excellente scrivere (Venice, 1524) and Giovanni Palatino’s Libro . . . nel quale s’insegna a scrivere ogni sorte di lettere antica, et moderna (Rome, 1547). Due to the variety of their scripts, both were directed not only to the usual audience of such works—the noble youth who made up the state diplomatic corps and its future merchants—but also to goldsmiths, jewelers, and copyists.48 Moisè owned Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello (Venice, 1525), Prose di Pietro Bembo (Venice, 1525), and Quattro lettere di monsignor Gasparo Contarino Cardinale (Florence, 1558). These authors served as an ideal humanistic model in Counter-Reformation Italy for their capacity to encompass both litterae humaniores and pietas. Bembo’s Prose, in adopting Petrarch’s works as a writing model, marked a clear division between written and spoken language in Italian literature, while the commentaries on Petrarch’s poetry by Vellutello contributed to the birth of literary criticism as a scholarly discipline.49 Moisè’s library expands our knowledge about both preaching instruction and the passage from Hebrew to Italian written sermons in which Mordechai Dato, a member of this network of Modenese contemporaries, played

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a leading role.50 Moisè owned other bestsellers of rhetoric such as Quattro orationi by Bartholomeus Spathaphora (Venice, 1554), Tabulae totius dialectices aliarum artium by Cornelio Valerio (Venice, 1564), Dialectica Ioannis Antonii Delphini (Bologna, 1555), and Diverse orationi volgarmente scritte (Venice, 1561) by Francesco Sansovino. It is also significant that the library included Delle prediche quadragesimali by Cornelio Musso (Venice, 1586). Musso was described as a “modern Demosthenes” or the “Chrysostom of Italy” and was known for his ability to fuse Franciscan values with humanistic rhetoric.51 Moisè also owned Applicamento de i precetti della inuentione, dispositione, et elocutione, che propriamente serue allo scrittore di epistole latine, et volgari by Oratio Toscanella (Venice, 1567), another masterpiece of rhetoric in Italian Catholic schools that included many elements of the “theater of memory.” This is a sixteenth-century spatial mnemonic system created and built by the philosopher Giulio Camillo, who continued Pico della Mirandola’s hermetickabbalistic tradition, in a life-size model of a theater.52 That Jews utilized Italian preachers for their sermons is demonstrated by Joanna Weinberg, who shows that the sermons of Leone Modena were modeled on the work Modo di comporre una predica (1584) by Francesco Panigarola. They were characterized by a stylistic virtuosity similar to Musso’s and also include a short tract on the art of memory as well.53 In addition, the special emphasis on the art and theory of oratory reveals a further connection to the tradition of Studia Humanitatis that bridges Moisè’s library and school to the fifteenth-century Italian humanist curriculum and sixteenth-century Jesuit schools.54 Through the art of memory we can find a link between the main interests of Moisè Modena—Kabbalah, scholastic and Neoplatonic philosophy, and rhetoric—and other disciplines such as medicine, magic, and the sciences. These show a clear connection to the world of Abraham ben Hananiah Yagel de Gallichi—the famous Jewish physician, kabbalist, magician, and naturalist—who in the fall of 1614 with the Jewish banker Raffaele Modena of Sassuolo paraded, escorted by the state troops, through the streets of Modena after being released by some kidnappers.55 There is evidence of Yagel’s contact with Azariah da Fano, Aaron Berekhiah, and Mordechai Dato.56 Moisè Modena shared specific interests in medicine and in the “theater of memory” with Yagel.57 Moisè owned Giulio Camillo’s Opere (Venice, 1560), Cosimo Rosselli’s Thesaurus artificiosae memoriae (Venice, 1567), a book not specifically identified by Raymond Llull, Francesco Robortello’s Oratio in funere Imp. Caroli V Augusti (Bologna, 1559), and an edition of Aristotle’s De Arte Poetica (Florence, 1548). In addition, he owned works related to the literary

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production known in classical tradition as vitae, such as Le iscrittioni poste sotto le vere imagini de gli huomini famosi by Paolo Giovio (Florence, 1551) and Vita, et fatti dell’invittisimo Imperatore Carlo Quinto by Alfonso Ulloa (Venice, 1563). Through this genre, Italian scholars exalted the model of civic virtues by emphasizing the litterae humaniores and pietas as tools for shaping a new and renovated church.58 Moisè’s interest in medicine was characterized by the scientific trends of the time. His library included texts that emphasized the importance of the Hippocratic and Galenic systems which continued to dominate medical learning throughout the sixteenth century: Epistolarum medicinalium by Giovanni Manardi (Venice, 1542), Mesue cum expositione Mondini super canones universales with the commentary of Pietro d’Abano (Venice, 1527), In Hippocratis Prognostica commentarii, His accessit theoricae latitudinum medicinae liber, ad Galeni scopum in arte medicinali by Benedetto Vittori (Bologna, 1505), Expectatissimae in primam et secundam partem Aphorismorum Hippocratis by Giovanni Da Monte (Padua, 1552), and De consultationibus medicis by Giovanni Argenterio (Florence, 1551).59 Finally, Modena included other scientific texts that confirm the importance of disciplines such as arithmetic, geometry, and geography in the Italian Jewish curriculum: Aritmetica prattica facilissima composed by Gemma Reiner (Venice, 1567); Euclide . . . solo introduttore delle scientie mathematice translated by Niccolò Tartaglia (Venice, 1543); Quaesitorum, et responsorum mathematicae disciplinae by Francesco Bordini (Bologna, 1573); and Elementa geometriae ex Euclide singulari prudentia collecta . . . Cum prefacione Philippi Melanchtoni by Johannes Vogelin (Venice, 1539). Moreover, Moisè owned De coelestibus globis by Giovanni Antonio Delfini (Bologna, 1559), a famous treatise on astronomical geography. Clearly, the cultural formation of Moisè Modena was based on a wide plethora of disciplines ranging from literature and philosophy to medicine and the sciences; no external sources or Hebrew, Latin, or Italian books were excluded.

An Enlarged Audience Moisè Modena’s fascinating library mirrored his eclectic personality, characterized by a combination of culture and commerce. This was certainly not unusual for intellectuals in the early modern age. In his Ma’avar Yabbok (Mantua, 1626), a famous treatise that inaugurated the genre of “books for the sick

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and the dying” in Europe, Aaron Berekhiah Modena himself wrote that rabbis often had to expand their economic activities beyond “the sacred pages” in order to survive.60 In this case, the sources allow us to explore the intellectual sphere of a Jewish merchant who did not leave any self-written works. In Modena, the combination of culture and commerce became the major factor of survival for the entire Jewish community, together with the growing size of the population, the expansion of loan activities to the crafts, and the consolidation of intragroup ties.61 The Sanguinettis provide a good example. After the conflicts that had divided them in the previous decades, at the beginning of the seventeenth century the Sanguinettis and the Modenas began to respect each other’s role and helped one another in dealing with the duke to avoid new competitors in their commercial activities.62 It was at this time that the Sanguinettis and Modenas were able to expand their economic activity from the bank to wider trade, thereby improving the living conditions and cultural life of the Modenese Jews. This cooperation between the most influential families of the city also involved the cultural and religious spheres: the Sanguinettis and their German fellows shared common spaces such as synagogues, schools, and libraries with the Modenas and other Italian Jewish families. Leone Poggetti and Aaron Rubiera served as rabbis and teachers for both families.63 Thus, the reading choices of these families provide a fundamental key to our understanding of the cultural and literary interests of the entire Modenese Jewish community in the early modern age. The Sanguinettis’ synagogues were the main cultural centers for Ashkenazi Jews in Modena. At the beginning of the century, at least twenty-two families belonged to the “public synagogue,” maintaining their minhagim and original prayer books with Yiddish translation.64 In addition, the Sanguinettis dealt with a strong series of attacks from the inquisitor Angelo Calbetti. In fact, the proceedings against Moisè Modena in 1600 were only the first attack against the Jewish community’s main representatives, who by the end of 1604 were among the major subsidizers of the new building of the Holy Office because of payment of their fines to the Inquisition for various condemnations.65 The more affluent Modenese Jews were even fined in advance: at the beginning of the year, they had to deposit fines (multe) to the local Holy Office to convert sentences of imprisonment to which they would presumably be condemned in the following months. Local inquisitors were reprimanded by their colleagues in Rome for such abuses. In November 1602, for example, the Sanguinettis were fined the exorbitant sum of 1,118 lire for owning a Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and three mah>zorim (prayer books for the high holidays) of the

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German rite, all with translations in Yiddish and uncorrected.66 Significantly, like Moisè Modena, they owned biblical texts in a vernacular language. Initially established with private family duties, the library of Moisè Modena became one of the most visible cultural centers of this renewed, growing, and surveilled Jewish community. Among its habitués were not only outstanding male scholars such as Yosef Yedidià Carmi and Natanel Trabotti but also women, rabbis, schoolteachers, and students. Certainly, Moisè’s motherin-law, Fioretta Modena (1510–1585), who lived in Modena’s house and was fluent in the Bible, Mishnah, medieval decisors, and the Zohar, was among them.67 Rabbis such as Isaac Alatrini, Moisè Brunetta, and David Della Rocca, who were Italian Jews, frequented Modena’s synagogue and library. Poggetti, a schoolteacher, private instructor, and author of unpublished commentaries, taught his pupils in Modena’s school, located in the same building that hosted the library.68 Finally, the rabbi and kabbalist Aaron Berekhiah made use of his father’s library, despite his dramatic fights with his father, which are acknowledged in the introduction to Ma’avar Yabbok and other sources.69 Moreover, he inherited part of the library after Moisè’s death in 1630.70 In the early seventeenth century, the majority of the one hundred or so Jewish families that were living in Modena were merchants and peddlers. Through Modena’s library, not only the intelligentsia but also the Jewish merchant class participated in the wider culture of Italian society at the time. They belonged to Modena’s synagogue and were given the opportunity to benefit from the connected library. The merchants Abram Modena and Leone Fano were regular visitors to Modena’s house.71 Moisè Modena’s library represented a sort of cultural encyclopedia for the Jewish community as a whole.

Camillo Jaghel da Correggio, a Physician Between Worlds The complexity of the cultural intimacy between Jews and Christians, the active role in it of the prominent Jewish families in Modena and elsewhere in the duchy, and the means by which social, cultural, and theological boundaries were at times negotiated is exemplified in the microhistory of Camillo Jaghel da Correggio. Da Correggio was a physician and one of the most celebrated censors of Hebrew books in Italy; he had converted to Christianity with his son Ciro, abandoning his wife and his other children who refused to follow him.72 Da Correggio was an ardent reader of classical Latin and Greek literature, medieval Jewish commentaries, and Italian poetry and literature.

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While in the past a few scholars have hypothesized that Camillo Jaghel was actually the celebrated scholar Abraham Yagel De Gallichi, according to my sources he was Abraham Yagel’s brother.73 Camillo was not an affluent man; nevertheless, like his brother, he belonged to the circle of Jewish merchants and bankers who were active in Modena, Vignola, Reggio Emilia, and Mantua; he kept those connections even after his conversion. Indeed, Camillo’s intellectual and social status played a role both in his conversion and in his “second life.” Church authorities considered former Jewish intellectual leaders, rabbis, and sons of rabbis as “big fish to catch,”74 and viewed them as excellent proselytizers and preachers in the Jewish world after their conversion. Nevertheless, as will emerge in what follows, Camillo maintained an ongoing relationship with Jews notwithstanding his conversion. Moreover, despite his indefatigable activity as corrector and censor of Hebrew books, he ended up before the tribunal of the Inquisition twice, in 1614 and 1620, to present his own lists of books.75 Camillo took charge of a second expurgation of Hebrew books in 1613–14 under the direction of the inquisitor Michelangelo Lerri. His efforts took place in the context of a worsening climate for Jews. Although a century had elapsed since the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation struggle against European heresy was still underway. In July 1614, a letter reached Modena from Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, the Holy Office consultant and member of the Congregation of the Index, addressed to local inquisitors in Italy. The letter prompted Lerri to pursue a more rigorous campaign against the “infected books”— a catchall expression that referred to all heretical books, from the Talmud to Luther, notwithstanding Bellarmine’s clear distrust of the Congregation of the Index’s capacity to defeat heretics and their pollution in Europe.76 Apart from the hundreds of corrections, erasures, and signatures on Hebrew books that he had censored, the only document authored by Camillo is a report on the rules of expurgation penned in 1614, which I discovered in the State Archive of Modena. The booklet is extremely useful in developing our understanding of Camillo’s mentality and also his concrete practices in the expurgation of Hebrew books as well as the overall state of Jewish-Christian relations in Modena with regard to Jewish mercantile leadership, culture, and censorship.77 This evidence also shows us the legal framework and tools used by the most famous censor of Hebrew books in early modern Italy. Camillo knew both old and new indices promulgated by the church in the second half of the sixteenth century; he was able to establish rules of conduct for

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correctors of Hebrew books; and he had the index expurgatorius compiled by the monk Hippolitus Ferrariensis in 1584 as well as his own index at his disposal for his work.78 Starting in 1613, the campaign conducted by Camillo was aimed at correcting deficiencies in Hebrew books left by Luigi da Bologna, even though Camillo apparently did not make extensive interventions in them.79 Camillo’s dossier consists of an introduction with rules for censors, a list of forty-eight books considered censorable because of their “many errors,” and a booklet with lists of passages to be erased in twenty-four books.80 Camillo’s booklet resembles other earlier works that were similarly aimed at the expurgation of passages from various books considered to be blasphemous and offensive to Christianity.81 Camillo concentrated his attention on commentaries of the Pentateuch by Rashi and Sforno; Sefer Toledot Yitzh>ak by Isaac Caro; Sefer Halakhot by Alfasi; Sefer ha-Shorashim by David Kimh>i; Bet Yisra’el and En Yisra’el by Ya’aqov H> abib; Midrash rabbah; the Commentary on the Torah by Bah>ya ben Asher; Midrash Tanh>uma; Menorat ha-ma’or by Yitzh>ak Aboab (Venice, 1544); Halakhot gedolot (Venice, 1548); Pirqe by Rabbi Eliezer; Me’ah she‘arim; Sefer ha-terumah by Baruk ben Yish>ak (Venice, 1523); Ma’arekhet haElohut (Ferrara, 1537); Sefer Trumat; Sefer Mizmor le-todah; Nefutzot Yisra’el; Piskei halakhot (Bologna); Sefer ha-Zoar; and the mah>zorim [in this case, weekday and Sabbath prayers as well as festival prayers].82 Copies of these books were largely present in Modenese rabbis’ and prominent Jewish merchants’ homes. When he analyzed the commentary on the Pentateuch by Rashi, Camillo indicated only two passages to be corrected: “It says that God asked the angels’ advice when He wanted to create man” (Genesis 1:26), and “Chapter 28, it says that God asked for forgiveness ‘because I have diminished the moon’” (Numbers 28:15).83 No other quotations or explanations were added. The index composed by Hippolitus does not indicate these two passages; this is probably the reason Camillo wrote his note.84 A copy of Rashi’s commentary on the Pentateuch (Venice: Bomberg, 1548), now at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, is surely of Modenese provenance, given the names of the censors and the dates of the expurgations: Luigi da Bologna—February 1599; Camillo Jag[h]el—1613; Fra Renato da Modena—1624; and Fra Girolamo da Durallano—1640.85 This is the first passage indicated by Camillo to be erased (the phrases to be deleted are italicized):

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Genesis 1:26: Let us make man. The humility of the Holy One, Blessed be He, we have learned from here. Since man is in the likeness of the angels and they would be jealous of him, for this reason he took counsel with them [the angels], and when He judges the Kings, He consults with His retinue for so have we regarding Ahab [King of Israel] that [the prophet] Micah said to him: “I have seen God sitting upon his throne with the entire host of the heavens standing next to Him at His right and at His left. Now are the right and left before him? (1 Kings 22:19).” . . . Although the angels did not assist Him [God] in [man’s] creation and there is room (on the basis of this phrase) for the heretics to claim supremacy the verse did not refrain from teaching proper conduct and the trait of humility, that the greater one should consult and take permission from the lesser one.86 How the plural “we” is to be understood is a controversial question in both Jewish and Christian literatures. The Midrash on Genesis cites six different explanations of this strange plural, while the church fathers take it to refer to the Trinity. The erasure of the passage was certainly due to a defense of the Trinity and to Christians’ obsession with Jews’ offenses as idolaters, heretics, and inferiors.87 The fact that passages from the Talmud, notorious in the eyes of Christian theologians, had been erased in Rashi’s commentary is not surprising;88 what is remarkable is that in seventeenth-century Italy any passage that contained Talmudic tradition or even included a whiff of such traditions was sufficient by itself to attract the attention of censors and inquisitors. What also emerges from our analysis is that expurgations and erasures of passages like ‫“( ויש מקום למינים‬and there is room for the heretics”) were often intuitive, basic, and somewhat ineffectual. Not just the literati but all the Jews who were studying texts in Moisè Modena’s and Viviano Sanguinetti’s libraries and synagogues at the time could fill in the blank spaces and read what should have been there because common heretical passages from the Talmud were often known by heart.89

A Shared Culture Under Scrutiny Shortly thereafter, in the years 1617–18, when the requests from guilds and preachers for the establishment of a ghetto in Modena increased, the actions taken by the Inquisition against Jews expanded. In the fall of 1617, a group of

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converts hatched a plot against influential Jews of the state, accusing them of various offenses, including profaning Christianity, persuasion of neophytes to return to Judaism, improper employment of female Christian servants, and ownership of forbidden books.90 Among the defendants were the bankers and merchants Simone Sanguinetti from Modena, Gabriele Sora from Carpi, the Foa family (famous bankers and philanthropists from Reggio Emilia, also related to the scholar Menachem Azariah da Fano), and Rafael Modena from Sassuolo. The latter was the patron of Abraham Yagel, with whom he had paraded on the streets of Modena only three years earlier. The protagonist of this plot was the neophyte Pietro Maria Novi, formerly Salomone Dato. Pietro was related to Mordechai Dato and before his conversion to Christianity had been a rabbi and teacher in the Jewish school of Bozzolo near Mantua.91 Among the various accusations he articulated was one against his cousin Diena, whom he accused of attempting to stop his wife (Diena’s sister) and children from following him to Christianity.92 During his testimony, he was able to prepare the accusations and attract the attention of the inquisitor by strategically citing “suspected” books. Answering the inquisitor’s questions, Novi declared: “I do not know anything except that there was a chest of books most prohibited (prohibitissimi) in the house of Messer David [David Diena, cousin of Pietro Novi], masterpieces handwritten by a man relative of mine now dead, called Angelo [Mordechai] Dato the doctor, and because I was among the heirs two years after my conversion I tried to obtain money for my part of the books, for example for the book titled Shemen Sasson in Hebrew.”93 He added that he saw “some books on magical amulets, incredibly diabolic, that protect from wounds,” and declared: “I do not know other Jews who owned forbidden books in this jurisdiction, but one in Reggio Emilia of the Foa family and in Sassuolo a Messer Raffaele Modena [the patron of Abraham Yagel de Gallichi]. . . . I remember at least four volumes of Psalms . . . , En Israel, a number of books on Kabbalah and books forbidden like the Olivetano [the Olivétan Bible] . . . all these books are full of offenses against the Christian faith.”94 This complex trial was halted by the interference of Giovanni Battista Laderchi, the state secretary, and Camillo da Correggio. Nicknamed doctor hebreorum by the inquisitors, Camillo acted as an intermediary between the massari of the Jewish community—David Diena, Samuele Sanguinetti, Moisè Modena, and Giuseppe Fiorentino (or Usiglio)—and the Holy Office. Since he was aware of the danger for the entirety of Judaism, he denounced the

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plot, charging that it had been organized by a group of neophytes against the “wealthy of the community.”95 Because the trial ended, it is difficult to discern whether the defendants actually owned the books mentioned; relatives of Mordechai Dato likely owned his books, though these works were not prohibited by the Index.96 The mention of the Olivétan Bible (the first French Protestant translation of the scripture, published in 1535) is an important reflection of the Modenese cultural environment and its connection with the still-surviving Reformation movements in Northern Italy.97 The emphasis of Pietro Novi on kabbalistic books points to the encounter between Jewish thought and the aspects of early modern science that, in Modena and its vicinity, the Jewish intellectual and mercantile elites pursued through natural philosophy and medicine, and through the combination of Jewish mystical and magical traditions. For example, in Abraham Yagel’s written works—the encyclopedia Beit Ya‘ar haLevanon, his medical works, Moshia‘ h≥osim, and Gei h≥izzayon—magic is clearly part of his Kabbalah and comprehensive culture.98 The connection between science and medicine becomes visible in the Modenese book-collecting context by looking at the libraries of Camillo and his son Ciro (1596–before 1636). In 1614 Camillo presented a list of 197 titles (and more copies) that was included in the records of the 1620–21 trial without any other documentation, but this list represented only a portion of his books. In addition, many of his books were categorized as “libri in lingua arabica et hebrea,” which was typical for notaries, librarians, and inquisitors to do at that time.99 Camillo’s library was extraordinarily rich and very similar to Modena’s. While it included history, classical Latin and Greek literature, medieval Jewish commentators, and Italian poetry and literature, it was dedicated primarily to scholarly medicine and contained the most important works of Avicenna, Almansor, Hippocrates, Galen, Paracelsus, Albertus Magnus, and Levinus Lemnius. Camillo owned the most recent works on surgery, anatomy, and healing. He owned Anatomicarum Gabrielis Falloppii by Andrea Vesalio (Venice, 1564); I libri di Gio: Mesue with the commentary of Pietro d’Abano (Venice, 1589); De venenis, et antidotis prolegomena by Andrea Bacci (Rome, 1586); In Antidotarium Joannis filii Mesue by Bartolomeo da Orvieto (Venice, 1543); Delle cose che vengono portate dall’Indie occidentali by Nicola Monardes (Venice, 1575); Medicina practica by Giovanni Capodivacca (Venice, 1597); Fascis de peste by Andrea Gallo (Brescia, 1565); Chirurgiae by Giovanni Andrea Croce (Venice, 1573); and Epistolarum Medicinalium (Venice, 1557) by Giovanni Mainardi, among others.100

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Among the classics, he owned historical works by Iustinus and Cornelius Tacitus, the Historia by Guicciardini, Epistulae by Seneca, Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello (Venice, 1525), La retorica by Bartolomeo Cavalcanti (Venice, 1559), and Retorica d’Aristotile translated by Alessandro Piccolomini (Venice, 1597). Whether they were tools for his professional career as a censor or were simply constitutive of his cultural background, Camillo owned a number of Hebrew Bibles along with Galatino’s Contra Iudaeos, a work directed at the new strong politics of conversion of Jews.101 The trial, which took place in 1620–21, saw Christians suspected of Protestantism, converts (Camillo and his son Ciro da Correggio), and Jews all accused of owning, reading, and taking part in the trade of forbidden books. Among them were booksellers, clerks, and peddlers. Ciro was a convert, a physician, a censor of Hebrew books appointed by the Inquisition, a Capuchin friar, and a member of the noblemen’s confraternity of the Jesuit order in Modena. He had converted to Christianity during his youth, and had received a degree in philosophy and medicine in 1618 from the University of Ferrara and a license as censor of Hebrew books from the Holy Office of Reggio Emilia.102 Ciro was knowledgeable in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin. He was “respectable, honest, a good Christian, with a good conduct, status, and name, active in Catholic practice” as the Modenese inquisitor described him in May 1620, when Ciro was accused of owning and selling forbidden books.103 Ciro did not deny the accusation but claimed his bona fides, and at the end the inquisitor believed in his truthfulness.104 From this corpus of forbidden books, we know that Ciro’s cultural interests leaned primarily toward medicine, astrology, and magic, as well as devotional literature. In addition to the main works of Levinus Lemnius, Paracelsus, and Cardano, he owned Astrologia Giudiciaria by Galileo Galilei; Clavicula Salomonis; De Secretis by Albertus Magnus; De Secretis Naturae by Raymond Llull; De Geomantia by D’Abano; De Occulta Philosophia by Cornelius Agrippa; the famous magickabbalistic treatise Sefer Razi’el; Favole by Giovanni Francesco Straparola; and the New Testament in Italian—along with two Mars amulets.105 Moreover, Ciro’s interest in astrology is clearly represented by works such as Speculum Astrologiae by Francesco Giuntini, Astrologiae Methodus by Jean Gaercaeus, and a number of horoscopes he himself created.106 Ciro was not alone in his interest in magic and astrology; as the inquisitorial archive shows, it was shared by a number of Jews and Christians as well. For example, at least in Modena (and Venice), Clavicula Salomonis was especially well known in the seventeenth century as a vast repertoire of magical

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expertise and methods to exert a certain level of power in the world.107 In 1623 the Marquise Baldassarre Rangoni, a member of one of the most influential noble families in Modena that was involved in the Reformation movement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was accused of owning forbidden books. Among others, he owned Clavicula Salomonis; De vanitate scientiarum, De occulta philosophia, and Apologia adversus calumnias by Cornelio Agrippa; a “libretto de secreti”; Liber Sapientiae Salomonis; Profezie by Joachim of Fiore; Della Fisionomia dell’uomo by Giovan Battista Della Porta; Genealogia degli Dei by Boccaccio; La macaronea by Teofilo Folengo; and some autograph memoirs.108 His relationship with the Jewish merchants and bankers of the Este Duchy went beyond the cultural sphere: only a few years later, from 1632 through at least 1644, he would be involved with Simome Sanguinetti from Spilamberto in the management of a silk-spinning workshop that employed thirty Christian workers with the hope of regaining his fortunes lost in the aftermath of the 1630 plague.109 The documentation regarding four bundles of books that arrived in 1620 at the Modenese market from Venice shows that the following were still available in Modena: Bibles, Psalms, and New Testaments in the vernacular; books on magic such as La Geomantia by Bartholomeus Cocle (Venice, 1550) and Della geomantia by Pietro d’Abano, translated from Latin to Italian (Venice, 1550); books on medicine such as Degli occulti miracoli by Levinus Lemnius; classics of Latin literature such as Flores by Seneca; masterpieces of Italian literature—Labirinto d’Amore by Boccaccio, Il Cortegiano by Baldassarre Castiglione (Lion, 1556), Sette libri di satire di autori dell’opera Lodouico Ariosto (Venice, 1585); and classics of the Italian Reformation—Trattato Utilissimo di Gesù Christo and Trattato del vero cristiano by Calisto da Piacenza (Florence, 1550), and Profezie by Joachim of Fiore.110 It is noteworthy that while scholars have been convinced that Reformation movements in Modena had been defeated by the Inquisition and had disappeared from the scene by the 1580s, the evidence retrieved here challenges this assumption. The Christian heterodox and their books could still be found in Modena—as, according to the recent study by Federico Barbierato, they were in Venice111—and were present in surprising numbers, especially in the first half of the seventeenth century. After decades of a continuous campaign of inquisitorial surveillance over the city, Modenese Catholics, Christian heterodox, and Jews—even if often divided by social and religious conflicts—were influenced by common cultural trends around medicine and magic. Christian heterodox movements and Jewish culture were still quite vibrant, despite the attempts by local and central

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church authorities to disrupt the former and to isolate the latter. Likewise, while the shared passion of Jews, Catholics, and Christian heterodox for humanistic and scientific studies tells us a great deal about reciprocal cultural hybridization, it does not imply that theological boundaries were not clearly defined by members of the church and Jews. In 1624 Ciro was asked to write a report answering precise questions from the local inquisitor Tabia. The questions originated in the examination of certain books such as new (Venice, 1605) and old mah≥zorim, found in Finale Emlia and Sermeto, two villages in the duchy. Among other issues, Ciro had to address whether the new mah≥zorim required an additional correction to eliminate potential offenses against Christianity, and whether Christians were defined as idolatrous in these books. Moreover, he had to grapple with a more specific question: “When Jews deal with idolaters, do they include Christians in that category?”112 Ciro answered as follows: If we talk about the ignorant Jewish masses, most of them implicitly consider the Christians as idolatrous because they worship the holiest human nature of Christ the Lord and receive the sacred images. If we talk about the [Jewish] writers and the Wise Men, many both ancient and modern write extensively claiming the contrary. In their treatises when referring to idolatry, they specify conditions that exclude the Christians since they refer mostly to the customs of ancient people. . . . [These descriptions] rarely refer to believers [Christians] and, as I say, that is the case of only part of the writers, not all of them, because of differences in opinion.113 Ciro’s position here is quite intriguing.114 His emphasis on the danger of a zealous censor who attributes false blasphemies to Jews and Hebrew texts shows an understanding of the Jewish mentality: “Taking into account that in the old [mah≥zorim] a major correction for things that actually do not regard Christians was found, adopted by whoever was not an expert corrector, even in the new [the printed mah≥zorim] deletions were similarly imperfect, imitating the former ones. For that erroneous application, the Catholic religion is still offended rather than defended, as if believers’ lives almost seemed worthy of nothing but insults of any wickedness, while Jews by this [offense] mean to obtain the eradication of the universal [wickedness].”115 Ciro’s statement against incorrect interpretations of Hebrew texts and erroneous acts of censorship ought to be interpreted not as an act of Jewish-Christian rapprochement but as a necessary struggle in favor of the church and its honor. The Modenese

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culturally intimate communion did not imply theological rapprochement or peaceful social coexistence, as occurred in the contemporary Netherlands.116 In the Este Duchy as throughout all Italy, Catholic holiness and church institutions were place centered, and only through enclosure and segregation could the Catholic community be shielded more effectively from Jewish contamination. As I have demonstrated elsewhere, when Trabotti was summoned as a witness, as in this case, he mostly adhered to the diplomatic position that the Holy Office required of Jews in such contexts through both a straightforward defense of the principal Jewish tenets and a strategy of avoiding discussions that touched on references to the superiority of Jews over Christians in Hebrew literature and commentaries. His responses, aimed at affirming his role as an impartial corrector and obtaining the restitution of confiscated books, are clear expressions of the complex process of social negotiation enacted by Jews in early modern Modena.117 Twelve years later, in November 1636 the inquisitor Giacomo Tinti da Lodi arrested and jailed Netanel Trabotti together with the celebrated Aaron Berekhiah da Modena and other affluent members of the Modenese Jewish community for owning uncorrected or forbidden books. On this occasion, only the strong reaction from the Jewish community’s lay leaders saved Trabotti. Given his authority and name in Modena, Trabotti was singled out by the local inquisitors in 1636; his role as an “expert reader,” which had been considered valuable to the Holy Office for years before, now became a strong weapon against the Jewish community.

Understanding Jewish Culture Through Confiscated and Listed Books On November 25, 1636, while work on the ghetto was proceeding, it was an accusation by another neophyte, Alfredo Maria Giacinti, that led the inquisitor Giacomo Tinti to accuse the lay leaders (massari) Salomone Usiglio, Pellegrino and Isach Sanguinetti, Michele Modena, the rabbis Aaron and Salomon Modena, and Leone Poggetti, along with Trabotti, of owning “prohibited” books. Indeed, a few days later Aaron Berekhiah and Trabotti were arrested and jailed.118 The inquisitor Giacomo da Lodi created a list of Hebrew book titles to be confiscated, which included Midrash rabbah, the Code by Alfasi, Mishnayot, Mishneh Torah by Maimonides, Sefer mitzvot gadol, Sefer ha-Zohar, Arba‘ah turim, Pirke avot, Sefer ha-Kuzari, Tzeror ha-mor, Shulh≥an

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‘arukh, and Me’or ‘enayim, “all the comments on the Torah,” and “mah≥zorim in all the languages.”119 Trabotti was accused of owning a Bible in Latin and Hebrew, Ludovico Domenichi’s Italian translation of the De Vanitate scientiarum by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, copies of Midrash rabbah, Alfasi’s Code, Mishnayot, Maimonides’ Code (the Mishneh Torah), and Caro’s Shulh≥an ‘arukh. According to the inquisitor, the copy of Shulh≥an ‘arukh was in an uncorrected state in which words such as edomim that had once been blotted out by the correctors had then been reinserted (or made legible) by Trabotti himself or another anonymous reader.120 In 1636 the Counter-Reformation political climate was strongly reflected in the action of the local Inquisition against the Jews and the attempts to push them into not only a material ghetto but also a cultural one. The ducal decision to establish the ghetto was definitive, and in the years that followed the Jews faced the plague of 1630 as well as the confiscation of the personal property of those Jews who perished in it, organized at this critical juncture by Francesco I. Indeed, never had the Modenese Inquisition enacted a similar attack against the entire Jewish community. Hundreds of volumes were confiscated from Jewish hands, as even Tinti reported in his letters to the cardinal of Santa Severina in Rome.121 The affair was fundamentally about exerting inquisitorial authority over the leading Jewish bankers and merchants as a way of pressing them and the other Jews into a cultural ghetto. In fact, the majority of books confiscated had already been erased and corrected twice, under the supervision of Luigi da Bologna and Camillo Jaghel da Correggio. The reaction of the chiefs of the Jewish community was strong and assertive: Salomone Usiglio, Pellegrino Sanguinetti, and Michele Modena petitioned the return of the confiscated books and the release of the jailed exponents by agreeing to submit their books to a new correction. These requests were actually met.122 Records of this trial allow for a reconsideration of the validity of the lists submitted by the Jews to the inquisitors. For example, the list registered in the inquisitional tribunal of books belonging to the kabbalist Aaron Berekhiah da Modena contained fifty Hebrew books, which largely comprised a number of copies of the Shulh≥an ‘arukh, Midrash rabbah, Sefer ha-halakhot by Alfasi, Arba‘ah turim, Mishneh Torah by Maimonides, Me’or ‘enayim by de’ Rossi, Kenaf renanim by Yosef Yedidià Carmi, Mishnayot, and various handwritten books.123 Not a single book of Kabbalah or even a copy of Aaron Berekhiah’s own books was included in this list. This seems unlikely. These books were confiscated by the inquisitor on the pretext of the Index of Clemente VIII

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“in the studio in domo suae” (in the midrash of Aaron) only, and not in other rooms or spaces in his house. Italian Jews were perfectly aware of the dynamics of the Inquisition, as Aaron Berekhiah declared on December 3, 1636, in a proud speech delivered during the trial: Never would I have believed that these books were forbidden and that it is not possible to own them, because for hundreds of years we have owned them, as have many of the inquisitors throughout many Inquisitions; and never have we seen their confiscation. The same books are in Rome; and there are Christians and Neophytes who know Hebrew very well, and we never heard of such prohibitions as these in Rome or that these books were considered evil, not just books that contain Talmudic teachings, but the majority of books, for example Rav Alfasi, Turim, [copies of Midrash rabbah] Rabot, Mishnayot, Maimonides, Kimh>i and Rabbi Salomone Attias, widespread in the world before the burning of the Talmud.124 A week later he added: I have nothing else to say, but because the Holy Inquisition tolerates us in its States [a commonplace among Italian Jewish writers of the time], consequently we are also allowed to own these books, which deal with our ceremonies, because it is impossible for us to live in these countries if we do not have books that teach us the principles of our faith, and although Your Lordship told us that Clemente VIII promulgated the bull that banned a number of books from the Jews, to my knowledge this bull has never been enforced, neither were the books confiscated from the Jews. Furthermore, even [Christian] preachers sometimes cite the Shulchan Aruch, Rav Alfassi, or similar books to convince the Jews [to convert] and they could not do this if we were prohibited to read or to own these books.125 Aaron Berekhiah’s words reveal a self-conscious, articulate attempt at negotiation and the perception of a certain ambiguity in censorship and Inquisition politics, which resulted in conflicts between the central and local heads of the Inquisition in the application of the Index.126

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In analyzing lists of books presented to the inquisitors, it is always important to consider both the role of the inquisitor and the role of the defendant and, specifically in our cases, which kinds of books the inquisitor was looking for and which kinds of books the accused was requested to present or even tried to hide. Italian and Latin authors were often prohibited, while Hebrew books, if controlled and erased, were not.127 For example, in 1600, with the exception of the “dangerous” books for which he was tried, Moisè Modena did not reveal any other forbidden books by Italian and Latin “suspected” authors.128 In 1605 Moisè Ariani, a simple Jewish clerk of the bank in Carpi, was accused of owning forbidden books—a manuscript on surgery and a Venetian edition of the Epistulae of Cicero—but these books were not listed in the first document Ariani submitted to the inquisitor.129 In November 1636, the inquisitor Giacomo da Lodi found in the home of Leone Poggetti the same kinds of books that he had found in the studio of Aaron Berekhiah, among them “Misnayot, Orech Khaim, En Israel, Maimonides.” However, he found a number of non-Hebrew books hidden in the closet of Leone Poggetti’s wife, Allegra: Boccaccio’s Genealogia degli Dei, Isabella Andreini’s “La chanzione” (probably Mirtilla: Pastorale, published for the first time in 1588), Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Dante’s Divina Commedia.130 Lists of books presented to the Inquisition reflect the roles of both the inquisitor and the defendant. The lists were shaped by the requests of the inquisitor on the one hand and the need for the accused’s cooperation on the other. This approach contributes to a new perception of the reading habits of the Jewish population in early modern Italy compared to the way scholars have treated this in the past.131 For example, of the 430 inventories prepared in 1595 on the request of the bishop of Mantua, who acted on instruction from Rome, it appears that only 2.4 percent of the books possessed by the Jews at this time were not written in Hebrew.132 Scholars have therefore argued that almost all Jewish cultural activity was based on texts in Hebrew and that the privileged topics were the various areas of religious literature.133 This assumption has been challenged by recent contributions showing that, by the sixteenth century, Hebrew and Latin were both literary languages, whereas Italian was the language Jews used in addressing Christians and in speaking to each other.134 It thus makes little sense to assume that Jews spoke in Italian but read only in Hebrew. Rather, the Modenese case suggests that through reading Jews negotiated a space in the larger society that allowed them to both assert their identity and engage in cultural interchange with Christians. So, too, studies

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by Italian scholars have shown that submitted lists of books can be misleading; for example, in the past scholars have erroneously viewed the inventories of books in the libraries of Italian monasteries and convents submitted to the Congregation of the Index after 1596 as a survey of library stocks rather than as lists from which banned or suspended books were to be removed or already had been.135

Surveillance Versus Negotiation On December 1638, a few hundred people in Modena moved from their former homes to the area of the ghetto, located in the historical center and well connected to the main squares of the city, the ducal palace, and the Duomo, where the majority of Jews had already been living.136 Like prostitutes, mendicants, and the sick, Jews got their own proper place in the order of the city. Yet, as Kenneth Stow makes clear, the notion of the ghetto fit well into the overall policy of the new Counter-Reformation.137 In an effort to keep their cities clean, that is, free from any form of heresy (Protestants) or impurity (Jews), church censors scrutinized texts in Hebrew, Latin, and Italian; they conceived of the text as the perfect transposition of the Christian body of the city, where God is everywhere.138 The ghettoization of the Jews and their expulsion from Italian cities were paralleled by the expurgation campaigns against Jewish texts. Just as the city could be protected from Jewish pollution only through the segregation and expulsion of Jews, so too could the Catholic community be effectively shielded from the contamination of Jewish blasphemies only through banning the Talmud and expurgating other Jewish texts. In 1636 their leaders were humiliated before the Holy Office, but the Modenese Jewish community was able to contest the legality of these proceedings. In early modern Modena, Jewish books and libraries were instrumental to Counter-Reformation politics (cultural and/or economic ghettoization) and to the shaping of a collective Jewish identity. Jews as well as Christians were kept under surveillance by the Catholic Church and the Inquisition. In Modena, which was characterized by a strong presence of both Jews and Christian heterodox, the church pursued particularly intensive policies to turn the consciences of “a child people” (un popolo fanciullo) into proper “open books,” that is, fully accessible to the scrutiny of their “spiritual fathers.”139 Under such circumstances, Jewish bankers and merchants negotiated their culture as they negotiated their position within the broader society.

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Significantly, with the construction of the ghetto in 1638, the massive inquisitorial attacks on Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants for owning both Hebrew and non-Hebrew books as well as for having Christian servants and housing synagogues drastically lost their strength.140 Katherine Aron-Beller has also noted this change and observes that “the ghetto walls might well have ensured a world of silence.”141 I argue instead that, in Modena, church priorities changed and once ghettoization was finalized, conversion came next: the Casa dei Catecumeni and during the eighteenth century the Opera pia dei Catecumeni (the House of Converts), formally established in Modena in 1700, vexed the ghetto society with violent intrusions and even kidnapping of Jews.142 Besides dramatic social conflicts that divided Jews and Christians at the time, the heretical surrounding society was beneficial to shaping the cultural world of the Jews. Modenese Jews shared with both Christian heterodox and Catholics a passion for reading biblical texts in vernacular languages, whether Italian or Yiddish, and Latin. Addressing the question of how to define Jewish authors in early modern Europe, David Ruderman recently distinguished five main elements of Jewish intellectual life: mobility, patronage, the centrality of the rabbi as the cultural producer, the mediating role of the Jewish magician/doctor, and the enrichment of print. In the early modern period, Jewish authors—whether they wrote in Hebrew, Italian, or Latin—assumed that Jewish culture was becoming an open book, and no external sources were prohibited, regardless of their provenance.143 Their cultural formation was based primarily on disciplines such as Kabbalah, rhetoric and historiography, scholastic and Neoplatonic philosophy, magic, medicine and the sciences, and music.144 In Modena, Ruderman’s idea of the open book within Jewish culture was shared not only by outstanding intellectuals but also by teachers, rabbis, merchants, bankers, and converts who worked as censors for the Holy Office due to Jewish lay leaders’ books and libraries, synagogues, and schools. As will emerge more extensively in Chapter 3, upper- and middle-class Jewish women actively participated in this cultural milieu. For Modenese Jews, cultural hybridity also meant culturally intimate communion—not only knowing and interiorizing the Italian language in its multiple nuances but also mastering the same literature and culture of their Christian neighbors. Jewish merchants together with rabbis and Jewish scholars shaped this cultural world.

Chapter 3

The Jewish Household Family Networks, Social Control, and Gendered Spaces

The Sanguinettis had owned a palazzo, two synagogues, and a private school in a complex of buildings first in Contrada de’ Servi and, since 1614, in Contrada Castellaro and Contrada della Cervetta (Sanguinetti), which were the main cultural centers for Ashkenazi Jews in Modena. At the time, the families who belonged to the Sanguinetti “public synagogue” maintained their minhagim and original prayer books, in both Hebrew and Yiddish translation.1 In 1638, on the eve of entering into the ghetto, the Sanguinettis lived in complex families: Pellegrino lived with twenty people (bocche) in Canalchiaro while Viviano lived with nine in Castellaro, and Isach Lazzaro with thirteen and five pupils of Simone and Israel Sanguinetti in Rua Granda.2 Since at least the mid-sixteenth century, the Modenas had lived in Contrada San Giorgio, only separated from the Sanguinettis’ area by the Strada Maestra (Via Emilia), with their banks, warehouses, and the synagogue. The space between Contrada San Giorgio and Rua Granda (the stretch of the Strada Maestra located between the Church of San Carlo and the ducal palace) was called “the Jews’ Alley” (Contrada degli ebrei); it was inhabited by the majority of Jews in the city. The Modenas lived not only on the same street but also in the same building.3 The socioeconomic and cultural ascent of the Modenas and the Sanguinettis was gradually acquired through strategies that went beyond the economic-commercial sphere and embraced both the social and cultural worlds. The households of Modenese Jewish bankers and merchants were characterized by multiple families or a network of families that shared buildings and houses. All the members of the family were connected to the bank,

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and at the beginning of the seventeenth century the family patriarch—in the case of the Modenas and the Sanguinettis, Moisè and Viviano, respectively— was still in charge of the organization of all the activities of the family business, in which brothers and cousins took part. Their household constituted a site where public and private, religious and profane, economy and welfare, work and leisure were entangled: their buildings hosted family houses, synagogues, libraries, confraternities, and shops. For them, home denoted not only a physical structure but also a residence as well as a place for worship, work and study; it was a space that defined its occupants as well as opened onto an extensive social network.4 This household became the catalyst for change throughout the early modern period: endogamy, kinship, and commercial alliances became a crucial basis for the economic and social development of Jewish bankers into a cohesive mercantile elite.5 The matrimonial politics of the Modenas and Sanguinettis in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a form of professional or family co-optation, functional to the creation of a family network in which the dowry and the will played important roles. As in Italian and European Jewish communities elsewhere in the early modern period, in Modena dowries and wills were complementary elements of a coherent system of redistribution and transmission of patrimonies within the broad Jewish world, based on kinship and family connections.6 In sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Modena, Jewish women from all social strata were active in business and in the administration of their own patrimony. Yet it was at the turn of the seventeenth century that Jewish women of Modena began receding from Jewish public life. This process was paralleled by women’s recession from the religious sphere, the masculinization of Jewish spaces, and the reconfiguration of the female sphere. These challenges were due to the consolidation of the local Jewish mercantile and male-centered elite, the emergence of new forms of Jewish kabbalistic piety, and CounterReformation influences. Thus, rabbinical authorities reimagined and designed the reality of Jewish women’s lives within the domestic domain and did so with unprecedented sophistication, including the addition of new rituals and prayers specifically for women. Through a slow process of feminization invested in the house, female identities were shaped by new forms of cultural agency and devotion, both domestic and public. In his kabbalistic treatise Ma’avar Yabbok on funerary customs, Aaron Berekhiah Modena included female prayers and devotions and Hebrew versions of tkhines, the genre of petitionary prayers for women generally in Yiddish, authored by Jewish men and later on by female authors as well.7 We

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see Jewish women adopting tkhines and invoking the matriarchs as well as special rituals in their houses during childbirth, such as holding a Torah scroll with the assistance of midwives and other women, and new H> anukkah lamps with the female heroine Judith as protagonist hung on the walls of mercantile Jewish houses. In Modena, the mercantile Jewish elite also pursued new definitions of gender and space by challenging rigid dichotomies of inside and outside through the negotiation of places in between such as doors, windows, and women’s synagogue galleries. At the same time, in Jewish merchants’ homes new cultural experimentations and literary productions that originated in their reading activities took place in the exclusively male confraternities. These experimentations showed important turns in the attitude toward Italian humanistic culture—a new appreciation of poetry and literature, cultural hybridization, and intellectual creativity.

In the City and Under the Same Roof: Urban and Household Strategies Living together under the same roof was not a custom exclusive to Jewish society; the structure of the complex family allowed both Jewish and non-Jewish householders to save money on daily expenses. However, within Italian non-Jewish middle-class families, this structure generally consisted of two couples,8 while in the case of Jewish families such as the Modenas and the Sanguinettis four couples resided under the same roof and new portions or apartments would be partitioned for new couples. This organization was at times challenged by internal disagreements or divisions, as in the case of Moisè Modena and his son Aaron Berekhiah. The latter was raised by his grandmother, Fioretta, and after childhood never shared the same house with his father.9 The organization of domestic spaces within the same Jewish house seems to also be somewhat related to a model of settlement quite common in Italian cities and theorized by city planners and architects such as Giacomo Lanteri in the mid-sixteenth century.10 Beginning in the early seventeenth century, the choice of residence for more influential families in many Italian cities such as Verona, Brescia, Genoa, Pisa, and Siena was determined not by relations among the casati nor by a sort of political configuration, but rather by reasons of publicity that reflected the honor, decor, and position of the lineage. As such, it was a way to show the family’s status and the quality of its nobility and citizenship.11 Although the kind of publicity that the noble casati

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wanted to achieve in Italian cities would have been inconceivable for Jews, a certain recognition of the Jewish leadership within Modenese Jewish and non-Jewish society through spaces that accommodated homes, synagogues, confraternities, schools, libraries, shops, and warehouses in the same buildings became a crucial factor for Modenese Jewish bankers. Their importance went beyond solely economic and professional affirmation to include a combination of honor, prestige, and discrete visibility. For example, the city authorities also recognized the synagogues as the main Jewish centers. In the case of the promulgation of edicts directed to the Jewish population, the official in charge would go to the Sanguinetti and Usiglio synagogues, read them loudly, and affix them to the external walls.12 Until the creation of the ghetto, there were at least five synagogues in town. There were two private oratories in Contrada San Giorgio, owned by the Modenas and Sanguinettis, respectively. The latter was probably founded after 1614 when the Sanguinettis had already moved to Contrada della Cervetta, as is discussed below. There were also the public synagogues of the Sanguinettis in Contrada Castellaro and that of the Usiglios, today the Palazzo Levi, which at the time was nicknamed Fiorentina from another surname of the family, Fiorantino, originally from Florence; these two synagogues were considered to be public because they were open to all the Jews in the city and recognized as such by the ducal authorities.13 Then, there was the Sinagoga de’ Poveri (of the poor) in Via Trivellati (currently Trivellari), which can be traced back at least to 1607.14 Moreover, since 1608 the dukes and their adviser Andrea Codebò had adopted an astute escamotage to circumvent the prohibition, according to canon law, of having more than one synagogue in each city: the synagogues (run by affluent Jewish families or ethnic nations) that proliferated in the cities and the villages in the duchy were considered to be private oratories instead of public synagogues, and consequently there was no violation of the 1555 Cum Nimis Absurdum papal bull. The existence of private synagogues run by affluent families and open to large strata of the Jewish population is quite remarkable in its importance, considering the Italian peninsula. Family synagogues in Italian cities were not uncommon if we consider, for example, the sixteenthcentury Norsa synagogue in Mantua and the Luzzatti scola in Venice.15 Yet what was unique in Modena is that, even when they were moved into the ghetto, these private synagogues continued to serve particular constituencies and their minhagim without being replaced by community synagogues. The Modena and the Usiglio synagogues remained the main centers of aggregation for Italian Jews. The Sanguinetti synagogue as well as the Ashkenazi synagogue

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(della compagnia tedesca), established in 1643 in the house of another Jewish merchant, hosted the Jews of Ashkenazi origin.16 Modenese Jewish merchants’ synagogues have similarities to those opened by court Jews in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany. For example, since the 1671 admission edict did not allow for a synagogue in Berlin, court Jews such as Israel Aaron, Jost Liebmann, and Marcus Magnus hosted religious services in their private homes.17 The Modenese synagogues had inherited a triple function from the medieval period as centers for liturgical, social, and educational activities.18 In the Sanguinetti synagogue, Modenese Jews also gathered for the election of their massari.19 All the synagogues included libraries open to other members of the community. The medieval practice of individuals managing broad collections of books that would benefit the entire Jewish community as well as the education of its members had characterized the Modenas, Sanguinettis, and Usiglios at least since the turn of the sixteenth century. Their libraries were moved into the ghetto.20 Moreover, the transformation of places of worship through the centuries mirrors the gradual change in the role of the mercantile Jewish household within and beyond Jewish society. The dynamics of the settlement of the Modena family in the city seems to be paralleled in the history of their synagogue and its furnishings. A precious artifact, an aron-ha-kodesh that belonged to Elhanan Raphael, who dedicated it to his father in 1472, contributes to our knowledge of the Modenas’ residence in the city.21 It is the earliest surviving Torah ark with architectural framework that scholars have at their disposal, made in the Gothic style from the area—probably in the workshop of Cristoforo Lendinara—and composed of two pieces of carved and painted walnut, and small in dimension.22 According to contemporaneous manuscripts, the shape of a towerlike cabinet was common in the region at the time, but while a Torah ark was often defined as aron-ha-kodesh (literally the “holy ark” after the Holy Ark of the Covenant), the Modenese cabinet is associated with the aron-ha-berit by the inscriptions on the frieze: “aron berit na‘asah likhvod ram ve-nissa” (the ark of the covenant was made in honor of the High and Exalted One). The term “aron-ha-berit” is usually attributed to the ark of the Tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem rather than an ark in the diaspora. As Victor Klagsbald has noted, the characterization “high and exalted” quotes the description of the heikhal (sanctuary) in Isaiah 6 while another inscription on the upper-left frieze cites Jeremiah 17:12, “kisse kavod marom me-rishon m’[maqom] m’[mikdashenu]” (thou throne of glory on high from the beginning, thou place of our sanctuary). Klagsbald and, more recently, Ilia Rodov

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Figure 6. Aron ha-Kodesh (Torah Ark), 1472, from Modena, sculpted wood and marquetry. Inv.: CL 12237. Photo: Gérard Blot / Christian Jean. Musée national du Moyen Âge–Thermes de Cluny, Paris. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY; ART148873.

conclude that these inscriptions reveal an explicit association of the mundane sanctuary to God’s throne.23 It can also be argued that in so doing the Modenese owners of the Torah ark were elevating their own cabinet as well as their synagogue and their home as a permanent if not almost sacred residence rather than a provisional, diasporic dwelling. As in other places in Italy, the decoration practices in the synagogues in Modena can be traced back to the second half of the sixteenth century. The Modenas’ synagogue was located in an ample room in Moisè’s house. In 1584 the owners decorated and renovated the synagogue. Indeed, the Modena synagogue began to assume a remarkably different aspect when compared to the synagogues of the previous century: it had a fixed location in a private space.24 Similarly, in 1603 Viviano and Samuele Sanguinetti obtained permission to “own oratories in the houses where they live or they had lived, and they have the permission to move them from a house to another house for major comfort.”25

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When, in the sixteenth century, Jewish permanent residence became a reality, the ongoing intersection between family, household, and synagogue brought new political and social negotiations. The synagogue could also become a target for vandalism or verbal offense by the surrounding population against the emerging and consequently more frightening Jewish mercantile elite. Starting in 1584, after the completion of the renovations, both Moisè and his cousin Salvatore (Salvador) Modena presented numerous petitions in order to protect their synagogue in Contrada San Giorgio from damage or offenses by Modenese dwellers.26 In 1586 the duke published a decree that prohibited “any sort of violence, disturbance, and obstacle even if minimal in the synagogue of the brothers Abram and Salvatore, Jews from Modena.”27 After 1598 this kind of intersection and visibility presented other challenging circumstances for Modenese Jews. For example, the confiscation of the Sanguinettis’ house in 1614 by the Jesuits was also a symbolical victory of the Ecclesia (read: Jesuits) over the Synagoga.28

The Household of the Emerging Jewish Elite The buildings described above hosted Jewish households of the Modenas and Sanguinettis in which the fathers and older sons were in charge of negotiating the marriages of their children, even though for the halakhah as well as the Italian Jewish social structure the consent of the youth was always a prerequisite.29 In the Modenese Jewish elite’s matrimonial strategies the level of prestige in terms of honorability and culture, and the economic and financial advantages that matrimonial unions could potentially bring played an important role. Honor was also a prerogative of the male individual and was based on integrity and reputation, which could be granted with respect to different spheres, in particular knowledge of Judaism, honorability, lineage, and wealth.30 Well-to-do Jewish households with multiple families made up all forms of domestic groups, including two or more conjugal pairs. In general, in the Modenese Jewish society women were usually younger than their husbands by five to seven years. Among the mercantile Jewish elite, often men married between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-six while women married between eighteen and twenty-one; an exception to this trend was the case of a young woman being married to her uncle (which was more common in the ghetto than it had been in the previous decades). Considering the Jewish society in sixteenth-century Florence, Stefanie Siegmund has calculated that,

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while before the ghettoization men were marrying between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one and women between fourteen and eighteen, in the ghetto (established in 1571) women appeared to be marrying at a younger age and couples, once betrothed, delayed their weddings because of housing and economic difficulties.31 In terms of social and demographic composition, the Modenese Jewish mercantile household included not only janitors and servants but also teachers and rabbis hired as private tutors. Beyond close Jewish family relatives and business partners there were also Christian servants, both men and women, whose tasks within the household included taking care of fireplaces during the Sabbath and various other domestic duties. These duties were usually organized on the basis of gender division: men were assigned to carrying timber and water, providing wood for the fireplaces, and making wine, while women were in charge of cleaning the house, washing dishes, feeding the geese and chickens, making beds, and baking bread.32 Thus, a vibrant microcosm in which Jews and Christians interacted in daily life permeated the mercantile Jewish household.33 Under his roof, Simon Sanguinetti had two business assistants, Graziadio and David Levi, and the private teacher of all the Sanguinetti children, Leone Poggetti.34 Poggetti belonged to the group of so-called itinerant or private rabbis who in Modena, as in other Italian cities, depended professionally and economically on the needs of influential Jewish families who employed them mainly as tutors.35 In the same years, two other itinerant rabbis lived in Modena, Moisè Brunetta, originally from Venice,36 and Aaron Rubiera, originally from Reggio Emilia.37 In the 1620s Poggetti gradually transformed his role, settling permanently in Modena as a teacher and the rabbi responsible for the Ashkenazi Sanguinetti synagogue. He also gained remarkable fame as a well-versed scholar. His role as educator, initially limited to the instruction of the Sanguinetti children, soon expanded. As a rabbi and a scholar, Poggetti acquired major responsibilities within the entire Modenese Jewish community. Yet the fact that Poggetti continued as a private preceptor for the Sanguinetti family shows that Modenese rabbis’ lives were characterized by a permanent economic struggle; their survival required the ability to combine more than one occupation.38 While living in the house of the Modenas in Contrada San Giorgio, he also opened a school for all Jews in Modena.39 The boundaries between the home, the synagogue, the library, and the school were extremely porous and hybrid. Cultural networks, well-interconnected business networks, and a high level of endogamy and homogamy in the group were the basis for the success

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of the emerging Modenese Jewish leading society. Indeed, weddings among relatives could reinforce family relationships that had faded in the recent past. Salomone Modena (1522/24–1580)—who was the uncle of Leone--lived in Bologna and married his cousin Fioretta in the 1550s. Some years later, he arranged the wedding of his daughter Imperia to the relative Moisè Modena, which was celebrated in 1574.40 From this union was born Aaron Berekhiah Modena in 1578.41 Moisè, then a widower, remarried to the younger Marianna de Rubieriis (di Rubiera), born in Reggio Emilia in 1568 with whom he had Salomone (1583–?), who became a rabbi, Angelo, and Simone. In 1633 Joseph Baruch ben Jedidiah Zachariah—a pupil of Aaron Berekhiah and a rabbi and physician active in Venice, Rovigo, Modena, Mantua, and Busseto—married the daughter of Netanel Trabotti.42 Yosef Yedidià Carmi, a student of Netanel Trabotti, defined his teacher as “our great master and Gaon Trabotto[i], May God protect him.”43 Even if Trabotti’s daughter could not bring a remarkable fortune to her marriage, her father’s reputation made her lineage a precious addition to a young Jewish scholar’s pedigree. The particularity of the Jewish law that, compared to that of Christians, allowed matrimonial unions among blood relatives of the second degree contributed to the consolidation of the family and kinship networks.44 Jews differed from their Christian neighbors in terms of both law and customs regarding consanguineous marriages: unions between uncles and nieces, and between parallel cousins were common and encouraged and well rooted in biblical and Talmudic sources.45 Matrimonial unions often reunited patrimonies and family branches that were otherwise scattered in nearby cities. Mordechai Modena (?–1611–12) from Ferrara, son of the aforementioned Shemaià (or Gratio), married his daughter to his relative Bonaiuto Modena, a banker in Vignola.46 Simone Sanguinetti, son of Jacob, practiced advantageous matrimonial politics that resulted in professional alliances, improving his own prestige and business. In 1577 Simone mediated the marriage of his son Viviano (d. before 1617) with Bona, from the family of the bankers and collaborators Pavia from Lodi; in 1580 he arranged the marriage of his son Samuel (1557–?)47 to Savia from the prestigious family Ottolengo (later renamed Ottolenghi) from Alessandria.48 In the following generation Jacob Sanguinetti, son of Haim, and Gioacchino, son of Simone, married Lena and Meraviglia, daughters of Avraham Portaleone, the celebrated physician and intellectual from Mantua, in 1598 and 1604, respectively.49 At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Jole Buonaventura, daughter of Samuel, was married to Israele Foà, a banker from Soragna.50 Matrimonial unions could

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also consolidate relationships within the close Modenese circle. Another of Trabotti’s daughters married Salomon Tintore, son of Iosef de Tintori (1586/?), a cultured merchant who lived in Modena.51 Marriages were often stipulated through matchmakers, who received an adequate emolument. These matchmakers’ duties were not limited solely to the first phase of negotiations, but also to the following steps. For example, in 1637 Aaron Berekhiah, representing Pelatya, son of the late Hanania from Monselice, mediated the marriage of Pelatya’s sister Smeralda in all passages, including the writing of the tena’im, the contract of engagement.52 Despite its importance in shaping business alliances, these matrimonial strategies furthered another social and cultural transformation: during the first decades of the seventeenth century, knowledge of Judaism, honorability, lineage, and wealth became more and more perceived within the mercantile Jewish elite as exclusive elements of masculinity.

Family Life and the Dowry System Like Jews in Rome or Turin, Modenese Jews enjoyed the benefits of ius commune, which guaranteed women the inviolability of their dowry, through the first decade of the eighteenth century when ducal laws challenged this system.53 Until then, the dowry was a property subject to a fidei commissum, through which the property of the family was held legally immune from the claims of potential creditors. State jurisprudence as well as the halakhah established that only creditors to whom money or goods were owed before the dowry and constituted by a legal notarial act had a prior claim on an estate. For example, a father could not bypass his preexisting debts by stipulating a dowry in his will, but when a dowry did exist, especially dowries of women who were already married, debts and creditors came strictly second.54 Even if, for Modena, the sources are at times scattered and do not allow us to gain a complete picture of family patrimonies, it seems appropriate to argue that the dowry was not the main resource for patrimonial reallocation and transference for Modenese Jewish families in the early modern period but it certainly represented an important form of resources. Moreover, the dowry provides a good indicator of the economic history of Modenese Jewish society. According to Jewish law and customs, marriage contracts in the form of both ketubbot and notarial acts included two main payments: the proper dowry (nedunia) and the dower (tosefet). At times, there was mention of a small sum (mohar) given if the bride was a virgin; divorcées and widows were excluded.55

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Notarial contracts stipulated by Modenese Jews—in the early modern period, Italian Jews resorted willingly to Christian notaries—list, in addition to the dowry, the items and their worth of the fardello, the rough equivalent of the trousseau, and sometimes of the donativi, or wedding presents given by anyone other than the bride’s or groom’s parents amounting to one-fourth or one-fifth of the dowry’s value. In sixteenth-century Rome, the trousseau amounted to one-half and in eighteenth-century Turin one-third, and consisted of far more than some clothing, jewelry, and items of purely symbolic value.56 The reduced amount was of course advantageous to the groom’s family. In 1580 Simone and his son Viviano Sanguinetto(i) received 900 Italian gold scudi as the dowry of Bona Pavia, at the time still a minor, from her brothers Clemente, Moisè, and Sansone Pavia, sons of the late Simone di Lodi; the Sanguinettis added as trousseau (doni della tavola) an additional 300 golden scudi.57 In 1604 Samuele and his son Gioacchino received 2,200 ducatoni from Avraham Portaleone for the dowry of his daughter Meraviglia, and they added 300 golden ducatoni to the contract stipulated in front of a Christian notary.58 Recent studies have emphasized the importance of the dowry as a tool for preserving family estates, and stress the growing autonomy of Italian Jewish women from the early modern through the modern era in contrast to the restrictions Christian women had faced since the thirteenth century. These restrictions—which were first connected to the decline of dowry rights in Florence—have been analyzed by the scholar Christiane Klapisch-Zuber among others.59 Kenneth Stow, Cristina Galasso, and Luciano Allegra have underlined important aspects of the sixteenth-century Roman ghetto, the Sephardi society of seventeenth-century Livorno, and the eighteenth-century Turin ghetto, respectively.60 We see Jewish women’s dowries invested as the financial basis for family firms, women named as heirs and administrators of businesses, women as testators, and women as guardians of their minor children, even if widowed and remarried.61 The situation in Modena in the seventeenth century appears much more complex to decipher not only because of the lack of a consistent corpus of sources but also because, at the time, the Jewish society was in formation rather than consolidated, as was the case in sixteenth-century Rome and eighteenth-century Turin.62 In addition, the given assumption among Italian Jewish historians of the diminished autonomy of Christian women needs to be reconsidered in light of more recent scholarship. General Italian historians have now reached more articulated conclusions compared to those of the past, emphasizing adaptations in practice that

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attenuated or outright undermined the patriarchal structures of the dowry regime in other Italian cities and eventually even in Florence.63 In sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Modena, some upper-middleclass Jewish women became partners with their husbands in the professional arena, even if their presence is concealed in the official records of guilds, charters, and official correspondence in which only husbands are typically listed. Autobiographies, notarial acts, and inquisitorial records reveal a more variegated reality. Only because of the inquisitorial trial against Moisè Modena in 1624 do we know that his wife, Marianna, was an active partner in the family bank and that her daughters-in-law were probably involved as well.64 Jewish women from all the social strata commonly inherited and freely disposed of property. For example, Stella and Sara Sanguinetti, who in 1610 helped their husbands financially only after having their own dowries returned to them after a three-year legal case, due to family disagreements, were viewed as unremarkable in Modenese Jewish society.65 In 1607, in the wake of the death of Moisè Sanguinetti, who died without leaving a will, his sons Leone, Michele, Jacob, and Zaccaria dealt with numerous disagreements regarding the inheritance for the redistribution of dotal patrimonies to wives and still unmarried sisters. A first agreement implied that Leone’s wife Stella would obtain some landed properties in the nearby village of Rubiera, but Leone’s cousin and coheir Simone opposed this option. In agreement with Leone and the other brothers, Michele had previously agreed to sell the landed properties with his wife’s consent; only after this agreement did the litigations begin.66 The case was solved in 1610 when the Sanguinetti family reached the following agreements with the approval and help of the ducal chamber: Leone, Michele, Jacob, and Zaccaria were declared debtors of “Samuele and heirs of the last Viviano Sanguinetti [among them Simone],” successors in the administration of the bank of Servi. Stella and Sara, wives of the older brothers, and the Sanguinetti sisters Tamar and Sara, under twenty-five years old and still unmarried (“sorelle da maritarsi”), gave up their rights to these goods after the obtainment of their dotal patrimonies. Therefore, Stella, wife of Leone, and Allegra Sanguinetti, daughter of Michele and at the time already the wife of Moisè da Fano, made an agreement for the obtainment of a dotal patrimony that amounted to around “tremila di moneta” (three thousand lire).67 At the time the will was drawn up, the testator included not only the equal division of the patrimony among the sons with the added emolument for the firstborn (10 percent) but he often also included imports destined for the restitution

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of the dowries of his own wife and daughters-in-law, and at times even the dowries for unmarried daughters. The importance of the dowry has also been connected to the status of widowhood. In the early modern period, Italian Jewish widows in Rome and Livorno disposed of their dowries, made their own wills, autonomously chose a second husband, and freely distributed and invested their properties, while Christian widows would have been trapped in the so-called cruel-mother syndrome: the consolidated praxis in Florence and elsewhere that a widowed mother must live under the same roof as her former husband’s family or, were she inclined to remarry, to abandon her children to that household. In this way, the family of the former husband could keep the entire family patrimony under control via adoption of the still minor heirs.68 In the Catholic world, a widow was generally not encouraged to choose a second marriage, while the monastic venue that would have implied the unity of the family patrimony and a future will in favor of the church appeared to be a more valued choice.69 In the Jewish world, a second marriage had always been encouraged in the case of widowhood or divorce; the restitution of the dowry and the custody of minor children with the help of an appointed guardian were untouchable rights assured by Jewish law and protected by rabbinical tribunals.70 Indeed, the widow was allowed a certain independence compared to her previous roles as daughter, wife, and mother, a condition largely unknown in the contemporary Christian society.71 At the end of the sixteenth century, widowhood allowed Fulvia Sanguinetti, widow of Calman, to propose an amount of money to be received from her husband’s family as a liquidation from the family business (“buona uscita dagli affari di famiglia”). Shortly thereafter, in the 1620s, the heirs of Viviano Sanguinetti were able to open a bank thanks to the credit received from their mother (her dowry) at the interest rate of 8 percent, which totaled 3,000 scudi.72 Thanks to her dowry, in 1608 Letitzia was able to confront her husband Daniele Modena in a long controversial divorce, which also involved the rabbinical tribunal.73 After raising Aaron Berekhiah, the widow Fioretta Modena chose to move to Safed at the end of the sixteenth century because of her desire to pursue kabbalistic studies. She died shortly after her arrival.74 A similar choice would have been inconceivable during the years of marriage, but getting back their dowries allowed women to make choices such as entering a second marriage, supporting their children financially, and even embarking on new cultural, religious, and devotional paths. In the popular classes, widowhood could lead to the opening of a small business. For example, Ricca Sacerdoti opened a

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“botteghino da pizzicagnolo” (a small grocery shop) with her dowry shortly after the establishment of the ghetto.75 The available data do not allow us to determine whether the dowries of Jewish women in early modern Modena were systematically higher than those of Christian women. However, studies of other contemporary Italian nonJewish societies make it clear that the choices of a family from the urban elite in northern Italy were generally determined mostly by political experiences, financial capacities, and cultural norms. Family patriarchs could not afford the loss of any possibility to protect the fortunes of their own lineage. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this task became more and more difficult because of the consolidated practice of preferring male descendants in inheritance and the legal obligation to provide women with dowries.76 In Venice, Florence, Milan, and Brescia, 50 to 60 percent of the nobility remained unmarried in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.77 Joanne M. Ferraro’s study of the elite of Brescia in the first half of the seventeenth century shows that two kinds of restricted marriages were prevalent: in the first kind of marriage, a son (not necessarily the oldest, but perhaps the one more inclined to marriage) was entitled to marry while his brothers remained single and potentially left their possessions to the sons of the married brother. In this way, the family patrimony remained intact. In the second kind of marriage, when the family was sufficiently affluent to afford divisions of the patrimony, two brothers (rarely more than two) were allowed to marry and lived in two separate households.78 If, for the Donàs from Venice and for the Maggis from Brescia, both Italian Christian prestigious families, planning the matrimonial politics of more than a son was optional, for the Modenas and Sanguinettis it was a religious and ethical obligation that had consequences on the construction of patrimonies. Simone Luzzatto emphasized in his 1638 Discorso: “All marry and raise large families, incurring great expenses and causing a division of their possessions.”79 While Christian society adopted only the fidei commissum, Jewish society also included the dowry and the right of the firstborn, both important strategies in the economic politics of family networks. Thus, while in the Christian context the male heir was privileged within the economy of societalfamilial relations, the Jewish system allowed for a margin of autonomy reserved for women.80 To Modenese Jewish merchant families, matrimonial politics allowed not only the consolidation of an internal network but also a network dimension that went far beyond the city and the duchy, including Italian and Sephardi Jewish mercantile elites in capital and port cities. This element was

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almost absent within the Jewish elites of other cities such as Rome, Turin, Asti, or Florence where the marriage market was mainly local.81 It seems arguable that marriage alliances on a national scale within particular families in northern Italy and Italian port cities were characteristic of the Modenese Jewish mercantile society. In addition, the lack of landed property during the seventeenth century—an element that by contrast in the non-Jewish society had always been perceived as a mark of both solid estate and prestige—contributed to the reinforcement of the dowry as a tool for the transmission of patrimonies, essentially composed of mobile goods. Complex family structures necessitated divisions of patrimonies and adequate wills. Generally sons, grandsons, male cousins, and nephews took over business operations following a senior partner’s death. Marriage alliances, trade associations, dowries, and wills became complementary elements of a unique arena that reinforced the economy of the Modenese Jewish mercantile elite in the Italian peninsula beyond the duchy and its local economies.82 While lower-class women remained active in society as simple workers, many as peddlers, and sometimes invested their own dowries as widows, starting in the seventeenth century well-to-do Jewish women of Modena receded from the economic sphere. They rarely played a direct role in the management of family businesses; even widows’ commitment was generally only on a temporary basis. Overall, upper-middle-class Jewish women were not actively engaged in the local economy even if they played an indirect role in the formation and transmission of the mercantile capital because of the importance and untouchability of their dowries from a legal and customary point of view.

Reimagining Jewish Women in the Domestic Sphere: Rabbinic Attitudes Toward Women In sixteenth-century Modena, Jewish matrons and their servants gathered on Saturday mornings in the women’s section of the synagogue owned by the Modenas, the most affluent family in the city, and were involved in services that paralleled those of the men. When they had grievances that originated in the home against men of the community—such as broken engagements, unfavorable divorce settlements, physical and verbal abuse, seduction and impregnation of servants, and even impotence—they adopted the medieval Jewish custom of bittul ha-tamid (interruption of the service) and ‘ikuv ha-keriah

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(stopping the service) and cursed men, shaming them publicly.83 This was a form of boycott that originated in the domestic sphere once lay leaders and rabbis were unable to resolve such issues to the satisfaction of the Jewish matrons involved. Jewish women, through collective efforts, then brought these issues to the public Jewish space. The same Jewish matrons were probably accepted into the local H> evrat Gemilut H> asadim (the confraternity of acts of loving kindness) as happened in the homonymous confraternity in Ferrara or in the H> evrat Nizharim (the confraternity of the zealous) in Bologna.84 In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Italian rabbis’ attitude toward the religious and social agency of women was not univocal, but we know that rabbis in Modena and its proximity disapproved of women’s heterodox initiatives such as the interruption of the service. For example, in 1534 R. Azriel Diena from Sabbioneta wrote a responsum to the Jewish community of Modena, asking the leaders of the community to put a stop to women’s cursing during the service: “When at the time of the taking out of the Torah scrolls on your Sabbaths, your festivals, and your new months, instead of standing and honoring and praying to him who gave us the Torah of truth and who blesses you, bad-tempered women among you rise and denounce God. Their mouths are full to curse and to avenge anyone who, when their hearts were deluded, led them astray and did not give to them according to their requests. The sin is great, and these women move like the blind people in your streets.”85 In his commentary to Eshet H>ayil (1606), Abraham Yaghel, highly influential in Modena, addresses men and married women as equals and in relation to their reciprocal obligations and respective duties, elaborating on the potentially ambivalent duality of women, expressing strong concern regarding the consequences of women (under the category of the “other woman” contrasted with the woman of valor) becoming too zealous with fasts, prayers, and wearing sackcloth, and thus neglecting their husbands and their needs. Yagel’s concerns also expand to the entire household that would be neglected. By contrast, referring to the archetype in Proverbs 31—at the center of a long tradition of commentaries by Italian Jewish scholars starting with Emanuel of Rome (1261–1328) and Messer Leon (c. 1427–c. 1497)—among the woman of valor’s duties he includes the instruction of her children and members of her household to follow God’s commandments, and providing food for the poor. She was also to wear modest clothes and jewelry because her heart should be only for her husband, her household, and her father in heaven.86 As the previous sections make clear, the household was a much broader circle than a

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nuclear or binuclear family. Finally, as Roni Weinstein demonstrates, through her conduct Yagel’s woman of valor shapes the masculine roles within the household, and affects moral and worldly inclinations, sexual passions, and the relationship with God of all its members. Her embrace of virtue and moral balance cultivates her family’s worthy of divine remuneration for their good deeds.87 The “other woman” Yagel describes—the one who is too devout—had her Catholic counterpart in the living saints (sante vive), tertiaries, and independent religious women who were active from the mid-fifteenth through the early sixteenth century in Italy.88 These living saints and their hagiography, which paralleled those of the beatas in Spain, became extremely successful. Women of modest social background, who were usually illiterate, often manifested revelations. They were considered blessed with supernatural powers and charismatic gifts that attracted the attention of princes, nobles, ecclesiastical officials, and intellectuals.89 They served as models for their followers, and at times even gathered communities of women in both the countryside and city. In so doing, they recreated in their own bodies Christ’s passion through anorexia, diligent prayers, and abstinence from sex while enraptured in their own ecstatic visions.90 For example, in the Este Duchy in 1500, Ercole II invited the tertiary Lucia Broccadelli of Narni (1476–1544), who had attracted a good deal of attention in Viterbo for bearing visible stigmata on her body, to guide the convent of tertiaries in Ferrara, where she lived for forty years.91 In the mid-sixteenth century, the confinement of women who had found unconventional and satisfying roles as tertiaries, living saints, and independent religious women became one of the primary goals of the new social discipline imposed by Catholic reformers on the Italian peninsula. Also, especially after the Council of Trent (1545–63), Christian Catholic women were imagined in, and often successfully confined to, the domestic sphere as wives and to cloistered monasteries as nuns. In addition, in the seventeenth century anorexia, hysteria, simulation of sanctity, mysticism, possession, and witchcraft began to be discussed as concomitant phenomena of the female universe.92 In the early seventeenth century, Christian women in Modena were undoubtedly under more suspicion than elsewhere. Many of them were declared possessed and passed to the control of specialists who officiated in the Duomo, influential religious men who belonged to the principal orders in Modena—the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Theatines, and the Dominicans. At least since 1610 some of those women, who were presumed and mostly confessed to being possessed, had been cured by Modenese priests through unusual techniques. The priests practiced touching and manipulation of

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vaginas, at times requesting the women to do the same to their penises. The conviction was that the symptoms of obsessed women were due to the possession of the devil in the women’s sexual organs. Thus, men of God had only to hunt the devil and liberate the sexual organs and often the devil moved (and they would follow) to other parts of the bodies—the throat, the mouth, and the ears. The leader of these clerical exorcists, priest Geminiano Mazzoni, brought dozens of once possessed women and their healers in front of the local Holy Office and the inquisitor Giovanni Vincenzo Reghezza.93 In about 1611, a congregation of Ursuline sisters, lay women who originally belonged to a congregation of virgins active in Modena at least since the beginning of the century, began living together under the spiritual guidance of Jesuits and the organizational direction of Barbara Baranzoni, a widow. The suspicion of the local population toward this congregation of virgins in Modena was sustained by accusations against its members of living luxuriously, making alliances with the Jesuits by recruiting wealthy and noble wives and daughters as devotees for them, attending Mass too frequently, and being sexually promiscuous, while neglecting charitable activities, distribution of alimonies, and assistance to the sick. The connection of these women with the Jesuits, at least since 1607, should not be surprising: all over northern Italy and Europe, the Ursulines as lay women, not nuns, had to make such alliances in order to survive and ultimately thrive.94 It is unlikely that Modenese Jewish rabbis and merchants were unaware of these changes; rather, they had to influence their conceptions of gender hierarchies within the Jewish community. Aaron Berekhiah Modena was perhaps the most influential rabbi in Modena. He was the most famous student of R. Menachem Azariah da Fano and studied under R. Israel Sarug. He was known as an exponent of the Lurianic Kabbalah even though he debated and was fascinated by the competing Cordoverian Kabbalah throughout his life. His theological attitude toward women was complex because of the enhancement of the feminine aspect of divinity (shekhinah) and the fear of the feminine demonic figure of Lilith.95 In a pioneering article, the historian Elliott Horowitz argues that new forms of Jewish piety, such as the adoption of the Lurianic Kabbalah, and Counter-Reformation influences—a restriction of popular manifestations and expressions, considered dangerous and subversive—led to a change within Italian Jewish society in general. Under the influence of Aaron Berekhiah Modena, attempts were made in Modena and elsewhere in Italy to transform the veglia (vigil) in the night before the circumcision of a newborn into a more sober

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and sacred event that excluded popular and festive elements such as the presence of women. According to Horowitz, the precircumcision vigil emerged in the late Middle Ages as a night of largely profane festivity in which women also played a prominent—in some cases dominant—role.96 Yet differences between Christian and Jewish worldviews at the time were also profound: while Christian Catholics were prone toward the acceptance of a woman mystic, the absence of female mystics in the history of Jewish societies stands out.97 While in the Christian societies, often the phenomena of female possession and prophecy were unequivocally condemned, with the diffusion of early modern Kabbalah new spiritual opportunities (and acceptance of possession) materialized for Jewish women in sixteenth-century Jerusalem, Safed, and Damascus. Safedian kabbalist rabbis elevated Jewish women’s experiences of possession as positive reception (dibbuk) of a good, angelic, and of note always male, emissary (maggid).98 Considering his intermediary role between the Safedian kabbalists and Italy, there is no doubt that Aaron Berekhiah was aware of these recent turns, which had to influence in some way his conceptions. He eventually reimagined and designed the reality of women’s lives within the domestic domain, and while doing so he articulated the female Jewish space with sophistication. Aaron Berekhiah’s Ma’avar Yabbok explains that a woman in difficult labor must be given a candle from the synagogue that she should try to light herself for the sake of the blessings she usually pronounces on the Sabbath and the holidays (including the Day of Atonement). He thus introduced a new feminine ritual. The moment of birth is therefore crucial since the sefirot (spheres) are thus attracted here below, and the life of the mother and that of the child are in danger. The connection between the woman in danger and the candle mirrors the link between impurity and light: if the woman does not respect the prescriptions of the laws of purity, she puts herself as well as her child in danger. The Ma’avar Yabbok claims that death is intrinsically feminine—nekevah. This triad associating woman, birth, and death evokes universal notions of conception derived from the Lurianic Kabbalah in Safed.99 The use of the candles was also a logical feature for female domestic devotion if we consider the precept of the candles for the entrance of the Sabbath. Moreover, this was not too distant from the use of lighting candles in the Christian Catholic world as a ritualistic requirement for the Mass and other rituals in private home chapels.100 Childbirth often occurred in the couple’s bedroom. In Modena, Jewish couples, even if they were affluent, always shared the same room, while

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patrician Christian husbands and wives had separate apartments in palaces.101 Particularly after 1638, Jewish couples in the mercantile elite lacked extra rooms.102 Thus, in childbirth the couple’s bedroom was transformed from a dual-gender space into an almost exclusively female enclave, with midwives and female servants, relatives, and friends of the mother-to-be. The dangers of childbirth had always been a concern, and as such a reason for additional and petitionary prayers. Aaron Berekhiah’s Ma’avar Yabbok includes a tkhine that invokes the merit of Sarah and other matriarchs, which was to be recited at the cemetery by anyone concerned about the well-being of a woman about to have a child or having difficulty in childbirth. This prayer was first attested in a fourteenth-century Italian manuscript.103 In addition, Aaron Berekhiah included two other prayers (known in a Yiddish version in early modern Europe) to be recited in the house. The first is for a birthing woman and invokes the merit of Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and other barren women who eventually gave birth, and requests that the pregnant woman be relieved from the decree on Eve (the women’s punishment and subordination for Eve’s role in the creation narrative included suffer while giving birth). The second is from Ma‘aneh Lashon, and requests that God, who heard the prayers of the matriarchs, hear this prayer as well.104 Nevertheless, Aaron Berekhiah stresses with particular emphasis the male prayer in the morning service ritual by remarking on the need for women to recognize their ancillary role in their relationship with men: “How many people, either men or women, disguise their basic character by means of their deeds? There are many who for most of their lives serve others as servants and this shows the lowliness of their souls because the internal reflects itself externally. Therefore [the rabbis] established the recitation ‘[Blessed are You . . .] who has not made me a woman’ and ‘has not made me a slave’ every day. . . . He intends with the three above-mentioned blessings to remove from himself and from upon himself every type of servitude, frivolity of women, and servile capacity and impure thought.”105 This insistence is even more remarkable if we consider that in 1471 (or 1478) R. Abraham Farissol in nearby Ferrara copied a prayer book for a distinguished woman. At the same point in the morning service, Farissol’s manuscript presents an unexpected challenge: “Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has made me a woman and not a man.”106 While the normative male version of the prayer, established by the rabbis in the Talmud, is “Blessed are You . . . who has not made me a woman,” with women reciting, “who has made me according to Your will.”107 Thus, Aaron Berekhiah was probably attempting to limit Jewish women’s potential

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subversion of gendered roles within the domestic space during prayers recited mostly in solitude and in the intimacy of the home. Yet it should be emphasized that restructuring female spaces within the domestic domain did not imply the diminishment of women’s spiritual lives. Michele Klein and Howard Adelman document that, in one custom that began in the fourteenth century, a helper recited Psalm 20, which begins with the words “A psalm of David. May the Lord answer you in time of trouble” (Psalm 20:1–2), while the woman in labor focused her thoughts on a certain magical name of God. Jews had recited this psalm to ease childbirth since the Geonic period. This procedure was repeated nine times, or more often twelve times. Remedy books and prayer books from the early seventeenth century onward directed the reader to systematically vary the vowels in the tetragrammaton each time it appears in the psalm. Aaron Berekhiah Modena recommended that, due to women’s inability to meditate adequately, it should be the husband’s duty to meditate on this psalm while his wife was in labor. In addition, Psalm 20 should be repeated twelve times. According to him, this method of meditation was widely practiced by other kabbalists and required the meditator’s purification and peace of mind.108 The insertion of new devotional prayers and kabbalistic rituals was probably conceived as an attempt to contrast the custom, largely widespread in Modena and other Jewish communities in Europe and the Mediterranean, of women in labor to hold a Torah scroll to ease their delivery while comforted by the prayers of other women.109 In Aaron Berekhiah’s conception, kabbalistic rituals performed by a husband rather than a midwife or a female relative or friend would not only assure a more proper and holy childbirth but would probably also restrain Jewish women from impure practices such as holding a Torah scroll to their breasts to relieve them from the distress of a closed womb. Aaron Berekhiah also attempted to restructure the female presence at funeral ceremonies in a similar manner as for vigils and childbirth. He prescribed that, on the way to the cemetery, within it, and on the way out, men and women should form two separate groups, with men walking in front and the women following, and they must not mingle or walk together: “It was announced with much strength that women should not be seen with the men on their way to the cemetery and certainly not when they return. . . . I have been told from a reliable man that this custom was spread throughout the entire Israel and Babylon and the whole Eastern Empire, that first men go and attendants who are in charge of separating men and women stay there so that women do not begin to proceed until the men have gone. After the

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funeral women remain about a quarter of an hour until all the men have left, and they mourn over the deceased.”110 The space of the cemetery must not be disturbed by improper actions and forces that could be unleashed during a burial. Men should not be distracted by gazing at women since this would represent a transgression that would put their very lives in danger. Moreover, according to Aaron Berekhiah, women’s weeping and lamenting weakened the song of the seraphim, who rejoiced at the arrival of the deceased.111 Aaron Berekhiah’s conception of both circumcision and funeral rituals presents a case of early modern cultural hybridity by merging European Counter-Reformation aspects and Mediterranean Jewish kabbalistic elements. Numerous Italian and northern European moralists of the time concurred with Italian Jewish rabbis such as Aaron Berekhiah Modena and Abraham Yagel that women’s place was in the private sphere of the home. In the context of Modena, Aaron Berekhiah and Yagel’s conceptions and their attempts to direct Jewish women accordingly were also reflections of the mercantile Jewish elite’s need to control Jewish women in general, and their wives and daughters in particular. Nevertheless, it is difficult to determine to what extent their ideas were effectively adopted in the practice of the broader Modenese Jewish society. In the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Modenese Jewish sumptuary laws,112 the rules on the celebration of the vigil before a circumcision seem to concentrate more on limiting the consumption of chocolate, tea, and cakes as well as the exhibition of ostentatious clothes than on the presence of women. At the same time, devotional confraternities such as Abraham Rovigo’s H>atzot Laila transformed this celebration into an increasingly masculine and kabbalistic ritual event with the exclusive participation of confraternity members and the substitution of the more festive elements with new study sessions and prayers through the night. Moreover, we know that, from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century in Modena, women’s role during the circumcision was rooted in their connection to the home. On the morning of the circumcision, the godmother (often “comare” in both Italian and Hebrew characters) left the house of the newborn, accompanied by other women and holding the baby in her arms. At the door of the synagogue, the baby was delivered to the godfather; the godmother then withdrew to the women’s gallery or section. At the end of the ceremony, it was the task of the godmother to receive the baby and return him to the mother, who would carry him back home.113 This local ritual, not unknown in other Italian Jewish communities, was a product of a process of give-and-take between the rabbinical leadership, the mercantile elite, and Jewish women.

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The Window The potential subversion of gazing at women was a threat that had been familiar to European Jews since the medieval period. When in 1635, and then in 1637, the Jewish massari tried to reject Duke Francesco I’s imposition to attend weekly conversionary sermons, they also declared that they did not want maidens to leave their houses and attend the conversionary sermons because “they never leave their houses” (non escono mai di casa); in addition, they requested that servants remain at home and women stay only with Jewish men.114 Indeed, if we conceive gender as a category that allows for an investigation of how men and women interacted in daily life and social relations, as well as how male and female elements were utilized in prescriptive literature, the window is the ideal gendered spatial zone in the domestic architecture: it allows us to investigate how the emerging mercantile Jewish elite and the local rabbis refashioned themselves in the home and made attempts to control women (especially maidens) in the early modern period. In 1602 Viviano Sanguinetti was tried by the Holy Office, accused of attempting to dissuade his daughter Miriana from baptism ten years earlier. It turned out that Miriana had been involved in a long courtship with the Christian Ludovico della Mirandola. Katherine Aron-Beller has analyzed the trial’s main phases. By examining the records of the trial, initiated when Miriana had already been married to her cousin Michele Sanguinetti for some years, with a specific eye on gendered spaces, what emerges is both Miriana and Viviano’s awareness of the window as a site of courtship, seduction, and, potentially, perdition. When questioned by the inquisitor, Miriana adamantly admitted: “It is true that my father Viviano, foreseeing or imagining that I was making love [understood more as flirting and courting] with Mister Ludovico Mirandola, that I had promised to become a Christian, yelled at me and urged me to not become a Christian, but rather to keep the Jewish law in which I have been born and that I would never return to the windows and I was prohibited by my father to stand at the window and practice or make love with the aforementioned Mister Ludovico; rather, I had to take care of domestic duties.”115 Viviano Sanguinetti’s testimony confirms Miriana’s words: “He [Ludovico] passed frequently under the window of my house where my daughter Miriana was at times, and I feared she might court or [be] courted by him.”116 In the Modenese Jewish society, visual privacy became important as an attempt to confine elite women, who did not need to leave the house for work, to the domestic sphere and limit their tasks to the household.

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Diane Wolfthal has recently examined how, in Renaissance Europe, places such as the bed, the dressing area of the home, the windows and doorways, the bath, and the street were associated with sex and desire and portrayed as such by artists. She explains that “windows could be opened or closed; they could frame women so that it became easier for men to view them, but they also enabled women to look beyond their home and engage with the outside world.”117 Thus, windows were also perceived as metaphors for the human body—they can be open or closed—and at times windowpanes represented maidenheads.118 In a compelling discussion, Charlotte Fonrobert persuasively demonstrates that in rabbinic literature the metaphorization of the interior of the female body as a house “that man enters and where he dwells,” attested already in the Mishnah Niddah,119 and a suspected loss of virginity as “the open door” (in Hebrew petah> patuah>), as well as the hymen as the “door bolt,” as treated in the Babylonian Talmud, has played a major role in a construction of gender by which “the husband has exclusive rights to his ‘house,’ to his wife’s reproductive capacity but not vice versa.”120 Thus, in rabbinic literature, the virtuous woman is compared to the house, closed as a virgin and to be opened only by the groom for his exclusive habitation, while the prostitute is characterized as a house with an open door or even as a body with 252 parts instead of 248 because of two additional hinges and two doors.121 Given this background and both the urban and social geography of early modern Italian cities, metaphorizing the window as a means by which to break into the house as the female body and a realistic threat to the purity of Jewish women seems to be an obvious shift in the mentality of Italian Jews. This became even more important for the Jewish mercantile elite of Modena during its social and political affirmation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Wolfthal also examines how the window in both early modern Italy and Europe became, together with the doorway, a site with more than a univocal significance, a site where women considered less proper and valuable than honorable matrons were standing, prostitutes displayed themselves to the eyes of potential clients, and young women of marriageable age hoped to find suitors for marriage or a long-term relationship. Indeed, as will emerge in the following pages, Italian rabbis concurred with Italian and European theorists that windows and doorways were sites of potential danger and that going public by standing at windows and doorways or venturing beyond them put honorable women in moral and physical danger.122 However, it seems that Italian rabbis and Jewish authors did not share the same interpretation of the window as a space for romance that became so pervasive in paintings, literature,

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and theatrical performances in Renaissance Europe. In Modena as elsewhere, Jewish and non-Jewish youths viewed the window as a place of courtship, and rabbis seemed to be particularly concerned with the potential danger of young women appearing at windows. Furthermore, as Roni Weinstein demonstrates, Italian rabbis’ concerns included not only the reputation of the women but also the potential extortion of their consent to unwilling marriages as well as dangerous contact with both Jewish and Christian seducers.123 Modena was at the center of an exchange among Italian rabbis in 1579. A certain Simon, with the testimony of witnesses, claimed that he became betrothed with a golden ring to a young girl, Suraleh (the Yiddish diminutive of Sarah), through a window. This occurred even though Simon well knew that a regulation had been in force “since ancient times, stating that neither an inhabitant of the region nor a foreigner would be allowed to become betrothed to a woman without the presence of ten adult men, two of whom had to be her relatives.”124 Modenese rabbis aimed mainly at granting the girl and her family the opportunity to bow to the young man’s claims rather than opening a full divorce proceeding. A similar case occurred in 1661 in which Modenese rabbis pressed the young man until he performed a full kiddushin (betrothal) ritual with the girl. The main concern was assuring a legitimate betrothal in the presence of valid witnesses, obtaining the consent of the parents of the girl as well as the girl herself, and, of course, avoiding elopement.125 In the Italian Jewish society the step of the betrothal marked the start of the matrimony (except for convivence and sexual relations that were allowed after the h>uppah, the wedding ceremony); as such it was always formalized by a legal agreement.126 In addition, Weinstein reports the story of a Jewish woman from Ferrara who was accused by the local rabbi of having “acted against the Jewish religion,” that is, behaving improperly: “Some persons have come to the rabbi complaining that she winks with her eyes and hints with her lips to bachelors around her window. And the rabbi saw her playing love-games.” Of note, the attitude toward women’s “playing” (flirting) in Modena seemed to be more conciliatory, a line of interpretation represented in the Babylonian Talmud. In 1634 Netanel Trabotti was asked to examine a case involving three young people, Reuven, Simon, and Rachel. One day in the middle of merriment and laughter, Simon convinced Rachel to accept a ring as a betrothal gift— virtually, a full kiddushin ritual was performed. Even though at the end of their gathering Rachel returned the ring, once the fact became known some people said that the woman required a divorce even though Reuven stated that

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marriage was not his intention. Netanel Trabotti ruled that the girl did not need a divorce writ in order to marry another man.127 Modenese Jewish rabbis and householders viewed the space beyond the home as dangerous to women’s chastity and consequently the courtship that often included “playing.” This restrictive attitude was functional to the mercantile Jewish elite’s need to keep women under surveillance. At the same time, men gazing at women rather than women gazing at men appears to have been a major concern in the eyes of rabbis, Jewish householders, and Jewish lay leaders. While we do not have evidence on the architectural plans of the synagogues in Modena before 1638, we do know that in the ghetto all synagogues were located in the houses of Jewish merchants. Many of them included women’s galleries located on upper floors while in others the women’s section was in the form of a room or a simple section of the larger prayer room with a small internal window.128 Although female sections excluded women from participation in the main religious services, the windows of their galleries or rooms gave Modenese Jewish women an exclusive view of men as well as the opportunity to conduct parallel services. Apparently, after the turn of the seventeenth century, women no longer interrupted the male reading of the Torah on Saturday mornings, however they occupied an even broader visual space than men, and could look out onto the male section below without being seen and thus were not observed as well as follow easily the service—unlike in the contemporaneous women’s synagogues in Poland-Lithuania where women were further displaced because of the architectural structure.129 In addition, women had at their disposal within the house exclusively female spaces whether in a balcony, a room, or a simple section of the prayer room where they gathered, prayed, conversed, and even gossiped undisturbed. Similar patterns emerged in the contemporary Christian society. Studying Christian women in the convent of Le Murate in sixteenth-century Florence, Saundra Weddle has demonstrated that both the maintenance of visual privacy and the physical seclusion of women became extremely important after the Council of Trent, and in fact nuns there were confined to the convent’s choir on the second floor of the church and made invisible to the lay congregation worshipping in the nave below. Even if the point of Weddle is that outsiders passed beyond the enclosing wall and lay persons and nuns managed to meet in the convent, it is worth to note that choirs located above in the churches, could provide—similarly to Jewish women’s galleries—nuns the opportunity to look out onto the aisles below without being seen.130

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Yet, within their female spaces, upper-middle-class Jewish women, whose families owned the synagogues, did emerge socially without competing with their fathers, husbands, and sons for the attention of the other (female) religious actors. The relationship between the built environment and gendered identity within the Jewish society in early modern Modena produced specific instances of male exclusivity, social hierarchies, and cultural practices, as well as, starting in the domestic sphere, new female venues.

Reconfiguring the Jewish Female Sphere in the House In seventeenth-century synagogues in Venice, well-to-do Jewish women had their own voices during the religious services. Their names and expressions of both devotion to God and dedication to dear ones were displayed in front of the aron-ha-kodesh in me‘ilim (Torah mantles), parokhot (Torah curtains), and mappot (Torah binders). These were rich, luxurious ornaments in silk and brocade with visible dedications and signatures, and at times complex iconographies. Made by the women in their houses, these ornaments served to beautify the synagogue and were displayed to the whole community during services on the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. They were often prompted by an important event in the donor’s life cycle, such as marriage or the birth of a child, and demonstrated both the donor’s embroidery skills and her wealth. In Modena, Jewish women apparently did not play a significant role in the creation of synagogue textiles or, more probably, that role was not recognized publicly nor did their names appear on Torah curtains or binders, visible to both women and men in synagogues during services as was the case in contemporary Venice and elsewhere.131 No synagogue textile among those identified from Modena includes dedications that affirm women’s roles in their manufacturing. This absence stands out if we realize that the role of Italian Jewish women as donors of textiles for Torah scrolls, curtains, and binders was so prominent in Italy that it was incorporated into the liturgy of Roman Jews with a specific blessing: “He who blessed Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, may He bless every daughter of Israel who fashions a coat or covering with which to adorn the Torah . . . May the Holy One, blessed be He, pay her reward and grant her the good that she deserves, and let us say: Amen.”132 Differently, in Modena female agency was reworked in the domestic sphere. Bronze H> anukkah lamps that bore a representation of the heroine Judith were prominently displayed in affluent Jewish houses in Modena beginning in the

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early seventeenth century, a feature unique to Italian Jewish society.133 H> anukkah lamps were hung on the walls. These lamps were adorned with motifs adapted from classical art such as putti, wreaths, and mythical beings (centaurs and sirens), and revealed a deliberate preference for and borrowing from Renaissance art.134 Art historians have examined the history of this particular typology of lamps. Some can be attributed to Joseph de Levis, a Jewish bronze caster who reached notable fame in Verona and Venice during the second half of the sixteenth century.135 In the Renaissance, Judith appeared in the work of the greatest painters—Botticelli, Mantegna, Giorgione, Tintoretto, and others—as well as celebrated sculptors such as Donatello. The latter added civic virtue to Judith’s characteristics, completely decontextualizing Judith from her original Jewish setting and recontextualizing her in the Renaissance frame as a symbol of the victorious Christian Church or the comune’s humanistic res publica.136 However, in the eyes of Italian and specifically Modenese Jews, both men and women, Judith was a Jewish heroine who had been associated with the holiday of H> anukkah since the medieval period, and a symbol of the Jewish people, their victory over their enemies, and their deliverance by a woman with the help of Israel’s God.137 If we accept Renata Ago’s definition of material culture conceived as a discipline that allows us “to understand, through the patrimonies of the type of rapport that existed between human beings and things, the ways in which individuals and social groups objectified themselves in the culture of their material world and how objects in turn affected culture,” H> anukkah lamps in Modenese Jewish houses can help us gain a broader picture of Jewish cultural hybridity, artistic taste, and gender within the household.138 By displaying a H> anukkah lamp depicting Judith on, Modenese Jewish merchants showed that the space of the house allowed the adoption of a more flexible notion of the halakhah toward aniconism in favor of figurativism, an engagement with Renaissance culture and art and at the same time an ideological reappropriation of the figure of Judith as Jewish heroine vis-à-vis the surrounding nonJewish culture and society, and finally the emergence of Judith as a prominent woman within the domestic sphere. The presence of Judith on H> anukkah lamps as well as the invocation to the matriarchs in prayer books with tkhines such as those included by Aaron Berekhiah Modena contributed to make the house one of the most generative spaces of cultural and religious adaptations and transformations that created new opportunities for women. Evidence also shows that, in Modenese Jewish merchants’ homes and house buildings, women were present in spaces that could otherwise be perceived

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Figure 7. H.anukkiah (H.anukkah lamp), copper alloy (cast and chased), seventeenthcentury Italy. Gift of Dr. Harry G. Friedman, F 3777. The Jewish Museum, New York. Photo: The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY, ART335187.

as exclusively in the male sphere. As we have seen, Moisè Modena, Aaron Berekhiah’s father, was an influential patron and owned an impressive library consisting of Hebrew, Italian, and Latin books that ranged from Rashi’s biblical commentaries to Sefer ha-Kuzari and Me’or ‘enayim, and from Petrarch’s to Marsilio Ficino’s works.139 Among its habitués was certainly Moisè’s motherin-law, the well-known Fioretta Modena, and her sister Diana Rieti, who lived in Modena’s house. Fioretta and Moisè Modena belonged to the emerging Modenese Jewish mercantile class. If the intellectual world of Jewish merchants in the early modern period is difficult to penetrate, the curriculum studiorum and the general culture of Jewish merchants’ daughters and wives is almost unintelligible; we only know a great deal about published authors such Sara Copio Sullam (1592–1641).140 Thus, historians can count on only a few sources, a fact that, by itself, is significant. For example, an account from 1523 by a certain Emanuele, son of Rafael from Salonica, describes daughters of wealthy Italian Jewish

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families probably in Parma, a city near Modena, as trained in rhetoric and in “Boethius, Terentius, Ovid, Tullius [Cicero], Petrarch, Dante and many other similar books together with works on history from the time of Carthage and Troy [the Aeneid and Iliad], and some that can be read in the idiomatic language and Studia Humanitatis.”141 The general process of the masculinization of Jewish society also involved attempts at limiting women’s access to secular culture by urging them toward a cloistered sort of bibliotheca selecta. For example, in 1616 Yaakov ben Elhanan Heilprun, the translator of R. Binyamin Aharon Slonik’s Seder mitzvot nashim (printed in Padua in 1625), wrote in his introduction (and repeated in the conclusion): “And so your daughters, even if they are not betrothed and are not yet brides, should read it. . . . And it is less harmful to read this book than Ariosto, the Hundred Novellas [Decameron], Amadís de Gaula and other such profane literature that are forbidden to read on the Sabbath as Moses our teacher stated, since one can only learn obscenity and vanity from them.”142 Similar processes of cultural control were carried out in Christian society due to the Counter-Reformation influences mentioned above. Only a few years earlier, Antonio Possevino, the noted Jesuit scholar and author of Bibliotheca Selecta—one of the masterpieces of the Counter-Reformation—charged that the Amadís de Gaula and Ariosto’s works diminished piety and opened the door to magic, libidinous desire, and Satanic thoughts.143 Thus, the reality eventually did not adhere, or at least not completely, to the representations and prescriptions of the public space as the domain of men and domestic space as the natural and proper environment for women, articulated by Aaron Berekhiah Modena and Yaakov Heilprun. Issues of gender and space were more complex than was often assumed and, more importantly, a strict separation between the public and domestic spaces never actually occurred. In the 1630s, Judith Trabotti, the wife of R. Netanel, was particularly erudite and played the lute and viola; she even sang synagogal prayers and psalms with both men and women in her house and presumably in one of the city synagogues as well.144 The thirty-five-year-old Allegra Carmi Poggetti, the wife of R. Leone and mother of three toddlers (a girl and twin boys), was in possession of a number of her husband’s books—Boccaccio’s Genealogia degli Dei, Isabella Andreini’s Mirtilla: Pastorale, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Dante’s Divina Commedia—which she secretly kept in the closet of her bedroom (and discovered there by the inquisitor da Lodi in November 1636).145 Allegra Poggetti’s books, along with Judith Trabotti’s musical performances, allow for a broader understanding of Jewish readership and general culture by including

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“long-since silenced” women in the dual-gender space of the house.146 For them, the emphasis was more on Renaissance culture than Jewish subjects. Limited in their access to Kabbalah, the Hebrew Bible and biblical commentaries, and Talmudic treatises, upper- and middle-class Jewish women such as Allegra Poggetti and Judith Trabotti reconfigured their intellectual world to center on poetry, literature, and music with Jewish and secular subjects. Of note, not only men but also women who belonged to or gravitated toward the Modenese Jewish mercantile elite were targeted by the inquisitors: only a month after the inspection in her home, Allegra ended up before the Holy Office, accused with her husband of hiring a Christian nurse without the inquisitors’ permission.147 Chava Weissler regards gender construction in early modern Ashkenaz as based on the “sociology of religious knowledge.” While masculinity was centered on Torah study, female spirituality originated in a private female devotional dimension through tkhines, which had been authored exclusively by men since the sixteenth century in both central Europe and Poland-Lithuania. However, by the eighteenth century, tkhines written by Jewish female authors had emerged along with female agency.148 I argue that in Modena women who belonged to the emerging Modenese Jewish mercantile society enacted a parallel process that originated in the domestic sphere where they used tkhines in Hebrew, Judeo-Italian, and Italian but also expanded into new and different spiritual, religious, and cultural venues.

The Formulation of a New Masculine Cultural Hybridity Under the Jewish Roof Another particular space that was created, stabilized, and expanded by the Jewish mercantile elite in early seventeenth-century Modena was the confraternity that became an increasingly masculine place as well as a milieu containing both secular and sacred works, written in Hebrew and vernacular languages and in which new rituals were created. In Modena, shortly after the establishment of the Gemilut H> asadim in 1516, the Talmud Torah was created for the education of the youth.149 In 1614 Aaron Berekhiah established in his house the H> evrat Makshivim (the confraternity of the thinkers) for the study of kabbalistc texts.150 This confraternity was strongly connected to the devotional group Me‘irei Shah>ar (awakeners of the morning), which he had founded in 1617 and had always conducted in his house. He composed a book

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of liturgical poems, Ashmoret ha-boker (Mantua 1624), for the group. Shortly before the publication of the book a new group, Shomerim la-Boker (watchers of the morning), was established in 1623 under the tutelage of Yosef Carmi at the Usiglio oratory, aimed at the same purposes as Me‘irei Shah>ar: devotional prayers and study sessions inspired by devotional Kabbalah from Safed. Both of these confraternities were exclusively male, as were all the confraternities established in the ghetto until the creation of the So‘ed H> olim in 1735. Aaron Berekhiah’s house became a crossroads of primary importance for the diffusion of Safedian Kabbalah in Europe and the Mediterranean. There, Modenese Jews learned about midnight devotions such as the tikkun h>atzot (midnight vigils) from Palestinian emissaries, including Gedaliah Cordovero. Aaron Berekhiah’s brother-in-law, the abovementioned Yosef Yedidià Carmi, left the first group in 1623 and composed a liturgical book for the second— Kenaf Renanim (Venice, 1627), a work for the morning vigil consisting of an order of service, dirges, and piyyutim (liturgical poems) infused with Cordoverian Kabbalah. A  harsh polemic followed that was brought before the Modenese rabbinical tribunal, led by Netanel Trabotti. The case showed a clear competition between the two intellectuals who belonged to the Jewish mercantile elite interested in keeping and broadening their influence through the two h>evrot (confraternities), which had distinct spaces but conducted similar activities.151 Aaron Berekhiah accused Carmi of using recent piyyutim, which in his opinion only those authored by Tenn’aim and Amor’aim and those included in ancient mah>zorim should be used for devotional purposes. In addition, according to Aaron Berekhiah, the use of piyyutim and midrashic references should be prohibited because Jews were no longer capable of understanding them. Finally, Carmi was accused of composing a viddui (confession) inspired by Cordoverian principles rather than Lurianic teachings. Following the scholar of literature Ariel Rathaus, one of the most important aspects of this event was the responsum written by Trabotti that evinces how, within the Modenese Jewish society, an interesting phenomenon of cultural hybridization was taking place within the generative space of the house and its annexed confraternities. According to Trabotti, the more modern authors and poets should not be excluded because the road of the ancient sages accepts the truth regardless of who declares it, and indeed the composition or recitation of simple piyyutim whose style and significance are known should not be prohibited. Likewise, when midrashim are used by Jewish authors as rhetorical artifices, stylistic ornaments, or embellishments of biblical characters— what Carmi did, according to Trabotti—without interpreting their deeper

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significance, there is no reason to oppose their use in sacred poetry. Trabotti furthers his analysis by declaring that midrash, haggadah, and piyyut share the same literary nature. In the previous century, the Mantuan scholar Azariah De’ Rossi made the same comparison, aimed at diminishing the three genres, as did Maimonides before him.152 For Trabotti, this commonality is an element that enriches both poets and sages as well as sacred and profane poetry. The sacred and profane in literature thus have a strong commonality, and the literary component of sacred poetry is a fundamental element, as in the subgroups of the Eighteen Blessings, because poetry in general is first a language, whether its nature is liturgical or profane (read: of love). Trabotti challenges the medieval assumption that sacred poetry corresponds to truth while the profane verses correspond to the “bella menzogna” (beautiful lie). Thus, the metaphor of the lie is not to be feared; rather, it can enhance the sacred sphere. Carmi in his practice and Trabotti in his theorization praise modern literature; eventually, Aaron Berekhiah Modena had a more nuanced position toward poetry as being an active poet himself.153 Yet, in this context his primary goal was to assert a separation between secular and profane in the devotional domain as well as to remark his own superiority against Carmi. Members of the Modenese Jewish rabbinical and mercantile elite were clearly familiar with the new tendencies in the literature and poetry of the Renaissance and the baroque period. The celebrated poet Giambattista Marino, for example, strenuously defended the modern poets against the prestige of the ancient literati in the known “querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.”154 Two other main elements should be noted. First, it is quite probable that Trabotti and Carmi became knowledgeable about baroque Italian literary theory through, among others, the contemporary Modenese author Alessandro Tassoni, who in his Paragone degli ingegni antichi e moderni (1620) strongly maintains the parity between ancients and moderns. Second, Tassoni’s argument itself shows a strong similarity to some ideas elaborated by the intellectual, erudite writer Secondo Lancellotti, a priest who lived in Modena and who, in the eyes of the church, was notorious for his heterodox tendencies.155 Modenese Catholics, Christian heterodox, and Jews—from all social classes and not just from a close circle of scholars—shared some common cultural interests such as medicine, magic, and literature, and exchanged ideas and books. Finally, Trabotti’s argument shows that familiarity with Italian literary and cultural trends entailed a sophisticated and conscious cultural hybridization, while in the past, for Italian Jewish intellectuals such as Leone Ebreo, participation in the cultural enterprises of the Renaissance had gone hand in hand with

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asserting Jewish uniqueness and spiritual superiority.156 This change seems to be a typical effect of the intimate cultural communion that at times characterized Jewish-Christian relations in Modena without blurring theological boundaries. Finally, in the seventeenth century, Modenese Jewish confraternities appeared as an almost exclusively masculine space within the mercantile house.157 Apparently, only there were Aaron Berekhiah’s goals of refashioning Judaism through separate gendered spheres fully achieved.

Jewish Male Fraternalism and Prophetic Hopes in the Modenese Ghetto In the mid-seventeenth century, it was another house and another mercantile Jewish family that refashioned Judaism with influences that went much beyond the Modenese Jewish society: the Rovigo house in the ghetto became one of the most interesting Jewish cultural and social centers both in and outside of the Italian peninsula. Due to the activities of R. Abraham Rovigo (c. 1650–1713), one of the most celebrated kabbalists and protagonists of the messianic-heretical Sabbatean movement in Italy, the Rovigo house was saturated with influences of Sabbateanism. Rovigo’s early fervor endured even after Sabbetai Tzevi’s conversion to Islam in 1666.158 Within the limited ghetto space, a building with a modest facade hosted his family synagogue and the male confraternity H> atzot Laila, founded by Abraham himself.159 H> atzot Laila focused on piety and the study of religious texts, including kabbalistic literature, and was devoted to the regular recitation of tikkun h>atzot.160 Rovigo was a wealthy merchant; a student of the renowned poet and kabbalist Moses Zacuto (ca. 1626–1697), who copied the Sefer ha-kavvanot for him; a collector of manuscripts and printed books; and a philanthropist. While after Tzevi’s conversion Zacuto became an opponent of the movement, Rovigo remained one of the ma’aminim (believers).161 Rovigo’s main principles consisted in the acceptance that “the Shekinah truly rose from the dust” through the merit of Tsevi’s messianic activity, and expectations of “complete redemption at his second coming.”162 Rovigo transformed the Modenese ghetto into a crossroads between Europe and the Mediterranean for the diffusion of his own form of moderate Sabbateanism. Rovigo’s activities of prayer and study were combined with various forms of philanthropy. Among the scholars, physicians, healers, and emissaries who were hosted and funded by the Rovigos, was R. Meir Rofe,

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the man who checked Nathan of Gaza’s pulse during the first public Sabbatean prophecy. According to Gershom Scholem, in 1666 Baruch d’Arezzo authored his Zikkaron li-vnei Yisra’el (Memorial to the children of Israel), the first biography of Tzevi, in Rovigo’s house. It was printed in Venice the same year.163 D’Arezzo was a merchant related to the Formiggini family and proudly described his uncle R. Samuel Formiggini as a “distinguished and accomplished gentleman.” He was also involved in the Sabbatean movement and helped Nathan of Gaza escape from Finale Emilia.164 In the late 1670s and early 1680s, the presence of the maggidim Ber Perlhefter and Mordechai of Eisenstadt as salaried teachers in the Rovigos’ yeshivah was instrumental in shaping a new form of devotional religiosity in the Modenese ghetto that became influential far beyond the duchy’s boundaries.165 Rovigo had been a Sabbatean prophet himself, but around 1676–77 the status of his group changed dramatically in the world of secret Sabbateanism with the advent of a Sabbatean maggid, channeled by Ber Perlhefter. This maggid revealed radical new secrets about the movement, including the highly disputed contention that Sabbetai was only the messiah son of Joseph rather than the messiah son of David. Yet, according to Perlhefter’s own letters, messianic incidents provoked by Mordechai of Eisenstadt (the Rebuker) caught up with him in 1681–82: “A certain Ashkenazi Jew, named Rabbi Mordechai from the city of Eisenstadt, proclaimed himself a prophet and afterward said that he was the messiah, and the Ashkenazim believed him. For over a year I wrote to this R. Mordechai to come to Italy, for the Jews there wanted to meet him as well. When this R. Mordechai arrived in Italy, all the Jews believed in him, that he was the Messiah, and they paid him great homage, and called him the Messiah. I too went there, but I saw that he was a crazy man; I investigated him and recognized the signs of impurity and black magic. I immediately left him to warn the Jews not to believe him, for he was a fool magician.”166 Perlhefter later complained to his Christian-Hebraist fellow and former employer Johannan Christoph Wagenseil that his denunciation of Mordechai of Eisenstadt as a charlatan earned him the wrath of the Modenese Jewish community. In the 1690s, another personality, R. Mordechai Ashkenazi from Zòtkiew in Poland, became active in the Rovigo circle and left a notebook concerning the many Sabbatean prophets active in this period in Modena, and beyond that included Hayyim Malakh, Judah Leib Prossnitz, Judah Hasid, and Joshua Heshel Zoref.167 According to Matt Goldish, “These clandestine Sabbateans cultivated the self-image of poor but faithful bearers of the trust, struggling against the wealthy unbelievers who were not privy to secret knowledge of

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Sabbateanism.”168 Thus, in Rovigo’s circle, fraternalism channeled by a prophetic and redemptive Jewish movement functioned as an agent of moderate challenge, egalitarianism, and cross-culture that not only operated successfully in Modena but also bridged Ashkenazi and Sephardi circles in both Europe and the Mediterranean. In the Modenese ghetto as elsewhere in early modern Italy, fraternalism was also a vehicle of simultaneous cultural interchange, transformation, and conservatism.169 In 1681 the Christian composer Carlo Grossi wrote the music for the Cantata ebraica in dialogo for solo voice and chorale for the confraternities Shomerim la-Boker active in Modena and Venice.170 In Modena, the Shomerim la-Boker had been located in the Usiglio synagogue since 1623. The text, whose author remains anonymous, and the music for the cantata had been commissioned for the celebration of the yearly feast of the confraternity that coincided with the Jewish holiday of Ho‘shana Rabba (Great Supplication). The dialogo in the title occurs between a male spectator and the members of the confraternity. The former notices a group of people who are praising God in song with much happiness and asks them the reason for their joy; then the members of the confraternity introduce themselves as Shomerim la-Boker and explain that they are celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of their brotherhood. The text reads as follows: The spectator: Friends and brothers, I know well that this night is consecrated to glorify God, yet you show a particular joy; thus tell me the reason of your praises.171 Shomerim la-Boker: Then know you, o spectator, that happiness in abundance has gathered: to the joy of the recurrence [Ho‘shanah Rabba] is added the joy for our feast. The confraternity of the princes of the nation, our glory, thanks the house of [our] God and King.172 . . . To remember the first day the members woke up before sunrise to unload bitter thoughts before God and indeed bringing in this way the redemption and the coming of the Messiah, and the same time, for the whole year, it augments the glory.173 The ritual of the presunrise vigil, practiced by the Shomerim la-Boker, belongs to the same kind of kabbalistic practices as the tikkun h>atzot and the vigil before the circumcision of a newborn, popularized by Luria and Aaron Berekhiah Modena in the previous century.174 However, along with this element

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of tradition and conservatism, we see two new important elements: the inclusion of baroque music by a Christian composer, and the tendency to expand the ritual, in itself emphasizing the recurrence of the foundation of the confraternity and the holiday of Ho‘shanah Rabba. This tells us a great deal in terms of cultural hybridization: music in the baroque style served with a Hebrew text to celebrate not only important recurrences but also hopes for redemption and the coming of the Messiah during devotional prayers recited in the night, the ultimate time of freedom for ghettoized Jews.175 In the social and cultural structure that the mercantile Jewish elite built before and in the ghetto through the seventeenth century, fraternalism was a male phenomenon where apparently Kabbalah, Sabbateanism, Renaissance literature, and baroque music entangled without any space left for women. Yet the humanistic culture that contoured that male space went easily beyond the walls of the confraternity room and challenged women who lived in the same houses or gravitated around them. Since the turn of the sixteenth century, spatial porosity, elusive familiarity, men and women’s interaction in daily life, conceptions of male and female elements, and gendered hierarchies in prescriptive literature as well as Jewish-Christian social and cultural relations challenged both men and women in the mercantile Jewish elite, both forcing and enabling them in the following decades to define new forms of cultural, social, and religious participation, unknown to the other Jewish communities in Italy and Europe. In just a few decades, the mercantile Jewish house had become a porous enclave where new definitions of gendered spaces were conceived and experienced through a slow redefinition of Judaism, as well as the absorption of and adaptation to new cultural and devotional instances originating within the broader Jewish world and beyond in Italian CounterReformation society.176

Chapter 4

The “Invisible” Wealth of Silver The Journey of the Formigginis from the Ghetto to the Ducal Court

On December 2, 1617, Pellegrino Formiggini, who had been accused of attempting to dissuade Salomon Sacerdoti from baptism, was brought from the prison in the local Holy Office where he had been jailed and tortured for three days, in front of the appointed inquisitor Michelangelo Lerri. Formiggini was a modest mercer and artisan who had moved from Ferrara to Modena in 1598. He declared to the inquisitor that, while returning from Cremona “a few times, from three to four, being a haberdasher I went to Bozzolo for my business and other goods.” After being tortured again with rope (strappado) in spite of having a paralyzed arm, Pellegrino was questioned a second time, but insisted he was not involved in the alleged crime. On December 2, he was declared innocent and then released.1 In the following decades, Pellegrino consolidated his position within the Modenese Jewish community due to his trading activity, and obtained various privileges as a jeweler and silversmith from the ducal court. Benedetto Formiggini, Pellegrino’s direct descendant, at the time of his death in 1777 was the ducal silversmith and had expanded the family’s activities to land properties and developed the commerce of silver objects and jewels on a national scale and beyond. The Formiggini family encapsulates the urban model of Italian Jewish merchants—Italian city Jews, a socially integrated and eminently cultured middle class though politically disenfranchised and ghettoized.

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The Formigginis’ passage from the tribunal of the local Inquisition to the ducal court mirrors the entire history of the Jewish mercantile lay elite in Modena amid the local culture and politics, and its survival, expansion, and “invisible” affirmation: despite their business privileges the Formigginis, like the other Jewish merchants in Modena, were forced by the ducal authorities to keep a low profile and operate behind the scenes in the state’s cultural and commercial life. In the development of the mercantile Jewish elite after the establishment of the ghetto, the Modenas and the Sanguinettis maintained their role within Jewish society while the Formigginis gradually gained an equal position. Francesco III (1698–1780) ruled from 1737 to his death; his government was characterized by continuous exploitation of the agrarian communities of the state, fiscal imposition on the Jewish minority, and useless participation in European wars that brought only invasions by foreign militias into the state. In the first part of the eighteenth century, the Estes involved the duchy in three wars of succession: the Spanish (1701–13), the Polish (1733–35), and the Austrian (1718). The Formigginis as elected massari were in charge of the communal system of collective taxation. In 1738 the Jewish community was obliged to introduce the sistema della casella—contributions by the community’s affluent members that supported the welfare of the Jewish community in its entirety—because of the “enormous expenses occurring in the last period and at present.”2 Through other individual donations, the Jewish merchants supported academies, confraternities, and the periodic presence of individual scholars from abroad in the Modenese ghetto.3 Most important, despite their political disenfranchisement, the role of the Formigginis as ducal jewelers and silversmiths further strengthened their ties to the city of Modena and the Este Duchy as is evident by looking at their relations with the Guild of Goldsmiths, which also included jewelers and silversmiths. Francesco III’s rule was functional to the expansion of the Formigginis as ducal silversmiths in the court and as landowners within and beyond Modena. A mixture of commerce, family strategies, and philanthropy evolved. These became the main factors that determined the cohesiveness of a Jewish network in a state and that emerged in an absolute leading role in the cultural life of Modena and in Italian Jewish life in general. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Formigginis became perhaps the most influential family in terms of political and financial roles within the Modenese ghetto. Similar dynamics characterized the stories of the Usiglios, Sacerdotis, Fanos, Rovigos, and Norsas.

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A Family in the Ghetto: Three Generations of Merchants According to his 1617 testimony in front of the inquisitor, Pellegrino Formiggini was born to Emanuele, originally from Ferrara, in 1591.4 Pellegrino’s trading activities spread across northern Italy in Cremona, Bozzolo, Mantua, Finale Emilia, and Modena, which were important marketplaces at the beginning of the seventeenth century.5 Formiggini had also developed a commercial relationship with the banker Gabriele Sora from Carpi, who belonged to one of the most affluent Jewish families in the Este Duchy.6 Five years later, in 1622, exactly when the relations among the Modenese Jews, Duke Cesare, and the city institutions appeared to be declining, the Guild of Goldsmiths, under the protection of the duke, promulgated its new statutes. These included specifically the possibility for Jews to enroll in the guild with the payment of twenty lire per year, double the sum imposed on Christian members; the tax for opening a shop was twenty silver ducatoni. Jews were prohibited from owning shops located “in the Piazza [public spaces in the city] or in the salina [storage area for salt on the main canal of the city] or on the main square.”7 However, the Formigginis, like other Modenese Jewish merchants, succeeded in opening shops in the public spaces of the city. Jews in Modena, like foreign merchants and peddlers, were prohibited from selling goods that were pertinent to the guild itself (i.e., twenty ounces or more of gold, and twenty-eight ounces of silver) unless they paid an additional yearly fee.8 The Formigginis were among the first Jews to enroll in the guild; this act marked the beginning of their successful commercial expansion. The opportunity to enroll in almost all the guilds of the city—not only the goldsmiths’ but also those of silkworkers, mercers, glaziers, peddlers, and so on—was a crucial and distinctive factor in the history of Jews in Modena and the rest of the Este Duchy vis-à-vis other Western European contexts, including other states in the Italian peninsula. If obtaining special licenses from the duke as jewelers and silversmiths represented a warranty for their own trades, access to the guilds made possible the participation of both affluent entrepreneurs and modest Modenese Jewish workers in various professions. The commercial tools that Pellegrino used to enlarge his trades are difficult to penetrate due to a gap in the archival documentation, yet we know that in 1629 Pellegrino obtained from Francesco I a series of licenses as a jeweler and servant of the ducal camera.9 Nevertheless, he ended up in front of the local inquisitors again on May 1633 for alleged irregularities in hiring a Christian servant, Anna Morganti, and in December of the same year he was tried with another

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Christian servant, Elisabetta Boccassini, for living with her “in intimacy” in his home.10 In early February 1634, Pellegrino was condemned to become a slave rowing in a trireme (the condemnation was then promptly commuted in a monetary compensation). Despite the systematic persecutions enacted by the Modenese Inquisition against him, Formiggini’s business prospered.11 His career was distinctively different from that of Moisè Modena and Viviano Sanguinetti as well as their sons. Initially, Pellegrino did not have a bank to use as a platform for trade; rather, the expansion of the commerce of jewels allowed for the purchase of a bank by Pellegrino’s son Elia in Modena in the second half of the century in addition to one conducted by Elia and his wife Ester in Reggio Emilia. Yet by 1665 the Formigginis no longer appeared among the names of owners of one of the three banks in Modena, which by that date were managed jointly by Benedetto Modena, Abraham Rovigo, and Elia Teseo.12 However, this change marked an advancement rather than an interruption in the Formigginis’ credit activity, which in fact no longer needed a physical platform after the midcentury. In just a few decades, their activity was so developed that in Elia’s inheritance inventory the entry “credits to collect in Bologna”—from where Jews had been expelled since 1569—included more than half of the family patrimony in cash.13 Along with Bologna, Mantua was also a marketplace of relevance beyond the Este Duchy for the Formigginis’ business activities; since 1683 Pellegrino (Elia’s son) had obtained a special charter for the free circulation of goods and exemption from taxes in Mantua and its vicinity.14 This success in itself shows how flexible the social and economic boundaries were within the Italian Jewish mercantile society compared to other contexts, such as that of the court Jews in central Europe where social and economic mobility was much more rare.15 After the establishment of the ghetto in 1638, Pellegrino Formiggini’s role emerged within the Jewish community. When a protest by the poor of the community erupted in 1640 because of what they considered to be a dishonest distribution of the houses within the perimeter in order to advantage the wealthy, Pellegrino offered two houses he had at his disposal to the poor Jews. Moreover, he gave up his lease contract for a house that he had negotiated with the Christian owner, Bartolomeo Pirasi, and then passed it on to another Jewish dweller in need, Ventura Orso.16 It was probably his relative prosperity that drew the attention of the inquisitor to him once again, as well as to other influent members of the community the following year. Similar actions of inquisitors targeting affluent Jews had also occurred in the previous decades. On October 17, 1641, Pellegrino was accused of keeping a Christian

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female servant, a certain Domenica, in his house and attempting to corrupt her with Jewish customs such as lighting the Shabbat candles on Friday evenings. Leone Usiglio, and Isaac and Michele Malachim were accused of similar crimes. The local Modenese inquisitors consistently made this kind of accusation. The investigations continued through June 1643, but the accusations were not proved and the proceeding was consequently annulled.17 Pellegrino’s legacy was maintained and furthered by Elia, who expanded the family’s activities to the commerce of silver objects, jewels, and precious stones. By the 1650s, Elia was considered to be a “public trader and banker.”18 Elia lived with his numerous family members in a house in Contrada Coltellini K 944 (currently Piazza Mazzini 20–22), presumably his father’s house, where his bank and synagogue were located.19 In addition, he built a model of social and kin aggregation, business organization, and economic expansion that assured continuity of the family lineage to the following three generations through the planning and development of the private and professional spheres. Elia married Ester Sanguinetti, daughter of Lazzaro, in 1650. The couple gave birth to five children—Pellegrino, Simone, Lustro, Giuseppe Lazzaro, and Rachele.20 During the 1670s, the Formigginis further expanded their activities and properties. In 1670 Elia acquired a shop in the ghetto from Vitale Cannaruti;21 in 1675, he formally established the family oratory; and finally in 1681 he acquired a second house in the ghetto from the brothers Calmo and Abram Crema.22 In the 1680s Elia and Ester owned and managed the bank in Reggio Emilia, mentioned earlier. Ester’s role is quite significant considering her high social status and the tendency at the time to limit the role of well-to-do Jewish women to the domestic sphere, as analyzed in the previous chapter.23 From the end of the 1660s through the early 1680s, Elia consolidated his social and commercial positions through matrimonial strategies that were conducted both locally and in other states in central and northern Italy. In 1666 the firstborn Pellegrino married Ventura of Leone de Orsi, also from Modena, whose dowry totaled 4,480.10 lire; in addition, her “doni della tavola” (trousseau and furniture) totaled 262.15 lire.24 The later marriages of Elia Giuseppe Lazzaro (nicknamed Lazarino) and Simone allowed the family network to expand further north in today’s Veneto. The two brothers married the two cousins Clara Sema and Rachele Amburghi from Verona in 1674 and 1682, respectively. The two women brought dowries of around 700 ungari (each worth thirteen Venetian coins) and 900 Venetian ducats, of which 300 was in “tanti mobili ad uso di sposa” (trousseau), and 600 in cash. Rachele’s

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Figure 8. Modena, the ghetto with the new Tempio Israelitico. On the left, Contrada Coltellini and toward the end of the street, before the Tempio, is the building that hosted the Formigginis’ house and synagogue. 1905. Biblioteca Poletti (Modena), Fondo Tonini. Reproduced by permission.

mother, Richa, deposited her dowry and, according to the notarial act, an additional 5,333 lire circa were to be added at Richa’s death.25 Rachele, Elia’s daughter, married her paternal uncle Lustro. The matrimonial agreements, redacted privately within the family, included a dowry of 1,000 ducats. Elia died without leaving a testament and in 1691–93 his heirs divided the patrimony, which included the goods, chattel, and real estate of the deceased. The heirs were Pellegrino (householder and firstborn), Simone, Lustro, and the minor children (pupilli) of Giuseppe Lazzaro (who had died before his father)—fifteen-year-old Giacob, thirteen-year-old Lelio, and eleven-year-old Bianca, all under the legal guardianship of their mother, who regained her dowry including the trousseau.26 The overall patrimony (including houses, shops, furniture, jewels, and personal effects) totaled 90,728.4 lire, from which were subtracted the sums of the dowries of the daughters-in-law for a total of 59,226.6 lire. Rachele Formiggini’s portion totaled 31,501.18 lire.27

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Both dowries and firstborn-son rights (the latter was 10 percent of the entire patrimony) served as important factors in the management of the family patrimony and networking strategies. Similar to what happened elsewhere in northern and central Italy regarding the praxis of succession (for example, in eighteenth-century Turin), the restitution of dowries to daughters-in-law through notarial testaments was a common practice.28 In the Formiggini family in Elia’s generation and the following one, widows always gave up their dotal and extradotal patrimony. After Ester and Elia’s generation, the Jewish women of the Formiggini family usually did not take an active part in family business activity and as widows renounced their property in favor of their brothers and sons, receiving in exchange an annuity, food, and lifetime accommodation at the house of one child, often the oldest—a system that appeared at times to be economically quite advantageous for the woman.29 Ester had already gotten part of her dowry back: this included a shop that had been assigned to her by Pellegrino, Elia’s father, at his death. Furthermore, “not . . . willing to disturb the patrimonial status of her children, [Ester] then required a decent income for her sustainment, keeping for herself the only house and the delivery of some furniture, according to a specific declaration of 3,072.15 lire.” The income requested was fixed in 100 ducats to be paid in four rates, one per each son, every three months. In addition, Ester lived in two rooms in the manor house that was assigned to Simone, who would receive 18 ducats per year from the other brothers. The undivided patrimony consisted of 1,820 lire, which was the value of the synagogue and the furniture therein. Pellegrino was entitled to a share of two-fifths for his birthright that included only the synagogue and not the “camerone detto yeshivah, luogo destinato per li sermoni e radunanze solite per la loro legge, e religione mosaica [the large room named yeshivah, a place designated for sermons and gatherings according to their law and Jewish religion],” which eventually was divided into four portions.30 According to the documentation, the patrimony related to the commerce of silver objects and jewels, the synagogue with its furniture, and some of the rooms of the family house were kept in common. However, the balance of Pellegrino and Ester’s family had to go through further challenging assessments at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Their son Leone converted to Christianity in 1701 and assumed the name of Contardo Geminiano San Felice.31 In 1704, in front of the local Inquisition tribunal that had charged his father with dissuasion from baptism of his sister Vittoria, Contardo declared

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that while reading the Jesuit Giovanni Pietro Pinamonte’s La Sinagoga Disingannata (1694), a work aimed at missionizing among Jews, he was inspired by God to save his soul and convert to Christianity. He released his testimony on August 18, declaring that his twenty-two-year-old sister Vittoria, betrothed to Raffaele Archivolti, had been taken away by his father, Pellegrino, and his grandmother, Ester, in an attempt to dissuade her from conversion and to hide her in Livorno. Apparently, Vittoria’s declared intent to convert was the fruit of an ordeal by a certain Geminiano Albertini, who was in love with her; Albertini was often watching Vittoria standing at the windows of the Formigginis’ house from the window of a tavern of which he was a habitual customer. During the same testimony, Contardo also revealed that a day earlier, on August 17, his older brother had also converted.32 In 1709 Rachele (another of Pellegrino’s daughters) followed her husband Lustro and converted to Christianity, with her daughter Benedetta. Although the family archive does not provide any documentation of the episode, this double baptism had to be of relevance in the general life of the capital city if the two women had Duchess Benedetta of Brunswick and Princess Caterina of Modena, respectively, as godmothers. Rachele then assumed the name Anna Benedetta Sadoleto.33 Baptisms of Jews represented important triumphant demonstrations of Christian (read: Catholic) supremacy as well as impressive rituals of aggregation: the protagonist would enter into a new Christian community that signified the salvation of his/her soul and the beginning of a new life.34 A solemn evening procession starting from the Opera pia dei Catecumeni stopped in front of the Palazzo Ducale and escorted the neophyte to the baptismal font, located in the Church of the Collegio San Carlo, a symbolic place for both the Opera pia itself and the local nobility. Significantly, the procession often stopped in front of the ghetto gates.35 Unfortunately, the documentation lacks any thorough personal accounts by family members of these and other conversions throughout the eighteenth century.36 We do know though that, in the case of the 1704 trial, the Christian tavern keeper Domenica Manzini fiercely defended Pellegrino and his family, and denied any knowledge of Vittoria’s propensity toward conversion.37 In eighty years, since Pellegrino’s first trial before the Inquisition in 1617, the Formigginis had firmly established their roles within the Jewish and the non-Jewish society in Modena. Among a number of properties, they owned two shops for silver and jewels, a family house, and a synagogue. This eventually became a real mark of their acquired prestige and remained as such throughout the generations until the end of the nineteenth century.

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Jewish Life and Family Buildings Modenese Jewish merchant families shared, although in different proportions, some important factors with their Christian neighbors such as complex family units, wealth, an honorable style of life, and culture. In addition, kinship connections via matrimonial unions allowed for the creation of important and prestigious alliances and opportunities to maintain prominent social positions. Nevertheless, Modenese Jewish families differed from their Christian neighbors in terms of both social restrictions and mentality. On the one hand, legal norms, social codes, and the normative constraints that governed Jewish-Gentile relations restricted the life of these Jewish merchants in spite of their economic freedom. On the other, in the Jewish society planning matrimonial strategies for both sons and daughters was not an option but rather a religious obligation, crucial to both the institution of the Jewish family per se and the need to plan and distribute family patrimonies. Elia’s sons as well as their sisters were not constrained to compulsory bachelorhood as many of their Christian counterparts were, in particular those from aristocratic and even bourgeois families. Their economic and social status resembled that of the Venetian bourgeois and cittadini (gentlemen) who, despite a different legal status, were similarly conducting “honorable” (nonmanual) activities that assured them economic prosperity.38 The possession of a house with ample space shared by all the family members, and the possession of a synagogue, with an annexed yeshivah since 1650, reached beyond economic considerations and symbolized the Formiggini family unity and pride within Modenese Jewish society. In the 1650s, the synagogue was a matter of controversy between the heirs of Pellegrino Formiggini and Lelio Modena (Aaron Berekhiah’s son).39 Pellegrino had established his synagogue in the house of Modena, who had obtained the closure of the place from the ducal chamber. In 1659 the Jewish community successfully petitioned against this ordinance, advancing Francesco I’s edict of January 29, 1653, according to which all synagogues established before the erection of the ghetto could continue their activities and be restored once they were moved within the perimeter.40 Elia then established a new synagogue in 1675.41 This kind of achievement was similar to what palaces and private devotional chapels symbolized for affluent Christian families in Modena, Brescia, Lucca, and Milan. On the side of the Modenese aristocracy, families such as the Rangonis and the Montecuccolis, following the city renovations conducted by the duke since 1598, had initiated a sort of competition with the

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Este family regarding the exhibition of lineage. Their palaces were symbols of prestige and at times were the cause of friction within the nobility and even with the ducal family.42 According to the sixteenth-century canon law against the prominence of Jewish places over churches, and to the politics of discretion required by the ducal chamber, the exterior of Modenese Jews’ synagogues were anonymous, as were their houses, integrated into the dense ghetto fabric.43 Yet owning a private synagogue—often in the official correspondence with the ducal chamber defined as an oratory (oratorio)—constituted an opportunity to stand out within the Jewish society. In canon law, there are distinctions between the public and the private chapel, whose official denomination is in fact an oratory. For both, the altar was the prerequisite for the celebration of the Mass. The public oratory was built by a patron, consigned to parochial authority, and served the public after dedication through a lesser rite of benediction than the one used for a church since it was not intended to be permanent. This was the most common typology found on the grounds of private villas throughout the Italian peninsula, while the private oratory was typical for an urban residence. According to canon law, the sacred character of a private oratory was inferior to that of the public oratory. The only canonically sacred component was the pietra sagrata (consecrated stone), which was often in the form of a small square of semiprecious stone embedded in the altar table, the mensa, or contained in the portable altar.44 The latter was normative for private oratories, but in the course of the sixteenth century it was criticized by church authorities since the altar could be used to create unsupervised sacred places in the domestic sphere due to its portable nature. The law was consequently revoked on a large scale after the Council of Trent.45 In fact, in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Modena, private Christian (Catholic) oratories were basically nonexistent; as alternatives noble families opted for dedicated altars and family tombs in the local churches.46 Indeed, the synagogues in the ghetto remained the only private oratories in the city. The Formiggini as well as the other synagogues in Modena—the Usiglio, the Modenas (both the Grande and the Piccola), the Sanguinetti, the Spanish, and the German—were hosting a large circle of relatives, friends, and the poor who were participating in the religious services of the ghetto synagogues. Each synagogue followed one of the three main rituals: Italian, Ashkenazi, and Sephardi. The Formiggini synagogue, for example, followed the Italian minhag. Indeed, what was distinctive about the Formiggini synagogue, as well as the

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other Jewish family oratories, was that they were not limited in their religious functions as the private urban Christian chapels were. Instead, because of its function of serving a large community of Jews in the ghetto, the Formiggini synagogue resembled the private Christian chapels on the grounds of villas in the Italian countryside. The synagogue was located in the Formiggini house and remained stationary, even though it went through transformations and restorations.47 At the former ghetto numbers K 944 and 945, the four-story Formiggini house faced the ghetto square (see Figure 8). It was extremely fractionated as was typical of buildings in the Italian ghettos due to the lack of space, with shared rooms and apartments and an evident lack of intimacy, yet each portion sufficiently functioned as a housing unit with some common facilities.48 Elia’s son Pellegrino owned a portion of the house that included a parlor and a living room with three small connecting rooms; a kitchen on the third floor; two storage rooms that had previously served as a pawnshop and a small annexed space; a bathroom; a silver smithy; and three barns and a roost.49 Jacob, Lelio, and Bianca inherited three storage rooms on the fourth floor and another on the third; a kitchen and two rooms on the second floor; and two more kitchens (one small) on the first floor; a stone staircase; a small room on the mezzanine floor; a granary; and a cellar, along with the use of Pellegrino’s bathroom. Finally, Simone inherited five rooms on the third floor, two large and two small kitchens, five cellars, and a small shop, while Lustro received five rooms—three on the fourth floor, and another room and kitchen on the third floor where the common oven was located; another kitchen; and two barns.50 In the Formigginis’ home, there was also space for objects such as a mirror decorated with diamonds, gold, and silver, on whose design Elia himself had worked. These were a proud expression of an attained high social stability and even participation in the artistic tastes of their noble Christian neighbors.51 The building that hosted the Formigginis’ house is still extant (Via Coltellini nos. 19–23). In addition, according to the acts of division of 1690, “the common locations, that is the hall, courtyard, well, columns, staircases, will all remain in common among the heirs who are Mister Pellegrino, Mister Simone, and the Pupils while Mister Lustro will not have any right and because of this he will have to procure his entrance into the building from the side of [Mister] Fano.”52 By the mid-seventeenth century, the synagogue, and more specifically the scola for men and the scola for women along with a yeshivah, were already

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important and indivisible elements of the family assets and indicators of the economic and social expansion of the Formigginis. Accordingly, through the intercession of R. Salomone Levi on March 19 of the same year Pellegrino Formiggini, during a meeting of the confraternity Kove‘ei ‘ittim (those who establish the times [for the study of the Torah]), agreed to make available the yeshivah below the synagogue for the meetings of the confraternity. The confraternity included members of the mercantile elite from Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Italian origins who had resided in Modena for many decades—such as Abram Sanguinetti, Salomon Usiglio, Salvador Canaruti, Simon Sanguinetti, Benedetto Pontas, Salomon Modona, Lelio Modena, Leon Forti, Michele Modena, Angelo Castelfranco, Vidal Sanguinetti, Abramo Rabeni, Giacob Tosignano, and Simone and Lustro Formiggini. Pellegrino agreed that “the said confraternity would be granted the site of this room called in Hebrew iescivà [yeshivah] as a place for studying and preaching” without any emolument for using the books and the brass chandeliers preserved there and owned by the yeshivah itself. The scribe was Jacob, son of the late Lazzaro Formiggini.53 As we know, at the time the Formigginis were also connected to the Sabbatean movement and its supporters in both Modena and Finale Emilia. In a recent study, Richard Cohen has emphasized that a sign of the transformation of Christians’ attitudes toward Jews in European societies, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is clearly visible in their willingness to learn about Jewish life, in their representation of Jews in a much more balanced manner than in the past, and in Jews’ attempts to show their own culture to the Christian world as both refined and elegant.54 In this reciprocal rapprochement, important artistic works emerged including celebrated and well-frequented synagogues, like the impressive Esnoga in Amsterdam that was built between 1671 and 1675,55 and the new Berlin Heidereutergasse, financed by the court Jews Jost and Esther Liebemann and designed by Michael Kemmeter from Regensburg in 1710–12.56 The Esnoga was conceived with large spaces (38 x 26 meters) and 2,000 seats; seventy-two windows brought a brilliance that was exceptional for a synagogue. It became a major attraction chosen by many travelers from the Netherlands and elsewhere as their first stop in Amsterdam. It replaced the private synagogue as the public worship place in the city, and presented an impressive interior structure with a ten-meter-high ceiling and expansive roundheaded windows on the east, north, and south walls that gave the main sanctuary a sense of respectability and brightness typical of contemporaneous Protestant churches.57

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The Formiggini and the other Modenese synagogues resembled the small Jewish scole in the Venetian ghetto—whose interiors were highly decorated while the exteriors remained completely anonymous—which were often located in small apartments. The erection of new synagogues in Venice in the sixteenth century followed the establishment of the ghetto (1516). Jews turned to well-known Venetian architects who adapted Palladian, Renaissance, and baroque styles to the narrowness of the available space. The German synagogue, for example—built in 1528–29 on the third floor of one of the main buildings of the ghetto that also hosted the Italian and Canton synagogues—is not oval, as it appears, but trapezoid in shape. The side facing the canal is considerably longer than the side on the campo (square in Venetian).58 In the mid-eighteenth century, the Scola Formiggini included a room employed as a worship place (room no. 2 in the nineteenth-century drawing), with two small scole for women—moved into the altana (rooftop terrace) and transformed into a matroneo (women’s gallery) with an iron balustrade around the main room (room no. 4) during the second half of the eighteenth century.59 It also contained the rooms of the hashkavah for attending to the bodies of the dead and mourning, and for the oil with the ceremonial furniture and silver objects (room no. 3), and the gheniza, or storage room (room no. 5).60 It was a typical seventeenth-century, Italian, bifocal synagogue of about 40 square meters with bright spaces: the aron-ha-kodesh, also called the tabernacle, was made from soft wood, painted, then covered with red damask; it faced eastward toward Jerusalem. In front of the aron at the end of the room, was the bimah or pulpit in painted spruce; the walls were decorated with wood paneling. Illumination through the use of windows was characteristic of seventeenth-century Italian synagogues. In the Formiggini synagogue, the number of vaulted windows from which light penetrated was quite impressive for such a small space—five in the prayer hall, nine in the main room, and one in the women’s gallery.61 At the end of the seventeenth century, it had thirty-two benches, which indicates that at least sixty-four people were able to attend services in the synagogue. On the downstairs floor, the confraternity Mishmeret ha-Boker (the watch of the morning), devoted to kabbalistic studies and discussions, met; apparently both the Kove‘ei ‘Ittim and the Mishmeret ha-Boker shared the same spaces.62 The synagogue was the center of the religious life of the family and passed from one generation to the next until 1905 when it was completely abandoned after the construction of the Tempio Israelitico. It was then sold and transformed into a flat.63

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Figure 9. Sinagoga Formiggini, plan, 1905. Archivio della Comunità ebraica di Modena, Archivio moderno, busta Oratori, fascicolo Formiggini. Photo by author.

Compared to the Venetian synagogues as well as those of Amsterdam and Berlin, it seems that the Modenese synagogues were less frequented by Christian visitors, who were attracted to more prestigious places such as the casino of the Rovigos and the small castle of the Sacerdotis located outside the ghetto. Indeed, Modena was not considered to be a destination of the Grand Tour like Venice and Amsterdam that since the seventeenth century had attracted the attention of many European visitors.64 In Modena Christians, as we shall see in Chapter 6, visited more neutral places than the synagogues since the local inquisitors were always alert to potential attempts to Judaize Christians. Instead, at their synagogue the Formigginis as well as their relatives and friends celebrated their own bar mitzvahs or recited the kaddish for the dead. For example, in 1744 Leone Carpi left a bequest of 500 lire and in 1796 Isach Milla one of 600 lire to the synagogue so that the kaddish would be recited perpetually in their honor.65 As did generations of other Jews, the Formigginis chose to share their private synagogues with other Jews in the community, and by so doing turned the act of giving into a significant and permanent space that both aided the preservation of Jewish ritual in the ghetto and pointed to their prestige in the community.66

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Mercantile Accomplishments and the Corporazione dei Merciai Ebrei The last decade of the seventeenth century brought many other changes within the family. In 1690 the Formigginis asked for and obtained from the ducal chamber permission to always keep their shops open and to “fabbricare gioie ed altro” (make jewelry and other things). In addition, they requested that they not be interfered with, that they could keep their shops on the Strada Maestra (Via Emilia) because of their skill as jewelers, and that they could trade freely, paying the fees due to their corporation.67 Regarding these activities, another important event in the history of the Formigginis and their relations with the ducal authorities occurred when, in February 1692, the ducal camera established the “Corporation of Jewish Mercers.”68 Between January 22 and February 23, 1693, at least fifty-seven merchants enrolled in the corporation. The patrimonies declared included a vast range, from 100 lire declared by the peddler Jacob Fano to 250,000 lire by the Sephardi David Fano, a trader in jewels and leather goods. In the highest category of contributors, was another Sephardi family, the Tilles, who had arrived in Modena with the migratory wave of 1652 like the Fanos and the bankers Servadio Rovighi (then Rovigo) and his brothers. David and Franco Tilles, uncle and nephew respectively, declared ownership of a tannery downtown and the manufacture of leather goods in proximity to Porta Castello valued at 110,328 lire. The Rovighis declared a total patrimony of 237,000 lire.69 In the upper-middle social class were Calmo Sanguinetti and his brothers, who manufactured silk textiles; Giacob Tossignani with a patrimony of “jewels and goods”; Modona and Usiglio, who were peddlers; and the goldsmith Benedetto Vita Levi with a patrimony that included jewels, silver, and diamonds.70 The Formigginis belonged to the same subgroup. On February 13, 1693, Elia’s heirs declared ownership of a patrimony in properties for 11,000 lire and credits for their commerce in jewels totaling 14,000 lire.71 This Corporazione dei merciai ebrei seems to be a classic quid pro quo enacted by the ducal authorities to extort money from Jews.72 The included declarations appeared to be mostly aimed at receiving some exemption or lower taxation rather than being enrolled in a new corporation, which would not have changed much of anything given that Jews were already permitted to enroll in all the others. It was probably the product of another compromise between the duke and the Jewish community: Jews who practiced any activity connected to merzaria (production of and commerce in a large plethora of

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Table 1. Mercers’ Declarations, 1692 Capital After Subtraction of Both Debt and Tax

Name of Mercer

Type of Goods

Type of Properties

Abram de Manoel Rubiera and Salomon Senigaglia Compagnia

Haberdashery

Small shop in the ghetto

5,000 lire

Angel Nacmani

Haberdashery

Shop in Via Cappi (in the past)

2,800 lire plus other commodities to sell (100 lire)

Giusef Lattis

Dress-making

Maggio Pontas

Baskets and haberdashery

Salvador Modena

Paper

1,500 lire

Isacco Mendes

Trade/textiles

34,895 lire

900 lire of debt, 250 of profit, no credits Shop

Simon Castelfranco Ioseffo Castelfranco

4,000 lire

8,000 lire Haberdashery/ textiles

300 lire

Zacharia Modena

700 lire

Graziadio Tedeschi

Haberdashery/ paper

54,000 lire

Isach Mendes

Yarns

1,585 lire

Lazzaro Modena

Haberdashery

Vidal Sanguinetti

Second-hand clothing

Zacaria Susani

Haberdashery

Shop in the ghetto

5,500 lire

Graziadio Nacman

Haberdashery

Shop

2,400 lire

Stall

300 lire 2,900 lire

Benedetto Ferraresi

300 scudi1

Benedetto Sanguinetti

Ropes and baskets

Shop

3,000 lire

Salomon Modena

Haberdashery

Small shop

500 lire

Trade

34,000 lire

Salomon Sacerdos Iacob Modena Leon Rovigo

Haberdashery

3,000 lire Shop

10,000 lire

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Name of Mercer

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Type of Goods

Calmo and fratelli Sanguinetti

Type of Properties

Capital After Subtraction of Both Debt and Tax

Shop

63,000 lire

Shop

5,000 lire

Leon Verona

Haberdashery

Isac Cugnani

Wool and other textiles

Salomon Castelbolognesi

Paper and other goods

Aron Archivolto

[nothing reported]

2,000 lire

Salvador Cannaruti

Haberdashery

3,200 lire

Abram de Salomon Rabeni

[nothing reported]

6,000 lire

Abram Formiggini

Paper

550 scudi (100 scudi in debt)

Rossa Ravenna (widow)

Second-hand clothing

1,500 lire

750 lire Shop

David Cividalli2 Manoello di Rabeni

300 scudi Second-hand clothing

50 scudi

Gratiani Aron Israel Formiggini

2,000 lire

1,170 lire Second-hand clothing

200 lire

Pupilli di Iosef Castelfranco

Capital blocked with cousins

Michele di Elia Modena

Haberdashery

Shop

Nadanel Pavia

Second-hand clothing

900 scudi

Simon and Abram Modona

Ropes and baskets

2,900 Lire

Matasia Levi

Second-hand clothing

800 scudi

Modona e Usiglio

Haberdashery

Trade

1,700 lire

10,000 lire (continues)

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Table 1. (Continued)

Name of Mercer

Type of Goods

Type of Properties

Iacob Fano

Second-hand clothing

Contract

Capital After Subtraction of Both Debt and Tax 1,700 scudi (profits); 2,100 scudi (debt)

Added Entries Moisè Levi Orsi

Selling of trinkets

Abram di Emanuel Rabeni

Flour

Giacob Tossignani

Jewels and other commodities

2,000 lire Shop

600 lire 40,000 lire

Source: Data elaborated from ASMO, Archivio per Materie, Ebrei, busta 15, fascicolo 16, fols. 1–67, January 22–25, 1692. The declarations are listed according to the order in which they were originally submitted. 1 Capital confiscated by the Ducal Camera 2 Six in family.

Table 2. Mercers’ Declared Patrimonies, 1693 Name of Mercer

Patrimony Declared (in lire)

Taxes Established (in lire)

Michele Elia Modana

1,700

17

Natanille Pavia

515

6

Simone and Abramo Modona

900

10

Mattasia Levi

4,000

40

Iacob Fano

100

10

Eredi Giuseppe Castelfranco





David Cividalli

1,545

16

Emanuel Rabeni

253.10

5

Israele Formigine

200

4

Aron Graziani

1,150

12

Rossa Ravenna

1,500

16

Abramo Formigene

2,317.10

24

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Name of Mercer

Patrimony Declared (in lire)

Taxes Established (in lire)

Abramo Rabeni

8,000

80

Israele Cusiani

750

70

Salvatore Cannaruti

3,200

32

Leon Verona

5,000

50

Salomone Castilbolognese

2,000

21

Aron Archivolti

2,000

21

Calmo and fratelli Sanguinetti

63,450

635

Zaccaria Modena





Giuseppe Castilfranco

300

5

Simon Castilfranco

8,000

80

Isach Mendes

4,893

49

Salvador Modena

1,500

16

Graziadio Todeschi





Maggio Pontassi

4,000

40

Giuseppe Latis

150

2

Fibo Sanguinetti (flour and cheese shop)

1,000

10

Abramo Rubbiera

600

6

Calmo and fratelli Sanguinetti (bank)

3,250

32.10

David Tilles and his nephew Franco (2 shops for leather tanning, one in Modena downtown and the other in Porta Castello)

110,328

1103.10

Eredi di Elia Formiggini

25,000



Servadio and fratelli Rovighi banco

237,000

2370.0

David Fano (jewels and leather)

250,000

2,500

Benedetto Levi (jeweler)

18,000

180

Giacob Tosignani

40,000

400

Moisè Levi

10,000

100

Total 670,178 Lire Total 118,048 Lire Source: Data elaborated from ASMO, Archivio per Materie, Ebrei, busta 15, fascicolo 16, fols. 1–67, “Denunce dell’Arte dei Merciai ebrei aperte dal Magistrato al 6 febbraio [February 6] 1693.” The declarations are listed according to the order in which they were originally submitted.

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commodities, from silver and jewels, to silk and textiles, to tobacco and paper) on either a large or small scale had to be enrolled in this corporation in order to freely practice their activities in Modena. The duke was to receive 10 percent of the total from the patrimonies declared—670,178 lire. Given the premises, though, we should be cautious regarding the truthfulness of the declarations of the patrimonies actually owned. The Formigginis’ declaration itself suggests this, particularly when compared to the sums declared in the division of the patrimony redacted by the Modenese notary Giambattista Vives in the same years. Yet, at the same time, these data seem to offer a good indication of the economic status and distribution of resources and means within the Jewish society. Comparing the names of those who enrolled in the Corporazione dei merciai ebrei with those who belonged to the H> evrat Kove‘ei ‘Ittim, it emerges that the latter included men from the middle and upper-middle classes. Together with Pellegrino Formiggini were the haberdashers Salvatore Cannaruti and Michele di Elia Modena, who owned patrimonies of 3,200 and 1,700, respectively; Abramo Rabeni with a patrimony of 8,000 lire; and Giacob Tossignani with a patrimony of 40,000 lire. (See Tables 1 and 2.) The confraternity was a socially and economically diverse but balanced group; it also included members of Jewish families whose presence in Modena traced back to the previous centuries, such as Simone and Abram Sanguinetti, Abram Modena, and Solomon Usiglio.

The Formigginis Vis-à-Vis Jewish Societies in the Mediterranean and Europe At the end of the seventeenth century, more than eighty years after their arrival in Modena, the Formigginis had reached and consolidated their position within the Jewish middle class. Although they did not own enormous patrimonies like the Sephardi Jews who had recently immigrated such as the Tilles and Fanos, or like the Jewish families of long presence in the city like the Modenas, Sanguinettis, and Usiglios, the Formigginis still achieved by gradual improvements the highest social levels within the Modenese ghetto society and beyond. The fact that they were among the very few who possessed both a synagogue and a yeshivah, through which they also participated in philanthropic activities, is indicative of their future broader influence as community leaders. In addition, for decades they had been granted ducal charters (patenti) as jewelers and silversmiths. They had gradually expanded their professional

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activities in important Italian trade centers such as Verona, Trieste, Ancona, Senigallia, and Livorno; and consolidated networks within the Italian Jewish mercantile society through astute matrimonial strategies. The Formigginis’ Sephardi neighbors belonged to the wave of immigrants who, in 1652–53, were invited by Francesco I to settle in the duchy because of their skills as entrepreneurs and merchants. Sixty families accepted; this community consisted mainly of former conversos of Spanish and Portuguese origin who had already returned to Judaism and had previously settled in Tuscany, Amsterdam, and Hamburg. The majority of them—the Annobuonos from Amsterdam, the Aboabs from Hamburg, the Abendanas73 and the Morenos from Venice—settled in Reggio Emilia under the leadership of Salomone Annobuono, an experienced merchant and exponent of the broad mercantile Sephardi diaspora in the Mediterranean with strong family networks in Hamburg. Others, the Tilles from Siena and the Fanos and Francos from Livorno, chose to settle in Modena and joined the preexistent Sephardi community in the ghetto.74 All these well-off immigrants were of Portuguese origins, and in the Modenese documentation the whole community is often referred to as “Portuguese Jews.” In 1643 the first large Jewish Spanish community was established in Modena. Its members had mostly immigrated to the city during the sixteenth century and had obtained the privilege of having its own synagogue in Contrada Coltellini (which in fact remained active through the end of the nineteenth century).75 Only a few years after the arrival of the new Sephardi merchants into the ghetto and following the death of Alfonso IV in August 1661, the Italian Jews (that is, the Università Israelitica in Modena) asked the duchess Laura Martinozzi that the Portuguese Jews share the yearly taxes incumbent on the Jewish community as they did in Venice, Sirmione, and Florence despite their privileges; the Portuguese Jews appealed.76 A year later, Italian Jews presented the same request against Jews from foreign nations, both Spanish and Portuguese. This request was granted.77 Despite these economic frictions, the amalgamation of the new Sephardi community and the Modenese Jewish community apparently occurred with minimal friction, as the intermarriages and sharing of businesses appear to demonstrate. Yet many Sephardi Jews who immigrated in the mid-seventeenth century disappeared from the documentation in the first decades of the eighteenth century; they probably moved back to Livorno, Amsterdam, and Hamburg or left for better settlements when other hubs of commerce appeared in the Atlantic World in the mid-eighteenth century. For example, the merchant

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Salomone Annobuono was a protagonist of the commercial life in the duchy during the second half of the seventeenth century. He obtained and managed state contracts in glass production in Reggio Emilia and owned a textile mill in Modena, but he and his family disappeared from the local scene (and from the documentation) at the end of the century.78 Similarly, after conducting a prosperous trade in tannery and textile production, the Tilles left Modena, probably around the first decade of the eighteenth century. Issues concerning the textile mills and silk production seem to explain the main difference between Italian city Jews of Modena and the Sephardim, which consisted in the detachment of the latter from Modena. The last twenty years of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century were years of decline in the production of silk in Modena and in northern Italy in general. While the affluent Sephardi entrepreneurs of the duchy left, the Modenese merchants kept their investments in the industry and succeeded in holding a real monopoly over reeling, throwing, spinning, and weaving of silk in the eighteenth century.79 In 1682 five textile mills were closed in Modena due to the economic crisis; two belonged to the Annobuonos and to other Sephardi merchants. The mills owned by Bonifacio Rangoni in San Giorgio, Antonio Vecchi in the nearby village of Sassuolo, and Rovighi (a Jewish merchant) in Porta Castello remained active. The only textile mill in Sassuolo, which opened in 1624, went through a long period of economic crisis between the end of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century when, by permission from the dukes, it was assigned to the Sanguinettis for the production of raw silk. Thus, the investments of the Jewish entrepreneurs and producers of silk in Modena were extremely successful. Jewish merchants in the Este Duchy invested in important technological changes: water-powered mills to drive mechanical silk-throwing machinery. These mills—common also in Bologna (where they originated), Mantua, and Padua—were large, two- or three-story buildings, and their size increased over time. In 1780 all five licenses for water-powered mills were assigned to Modenese Jews: Moisè Aron, Angelo and Iacob Sanguinetti, David Usiglio (co-owner of a mill), and Giuseppe Diena (an agent). Production reached its highest levels in the 1770s and 1780s, and its influence stood out in the entire Italian peninsula.80 At the time, other Modenese Jews were also active as both sellers of chasubles to local monasteries and tailors employing men and women, both Jewish and Christians. For example, during the eighteenth century, Aron Sanguinetti was selling liturgical textiles to the Padri Benedettini in Modena along with the pianetari (sellers or producers of pianete, the paraments dressed by the

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officiant during the Catholic Mass, often made of silk and richly embroidered with gold and silver threads).81 Similar to the Modenas, Sanguinettis, and Rovigos, Elia and Pellegrino Formiggini not only invested in the commerce of jewels and silver but also in the city and in their connection to it. Mercantilism and absolutism in eastern and central European states became intertwined elements, crucial to the development of modern Jewish societies.82 Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Modenese Jewish mercantile elite in the context of the Este Duchy is the development of a special type of trading activity strongly tied to the city and at the same time linked, although at its very periphery, to some broad mercantile routes and activities developed in both the Mediterranean and Europe by port Jews and court Jews, such as the commerce of coral via Livornese connections. For example, in 1747 Laudadio obtained exemption of any tax for the commerce of jewels, gold, silver, and coral from Cardinal Albani Camerlenghi in the large portion of Romagna under the Papal States; in the same period he was also active in the commerce of coral in Livorno.83 Yet the fact that the Modenese Jewish merchants stood only at the periphery of broader mercantile routes in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic has to be connected to the precarious political situation of the duchy, which never evolved into a powerful and cohesive state; it was incapable of setting up mercantile political economies that could have supported broad trade networks. After all, the Este Duchy was only a small offshoot of the empire and it was consequently marginally involved in the ample political changes and wars of the early modern period. In spite of their evident limitations in terms of hubs of commerce, Elia and Pellegrino Formiggini were perfectly aware of the importance of gaining the favor of the dukes as agents for provisioning silver and jewels. The commerce of the following generations was built on the basis of the privileges they had obtained from the ducal chamber. To use J. H. Elliott’s apt terminology, Jews probably began as a “stateless diaspora,” arriving in Modena beginning in the fourteenth century from southern Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal, and then at the time of the devolution from Ferrara in 1598. This diaspora had already evolved at the turn of the seventeenth century into a “state-linked diaspora”;84 its permanence in the city after 1638 was never under discussion, even by the guilds or church authorities, in contrast to what occurred on the other side of the Alps. One element that Modenese Jewish merchants had in common with both Sephardi merchants and Ashkenazi court Jews was the expansion of their

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Figure 10. “A new map of the upper part of Italy, containing the principality of Piedmont and the Duchies of Savoy, Milan, Parma, Mantua, Modena, Tuscany, the dominions of the Papal State, the Republiques of Venice, Genoa, Lucca and others,” 1736. New York Public Library Digital Collections, http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-523c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.

credit activities with enormous profits. Particularly in the eighteenth century, the Formigginis combined credit and commerce; in so doing they reinforced the economic basis of their firm. This expansion was not only a legacy of the seventeenth-century bank but also involved a significant transformation from a commercial dimension based on one commodity to the production and sale of various products—specifically silver, silks, books—as well as credit activities as ancillary resources. In the mid-seventeenth century, the situation of Modenese Jews became connected to the internal political context of the duchy even more than in the previous decades. The Estes continued to exercise their peculiar version of absolutism during the seventeenth century, which included heavy fiscal impositions first on individual farmers, and then on rural communities. Similarly, they continued to control the regulation of the primary consumption of goods. The ducal chamber thus received economic advantages by always creating new opportunities for the production and commerce of soap, iron, glass, grapes, sodium sulfide, leather, and rags for paper, which Jewish entrepreneurs were advantageously in charge of.85 Both the freedom given to Jewish economic activities and the consensus granted to the church and Catholic merchants (the latter economically

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weakened in the first decades of the seventeenth century) with the establishment of the ghetto and, shortly thereafter, the power granted to the Opera pia dei Catecumeni were two complementary faces of the same medallion, the governmental attitude of the duke. In the European political landscape, absolutism found its theoretical basis in the doctrine of raison d’état, which allowed for the determination of political decisions and behaviors outside the range of moral considerations. Rather, in Modena, ducal protectionisms, excessive expenses, pretentious weddings, and the vain participation in European wars confirmed the most traditional governmental forms of the Este state, which remained deprived of a proper reorganization of its administrative structures.86 Indeed, the economic freedom granted to the Formigginis and to other Jewish families in trading activities was an effect if not a constitutive element of the incomplete and immature Este absolutism that paralleled the various forms of other semi-absolutisms enacted by local feudatories, the centralizing power exercised by the bishops, the inquisitors, and the clergy, both secular and regular. This system remained basically unchanged despite the efforts made, at least on a jurisdictional level, by some Este dukes and above all by Francesco I during the first half of the seventeenth century.87

Laudadio Formiggini’s Silver Road At Pellegrino’s death (1705), his oldest and yet very young son Laudadio (1690–1763) and his brother Moisè inherited the family activities and continued its trade with gradual and effective success. The structure adopted by the Formigginis closely resembled that of the fraterna used by the bourgeois classes—those who were engaged in honorable activities, that is, nonmanual trade and properties—and in part by the cittadini in Venice. In the fraterna, all brothers were involved with the father in the family company, which had to be passed to future generations according to certain rules, depending on the times and circumstances. Only one of the brothers accepted the charge of marrying and starting a family, thus assuring continuity to the family and the company. Besides the obvious differences—unlike in the Christian world, in Jewish society marriage and procreation of offspring were a family obligation—the involvement of all the brothers in the company and the recognition of one’s leading role were common elements that the Formigginis adopted and maintained throughout two centuries. Moreover, in the Venetian fraterna, the dowries of the wives of the married sons were integrated into the capital of the

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company, as happened in the Formigginis’ society.88 In the eighteenth century, the economic structure adopted by the Formigginis was the ragione cantante (defined also in Italian as “ditta sociale” or “ragione di negozio”), whose name precisely defined the actors involved and the commodities traded. It granted the privileges of working in the firm, being active members of the firm, and administering its goods and properties to the founding partners alone.89 Participation in the cultural and economic life of the duchy was paralleled by involvement in the affairs and administration of the Jewish community. Documentation from 1796 illustrates the organization of the Jewish community. It was based on two congregations—the generale (general) congregation, composed of the forty-eight men considered to be the most affluent and illustrious members of the community; and the ristretta (restricted) congregation, composed of seven members elected by the general congregation. The general congregation was in charge of regulating how each individual should contribute economically to the administration of the community, promulgating internal laws and pragmatiche or prammatiche (sumptuary laws), and electing all the committees. The restricted congregation was in office for three years and in charge of the economic administration and execution of the decisions made by the general congregation. Furthermore, two members and one each from the general and restricted congregations were elected as leaders (massari or sindaci), an office that lasted one year. The massari were appointed to call the respective congregations to assembly periodically, if a sudden need arose, and also, at the end of their mandate, the general assembly for new elections; to analyze and take care of all the needs of the community; and to name all the officers with different competencies who would need to be confirmed by general votes.90 By being elected as massari and presidents of the Talmud Torah as well as being administrators of their own synagogue and yeshivah, the Formigginis successfully consolidated their leadership in the management of the spaces and the activities of the Jewish community. For example, since the 1740s it appears clear that the families of Laudadio Formiggini, Salomon Vita Levi, Benedetto Usiglio, Abram Sanguinetti, Michele Norsa, and Cesare Rovighi distributed among themselves the obligation of the payment of the annual tax to the duke incumbent on the entire Jewish community, as well as the renovation of its privilegi that allowed Jews to reside in the duchy and was due every ten years. These merchants often subtracted the respective amount due from the debts incurred by the ducal chamber for acquiring silver and jewels during the year.91 This system, with its mixture of charity and solidarity, acted as a bulwark against conversion for many weak elements in the ghetto society. The

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attention that had been paid by the ducal authorities to new and potential Jewish converts has to be viewed in the context of the broader welfare system of a city in which the number of beggars and poor increased tremendously in the mid-eighteenth century. Within the city of Modena as a whole, the number of the impoverished reached about seven thousand out of a total population of twenty-four thousand, a percentage similar to that found within the city’s Jewish ghetto.92 By the end of the century, the duchy’s welfare system was on the verge of bankruptcy, impoverished by wars, overrun with requests from the poor, and spoiled by a patronage system that placed a few incompetent people in key administrative jobs.93 Yet, despite conversionary pressures, fiscal demands, and overcrowding due to a booming population, the Jewish social welfare system did not face bankruptcy as its Christian counterpart did.94 The precarious economic situation in the state was strictly connected to the changing political situation of the duchy, both internally and internationally, which became dramatically more and more complex in the eighteenth century. Since the beginning of the Austro-Ottoman War in 1737, the Este Duchy had been invaded, or at times just visited, according to local chronicles, by enemies and allies—French and Austrians—and often exploited for its resources, while the dukes, leaving the state and abandoning the population at various times at the first sign of difficulties, collected all kinds of goods upon their departure and then imposed taxes on their subjects upon their return. It was exactly at that time that Jews in the duchy gradually succeeded in developing what we could define loosely as mercantilism that would partially contribute to the survival and maintenance of the ducal system. Ten years earlier, in 1727, the “Supreme Procurators and General Administrators of S. A. Serenissima in Modena, Reggio, and Mirandola” had appointed “Moisè and Laudadio Formiggini and Sons, Jews of this city,”95 to store up silver for the ducal mint; in 1738 the duke named them “our jewelers.”96 On July 2, 1736, Moisè and Laudadio released each other from previous inheritance obligations and contracted a commercial firm (società di commercio) whose structure was utilized by the family over the following decades. The family members deposited different quotas on the basis of the profits that would have been divided; the society ran for five years. According to the patrimonial divisions, the dotal restitutions of 7,463.9 and 11,000 lire, respectively, were included, which Moisè and Laudadio invested as joint stock.97 Another visible sign of economic expansion by the Formigginis was the enlargement of their estate property, in particular the acquisition of shops.

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Pellegrino had left to Moisè and Salomone four shops in the ghetto as inheritance.98 In the second half of the eighteenth century, Moisè and Laudadio also owned two other shops in the city historical center, “one of those located on the corner of Palazzo Municipale on the side of the Piazzetta del Pallone, the other contiguous to the Strada Maestra, and the storage area above the aforementioned shops, and the third [storage area] overlooking the mentioned piazzetta.”99 In this generation, both the synagogue and the yeshivah remained as common and undivided properties.100 Laudadio and Moisè operated in difficult and turbulent years. In 1737 the Franco-Spaniards occupied Modena, Reggio, Carpi, and Correggio, and in the 1740s with the war for the Polish succession the French invaded Modena. On both occasions, Duke Rinaldo abandoned the population and took refuge in Bologna. For the entire decade, Modena was invaded by foreign armies and abandoned by the ruling family. In 1745–46 the Austro-Piedmonteses occupied Modena and Mirandola, and Francesco II escaped to Padua and then to Milan with the Spaniards as general captain for the troops in Lombardy, finally moving to Perugia to try to take part in the final phases and negotiation of that long conflict, which was ultimately resolved in Aachen in 1748. Those events were not without consequences for the trades of the guilds and the assets of the court, including its furniture. Francesco II, in an attempt to save the extremely reduced ducal finances, proceeded to the well-known sale of the court collection of Italian paintings in Dresden between 1745 and 1746.101 Despite the difficult historico-political conditions, beginning in the second half of the century the ducal court had acquired impressive quantities of jewels, silver, and books, mostly by way of Jewish merchants.102 Starting in 1741, the Formigginis obtained a series of charters that exempted them from both duties and taxes for the commerce of gold, silver, coral, diamonds, and pearls in the Papal States and specifically in Lugo, Rome, Ferrara, and Bologna.103 In addition, in the Papal States they were exempted from the badge obligation and were allowed to travel in carriages and to lodge in any inn in Bologna rather than following the obligation for Jews to stay only in the Osteria del Cappello Rosso.104 The Formigginis obtained similar privileges from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Gonzaga Duchy (until 1708 the Duchy of Mantua), and the Kingdom of Naples.105 This travel for business included the export and import of commodities and participation in various Italian fairs. The fair of the coral in Livorno, for example, offered the possibility of interacting with the local Sephardi mercantile society there and developing commercial connections via marriage, which otherwise would have been much more

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difficult to accomplish.106 While the exchange of commodities with central and southern Italian cities occurred over land, the exchanges with the important port city of Venice took place via fluvial navigation through Ferrara.107 Thus, for the Formigginis, the perception and significance of the space(s) external to the ghetto differed from the majority of other Modenese Jews. They went far beyond the city and the duchy, including the entire peninsula, thanks to their commercial activities. This enabled Modenese Jewish merchants to take part in some routes of European mercantilism, both Jewish and non-Jewish, which allowed a number of trips and contacts through Italy every year that were precluded for the majority of Italian Jews.

The Formigginis and Other Jews in the Corporation of the Goldsmiths The registers of the Corporation of the Goldsmiths confirm the enrollment of the Formigginis from the seventeenth century through 1796, when with the arrival of Napoleon in Modena all the guilds were suppressed, and then again after 1815 during the Restoration. The liaison that the Formigginis and the other Jewish silversmiths and jewelers developed with both the members and the Council of the Guild mirrored the relationships between Jews and nonJews in the city context. The former were tolerated, but they never became active members in the administration of the corporation. At the same time, they were more focused on international markets while their non-Jewish colleagues limited their trading activities to the local circles.108 In matters of competition, polemics and disagreements often arose, yet the presence of the Modenese Jews—who every year paid the obbedienza (often ubbidienza), the fee for membership—within the corporation was never questioned. Rather, the quarrels involved Jews accused of not paying the yearly tax and of selling objects of poor quality alloy against the rules defined in the already mentioned 1622 official statutes of the guild.109 There is evidence of two petitions to the corporation around the end of the seventeenth to the early eighteenth century that requested that both mercers and Jews contribute to the expenses for the Germans’ lodges,110 and that measures against “some Jews who don’t pay the ubbidienza” be taken.111 According to a document, probably from the early eighteenth century, “gli uomini dell’Arte” punished a Jew enrolled in the guild who had sold silver pieces of cutlery of poor quality alloy “against the form of the statutes of the Art at an excessive price.” The man was condemned

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to “the loss of the goods.”112 We also know that in 1783 Prospero Sanguinetti did not pay the tax and was expelled from the guild the following year.113 Jews rarely participated in the council meetings of the corporation. They were probably invited to be present only when the topics under discussion involved them directly. For example, Leon Levi participated in a meeting on October 15, 1691, because he had received an order to supply furnishings (beds and twelve blankets) for the Austro-German militia stationed in Modena, and to which both Christians and Jews of Modena should have contributed.114 During another meeting in 1702, there were discussions regarding another decision taken by the men of the guild who had imposed payments on all the ubbidienti (those who belonged to the guild), both Christian and Jewish, for bedsheets supplied to the army, while in the other guilds only the official members had been charged. Among the silversmiths present at that meeting who were pleading for the restitution of the sum was Benedetto Vita Levi.115 The role of Jews within the guild was one of ambiguous outsiders: authorized participants in the professional scene of the city; disenfranchised members of the guild; and partners in utilitarian relationships with the local goldsmiths, the dukes, and nobility in need of their service. During the eighteenth-century wars of succession, which for example in 1706–10 brought French occupation of Modena, the tension became more evident. A point often debated by the guild members was the quality of the goods sold and the roles of the mercers in both the production and the market. Not only jewelers, silversmiths, and goldsmiths were involved in the sale of jewels but also peddlers, secondhand dealers, and mercers, many of whom were Jewish. The fact that Jews made up a large number of the secondhand dealers made their protection a priority for Jewish massari, who acted to negotiate compromises with other guilds whenever Jewish secondhand dealers’ interests in trade were threatened. In various meetings of the guild in 1707, the Modenese goldsmiths were requested to contribute to the alloggio alemanno (German headquarters in Modena) for the troops that just occupied the city for some months. The goldsmiths declared that they were poor and unable to provide any money. Among the reasons given was the fact that, in Modena, there were “only four shops and these were yet lacking work,” and that the guild itself “was much more exploited with greater advantage by mercers and Jews.” The goldsmiths declared that they were ready to pay their contribution as long as both Jews and mercers would do the same.116 On other occasions, in the same year, Jews were accused of producing cheap objects and jewels from poor quality alloy that, under the name of

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“galanterie [pretty things of scarce value],” were offered for sale in the stalls of mercers and secondhand dealers.117 A grida published on January 6, 1708, prohibited the sale of precious metals outside the shops owned by the goldsmiths. There was then a strong reaction by the mercers who referred to their statutes, confirmed since 1538 and again in 1696, on the basis of which they claimed that they were authorized to sell “gold pulled, wrought, and beaten of any kind and objects in both gold and silver” along with pearls, buttons, chains, necklaces, brass spoons, brass chandeliers, clasps, buckles, and cameos.118 The long dispute was concluded only on September 28, 1710, with the publication of another grida. This established which commodities could be sold by mercers; objects with a very low percentage of gold and silver, and which were the prerogative of the goldsmiths—more precious jewels and higher quality objects.119 In 1720 the trustees of the ducal mint—Abram Sanguinetti and sons, bankers, and silk traders in Modena; Isac Levi Mortara in Reggio nell’Emilia; Israelle Benroi in Carpi; Taddeo Ritorni in Finale nell’Emilia; and David Diena in San Felice—notified the mercers that it was “forbidden and explicitly declared unlawful to export abroad gold and silver burned, or broken and old, and in particular silver objects, gilded, that have any part in gold, if these objects have not been previously shown to the superintendent of this same mint before acquiring them, requesting them at an honest and convenient price, according to previous gride under the fees and punishments there mentioned, that A. S. requests.”120 The fact that almost all the men in charge of the ducal mint were members of the Jewish mercantile elite—with the exception of Taddeo Ritorni (and his name could suggest a conversion from Judaism to Christianity)—shows the level of interrelation between this elite and the ducal chamber and the mixture of trade, state contracts, and credit that characterized the relationship. In these same years, the Formigginis were officially ducal bankers, silversmiths, goldsmiths, and suppliers of silver.121 During another meeting in 1754, the members of the guild discussed two questions posed by Duke Francesco III: Why were the best artisans leaving the duchy and what improvements could be adopted in order to avoid this situation, which was so detrimental to the state economy? The goldsmiths replied that the main reason for the exodus of the artisans was the scarcity of high-level commissions and that artisans preferred to prove their talents abroad. They also claimed a continuous exportation of gold and silver conducted by Jews and the consequent decrease of raw materials.122 According to the goldsmiths, in order to resolve this problem, which had existed for years, it was necessary for the ducal authorities to impose on the Jews the requirement

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to always supply gold and silver to the local artisans at a reasonable price. Jews also held the provision of the precious raw materials for the entire guild. In addition, the members of the guild requested that Jews be prohibited from acquiring precious objects without the appropriate hallmark from the mint, authorizing the massaro of the guild to inspect Jews’ shops, and to control their trade and stop their assumed abuses.123 Looking at their activities, it does not always clearly emerge to what degree Jewish silversmiths and jewelers concentrated on imports, exports, and sales in the city and the state, and on handicraft and designing the objects. On the basis of the guild statutes and acts, even the division among Jewish and non-Jewish goldsmiths between masters and workers in the workshops was not clear. Among small operators, the division between Jewish ubbidienti and rivenderuoli (secondhand dealers) was not neat;124 in 1728, for example, Isaia Modena was enrolled as a secondhand dealer but as ubbidiente the following year.125 Yet, members of the more affluent Jewish mercantile families always belonged to the former category. 126 It is also unclear what goods were handled by the secondhand dealers or which of their activities differed from those conducted by mercers, although some of them managed a significant turnover. On May 22, 1705, two neophyte siblings—Ippolito Reggiani and Teresa Mezzani—who had acquired and sold gold and silver “to earn their board,” asked that their shops be reopened after a previous bankruptcy.127 In reality, the same mixture of activities and trades that we have observed for the mercantile elite characterized the lower classes as well. Moreover, the various silversmiths’ shops did not all work in the same way. Some Jews only traded while others participated in designing the jewels. The report of an inspection made by the Massaro dell’Arte on October 25, 1720, of all the shops of the goldsmiths, states: “In the shop of the Formiggini brothers they don’t produce any gilded object, or in wrought silver; in the Modena Brothers’ Shop they don’t sell anything in wrought gold or silver; . . . in Leone Levi’s shop we haven’t found anything flawed.”128 On September 30, 1739, among the Jews requested to pay a tax identical to that of artisans were Abram Vita Levi and Brothers, the Formiggini Brothers (Moisè and Laudadio), Lustro Modena, and Elia Modena, because all of them “tengono fucine all’arte” (have their own workshops).129 In 1770 one of the Formigginis’ shops in the ghetto was functioning with all necessary tools and materials and even enlarged to an under-the-stairs storage unit; the other shop under the family synagogue was managed by Zacaria Foa.130 Non-Jewish silversmiths and

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workers were frequently employed in Jewish-owned shops and workshops and often, after a few years, were able to open their own shops.131 A document from the 1740s gives detailed information: Moisè Formiggini, Davide Modena, Israel Orsini, a certain Misòlan, and “Moisè Usiglio and brother worker, Domenico Passini worker” were considered to be workshop masters.132 Those activities, conducted by the Formigginis and the other Modenese Jewish jewelers and silversmiths, despite the resentment of the Christian operators in the same sector, sustained the overall economy of both Modena and the duchy.133 An epistolary exchange of 1781 between a noble family related to the Estes, the Tozzoni from Imola (a town near Bologna), two jewelers Sarti and Muratori from Bologna, and the Modenese Jewish merchants Levis and Ausilio Sanguinetti and Sons (related to Abram Sanguinetti, the aforementioned silk entrepreneur) demonstrates that Jewish merchants participated in all phases of designing jewelry and objects in collaboration with the Tozzonis. Sarti and Muratori wrote to Alessandro Tozzoni that they had “received with your letter . . . two drawings included and while our drawing was imperfect, the other was good; and later we haven’t failed to draw another one, according to the intentions that we have already explained; and it is very close to the idea of Misters Sanguinetti and Levi’s drawing, having improved it in a good way by changing the ribbon. Now it seems to us that it works better also in light of the most recent fashion; and if V. E. [Your Eminence] liked the ribbon in the old drawing more, it will not be of any inconvenience to design it in that way. . . . Therefore here included [V. E.] will find two drawings and [we are] always ready to accommodate V. E.”134 The day before Sanguinetti and Levi had written, “Since we received the order to serve V. E. at the time V. E. has manifested the idea of designing a pair of pendants . . . we have always kept the necessary diamonds and pendants of perfect quality and to this effect we sent you the drawings for examination.”135 Modena was surely quite exceptional in its favorable politics toward admission of Jews in any guild. In Rome, Jews had been formally excluded from guild professions, having been allowed to practice only moneylending and trade in secondhand goods since 1555. In Florence, Jews were allowed to enroll in the silk, wool, and merchants’ guilds with different fees, while Jews in Venice were excluded from any participation in all the corporations.136 In nearby Mantua, where the participation of Jews in the local economy since the mid-seventeenth century had become prominent like in Modena, Jews had never enrolled in the corporations and were always in friction and competition

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with local artisans and merchants.137 Modenese Jews like the Formigginis had their own frictions with their local counterparts yet, even with limitations, they belonged to the corporations; this also involved Jewish-Christian relations on a daily basis that were unknown elsewhere. Through craftsmanship, production, and trade in silver objects and jewels, the Formigginis succeeded in creating business practices that we can define as micromercantilism according to recent studies. For example, Diego Ramada Curto and Anthony Molho emphasize that the concept of mercantilism is inadequate for describing the political context through which to examine the stories of both commercial routes and trade networks because of the complexity and differentiation of relations between individuals and the existing structures of the state authorities in various European countries and the Mediterranean.138 Modenese Jewish merchants were granted trade privileges and facilitation in both import and export of goods that are relevant when compared to Jewish merchants in other Italian contexts, such as the Papal States. Yet their complex and fragmentary relation with the Estes and the intrinsic weakness of the duchy impeded broad and unique mercantilistic developments. Indeed, since the 1730s the nobility had gradually languished, attached to its landed properties and the related economic revenues without accomplishing any valid expansion of commerce.139

The Formigginis’ Artistic Choices for the Court In the second half of the eighteenth century, the role of the Formigginis as merchants and art experts expanded far beyond being simple providers of silver and jewels, along with the degree of their capacity to influence the taste and fashion of the city, as clearly emerges by looking at their influence in the ducal court. At the time, a notable interest in Jewish culture had developed in Modena; this was reflected in the opening up of positions in Hebrew at the universities along with a passion for collecting that included Jewish ceremonial objects, manuscripts, and printed books.140 Consider, for example, the collection of “Oriental” manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic in the ducal library—now housed in the Biblioteca Estense. The collection was created largely through numerous purchases. The only two private donations were the important kabbalistic manuscript Or Yakar by the celebrated sixteenth-century kabbalist Moshe Cordovero, bequeathed by the convert Francesco Maria Varesi (formerly Leone Rovigo) in 1762, and a

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Figure 11. Megillat Esther (scroll of Esther), ink, gouache, gold and silver paint on parchment, seventeenth century. Owned by Laudadio Formiggini, it was donated in 1781. Gallerie Estensi, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena), Ms. α.l.2.2.4. Courtesy of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali per il Turismo.

seventeenth-century Scroll (megillah) of Esther, decorated in watercolors and gold, and owned by Laudadio Formiggini, which was bequeathed in 1781.141 The latter resembled the frequent donations made by court Jews to princes or emperors to strengthen important political connections. Yet it also anticipated the nineteenth-century Italian Jewish philanthropic trend of donating objects of art to municipalities and city museums as a way of integrating themselves into the new Italian national and local contexts.142 The Inventario delle suppellettili di Palazzo Ducale (1771) clearly demonstrates Laudadio’s influence on the artistic choices of the court.143 The Estes inclined toward both foreign artisans such as Bernardino Fornasieri from Rome, and Jewish merchants who often acquired jewels and furnishings from Venice and Rome, the major centers for the production of artistic objects throughout the century. In Rome, particularly under the papacy of Benedict XIV, there was an impressive production of goblets and Mass services in both gold and silver, at times commissioned specifically for an important occasion such as a gift to princes or legates. These objects arrived in considerable quantity in the duchy’s main centers and the court.144 In Venice many workshops actively produced silver objects that were exported to the nearby states in northern Italy and beyond to Western Europe. Roman and Venetian products reached the Este Duchy via Romagna, Ferrara, and Mantua and

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its surrounding areas.145 The baroque style of Roman silver objects and the Rocaille of the Venetians, supplied by the Jewish silversmiths in Modena, were predominant in the rooms and salons of the ducal palace. In those years, Laudadio Formiggini not only operated managed the firm and acquired silver and jewels for the duke but he also provided purchases made by the ducal chamber together with other Jewish silversmiths, such as the already mentioned Benedetto (Barucho) Abram Camerini, Abram Vita Levi, and Salomone Vita Levi, who were also esteemed for their professional expertise. These Jewish merchants became cultural intermediaries between the duchy and major workshops producing artistic objects in Rome and Venice. In 1757 the court acquired from Benedetto Abram Camerini “four bowl coasters with surfaces and the coat of the Este family impressed” and in 1766 from David Usiglio “a big and ribbed coffee pot” from Venice “similar to the other two” designed by local silversmith Ferdinando Manzini six years earlier.146 Although in 1754 the duke had complained about the high number of purchases in foreign markets, in fact his court constantly requested the best artistic commodities available in northern-central Italy and neglected the local workshops—with the sole exception of Manzini, whose work excelled in quality and style above the redundant Modenese production, as well as Cesare Preti who had worked in the past at the Levis’ workshop, and Benedetto Gobbi.147 In the 1760s Laudadio was the ducal jeweler and silversmith; for example, between 1762 and 1763 he furnished the court with some inkpots and silver round nibs “a bontà di Roma,” and in 1767 two large chandeliers “with a Venetian hallmark and eight surfaces on the base, and gouges in the shaft” with “two cornucopias stamped as above . . . with a lily in the middle, bought along with the above mentioned chandeliers.” In 1765 Formiggini commissioned to Bernardino Fornasieri for the court “a monstrance with a small chiseling on the base, and a balustrade, and on the margin cherubs, rays, a figure of the Savior, with a circle and a lunette both gilded, high from the top of the figure to the end of the base,” while he acquired (always for the court) two goblets “one shiny and gilded inside the bowl with a silver patena gilded on only one side” and “the other all silver with base cherubs and leaves chiseled inside the bowl with a silver patena gilded on only one side” from some Venetian workshops.148 These are typical examples of an artistic language that was also known in other courts such as those in Mantua and Parma, but in this case these objects were imported into the duchy by Jewish merchants, primarily the Formigginis, who successfully interpreted and shared the tastes of both the nobility and

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the dukes as well as the artistic styles of the times.149 The same tastes, artistic choices, and expertise also influenced the furniture and the choice of the ceremonial objects for the Formigginis’ and other merchants’ synagogues.

Acquiring Judaica for the Synagogue Similar to the prestige obtained by owning a private synagogue, donating and caring for ceremonial objects or textiles was perhaps the only way an individual could emerge from the collective, enrich the synagogue, and demonstrate his prestige. In Modena, the members of the mercantile Jewish families or the congregations were apparently also the main actors who commissioned ritual objects. Thanks to their business contacts and familiarity with the Italian artistic world, the Jewish merchants could turn to the best Venetian workshops and later, during the nineteenth century, to the most celebrated Modenese artists.150 The Formiggini Archive reveals conscientious care of the synagogue patrimony and accuracy in documenting every new purchase and its passage through the generations. At the death of their ancestor Elia Formiggini in 1692, the “fondo della Scuola con utensigli di legnami e lumi di ottone [the patrimony of the synagogue with wooden furniture and brass lamps]” in the ghetto were estimated at 1,820 lire.151 In 1736 Laudadio and Moisè Formiggini estimated the value of its synagogal furniture at 5,000 lire, and in 1752 on the occasion of the purchase of one-fifth of the synagogue from Aronne Formiggini, it was estimated at 18,000 lire: One tas [half crown] in silver of ounces 18 circa; one ‘atarah in silver of ounces 48 circa; one pair of rimmonim in filigrain of ounces 53 circa; one laver and basin of ounces 50 circa; ‘atarah and rimmonim small that weigh ounces 12 circa; two keys in silver for the aron-hakodesh [ark] of ounces 8 circa; one yad (guccione) [pointer] that is used to read the Torah of ounces 4 circa; five lamps in brass; fiftyfive lamps in brass; one set with a parokhet [ark curtain] and one binder (pessetto) decorated in gold; one set in turquoise and silver brocade that includes a me‘il [Torah mantle] and a mappah [binder]; one lamp named H>anukkiah in brass with all the lights, the aron hakodesh; the chair of the preacher; the bimah (ducan or shulchan) and any other utensil that is preserved in the same scola.152

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In 1775 Benedetto Formiggini acquired from his cousin Isach Formiggini, a noted rabbi who had moved to Trieste decades earlier, one-sixth of the synagogue and its furniture, estimated at 1,050 Venetian zecchini at the time. Thus, the patrimony had been sensibly augmented: One tas (cheter) in silver of ounces 18 circa; one ‘atarah in silver of ounces 48 circa; one pair of rimmonim in filigrain of ounces 53 circa; one laver and basin of ounces 50 circa; atarah and rimmonim small that weigh ounces 12 circa; two keys in silver for the aron-ha-kodesh of ounces 8 circa; one yad (guccione) that is used to read the Bible of ounces 4 circa; five lamps in brass; 53 big chandeliers in brass for the Shabbat, 60 chandeliers similar to the previous ones but small; one set in turquoise and silver brocade that includes a me‘il and a mappah; three Torah scrolls (sifrei Torah), one big and three [?] small, with two me‘ilim and mappah in good condition in the small Bible, that is one in brocade and the other in damascus white, one H>anukkah lamp in brass. In addition, there is a textile set with a parokhet and a reader’s desk cover with three binders (pezzetti) in dark satin embroidered in silk and gold, of which the aforementioned Mister M. F. [Moisè Formiggini] owns a third part that is now in the hands of Mister R. Bonaventura Formiggini.153 When acquiring silver objects for themselves, the Formigginis and other Modenese Jewish merchants demonstrated the same sophisticated taste as when acquiring for the court. In the eighteenth century, Italian Jews tended to obtain synagogal objects in Venice or Rome, the two main centers for the production of Judaica in the Italian peninsula. In Modena, as in other Jewish communities in northern and central Italy, the rich Venetian style, which was definitely over-enhanced in the objects created for synagogues, was extremely successful and definitely the most prevalent. The decoration is abundant, heavy, and almost overwhelming compared to that of the objects produced for non-Jewish clientele. In addition, almost all the silver objects bear one or more hallmarks, which makes it possible to identify the city of origin and to attribute the objects to specific workshops.154 Franz Landsberger and, more recently, Richard Cohen have argued that, despite the study of religious texts remaining the highest form of cultural expression, Jewish patrons and Jewish and non-Jewish artists reached their highest level of creativity in Judaica with objects for ceremonial or private use during

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the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Jews were still at the margins of European society and the Jewish community was centered around traditional norms. During the following emancipation era, the quality of the objects rapidly declined: “In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries patrons and artists did not hold back from expending great efforts to create objects of beauty, and one can assume that with the growing appreciation of the surrounding culture, an audience was gradually emerging that valued and coveted such objects.”155 According to both scholars, the production of Italian ketubbot is a perfect example: “When the ceremonial object had a definitive social and cultural message to transmit to other Jews, individuals valued expending large sums of money for a unique marriage contract; however, when the object no longer carried such goals, the ‘ornamented Ketubbahs become fewer and fewer, and their quality so deteriorates that they are no longer worth considering.’”156 The Modenese ketubbot that were displayed during the marriage ceremonies under the h>uppah (but not hanged on the walls in the house, a much more modern custom) by the Formigginis and other Jewish merchants confirm that the highest level of production of these objects occurred during the ghetto period.157 We should also add that Italian Jewish patrons’ investment in another somewhat similar medium, illuminated manuscripts, was equally high from the medieval period throughout the Renaissance. Thus, such a pattern of appreciation and display of art was not specific to the early modern age. Yet, when it comes to the plastic arts, the silver devotional sets and individual objects in silver commissioned and owned by the Formigginis and other Jewish merchants reveal patterns similar to those individuated for the ketubbot by Landsberger and Cohen. However, these silver objects were shown much more often to the members of the family as well as the other Jews in the ghetto during the services in the synagogues. The artifact collection of the Tempio Israelitico, where the majority of the silver objects from the Modenese ghetto are preserved, represents the various styles, such as Rocaille or Rococo, of Jewish silver craftsmanship of Venetian origin: palm-branch ornamentation, flower motifs, acanthus leaves, cartouches, spirals in the shape of a C, chiaroscuros, and classic columns. ‘Atarot and rimmonim are either united or independent. During the eighteenth century, the most widespread architectural structure in rimmonim had one or multiple floors, which originated from and was a variation of the Sephardi “tower” with a typically Rocaille décor. The smaller devotional set to be placed on the Torah scroll in the synagogue—‘atarah and rimmonim, listed in the 1775 notarial contract discussed above—had been made in partially carved, partially cast, chiseled, and embossed silver in a Venetian workshop since at

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least the last decades of the seventeenth century. The crown has an open fastigium and geometric decorations at the base. Deeply engraved leaf spirals depart from the circular base of the rimmonim to continue along the upper side, enriched with geometric elements. An overturned cone base rests on the stem tapering upward, which in turn supports the upper hexagonal body of the rimmon, terminating with a pyramid. A damaged flowerpot is located on the top, and some bells and small chains are missing. The existence of this kind of ritual set is important from a historical and artistic point of view; at the basis of their designing lies the clear intent of the silversmith to create an iconography that would involve and bring together the forms and structures of the objects. At the same time, they refer to the representation of the turreted city of Jerusalem protected by walls. In Venice, as throughout the Mediterranean, the rimmonim were originally in the shape of a pomegranate (in Hebrew rimmon means “pomegranate”). These decorative motifs were not exclusive but were traceable in other Italian synagogues, indicating that the Venetian workshops specializing in the production of Judaica possessed repertoires of designs on which the objects were modeled.158 Modenese Jewish merchants acquired some sets of great importance that show their precise choice to adapt the Renaissance and baroque styles of the facades of churches and palaces that they passed daily in Italian cities to the Jewish morphologies of the objects. For example, two finely crafted sets of rimmonim from the second half of the eighteenth century are preserved in the Tempio Israelitico. From the circular basis the shafts, covered with lanceshaped leaves, branch off and taper upward. In both sets, the structure is built on three-story turrets and displays certain stylistic elements of buildings from the Renaissance period with great elegance, but elaborated and refashioned in the eighteenth century. The first consists of three-floored hexagonal turrets tapering upward to a small dome with a double-volute flowerpot with a handle. The doors of the niches on the front sides of three floors are decorated with leaf spirals adorned with flowerpots so as to obtain a sophisticated illusion. The second, with a cylindrical stem beginning from a circular base tapering upward and run by lanceolate leaves, presents in the turretlike structure a variant of the two floors with a small balustraded loggia.159 This can be said to stylistically belong to the classic Renaissance line identified by the art historian of Italian Judaica Dora Liscia Bemporad as typical of the highest Venetian production. Small bells descend from the center of the vaulted windows; double-volute buttresses are located at the sides of the upper parts with the typical flowerpot.160

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Figure 12. Rimmonim and atarah (finials and crown), silver (embossed, chiseled, engraved, and incised, cast and gilt), 1740s–60s. Comunità ebraica di Modena. Photo: Paolo Battaglia. © Anniversary Books (Modena).

Like the other silver objects of Judaica originally from Modena, these rimmonim embody a particular form of cultural hybridity in a multilayered historical microcosm whose elements all coexisted at one time and allowed Jewish merchants to participate in designing the objects: the preservation of Jewish traditions and rituals, an appreciation of Renaissance and baroque architecture, the expression of a sense of the aesthetic otherwise suffocated by the consolidated Jewish iconism, the canon laws against the visibility of Jewish places of prayer, the narrowness of the ghetto, the knowledge of Judaica, and the possibility to choose and to work with the best silversmiths who

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adapted to Jews’ appreciation of the exuberant artistic decorations and the unusual morphology of the objects. Italian Jews’ appreciation of Italian art and architecture was mainly developed while walking through the cities rather than in buildings: in Modena as in all the other Italian cities, the external Renaissance and baroque architecture was a much more visible component of their daily life than the interiors of Christians’ palaces, houses, and churches to which Jews were rarely admitted, though Jews were regularly obliged to assist at Christian services in the Church of Sant’Agostino. Moreover, the Jewish patrons adorned the crowns and the rimmonim with gilded Jewish symbols—the blessing hands, the tablets of the law, the jug for handwashing, the arch with the doves, the Cohen’s hat—to give tangible expression of their contribution to designing the objects. Apparently, these were among the very few images that emerged visibly in the Scola Formiggini and in the other synagogues in the Modenese ghetto. The rabbinical prohibition of images was taken extremely seriously in Italy, although R. Abraham Graziano from Modena showed more flexibility than other Italian rabbinical authorities when, around 1665, he allowed Sephardi Jews in Pesaro to keep a Torah ark adorned with lions in marble in their synagogue because he did not consider them a form of avodah zarah (foreign worship) but simple ornamental sculptures built in Candia (Crete).161 Thanks to the artistic analysis and identification of the hallmarks of the silver and the mint of Venice, it is possible to determine the time of production of the objects and even identify the workshop of origin in some cases. Moreover, the most valuable devotional objects were designed during the most successful decades, both economically and socially, of the Modenese Jewish merchants, from the mid-seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century. Some of the objects display the initials of the presumed silversmiths—“CL,” “GL,” “VL”—who owned workshops at Rialto in Venice. Some scholars have hypothesized that Jewish silversmiths may have worked there under false names,162 although it is unlikely that only Jewish artisans were in charge of the enormous Venetian production of Judaica. Thus, what is remarkable is that, since the early Renaissance, Italian Jews (as well as German Jews) had not been perturbed by having to turn to a non-Jewish craftsperson to help fulfill the embellishing of God in the way that rabbinic tradition understood it in Exodus 15:2—“He is my God, and I shall glorify him; my father’s God, and I shall exalt him.”163 This is demonstrated also by the numerous collections of illuminated Hebrew manuscripts that include examples produced or commissioned

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in the duchy, and by the fifteenth-century Torah ark of Modenese provenance owned by Elhanan Raphael. Another aspect that emerges from the analysis of individual seventeenthand eighteenth-century silver objects and other kinds of devotional sets as well as parokhot and me‘ilim originally from Modena, compared to other Italian contexts, is the absence of dedicatory inscriptions.164 The only exceptions are two ‘atarot that, respectively, bear mention of the original property of the Ashkenazi synagogue and the family Nacmani “that directed the Ashkenazi synagogue” from the mid-seventeenth century. Similarly, as I have already mentioned, the synagogal textiles made in the ghetto did not bear any signature or devotional declaration by women and this was probably due to the recession from the public space that had characterized the wives and daughters of the Modenese Jewish merchants since the seventeenth century.165 However, we do know that women were often recipients of ceremonial or religious objects. For example, when Devora Levi married Laudadio Formiggini in 1718 she was the recipient of a siddur (prayer book) embossed in silver and a tallit (prayer shawl) with silk embroidery.166 When Ricca Levi married Salomone Formiggini in 1785, she received as gifts for her trousseau from her father “a tallet [tallit] embroidered in silk, five Hebrew books with diversi in silver [siddurim], and another bigger book bound with embossed silver.167” Siddurim embossed in silver were typical wedding gifts for brides. Often, objects that were depositories of particular affection or value and that were to be used in daily prayers or on important holidays were preserved in domestic spaces. For example, Elia Formiggini had in his house a tallit, a Scroll of Esther with a case embossed in silver, and a set with rimmonim and a yad.168 Yet the absence of inscriptions in silver objects owned or donated by men or by affluent families stand out. In the Modenese ghetto, the affluent Jewish merchants did not need this additional kind of public gesture in their own synagogues or in those they directed and financed because they constituted a sort of primi inter pares.

Laudadio Formiggini’s Family Politics One of the major actions taken by both Moisè and Laudadio was the maintenance of the family unity and patrimony. Their neophyte brother, Contardo Geminiano San Felice, was then liquidated from the family patrimony in 1705

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on the basis of agreements made by Pellegrino concerning both maternal and paternal properties.169 In the family patrimony line, the mechanism of liquidation was perfectly coherent and efficacious; in the case of conversions, it was often the best solution to pursue when faced with the loss of a family member. The strategy of pursuing a cohesive politics within the family and their relatives also emerged through the gradual acquisition of buildings within the ghetto. According to archival sources, it appears that Modenese Jews exploited the ius cazagà (the judicial institution of perpetual leasehold) in property transactions and were allowed to own and expand properties within and beyond the ghetto.170 At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the ius cazagà appeared to be only an additional tax to be paid to the original owner of the property. In 1705 Moisè Formiggini stipulated an economic agreement, the payment of 240 lire, with Carlo Prandini, the non-Jewish owner of the ius cazagà of a small cellar that Pellegrino Formiggini had acquired five years earlier from Elia Vigevani, a Modenese Jew.171 In 1774 the Formiggini brothers had subdivided the ownership of four shops but had left undivided the property of the private synagogue, the yeshivah, and the family house, whose dimensions they had enlarged by acquiring, room by room, the entire building that hosted it.172 In 1718 the Formigginis consolidated their relationship with other Modenese Jewish jewelers and silversmiths, the Vita Levis (at times named just Levis), through the marriage of Laudadio and Devora, the daughter of Benedetto Vita Levi. The dowry totaled 11,500 lire including the doni della tavola.173 This marriage and another one in the following generation between Benedetto, the son of Laudadio and Devora, and Grazia Vita Levi, the daughter of Salomone, in 1754, enabled the two families not only to unite impressive patrimonies and common trades but also further their partnership within the Modenese Jewish elite. This allowed Laudadio and Benedetto Vita to direct together the confraternity of the Talmud Torah in the ghetto. The Levis, having been enrolled in the Corporation of the Jewish Mercers since 1692, were members of the Guild of the Goldsmiths throughout the eighteenth century. Their activities consisted of broad commerce and production of jewelry, not limiting themselves to trade but also hiring and training apprentices in their workshops. The Levis acquired a certain fame among the silversmiths of the duchy.174 In many respects, their pattern was very similar to that of the Formigginis. During the eighteenth century, the Levis opened two new shops, one of them located on the Strada Maestra. In addition, Abram Vita Levi had directed the ducal mint since 1724.175

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In 1749 another marriage contract was redacted in front of a Christian notary, Alessandro Cervini, between two already married youths, Allegra, daughter of Devora and Laudadio Formigginis, and Moisè Vita from Lugo. The reason for the notarial act was due to the death of Moisè’s father, Leone. The fact that the marriage contract was redacted after the celebration of the Jewish marriage was rather frequent within the Italian Jewish society of the early modern period.176 In this case, the determining factor was the change in the family assets due to Leone’s death. Allegra’s dowry included a patrimony of 650 zecchini romani in addition to “furniture, trousseau, and other gifts.”177 Represented by her father, Laudadio, Allegra renounced her possible pretension to her spouse’s inheritance, but requested “commitment and insurance” for her dowry not only from her husband Moisè Vita but also from her brothers-in-law “Davide, Israel, and Salomone David Vita, sons of the late Leone, Jews from the abovementioned ghetto, and of Lady Rosa, daughter of the late Isach Del Vecchio, Jewess of the ghetto of Lugo, at present a widow . . . because all are heirs of Leone Vita, their father, who in the abovementioned contract, at the moment in which his health was declining, decided all of them had to unite their forces for a common advantage.”178 In pursuing advantageous matrimonial politics and enlargement of kin networks, the Formigginis also aimed to ensure the financial security of their female family members, who in the case of dowry transactions were given a certain agency as Allegra’s assertiveness in her requests demonstrates. The dowry was not the main resource for patrimonial reallocation and transference for Modenese Jewish families—as was the case in eighteenthcentury Turin, where dowries were enormous—but it certainly represented an important form of resources. Moreover, it is a good indicator of the economic history of the Modenese ghetto. For example, Devora and Laudadio gave birth to eight children—three sons (Benedetto, Emanuele, and Flaminio) and five daughters (Allegra, Benedetta, Ester, Sara, and Marianna). Significantly, at the time of Laudadio’s death in 1766, their five daughters had each been provided with a dowry of 25,000 lire; the dowry amount had tripled in only one generation. Benedetta married Angelo Pinto from Livorno, and Ester married Israel Rovigo from Finale Emilia. Both the Pintos and the Rovigos were merchants in contact with the Formigginis.179 The structure of the dotal contracts was often repetitive. The contracting parties were often male family members of the brides and grooms, for example in the case of Sara who married Raffael Salomo Olivetti in 1764, there were the Olivetti brothers Raffaele and Marco on one side, and the Formiggini brothers Benedetto and Flaminio on the other, who reassured

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each other that the bride had promised to renounce her paternal and maternal inheritance while the groom committed himself to investing and returning the dowry. The donativi and the trousseau totaled about one-fifth of the dowry.180 At the time of Laudadio’s death, Benedetto and Emanuele had already contracted advantageous marriages; Flaminio was still fifteen. Benedetto had married his cousin Grazia Vita Levi, and Emanuele had married Grazia Norsa, whose brother was the affluent Modenese banker and silk entrepreneur Angelo. Laudadio’s will included the return of the dowries to his daughters-in-law, 28,545 and 30,000 lire, respectively. In addition, the will listed the amounts of all the landed properties and the family synagogue, totaling 14,450 lire. Finally, the will included a series of alimony payments to the poor and some local h>evrot, such as 500 lire to the Kove‘ei ‘Ittim and 100 scudi to the yeshivah in the family synagogue.181 In the mid-eighteenth century, the Formiggini wives and daughters were not an exception within the Modenese Jewish society. Their lives seem characterized by disengagement from both the family business and active participation in the public space in the ghetto society. Yet they were not passive actors; in crucial moments of their lives—marriage and widowhood— they played an active role in financial decisions and, in their daily lives, they participated in new venues of cultural and social survival as both Devora and Grazia had done when they were involved in the establishment and activities of the female confraternity So‘ed H> olim.

Benedetto Formiggini amid Land and Credit Laudadio’s firstborn son, Benedetto, took charge of the family company after Laudadio’s death in 1763, and involved his brothers Emanuele and Flaminio in the business. The firm’s balance sheet was not enunciated in the testament, which only named as universal heirs the male children after the distribution of dowries to the five daughters. On July 7, 1770, the brothers Benedetto, Emanuele, and Flaminio divided their properties;182 two days later, on July 9, they created a new company for the “commerce of jewels, gold, and silver and others,” stating that “each of them owns an equal part of this unified firm where they had deposited everything.” In the division, they included the calculation of the restitution of 30,000 lire for the dowry of the late Grazia Norsa, wife of Emanuele; the marriage contract was dated October 13, 1765.183 The new company was to last five years. From the beginning, each partner was in charge of the commerce and development, with equal obligation and

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authority. Yet, Benedetto’s role as the major responsible party was recognized: “Because past experience has made the other two [Benedetto’s two brothers] understand that Benedetto being the more capable in the business, they agree to give him a yearly payment of 7,000 lire.”184 In 1775 Emanuele and his wife Grazia died prematurely; Emanuele did not have a testament and the custody of his only child Anna, seven years old, was assumed by Benedetto on October 13 of the same year.185 On the same date, Benedetto and Flaminio acquired from their niece Anna the third part of the assets of the jewel business that she had inherited, according to the balance sheet redacted on June 24, 1774.186 Anna was represented by her maternal uncle Angelo Norsa. In 1775 Benedetto and Flaminio evaluated both their patrimony and the balance sheet: Anna’s portion was estimated at 200,000 lire. In addition, in less than a century the family patrimony had increased sixfold for a total of 600,000 lire.187 Although very short, Benedetto Formiggini’s career brought an additional, valuable development to the family activities.188 The credit activity conducted by the Formigginis and the other mercantile elite Jewish families progressed along with the commerce and various services provided to the nobility in the duchy and the nearby states.189 What specifically characterized the Formigginis’ economic expansion was the fact that Benedetto added the administration of landed properties and agricultural production to the dimensions of trade and credit. The former had already been initiated by Laudadio some years earlier. In October 1775, Benedetto took charge of the administration of the property named Terrazzo within Villa di Baggiovara owned by Count Giovanni Battista Scotti’s heirs from Piacenza, in regard to both the plantation and cattle.190 In Italy, owning land and administering properties devoted to both agriculture and cattle had always been a sign of prestige and solidity throughout the centuries, and Laudadio and Benedetto embraced this component of Italian society.191 By contrast, in Venice, where Jewish Ponentine and Levantine merchants had prospered, the combination of commerce and agriculture had become possible only after 1805 under Napoleon.192 The purchase of landed properties was not just a profitable investment but reached beyond economic considerations. Yet, although they owned quite a number of buildings in the city, including shops and apartments, as well as farms in the countryside near Modena, the Formigginis were forced to reside in the ghetto like the poor Modenese Jews. In the same years, Emanuele Sacerdoti owned a small castle in Modena but was never authorized to live in it. This condition clearly mirrors the ambiguity of the social status of the Jewish mercantile elite in Modena and elsewhere in the Este Duchy.193

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Ultimately, these and other similar activities conducted by the Formigginis and other Modenese Jews were minimally impacted by the promulgation of the new Este Code in 1771. The Code was ostensibly an attempt at a general and liberal reformation of the state but did little to change the old system. The first goal of the Code was to emphasize the importance of the land and the communities of farmers as the central axis of the state economy. All five books of the Code centered on the relationship between subjects, feudatories, and the duke, and on an equal administration of landed properties. The unexpected silence on any form of commerce and trading economy in the state, both Jewish and non-Jewish, has to be contextualized within this attempt to reestablish trustworthy relations between the ducal authorities and the majority of their subjects, also because Francesco III’s positive attitude toward commerce was well known in the court, defined by some of his entourage as “naturally disposed toward everything that smells of commerce.”194 In 1749 Francesco III had regained control of the duchy after the French occupation. He attempted to impose control over the management of the city halls by creating new magistracies. In 1754 he created the office of Magistrato del Buon Governo (Good Government). In 1757, considerably late compared to nearby states, Francesco III began to operate against ecclesiastical privileges by turning the useless and powerless Congregazione degli affari ecclesiastici (Ecclesiastical Affairs) into the very active and powerful Magisrato di Giurisdizione Sovrana (Sovereign Jurisdiction) to deal with the church-state relations which had become a department in 1767 and a giunta (junta) in 1772. This ultimately led to numerous suppressions of monasteries and confraternities, the confiscation of their possessions, and the end of any discrimination between clergy and laity. However, in 1767 Francesco III granted the request advanced by the Modenese Monti di Pietà to abolish Jewish loan banks, which at the time though were almost nonexistent.195 In section 9 of the Code, from the third book titled Regarding the Jews, the rules on the ghetto and the norms Jews had to conform to were, not surprisingly, much more numerous than the cautious mentions in regard to Jews’ properties beyond the ghetto itself. The latter included the possibility that Jews would be granted the right to “rent barns and warehouses” or other real estate such as “spinning and mechanic mills to work silks.”196 In addition, the fictitious prohibition against owning “out of the ghetto any sort of property . . . with the exception of those Jews who had already obtained [ad hoc] permission from us” was reiterated.197 In reality, the duke again advocated the right to give Jews concessions and at the same time have them under his exclusive

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control independently from other city or state institutions. Ultimately, the Code maintained and reinforced the old dichotomies: despite the attempts of dressing up the duchy as a community based on the land, the organization of the Este state was and remained mostly feudal, with many privileged nobles or right-hand men of the duchy in charge of administering and taxing a number of small agricultural communities that remained the most vexed subjects in the duchy vis-à-vis feudatories, noblemen, clergy, and merchants.198 After the promulgation of the Code, Modenese Jews even sensibly augmented their investments in selling, acquiring, and administering landed properties and farms. Benedetto’s impulse in this direction was only the beginning of a new form of investment that reinvigorated the Formigginis’ finances. Although there is almost no mention of it in the sources, we know that Benedetto also participated in the book culture that at the time animated the city of Modena due to the opening of the ducal library and Beniamino Foa’s importation of books that were prohibited in other states because they were considered to be proponents of modern ideas and the Enlightenment. Among the books Benedetto bought and sold were works by Ariosto, Theophrastus, Montesquieu, Luca Goldoni (a contemporaneous, celebrated Venetian playwright), and volumes of the Encyclopédie.199 Despite the limitations described above, in the ghetto the combination of the dynamics and attitudes of the Formigginis and other Jewish merchants operated as a laboratory for governmental skills. Their experience as both administrators of the Jewish community—developed at the time, as we have seen, into a moderately selfregulating body—and intermediaries between the ghetto society and the ducal authorities involved the Formigginis deeply in both the changes of the time and the vicissitudes of their own Jewish community. Importantly, during the emancipation era this prevented any detachment from Judaism as occurred elsewhere. The history of the Formigginis is thus also a paradigmatic case of the evolution of the Modenese ghetto leadership as a whole in the social, cultural, and economic spheres. On the one hand, in the second half of the eighteenth century Modenese Jews represented the only active and laboring mercantile middle class of the state while, on the other, they also acted as cultural intermediaries importing refined artistic objects and rare and “revolutionary” books.200 The Jewish commercial routes, their family kinships, and broad networks in the Italian peninsula, in particular with the port cities of Livorno and Venice, were crucial in avoiding a general cultural and economic isolation that the state—with no outlet to the sea and trapped between the Alps and the Apennines—would

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otherwise not have been able to escape. Nevertheless, their commercial and internal social leadership did not stir Modena’s Jews to seek civic reform. They had no true self-government, nor could they formally engage in civic affairs.201 Unlike in eighteenth-century Mantua, Livorno, and Trieste, Jews in the Este Duchy could not participate in the general councils of the city and could not vote.202 Only the arrival of Napoleon’s troops in 1796 challenged this crystallized status.

Chapter 5

Jewish Female Agency in the Ghetto Mercantile Elite

A general process of masculinization, pietism, and moral control had been infused into the Modenese Jewish mercantile society since the early seventeenth century, and had influenced Jewish women and their agency within both religious and public spaces. New forms of Jewish piety and Counter-Reformation influences, along with the mercantile elite’s need for social control, had determined a change within Jewish society and attempts to restrict women’s role in the synagogue and exclusion from festive traditional events, such as the vigil in the night before the circumcision of a newborn and funeral processions. By the first decades of the seventeenth century, moreover, women had been shut out of the h>evrot in the ghetto.1 Yet, in the same decades, through a process of feminization invested in the house, Jewish women had been able to negotiate cultural survival and to shape new forms of devotion, both domestic and public. Indeed, when in November 1735 a group of twenty-two well-to-do Jewish women, inspired by the famous verse “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself ” (Lev. 19:18), founded the sisterhood So‘ed H> olim in a room of the main founder Miriam Rovigo’s (c. 1700–1778) house in the ghetto, they were making a fundamental stand.2 The other founding members of So‘ed H> olim were wives and daughters of the most influential families in Modena’s Jewish community.3 Their aim was to “help and assist all sick women, rich and poor, in the ghetto.”4 Miriam was an affluent widow, the daughter of Lustro Rovigo who had married her uncle Raffaele Rovigo. At the time, the Rovigos already owned a number of buildings: banks, shops, apartments, a large main house with a private synagogue in the ghetto, a lodge and a water-powered silk mill in the city, and villas

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and farms in the countryside near Modena. The Rovigo house in the ghetto had become one of the most interesting Sabbatean centers both within and outside of the Italian peninsula since the late seventeenth century. In their homes, Jewish women adopted special rituals during childbirth, such as the recitation of psalms with the assistance of midwives and other women. At times, they even brought a Torah scroll to their breasts to relieve them from their distress in labor, a custom that, even if disapproved by the rabbinical establishment in the previous century (at least according to R. Isaac Lampronti [1679–1756] of Ferrara in his Pah>ad Yitzh≥ak [Isaac’s fear], composed in six volumes in the mid-eighteenth century) was still largely practiced.5 Through So‘ed H> olim, the wives and daughters of leading Jewish mercantile families negotiated spaces and opportunities that were otherwise denied them as well as poor women, engaging in a sort of give-and-take with the community establishment through a more active role in negotiating family strategies, piety, philanthropy, and welfare. Women in the eighteenth-century ghetto of Modena were a diverse, complex, and sizable population. In midcentury, adult Jewish women totaled over one-third of the Jewish population (470–490 out of 1,200–1,220 people) and at least one hundred of them had a Christian servant who worked alongside Jewish servants from Modena and other cities.6 In the 1773 Catasto (a survey of real property) Miriam was one of the few Jewish women who owned property outside the ghetto, and one of only two women who appear to have conducted business in the textile sector in their own right in the city; the other was a Christian matron (Anna Cangiassi).7 Yet, at the same time, Miriam was forced to reside in the ghetto, just like all the poor Jewish maidens, who beginning in 1750 had been receiving annual dowry funds from the So‘ed H> olim in her own house. The reality of the ghetto with its daily contact, common rituals, and lack of privacy closed huge gaps in economic status through physical proximity.8 The sisterhood So‘ed H> olim often allowed different female worlds to mingle. Miriam Rovigo and other cofounders such as Devora Formiggini, and Anna Sacerdoti Levi—navigating family and kinship ties, Sabbateanism, philanthropy, and welfare—shaped a new female agency in the So‘ed H> olim through collective strategies for social, economic, and cultural survival. While Jewish women had gathered in dowering societies for at least a century in other Italian cities, Modena’s So‘ed H> olim is noteworthy for being the earliest European female Jewish confraternity with a complete pinkas or register, a set of documents written in Italian and in Hebrew and stretching from 1735 to 1943.9 In the eighteenth century, the Jewish mercantile elite female

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fraternalism was a more challenging phenomenon than the importance of the dowry and the legal safeguards of women’s economic rights within the ghetto vis-à-vis the Christian society in the redefinition of female agency.10 Men surely were superior, but women were far from subservient. Indeed, in Modena upper-middle-class Jewish women became actors in the eighteenthcentury mercantile ghetto society and its transformations.

The So‘ed H> olim’s Founders: Women in the Ghetto Upper-middle-class Jewish women in eighteenth-century Modena appear to have been almost silent members of the Jewish community, instrumental mainly in forging important social and political alliances among the Italian Jewish mercantile elites for the reallocation and transfer of estates. These women did not take part in family business activities, and as widows they transferred control of their dowries to their sons. We see that, in sixteenth- and early seventeenthcentury Modena, Jewish women from all the social strata who inherited and freely disposed of property were considered unexceptional and unremarkable, but we also see that the well-to-do Jewish women of Modena receded even further from public life during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In this period, lower-class women remained active in society as simple workers or peddlers; sometimes widows invested their own dowries.11 Fifteen years after the foundation of So‘ed H> olim, on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tevet 5511 (December 29, 1750), an unusual procession of men and women paraded through the two streets of Modena’s ghetto, arriving at Miriam Rovigo’s home. The members of So‘ed H> olim were making their first public donations of community charity: a dowry to a poor Jewish girl and wood for the fireplaces of all the poor families in the ghetto. The confraternity wanted to honor the minor holiday of the new moon (in Hebrew Rosh H> odesh; literally the “head of the month”) and to demonstrate the sanctity of their confraternity through an explicit reference to the month in which its activities began (the exact date was December 22, or the sixth of Tevet, 1735).12 Rosh H> odesh Tevet was of special significance to women because they avoided heavy work on that day.13 A public celebration in which women were the primary actors complemented the male-dominated society of an Italian ghetto, and did so from within. Marriage was the prerequisite for being considered a responsible adult and for achieving acceptance in the sisterhood, as it was in Italian Jewish male

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confraternities in the early modern period. Modenese Jewish women organized their “havura” or confraternity, with a specifically female self-consciousness from the institution’s very inception. The members of the confraternity employed women over ten years old as assistants, servants, administrators, and representatives, and involved them in their weekly and monthly meetings. In the Jewish societies within and outside of Italy, ten years of age had been considered a decisive break between childhood and adulthood since the sixteenth century.14 The participation of each of these female members varied over the years, but evidence shows that, during the second half of the eighteenth century, fifteen members of the board along with ten servants were always more active than the others in the confraternity.15 The living conditions of Modenese Jewish society had worsened since the beginning of the century with the entry of the Este Duchy into the bloody European wars of succession, a development that afflicted Jews and Christians alike for many years. The confraternity of So‘ed H> olim worked to ease these abysmal living conditions through systematic charity provided to the most vulnerable groups in Modena’s ghetto. Over the years, the women of So‘ed H> olim issued loans and invested in bonds and property through their confraternity, using collective profits for a number of activities. Their sisterhood provided care for the sick, burials, and donations of food, firewood, and money “for all of the poor families of the ghetto.”16 Their work aided at least 75 needy families per year out a total Jewish population of almost 250 families and 1,220 people—6 percent of the overall Modenese population in the mid-eighteenth century.17 Considering that the ghetto did not have a hospital, the assistance provided by So‘ed H> olim and the other h>evrot was a crucial component of the Jewish welfare. The history of the women in So‘ed H> olim is deeply connected to the specific social patterns of the Modenese Jewish community that had been solidly built on patriarchal and mercantile structures. As the wives, sisters, and daughters of Jewish merchants, the So‘ed H> olim founders functioned as part of this system. They were the recipients of dowries and patrimonies that grew considerably over the eighteenth century. Often, however, they renounced their property in favor of their brothers and sons through the donatio inter vivos. This kind of donation, a concept that has a perfect halakhic counterpart, the mattanah gemurah, was an important legal equivalent for both men and women in Italian ghetto societies. Modenese Jews enjoyed the benefits of ius commune, which guaranteed women the inviolability of their dowries, like Jews in Rome or Turin. In the

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case of death or divorce, a man’s first responsibility was to satisfy the terms of his wife’s ketubbah and tosefet (that could include the mobiletto, doni della tavola, or donativi). Apparently, until the seventeenth century Estes’ jurisprudence as well as the halakhah established that only creditors to whom money or goods were owed before the dowry and were constituted by a legal notarial act had a prior claim on an estate. As we have seen, a father could not bypass his preexisting debts by stipulating a dowry in his will, but when a dowry did exist, debts and creditors came strictly second.18 The microhistories of Devora Formiggini, Anna Levi, and Miriam Rovigo contribute to our understanding of the real impact of women’s use of the dowry and its significance for the political, economic, and social strategies of their kin and the changes that occurred in the eighteenth century. The case of Devora Levi Formiggini (1693–post 1777)—the daughter and wife of two affluent silversmiths, Benedetto Vita Levi and Laudadio Formiggini, respectively (both from Modena), and a woman who joined the confraternity at its inception but declined to participate in some of its duties—exemplifies the ways in which women relinquished property over the course of their lives. Her lifestyle was exceptional. Casa (meaning house, home and household) Formiggini had a private synagogue and a yeshivah where the confraternity Kove‘ei ‘ittim would meet. At the time, the Formigginis had already reached the highest level of Modenese Jewish society in terms of wealth and community leadership thanks to Laudadio, who had expanded the family’s patrimony and commercial activities by using arranged marriages to exploit and reinforce existing bonds and extend business ties.19 The stages of Devora’s life as a daughter, wife, and widow were clearly characterized by renunciations of ownership. Devora first renounced some of her property in June 1718 in connection with her marriage contract, which was recorded one week after the celebration of the Jewish marriage and redacted by the Modenese Christian notary Giacinto Degni at Benedetto Vita Levi’s house. Devora was represented by Moisè Vita Castelbolognese, a sort of mundualdus (male guardian), because she was older than eighteen and under twenty-five, and also by Carlo Calvi Viviani, a lawyer and doctor of both canon and civil law and one of the judges of the Magistracy of the Lawyers in Modena elected for the current term, whose presence had been required by ducal law since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Both Castelbolognese and Calvi declared that they had to ensure that Devora was not forced or pressured into her legal acts by her relatives. The meeting was held in the presence of Benedetto and Devora’s mother, Marianna Uzzielli, and her maternal uncle Angelo. First,

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Laudadio and Moisè Formiggini declared they had already received Devora’s dowry from Benedetto, to which Laudadio added 10 percent of the total amount (the mohar) as donatio inter vivos to his bride. Devora accepted having Laudadio and Moisè invest her dowry, trousseau, doni della tavola, and mohar in their business with the agreement that she was entitled to the restitution of all the sums in the case of divorce or widowhood. However, she could only claim the due amount from Laudadio and his patrimony without the involvement of her brother-in-law’s assets. In addition, Devora declared that she was willing to give up her rights to her paternal and maternal patrimonies because of her dowry (7,500 lire), “considering both the number of [my] brothers and sisters and the goods of [my] father and mother, not obliged because of timore, lusinga e verun’altro rispetto [fear, flattery, and any other concern].” The presence of the mother, Marianna, and her brother was necessary because Devora was giving up any claim to both her paternal and maternal inheritance. In addition, Devora received the mobiletto or donativi (2,500 lire), both a form of trousseau, together with the doni della tavola (1,000 lire) and other small amounts for the wedding (400 lire).20 This was a typical marriage contract as we have seen in the previous chapters, with a daughter liquidated from the family patrimony through the dowry and the groom and his family committed to its restitution. Yet what appears to be new is the assumption that Devora had to give up rights to properties rather than just accepting her dowry. This, in a way, empowered Jewish women, and even if they were pushed to cede that property, there was an underlying assumption that they had some rights, which could be exercised. At the same time, it reveals the interference of the ducal authorities and civil magistracies in dealing with Jewish women’s dowries and renunciation of their inheritance during the eighteenth century.21 When she was widowed in 1766, Devora ceded property a second time: she gave up her dotal and extradotal patrimony (vitalizio or annuity) by making another donatio inter vivos in favor of her sons. In return, she received an annuity from the estate of her deceased husband Laudadio—900 lire plus another monthly payment of 15 lire, together with food and accommodations for the remainder of her life in the house of her eldest child, Benedetto.22 A decade later, in 1776–77, the octogenarian Devora faced the deaths of her son Benedetto and his wife, Grazia Vita Levi. At that point, she transferred the guardianship of her five minor grandchildren to her oldest grandson, Moisè, a man who would later emerge as the leader of Italian Jews during the Napoleonic age.23 Regardless of whether her decisions were made independently or not, Devora prevented financial trauma for her family by passing on her dowry

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to future generations. Moreover, according to the legal agreements, her vitalizio as a widow in the last decade was worth 11,880 lire in addition to food and accommodation; considering that the original dowry and trousseau totaled 11,000 lire, her vitalizio was considerably greater than what the dowry itself would have earned her.24 Finally, acting through the halakhic institution of the matanah gemurah, her status continued to be perfectly rooted in the Jewish tradition. Her actions were typical of the majority of well-to-do Modenese Jewish women at the time.25 This role of women can be developed further by focusing on the life of Anna Levi, “mother of Consiglio and the other Levi brothers and widow of Salomone,” who remains the most silent figure of these three cases. In 1794 her sons, together with Sanson Rovighi, Israele Forti from Reggio Emilia, a certain Coen, and Fortunato Attias, founded the Società Attias e Compagni di Modena for the production of a coin correspondent to the Prague tallero. In the mid-eighteenth century, the majority of the mints in the Este Duchy were in the hands of Jewish merchants.26 In May 1795, the ducal chamber examined the guarantees provided by the fellows for the necessary sum of 80,000 lire initially requested to start the business. Only the Levis’ firm was declared qualified due to its patrimony and the guarantee of the dowries of Anna and Settimia, wife of Consiglio, because, as reported in the ducal correspondence, in the case of “sudden withdrawals of negozianti [merchants], specifically of the nazione ebraica [the Jewish nation], the dowries are kept safely and quite often constitute their safety planks.”27 At least since 1726, the ducal chamber had tried to impose the renunciation tout court of Jewish women’s right to receive payment for the ketubbah and tosefet as first creditors by law. In the name of the ius commune, the Jewish community had pleaded for the renunciation to include only half of the dowries and only in the case of bankruptcy.28 Of note, both Anna and Settimia acted on the basis of Jewish law: they referred to the halakhic mechanism of be’oheiv that enabled a wife to subordinate her legal right to her ketubbah in order to help her husband qualify for a loan. First appearing in Germany in the 1660s, this mechanism was a halakhic innovation of the early modern period and an attempt to justify adaptation to new social and economic circumstances.29 Anna Sacerdoti Levi was one of the members of the va‘ad (board) of So‘ed H> olim after November 1785,30 and her daughter-in-law Settimia served as a board member after December 1787.31 By (freely?) renouncing their dowries, each had a pivotal role in expanding the business of their household. Since

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both husband and wife were jointly identified as debtors, the risk to the lender was reduced, enhancing the likelihood that the husband would qualify for the loan they sought. At the same time, Anna’s and Settimia’s agency was not that different from Devora’s. Each of these women was a functional element in an oligarchic system in which women were seen as recipients of dowries and patrimonies that gradually increased over the decades, and whose ownership and property remained only virtual. As we shall see in the following section, Miriam Rovigo provides a partial exception to this system.

Miriam Rovigo’s Background amid Sabbateanism, Philanthropy, and Welfare In 1735 the So‘ed H> olim membership register emphasizes Miriam Rovigo’s role as the “first inspiring and inspired [woman] who took the initiative to establish So‘ed H> olim in her house with all the other women, aimed at performing the mitzvot [the Jewish precepts],” according to Leone Moisè Usiglio, the confraternity’s male scribe.32 Considering her background, Miriam’s decision at the age of thirty-five to establish So‘ed H> olim together with her mother, Grazia, is not surprising. The family’s business had expanded via silk spinning and textile commerce in the Este Duchy and Italian peninsula during the seventeenth century, and then by the acquisition of land in the eighteenth century.33 In 1693 Servadio Rovigo and his brothers, including Miriam’s grandfather Leone, declared a patrimony totaling 237,000 lire, the second highest within the Modenese ghetto after that of the Fano family (250,000 lire).34 In 1709 and 1711, the Rovigos bought two enormous farms in San Prospero, a small town near Modena. By 1754 these landed properties were counted among Miriam’s dotal patrimony, worth a total of 19,500 and 16,400 lire, respectively.35 As leaders within the Modenese Jewish mercantile elite, the Rovigos together with other leading merchant families like the Formigginis, Sacerdotis, Norsas, Levis, and Usiglios, had the responsibility of paying the annual Jewish taxes required by the ducal chamber. Growing up in a well-to-do family, Miriam had been confronted with the difficulties of living in the ghetto while still being able to live nobly, to a certain degree. This was the case among a number of the influential merchant families of the Sephardi diaspora. The Rovigo family often hosted dukes for luxurious meals in their ghetto home or in their lodge in the city center.36

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Miriam remained a widow until 1754. In October of that year, when her sons Lazzaro and Leone decided to divide their properties, she received her dotal and extradotal patrimony, which consisted of three villas near Modena, an apartment in the ghetto, and the silk mill in the center of Modena. The value of this property—together with livestock, facilities, machinery, seed, and credits—totaled 213,460 lire. The business activities of the Rovigos included real estate, livestock, stamped leather, and a tannery in Modena, which was run under a sublease with another Modenese Jew, Abram Forti. Miriam committed herself to providing the 50,000 lire dowry for her young daughter Sara, who married a member of the Sanguinetti family. Her other daughter, Bonaventura, had already married with the same dowry amount.37 To show “her passionate and maternal love” for her sons, in 1758 Miriam donated to them her portion of wealth in the family synagogue, silver ritual objects totaling 603 ounces, and furniture.38 Like others, this donation reached beyond economic considerations and symbolized Rovigo family unity and pride within the Modenese Jewish society. In addition, the Rovigo house—thanks to the Sabbatean activities of Abraham Rovigo, Miriam’s uncle—had become one of the most interesting Jewish cultural and social centers both within and outside of the Italian peninsula in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.39 So‘ed H> olim took its place beside twelve other confraternities that organized other aspects of the social, charitable, educational, and religious life in the ghetto.40 These confraternities were based on two principal sixteenthcentury models: some h>evrot such as Rah>amim (“mercy”) were charitable organizations, while other confraternities such as H> atzot Laila focused on the study of religious texts, including kabbalistic literature, often during the night or at dawn. H> atzot Laila was devoted to the regular recitation of a midnight rite (the tikkun h>atzot) mourning the destruction of the Temple and praying for its return, a practice popularized by R. Isaac Luria in the second half of the sixteenth century.41 The Rovigos frequently hosted and funded scholars, emissaries from the Land of Israel, Sabbatean exponents, physicians and healers (one, a certain Judah from Lithuania, specialized in treating hysterical women such as Marat (Lady) Esther, a woman who was particularly close to Rovigo’s circle), and maggidim (itinerant preachers), who shaped new forms of devotional religiosity.42 In this way, the Rovigos were able to combine their involvement in the Sabbatean movement with their philanthropic leanings. The connection of the Rovigo family to the Sabbatean movement was a critical component of Miriam’s background because of the importance of

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female prophets to Sabbetai Tzevi’s messianism. According to Ada Rapoport Albert, Sabbateanism displayed a particular interest in women and was especially attractive to them from the outset. The movement empowered many women by recognizing their potential as a target audience for its redemptive message, acknowledging their prophetic inspiration, and granting them access to rituals and esoteric doctrines traditionally reserved for men.43 Following Tzevi’s apostasy and his death in 1676, women in particular were put under surveillance by communities and rabbinic establishments in Mediterranean and European Jewish centers. This increased suspicion of women due to their association with Sabbateanism may have also played a role in the decline in female autonomy in eighteenth-century Modena described earlier. A double dimension of silence and secrecy enveloped the life of Sabbatean activists such as Abraham Rovigo and his Modenese neighbors, and greatly contributed to keeping opponents ignorant of the identities of adherents. True beliefs were concealed under the guise of rabbinic pietism.44 Yet Rovigo himself wrote, “Some children, maidservants, and unschooled persons fell to the ground of a sudden and uttered lofty kabbalistic matters, and all of them concluded their utterances by declaring ‘Sabbetai Tzevi is the Messiah of the God of Israel.’”45 Did the Sabbatean activities in Miriam and Grazia’s home shape their plans, and if so how? To what extent were they and other So‘ed H> olim founders influenced by this complex cultural milieu? Grazia Rovigo grew up immersed in this atmosphere. Rovigo left Modena for Israel in 1700, the year of Miriam’s birth, but the confraternity continued its activities even after Rovigo’s departure; Rovigo returned to Italy in 1702. The fact that the Rovigos’ house often served as a center for religious and philanthropic activities must have influenced Miriam’s decision to establish the sisterhood. From the founding of So‘ed H> olim until her departure from the city in 1778, the sisterhood met in Miriam’s home. A space usually under male dominance and associated with nocturnal rites and prayers was paralleled by a female and daytime presence.46 Other leading women of So‘ed H> olim—such as Benedetta Fano, Miriam Levi, Gentile Levi, Reina Sanguinetti, and Devora Formiggini—had similar backgrounds: their families occupied houses complete with synagogues where devotional confraternities focused on the study of religious texts, including kabbalistic literature. For example, Reina Sanguinetti’s husband and brothersin-law, influential silk entrepreneurs, owned a synagogue on the block of the ghetto facing the Strada Maestra that hosted a school for the Jewish children, the confraternity Mishmeret ha-Boker ve ha-‘Erev (the watch of the morning and the evening), and a ritual bath (mikveh) for women.47

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In the second half of the eighteenth century, Jewish confraternities merged and combined various forms of study, rituals, and devotional activities as well as philanthropy, medical assistance, and economic investments in credit and loans that often involved Christian partners. For example, in 1768 the devotional confraternity Ashmoret Ha-Boker joined with the confraternity for the care of the sick, Bikkur H> olim, forming the H> evrat Ashmoret Ha-Boker u-Vikkur H> olim.48 Nine years later, the new h>evrah received a landed property in emphyteusis from the Modenese Christian Confraternity of Santo Sacramento (Holy Sacrament).49 Both the innovation of the rituals and the means the various confraternities employed to maintain the flourishing of their economic resources show that in the ghetto Jewish confraternities formed important institutional bases for welfare and cultural activities that affected the entire Jewish society. These confraternities succeeded in taking care of the lower social strata of the ghetto population (the poor made up more than one-third of the ghetto population) but at times did not succeed as a bulwark against both forced and spontaneous conversions, nor was their cohesive solidarity perceived as beneficial by individuals who left the ghetto.50 In January 1725, the neophyte Antonio Felice Fiori, a former Jew and the son of Abraham Rovigo—and notably the fourth member of the Rovigo family who had embraced Catholicism51—initiated a legal proceeding against the Jewish community of Modena. Fiori petitioned the ducal authorities in order to get back 12,000 scudi that his father Abraham, while in Jerusalem in 1711, had invested in a transnational association devoted to benefiting the poor in the Land of Israel. This association, organized by Abraham himself, was based on investments and a distribution of profits that involved dozens of philanthropists across Europe and the Mediterranean.52 Fiori complained that, as a Christian who had been purified through the water of the baptism, he could no longer tolerate the Jewish culture, economic system, fraternalism, and philanthropic endeavors that he had shared with “the other Jews when he was still immersed in his Judaic blindness.”53 Along with the other confraternities, So‘ed H> olim participated in the distribution of alms to counter the efforts by the Opera pia dei Catecumeni and the ducal chamber to proselytize Jews. Even if the overall number of converts to Christianity was small, conversions could break the continuity of Jewish families with devastating consequences.54 The Opera pia dei Catecumeni spared no effort in its conversion program, which included strict surveillance of women who, either voluntarily or sometimes through being kidnapped from the ghetto, arrived in the house of neophytes and were locked up. Men

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enjoyed better conditions before their conversion, such as the possibility of residing elsewhere.55 The ducal chamber also took part in the conversion process. It augmented donations of bread and money to widows and neophytes on Saturdays,56 while the Jewish confraternities, like Rah>amim, usually distributed their alms on Wednesdays, Fridays, and during the Purim holiday.57 Miriam’s own close family had been confronted by conversions twice. In 1765 her brother Isacco converted to Christianity after a period of economic difficulties.58 Three years later, in December 1768, Miriam had to face the conversion of her son Leone, who decided to convert after the baptism of his wife, Eugenia, and his consequent impoverishment due to the loss of her dowry.59 Afraid of Miriam’s negative reaction, Leone, according to notarial documents, asked for and obtained his inheritance immediately before his conversion, thanks to the intercession of the Opera pia dei Catecumeni and mainly Duke Rinaldo I.60 The ducal chamber took part in the conversion process mostly out of their interest in the patrimony of potential rich converts such as Leone Rovigo. In the 1760s and 1780s, conversionary pressures reached a high point: 80 people out of a Jewish population of 1,260.61 Liquidating Leone’s share of the family patrimony was extremely expensive for the Rovigos; in fact, in June 1769, Miriam and Lazzaro had to sell two properties in San Prospero (part of Miriam’s dowry) to Giacinto Solieri, their Christian land agent.62 In the same year, Miriam resigned as treasurer of So‘ed H> olim63 although she maintained contact and was often consulted in matters of organization; her daughter Sara took over some of her duties. In 1778 Miriam left Modena but died suddenly the same year. Her daughter-in-law Vital Paris, Lazzaro’s wife, joined the board in 1785.64

The Activities of So‘ed H> olim Initially, the members of So‘ed H> olim were divided into three groups. First, the confraternity was governed by a board composed of the founders. These women provided an initial sum of money (64 lire), the material necessities for caring for the sick (bedclothes, bed linens, mattresses, and pillows), and shrouds for the dead, and were willing to serve as massare pro-tempore, or parnassot (female officials pro tempore).65 The duties of this office—for which two members of the board were chosen each month by lottery—consisted of organizing aid, collecting money and bed linens, and taking care of corpses.66 Beginning in 1750, two women were hired at a monthly salary of 35 bolognini

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to supervise burials.67 The second group of members consisted of seven founders who preferred not to join the board or hold the office of parnassot. This second category grew larger over the years while promotion to the board became a privilege. The third group was composed of only four women. One of the four was Devora Formiggini, who joined the confraternity at its inception but did not contribute money and declined to participate in particular duties. Numerically, So‘ed H> olim’s membership never exceeded thirty-five. All the members were required to pay 30 bolognini (8 lire) per month. This is not a negligible sum if we consider that the amount requested by ducal authorities from Jews who owned shops outside the ghetto was 20 lire per year. According to B. Talmud B.K. 119s, women are not clearly obligated to tzedakah (charity), and tzedakah collectors cannot accept expensive donations (davar merubbeh) from women. Nevertheless, medieval rabbis made it clear that women could give a davar mu‘at to tzedakah collectors, and the definition of what a davar mu‘at or davar merubbeh was depended on the social status of the family.68 The female Jewish founders of So‘ed H> olim were relatively wealthy and their contribution was clearly considered to be something that their husbands would support and would likely be their own property. Both rabbis and parnassim agreed to the constitution of the confraternity and did not intervene in it until 1751. As we shall see, until then any potential ambivalence about women’s role and their confraternity was thus resolved through adhering to a construction of women’s tzedakah as a truly minimal affair. Therefore, So‘ed H> olim Jewish women constitute an example of the halakhic phenomenon of charitable women (ba‘alot tzedakah) which Shlomo Luria (1510–1574), a highly influential figure in Europe, passed a ruling on.69 For Luria, a wife’s legal capacity to give a large gift to tzedakah was a function of the couple’s financial health and the governance of their own marital relationship. Luria ruled out the notion that women’s agency automatically carries the legal capacity to give a davar merubbeh to tzedakah.70 According to the statutes of the confraternity, every proposal or decision required a majority through an anonymous vote. Two male nonmembers also aided the confraternity: the keeper (custode), Prospero Lonzana, who worked as an unpaid volunteer and functioned essentially as a guardian or overseer; and the scribe, Leone Moisè Usiglio, who was also an unpaid volunteer.71 Members were chosen by lottery to go in pairs to offer daytime assistance to sick women, who were divided into two groups: the chronically ill and those in acute distress. The confraternity also hired twelve servants to care for sick women at night as well as an additional group of women outside the confraternity to care for the

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bodies of the deceased; it created an apprenticeship system for these positions in 1747.72 In 1750 the confraternity began covering funerary expenses.73 In mid-December 1767, the So‘ed H> olim provided a dowry for Buonaventura Formiggini, the daughter of Jacob, who at the time was working as a janitor for the confraternity. Buonaventura was a young maidservant, who only a few months earlier had been seduced and became pregnant, and had been dismissed by her employer, Graziadio Benedetto Levi. Levi had admitted “having carnal commerce with and deflowering the girl” and had accepted receiving the child-to-be and raising him as his own offspring.74 In Modena as in other cities such as Venice and Mantua, relationships characterized by the exploitation of women generally went unremarked except in cases resulting in pregnancy. Apparently, Jewish courts intervened only when pregnancy made an illegitimate relationship public. Only at that time did young Jewish women and their vicissitudes become visible in the eyes of the ghetto elite, for whom one of the main concerns was the control of events that could have destabilizing repercussions in the community: destruction of morality and economic charges for the kahal kadosh (meaning, the whole Jewish community) of the city where the impregnated girl lived. Yet, in Modena, if servants were minors (read: under twenty), their employers were always considered responsible for their safety—in our context, their virginity—and, in cases of pregnancy, employers were obliged to pay the expenses of childbirth, nursing, and supporting the child until adulthood. If the woman and the seducer were both single, the court was inclined to pressure the accused to marry the girl, otherwise the father rather than the mother was responsible for the care of the child resulting from the illicit sex.75 Providing dowries for young and unmarried Jewish servants who faced seduction, sexual exploitation, and pregnancy, Jewish upper-middle-class women actively participated in the mercantile governmental system, which evolved through a complex dialogue with Jewish identity and a change within the framework of the halakhah. These transformations occurred in the Modenese Jewish court (whose deputies were the Jewish massari from the mercantile elite), which became the arena in which Jewish lay leaders as members and judges, together with local rabbis, attempted to control and sanction such irregular individual and communal behaviors that occurred in places such as the household, the ghetto, the street, and the tavern in Modena and in other towns and cities of the duchy and northern Italy. Often “wise women” such as Allegra Vigevani and Allegra Angioli, hired as nurses and midwives by So‘ed H> olim, as well as rabbis were consulted by the court in matters of halakhah

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pertinent to the definition of the crime, the amount of pressure to be applied on those responsible for the pregnancy, and procedures to ascertain the honesty of the maidservant.76 In some cases, the Modenese Jewish lay leaders even obtained the collaboration of the ducal authorities for incarcerating the seducer, who had not fulfilled his responsibility.77 Such cases demonstrate that at times the mercantile Jewish elite were capable of enforcing their own jurisdiction beyond the limits of the ghetto. Indeed, according to a 1778 psak halakhah (legal decision) written by the Modenese rabbis Israel Ghedalia Cases, Salomon Lampronti, and Jacob Vita Iacchia that was unprecedented in the European context, the first responsibility for impregnated maidservants was to the ba‘alei bait (the owners of the house); Jewish communities were absolved from any economic obligation and householders were discouraged from corrupting Jewish girls under their roofs.78 We can surmise that, at the time, these fallen young women constituted a potential threat to the social balance of the Jewish community, so policies that were more consistent (and favorable to women) were enacted and dowries were donated.79 The So‘ed H> olim members, along with Modenese rabbis and Jewish lay leaders, were charged with containing destabilizing behaviors within the society, and reintegrating women who would otherwise have been lost by obliging their seducers to marry them or support them as well as their illegitimate children. These women would have been unable to create such conditions on their own, as was often the case in other contemporary Jewish and Christian European contexts.80 In such dowry donations and other So‘ed H> olim assistance activities, we can identify not only the issue of female tzedakah but also the age-old Jewish law and custom of calling on all friends and neighbors to visit the sick frequently as a superior act of loving kindness, except in the case of severe illness when visitors would be a burden. For example, the 1558 statute of the Jewish community of Avignon included among the obligations of the entire membership visiting and nursing the sick, and women were chosen to visit women patients. The overseers fixed by lot the name of the member who was to keep a vigil with the sick and extend what comfort she could to the patient. Those shirking this duty had to pay a substitute to do it for them.81 According to the register, So‘ed H> olim did not appoint full-time physicians or surgeons, meaning that female practitioners were able to fulfill many basic medical tasks that required a certain level of specialization. They also sat by patients’ bedsides and prepared corpses for burial according to Jewish law. While both male and female practitioners of medicine in European

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Jewish and non-Jewish societies were quite common in the medieval age, by the sixteenth century the role of women had decreased. New requirements for formal academic training and licensing procedures kept women out of the medical profession; they were not allowed to attend university medical schools, and rarely received formal training in any sort of trade or profession.82 The women So‘ed H> olim hired not only had the basic skills but were also able to offer professional apprenticeships to others. The Modenese ghetto also had active practitioner midwives who specialized in female gynecology, to whom the Jewish community often turned in cases of illegitimate pregnancy.83 Although So‘ed H> olim based its organizational structure on the model of male confraternities, it constituted a new development in the Western European Jewish world in that upper-middle-class women organized themselves in order to carry out the traditional work of tzedakah, both with their own hands and through the paid employment of others.84 Such independence was largely unknown in Italian Catholic women’s confraternities, such as the Modenese Congregazione delle Dame del Catecumeno (established in 1709), most of which were attached to male-centered institutions and stressed their members’ roles as spiritual and political subordinates.85 Considering the contemporary Jewish world, So‘ed H> olim stands out for both its female leadership and the wide scope of its activities. In the seventeenth century, Italian Jewish confraternities appear to have been almost exclusively male spaces. The exceptions were dowering sisterhoods, often known as Compagnia delle Donne, for which we have scattered documentation in Rome, Venice, and Florence.86 However, across Europe and the Atlantic World, the most successful dowering societies were established, organized, and led by male Jewish merchants since, according to the Talmud, marrying off a son is one of the six obligations a father has in raising him (the others are circumcision, redemption of a firstborn son through a donation to a priest, teaching him Torah, teaching him to swim, and teaching him a trade) (BT, Kiddushin 29a). In seventeenth-century Venice, the Italo-Ashkenazi H> assi Betulot (confraternity for dowering maidens), the Ponentine Hebrà para Casar Orphaos (Confraternity for marrying orphans, which was primarily composed of exconversos and their descendants), and the Levantine H> assi Betulot were active. Women donated funds, but the members were all men.87 Among the Jewish confraternities for providing dowries to Jewish maidens, the Hebrà para Cazar Orfas e Donzelas in Livorno, established in 1644, allowed the coparticipation of men and women, although the latter were very few in number and had no defined roles.88 In seventeenth-century Rome, a community much poorer

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than Venice and Livorno, there were two h>evrot for dowering poor girls—the sisterhood Compagnia delle Donne and the Confraternita delle Zittelle, whose administrators, at least in the mid-seventeenth century, were women.89 Yet their activities were exclusively devoted to collecting and distributing dowering. So‘ed H> olim’s autonomy and initiative did not negate the paternalistic social background that influenced Jewish confraternity life in Italy and elsewhere. The female place in the social hierarchy is evident in the pinkas: in many cases, Usiglio identifies a woman as the “wife of ” her husband or the “daughter of ” her father. Nevertheless, such language does not diminish the significance of women acting relatively independently, which one does not find in other contemporary Jewish and Christian contexts.90 We can thus also see the effect of a dynamic relationship between the community and the halakhic system. Under the influence of the late fourteenth-century Ashkenazi scholars Maharil and R. Moses Mintz, both influential in Italy, a new definition of the Jewish woman as apotropa (agent of her husband) emerged and, accordingly, the wife’s tzedakah benefited her husband both religiously and economically. This implies that such a charitable wife is the “woman of valor” of Proverbs 31, who makes sure that her husband’s tzedakah is given properly so that his wealth and position are therefore secure. This interpretation has to be seen not in contrast to but coexistent with the idea of the independent charitable women theorized by Luria: both are present in the female conception of the So‘ed H> olim and its acceptance by the rabbinical and lay leadership.91 So‘ed H> olim’s criteria for admission demonstrate the complexity of the scenario. Daughters and sisters of members and former members did not receive special privileges, while daughters-in-law did.92 The protests of women like Ricca Sanguinetti, who objected to this policy, fell on deaf ears.93 Sometimes the widower of a former member was appointed to choose a new member. For instance, Salomone Vita Levi, an affluent banker and silversmith, picked two of his daughters-in-law to replace his wife in the confraternity after her death in 1762, and the members of So‘ed H> olim voted to approve his choices.94

The Economic Dimension: Individual and Collectively Owned Properties Although the women in So‘ed H> olim had no role in the administration of their own family’s patrimonies, good investments and collective income were key activities for their confraternity. During So‘ed H> olim’s first meeting,

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Miriam was elected as the cassiera (treasurer). The statutes of 1735 explicitly emphasized that the treasurer would invest the capital of the confraternity after purchasing the necessary furniture and linens. That investment totaled 288 lire in the first year, including a large portion of the furniture. The male guardian was not allowed “to take any initiative, particularly an economic one, without the permission of the two parnassot.”95 On this occasion, the women were definitely assertive. The financial success of So‘ed H> olim came from three sources of income. Initial membership fees and monthly dues (64 and 8 lire, respectively) covered ordinary expenses. Donations, the second source, came mostly as gifts in the offering boxes (bussole). So‘ed H> olim and other confraternities placed these offering boxes in their meeting room and carried them door-to-door in order to assure the anonymity of the donors “according to the modesty required from banot Yisrael (Jewish women),” and in conformity with the Jewish principle that a charitable gift must be anonymous (matan be-seter).96 Investments in credit and loans provided the third source of income. Confraternal expenses were similarly divided into three categories: aid to sick women, ordinary benefits, and annual donations. According to the register, in 1751 the women of So‘ed H> olim asked the Jewish community of Modena for two men to oversee financial matters. The community, “considering that the havurat So‘ed H> olim [had] become a subject of remarkable importance,” proposed Benedetto Giuseppe Vita Levi, an important silversmith, and Angelo Vita Norsa, a silk entrepreneur. The women of So‘ed H> olim approved these nominees with a vote. It is not clear whether the idea of appointing two male financial overseers originated with the women of So‘ed H> olim or came from the broader ghetto community. After their appointment, Benedetto Giuseppe Vita Levi and Angelo Norsa became prominent figures in So‘ed H> olim affairs, partnering with Miriam and representing So‘ed H> olim in matters of legal credit, property, donations, and social and religious standing before both Jewish and Christian authorities.97 At the same meeting, the women of So‘ed H> olim, “considering the financial crisis of the community,” granted the request of Jewish leaders to donate 300 lire for the general benefit of the ghetto society in order to alleviate some of the financial strain emanating from ducal taxes imposed on the Jewish community due to the duchy’s participation in the War of Austrian Succession.98 Credit and loans appear to have been a more substantial source of income than donations, and contributed greatly to the growth of So‘ed H> olim’s financial

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assets. Even though account books have not been preserved, other archival sources reveal that So‘ed H> olim adopted economic strategies similar to those of the male confraternities, brokering transactions involving individual and collectively owned properties.99 In 1762, for example, Miriam Rovigo leased her silk mill to So‘ed H> olim for seven years for a sum of 15,500 lire plus annual payments of 380 lire in the form of a mascanta (a traditional arrangement for rent in Jewish law). The mill came equipped with a house for the chiefmaster and all its “tools and instruments.” It employed six workers and was managed by the Jewish banker and entrepreneur Emanuele Sacerdoti.100 So‘ed H> olim paid for the mill by using another credit that Miriam had obtained through a similar agreement with the firm Aron e Figli Sanguinetti for a vast property in “Monte Estenso near Modena.”101 Similarly, in 1763 Miriam drew up an agreement with the brotherhood Mishmeret ha-H> odesh (watch of the month) for an eight-year lease on an apartment and the implements for spinning that came with it; this brought her 4,000 lire.102 In the same year, So‘ed H> olim received 3,210 lire for a credit on another landed property located in Spilamberto, a village near Modena.103 Through these arrangements, Miriam and So‘ed H> olim earned significant income without the burdens of money collection and administration. The real estate also served as a security for loans, which constituted the chief financial investments of confraternities. Through the confraternity’s transactions, Miriam Rovigo managed her assets in a way that had an impact on both her household and the collective sphere of So‘ed H> olim.

So‘ed H> olim as a Female Space From its inception, So‘ed H> olim had negotiated its status within ghetto society by adapting male models in a broad array of activities. Although the female confraternity did not perform public rituals in the manner of its male counterparts, the women of So‘ed H> olim gradually inserted into their activities ritual elements such as the dowry and firewood donations. These rituals expanded the participants’ female self-consciousness and spiritual ambitions, which had traditionally been concealed.104 Considering the world of the male Jewish confraternities in Modena, the regular recitation of the tikkun h>atzot by the members of the H> atzot Laila was an important ritual in the early modern period that assumed special

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significance within Abraham Rovigo’s Sabbatean and kabbalistic systems. As Elliott Horowitz suggests, in Italy the tikkun h>atzot rite did not clash with the incipient modernity of the eighteenth-century Jewish culture, but rather flourished. For example, in 1702, while in Israel on a pilgrimage with a group of his disciples, Abraham Rovigo was given the news that his grandson had been born. In order to celebrate the event, a minian of ten disciples stayed up all night preceding the circumcision study session and then only those ten were invited to participate in the meal following the rite itself. In the same year, H> atzot Laila consolidated the veglia for a newborn son to one of the confraternity members on the eve of the circumcision, with an additional nocturnal reading session of the Zohar after the rabbis had completed their study session.105 In the ghetto, the confraternity Mishmeret ha-Boker adopted this vigil in 1711. Shortly after, the H> atzot Laila added another change: all the members had to attend the vigil all night in the house of the newborn. In 1763 H> atzot Laila published a new edition of their prayer books for this ritual.106 The rituals of the upper-middle-class Jewish women of So‘ed H> olim differed from their husbands’ and fathers’ practices: they did not engage (at least not openly) in Sabbatean and kabbalistic rituals and always presented themselves as quite traditional in the religious and spiritual domains. Rather, the donation of dowries became important in creating new rituals since So‘ed H> olim used dotal donations as a means of strengthening its organization. For this group of well-to-do women, donating dowries went far beyond a common form of philanthropy and became socially significant since these women were excluded from the actual administration of their own dotal patrimonies. In 1742 good economic resources allowed So‘ed H> olim to establish a fund that generated ten scudi annually to provide poor girls with dowries; the confraternity began receiving applications from needy families.107 Initially, the confraternity did not apply preferential criteria, considering neither family ties nor ethnicity as was common in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Sephardi world.108 If the confraternity received requests from two or more families, they simply split the sum evenly. Starting in 1763, however, the number of recipients was limited to two, who were chosen by lot.109 Then, beginning in 1769, preference was given to young women whose fathers or mothers worked for So‘ed H> olim. At the same time, the paid positions in So‘ed H> olim became de facto hereditary.110 Ultimately, So‘ed H> olim strengthened itself institutionally by rechanneling Jewish charitable activity through the confraternity.111 In doing so, the institution also cultivated intimate bonds among its members, spanning the diverse social strata of the ghetto.

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From its establishment in 1742, the dowry fund was celebrated in conjunction with Rosh H> odesh Tevet (in December or January), a holiday of special significance to women.112 Beginning in 1750, So‘ed H> olim combined the dowry donation with the donation of firewood for all the poor families in the ghetto.113 So‘ed H> olim women endeavored to “emphasize the sanctity of this havurah.”114 In 1753 So‘ed H> olim began holding its annual meeting at the beginning of Tevet and not at the end of Elul (September–October).115 Thus, for So‘ed H> olim, the year was calculated from one Tevet to another and not from Elul, which marks the actual beginning of the Jewish year. The proximity of Rosh H> odesh Tevet to the end of the Christian calendar is also meaningful since this was a holiday period for both Jews and Christians, who celebrated H> anukkah and Christmas, respectively. In 1756 the women of So‘ed H> olim added other public donations to the annual event. They began distributing bread and one bolognino to all the poor of the ghetto, both women and men, and doubled that sum in 1775.116 Starting in 1759, the public donations were split in two, and distribution of firewood moved to the month of Shevat (February–March).117 In December 1777, the So‘ed H> olim women decided to introduce another important innovation: meetings at which the rabbis of the community would deliver a “dibur or limud [a sermon] as it is common in the other confraternities to honor the soul of a late member.”118 The women of So‘ed H> olim appeared rather determined to approach the community establishment: they did not mention the importance of the mitzvot (precepts) as at the time of the confraternity’s foundation or its sanctification, but rather sent an explicit request via Benedetto Giuseppe Vita Levi and Angelo Norsa to the kahal of the community.119 Confraternal rituals, such as the celebration of Rosh H> odesh, the limud, and public bequest ceremonies, represented the feminine strategies of cultural and spiritual survival that changed the traditional social structure. On June 11, 1796, French and Modenese authorities proceeded to inventory the silver objects in the synagogues in the ghetto. Among others, they visited the women’s synagogue (la sinagoga delle donne), formerly the Spanish Scola, which was open to all the Jewish women in the ghetto. We do not know what kinds of ceremonies the women had in their own synagogue but their existence is significant. Thus, by the turn of the eighteenth century, Modenese Jewish women, both the affluent and the poor, had expanded their religious sphere even further.120 In the Modenese mercantile Jewish elite, women had negotiated new means of spirituality, visibility, and female agency for almost three centuries

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from the synagogue to the home, to the confraternity, and back. In some respects, this process anticipates certain features of the “domestic Judaism” that middle- and upper-middle-class women developed in nineteenth-century German Jewish societies in which “women became the main transmitters of the Jewish religion and Jewish identity, as many Jewish men abandoned synagogue attendance and neglected Jewish ritual.” German Jewish women refashioned Judaism in the domestic realm through foodways, family customs, and charitable activities in a context in which femininity, religiosity, and domesticity were interwoven in an overall modern transformation of German society and the embourgeoisement of Judaism.121 Yet, in the eighteenth century, Modenese Jewish women shaped a form of Judaism in a society where there was no space for what has been defined as the “feminization of religion” (a religious development in nineteenth-century Western societies sustained by women and lived out in the home) because, for both men and women, Judaism in early modern Modena was not at all confined to the domestic realm; in addition, there, in the domestic realm, men had been always present. Moreover, during the ghetto period, other opportunities—often, local rituals—for female visibility within the Jewish mercantile elite emerged along with So‘ed H> olim’s ceremonies. When a new foreign bride was to be welcomed into the community, four Modenese Jews, both men and women, were allowed to welcome her at the entrance of the city; only one carriage was allowed to be sent and returned by midnight in order to avoid any possible disorder in the city connected to importune exhibition of Jewish wealth. Servants were sent in advance to dress and style the bride.122 Modenese receivers at the city gate played a key role in the act of integrating the bride into their city and their Jewish social and physical space. The Modenese Jewish ritual displayed multiple layers: a feminization and a Judaization of a space—the city and its entrance—that was usually not perceived as feminine or Jewish. This was the final stage of a ritual of separation—a preliminary one, according to the pioneering studies by Arnold van Gennep, that displaced the individual from his or her previous station—by which the brides were separated from their families of origin, their cities, and their familiar Jewish spaces; and finally the beginning of the liminal phase, the transition into a new society.123 Indeed, the rite of passage was completed when, on the Shabbat Khallah, both Modenese and foreign new brides went to the synagogue accompanied by eight women of the ghetto, along with their female relatives and family friends attending the wedding and the party (compagnia).124 This phase shows

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how the rites of transition temporarily suspended the bride between her old and new state. These rituals were conceived as a gradual passage that required public display and religious recognition by the entire Jewish community in the synagogue. Once married, the foreign bride had an identical ritual during the first Sabbath after the celebration of the wedding. This rite of integration or incorporation (postliminary) brought the bride into the core of the new community.125 In the following months, the bride could ask to be admitted into the female confraternity and be sanctioned to belong in a space within the ghetto that was exclusively feminine, as did Regina Costantini from Ancona, who married Moisè Aronne Benedetto in 1770 and was enrolled in the confraternity after a few months.126 Admission into So‘ed H> olim and the visibility derived from it meant that, over time, belonging to So‘ed H> olim became a sign of prestige, one of the rare opportunities though which a woman could emerge from the collectivity. The significance of So‘ed H> olim membership as a sign of honor is evident in the story of Grazia Formiggini, the daughter-in-law of Devora Formiggini. Grazia had submitted her application to So‘ed H> olim and had asked to join the board but she died suddenly in early 1777.127 Her young sons then requested and were allowed to pay the monthly fee for their mother until she could be symbolically admitted to the board when a place became available so that Grazia Formiggini’s name would be appear on the official list of all former and current members of the board in order “to honor her memory.”128 The visibility of So‘ed H> olim was evident in the expansion of its charitable activities. Beginning in 1738, every sick woman in the ghetto received a monthly sum of thirty bolognini and firewood for heating during the winter, and, beginning in 1742, So‘ed H> olim provided burial shrouds for women as well as men.129 On occasion, the confraternity provided charity outside the city. In 1762, for instance, mediated by their male guardians Benedetto Giuseppe Vita Levi and Angelo Norsa, So‘ed H> olim agreed to the request of Modena’s Jewish communal leaders to make a donation of an unspecified amount to the Jewish community of Rovigo, following the example of the brotherhood Rah>amim.130 In this way, So‘ed H> olim and its female philanthropic model gained fame outside the Este Duchy. After the departure and then death of Miriam Rovigo in 1778, So‘ed H> olim lost its original headquarters. So‘ed H> olim women then requested, through the mediation of Benedetto Giuseppe Vita Levi and Angelo Norsa, a “room in the mentioned KK [Kahal Kadosh, meaning the main building of the Jewish

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community, administered by the kahal] to convene their board as they [leaders of the Jewish community] had favored the other haverot (confraternities) that lack a hall for meetings.”131 The women’s request was granted. A daytime female presence once again challenged a traditionally male-dominated space, since the building also hosted the rabbinical tribunal and served as the kahal’s headquarters.132 By allowing So‘ed H> olim to use the building, the communal leaders confirmed the female confraternity’s important social role within the ghetto society. At the same time, their acceptance can be interpreted as a Foucauldian strategy by which the male Jewish oligarchy carefully watched over a female confraternity whose presence was becoming more and more prominent.133 Paula Hyman has described the gender dimension of the process of Jewish modernization in the following terms: “Jewish women’s gender limited their assimilation by confining them, like other middle-class women, to the domestic scene and thereby restricting their opportunities for education and participation in the public realm of economy and civil life.”134 Modenese Jewish elite women’s withdrawal from the public space contrasts to the growing autonomy of Italian Jewish women from the early modern through the modern era that recent studies have stressed. Excluded from both family businesses and ownership and not surprisingly shut out from the other Jewish confraternities in the ghetto, well-to-do Jewish women in Modena fundamentally challenged their marginalization through fraternalism. So‘ed H> olim in fact provided all Jewish women with a dimension of work that drew them beyond their familial boundaries. Upper-middle-class women had the possibility of leaving their houses to work, and to visit and take care of sick women, while women of all classes were involved as administrators, workers, and caregivers. In this sense, they present many features in common with the Venetian Christian popolane—middle-class women—who created similar female communities and in so doing enjoyed more freedom and autonomy than either lower-class working or upper-middle-class women in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Venice.135 These Jewish women participated in a community that demonstrated an internal democracy, created a proper female space that was both a social resource and a cultural form, and challenged ghetto boundaries without destabilizing its patriarchal and oligarchic orders. Indeed, through this Jewish confraternity we can understand what, in the eighteenth century, constituted an independent feminine space. The case of the Modenese Jewish elite women complicates the concept of neatly separate spheres, described by Hyman,136 by demonstrating a slow

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process of redefinition of femininity in both the domestic and the public spaces that shifted over more than two centuries. Their exclusion from professional activities and religious domains in the early seventeenth century was not followed by a passive confinement to the domestic sphere; they created new collective professional, social, and religious opportunities and ultimately moved to a new religious sphere, the independent female synagogue. In so doing, they partnered with Jewish men in the transformation of the mercantile Jewish elite and its leadership in the Modenese ghetto.

Chapter 6

The Jewish Urban Geography of the Ghetto and Beyond

In the 1770s Joseph Gorani (1749–1819), a philosophe and supporter of Jewish integration, visited Modena on many occasions. He wrote that the city was “truly beautiful” because of its “large and well-maintained streets and its wellstructured buildings.”1 He took numerous walks through the city and noted that “frivolous” women, beggars, and Jews were a significant presence among the population.2 Gorani added that Jews were confined in their own “quartier” and obliged to wear an orange badge on their clothes. He described the Jewish community of Modena as an example of Jewish cultural advancement and economic integration under relatively enlightened rulers, who were “animated by the intention to liberate them from this hateful constriction”—“Jews [in Modena] enjoy a life much more bearable than anywhere else, and in particular than in the Papal States.”3 The Modenese ghetto was also the only socially, ethnically, and culturally diverse neighborhood in the city where both the poor and wealthy of different ethnicities lived in close proximity to one another and shared spaces in the same tenements.4 Indeed, physical boundaries limited the Modenese ghetto world from the exterior: three gates, located at the far ends of the ghetto—in Contrade Coltellini, Blasia, and Taglio—were closed at sundown and opened at sunrise by a Christian gatekeeper paid by the Jewish community. He rang the bell nicknamed the “fogarola,” whose sound was heard throughout downtown and whose notes powerfully divided the boundary between day and night. Jews were required to be in the ghetto before nightfall, sleep there, and not go out before daylight.5 At the center was the small square. A first enlargement of the

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area was authorized in 1702; the next one in 1783 absorbed into the ghetto the houses facing the two streets, Squallore and Torre—nicknamed the “mezzo ghetto”; at that time, a fourth gate was added.6 The ghetto remained during the Napoleonic period, even though in July 1797, after months of French administration, authorities decided to remove the ghetto gates in spite of the protests and violent attacks by the Christian population.7 In 1871, under the Regno d’Italia (1861–1946), the Jewish community and the city decided to tear down part of the southern block and build a typical monument-style synagogue—the Nuovo Tempio Israelitico (see Figure 8). The Tempio was erected in 1873, and is today the only religious and social center for a numerically reduced yet vibrant Jewish community in the city.8 In 1904 the northern block was entirely demolished because of hygiene concerns and urban renewal projects in the city; a year later an anonymous Jewish author composed his own “Salmo,” which with a typical sense of Jewish European nostalgia of the fin-de-siècle recites: “We can’t change that the hazer [h>atzer, courtyard for ghetto] has been torn down in the soil. What will we do now that we no longer have the joy of the hazer?”9 Thus, the area of the ghetto still encapsulates the multiple layers of Jewish history, memory, and culture as well as functioning as the receptacle of an eclectic Jewish identity; at each stage it was shaped by the mercantile Jewish elite. We can gain a good sense of this past as well as of Gorani’s visits through various views of the city from the 1740s to 1770s, in local paintings by unknown artists. We see that the city itself is the major subject; according to art historians, the paintings were intended as an expression of civic pride, a composite portrait of the city after the monumental renovations of the midcentury decades.10 They were meant to represent the city at work. Ladies, gentlemen, priests, soldiers, workers, vendors, and beggars are all present; Jews and their ghetto are not represented. Therefore, if we examine these city views more closely, we realize that while Jews were virtually absent, Jewish merchants’ buildings were everywhere. During the eighteenth century, silversmiths and jewelers such as the Modenas, Levis, and Formigginis owned shops in the Strada Maestra and Rua Granda (today Via Farini), while the textile mills of the Sacerdotis, Usiglios, and Sanguinettis were scattered near the gates of Modena. In 1755 the Sanguinetti family owned three textile mills: Lamberti in Calle di Lucca, Serra in Rua del Muro, and one on Ganaceto street.11 Jewish merchants owned a number of buildings in the city, including shops and apartments, as well as farms in the countryside near Modena, yet at the same time they were all forced to reside in the ghetto and to wear a distinctive orange

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Figure 13. Piazza Sant’Agostino, oil on canvas, mid-eighteenth century. The building on the right housed the Sanguinetti textile factory. Museo Civico d’Arte, Modena. Fotografia Istituto per i Beni Culturali della Regione EmiliaRomagna (PatER–Catalogo digitale del Patrimonio Culturale).

badge when they went beyond its walls. The Jewish presence in the city also included dealers in secondhand goods, fruit sellers, and mercers, who commonly offered their goods in the three main market squares: Piazza Grande, Piazzetta Torre, and Piazzetta del Pallone (today’s Piazzetta delle Ova). The spatial dichotomy between presence and visibility encapsulates the essence of the process of Jewish sociocultural transformation and legal and political integration, carried out by the Jewish mercantile elite in Modena. The public visibility of the ghetto compound in the center of the city capital was an essential element of the ducal system, a way of mirroring a Christian rhetoric of segregation necessary to the ancien régime politics while granting Jews unprecedented economic freedom and facilitating their vigorous involvement in the wider cultural and commercial affairs of the city. The segregation of the Jews presented an image of Modena and its community as a place exempt from Jewish pollution and covered up the fact that the world of the Jews and their activities were present throughout both the city and the state. The Modenese Jewish ghetto became an inadvertently successful planned community: places in the ghetto and the city such as the synagogue, the Jewish house, the square, the streets, and the ducal library became the arenas where, on the one hand, internal dynamics within the Jewish society were shaped because of the control exercised by the Jewish mercantile elite and, on

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the other, where the complex, ambiguous, and utilitarian relationship between the Este dukes and Modenese Jews, and Jewish precariousness amid different and competing authorities, emerged. At the same time, the Modenese ghetto served as a perfect embodiment of Talmudic conceptions of ‘eruv (mixture) in the early modern period and the city of Modena itself proved to be an ideal backdrop for the public space according to the Jewish law. Its fabric and architecture were informed by the relationship between Jewish and non-Jewish concepts of purity, shaped by both Jewish merchants and rabbis.

Jewish Welfare, Culture, and Devotion in the Ghetto The more affluent merchant families—such as the Modenas, Formigginis, Sanguinettis, Rovigos, Sacerdotis, and Levis—organized every aspect of urban life for Modenese Jews, not only within the ghetto but also beyond it, for more than two centuries. This included the conception of Jewish space as, for example, through the prism of the ‘eruv, the enclosed space within which Jews are allowed to carry objects on the Sabbath, and the negotiation of spaces between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. Charlotte Fonrobert demonstrates that, while the practical function of the ‘eruv as a rabbinic institution was to enable people to carry things outside of their homes, in the public space the ‘eruv operated as a symbolic means of demarcating a neighborhood as Jewish.12 Recent scholarship has maintained that the principal shift from antiquity to the medieval period was the reduction and transformation of the community meal into a symbolic piece of unleavened bread (matzot) hung annually on the synagogue wall around Passover. This shift mirrored the complex transition of small Jewish communities into the medieval fabric of European cities and the search for both autonomy and social and religious stabilization vis-à-vis Christian authorities.13 The Jewish urban geography of Modena shows the ‘eruv h>atzerot (the ‘eruv of courtyards) and the shittuf mevo’ot (partnerships in streets) as being the foundational elements of a halakhic neighborhood in the early modern period.14 In the medieval and early modern periods, there were two necessary legal requirements that Jews had to meet in order to establish an ‘eruv: (1) surrounding an area with an actual or symbolic wall; and (2) securing the participation of every single Jew of the community within the enclosed area and obtaining the leasing of property (sekhirat reshut) owned by Gentiles in that area from Friday night to Saturday night. Because Modena was a walled city until the

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beginning of the twentieth century, the city walls served as actual, physical boundaries; there was no need to request and provide a symbolic wall that in modern times is often created with poles and strings in a certain fashion.15 Thus, in Jewish perceptions, on the Sabbath the entire city that was a reshut harabbim (the space of the many) became a communal reshut ha-yah>id (the space of the individual), shared by Jews and Christians alike.16 Even without walls, the ghetto of Modena—with its physical boundaries, gates, and portico sections facing the public domain that corresponded to the borders of this ‘eruv— served as a perfect translation of the Talmudic model of the ‘eruv community. Thus, in Modena there was no need to use bread for the ‘eruv h>atzerot of the ghetto, nor oil for the shittuf mevo’ot of the city as happened elsewhere, such as in Genoa, where at the end of the seventeenth century, the Jewish ghetto expanded outside the city walls and thus necessitated the previous requirements.17 According to Modenese rabbis such as Netanel Levi and Ishmael Ha-Kohen in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Modenese Jews resided in a quartier separated from the city and as such were permitted to carry things in this area based on the ghetto’s physical boundaries.18 In regard to the leasing of property (sekhirat reshut) owned by Gentiles in that area, Modenese Jewish leaders and merchants—like their counterparts in Genoa, Reggio Emilia, Mantua, and Padua during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—symbolically obtained “the keys to the city,” stipulating a form of leasing with the ducal camera and paying the rent for the area through yearly taxes, according to the halakhah.19 Indeed, during the Sabbath, both the ghetto and the entire city served as a backdrop for a transcendent Jewish spiritual community. In reality, both the ghetto and the city walls inscribed a Talmudic-halakhic topography into the urban fabric of the city while the ghetto’s urban structures offered an embodiment of an “inadvertently successful” planned Jewish community. The ghetto square housed shops for essential commodities: the bakery, the butcher shop, the inn, and some silversmiths’ and mercers’ shops.20 The Portico degli ebrei housed other shops owned by Jewish weavers, jewelers and silversmiths.21 At the center of the ghetto square was a well.22 Many dwellings were multistory and multifamily, and were often modified with balconies, altane (rooftop terraces), and rooms built in the courtyards in order to exploit the building environment as much as possible. The ghetto architecture was characterized by asymmetrical fenestration, irregular and reduced apartments, uneven building height, and irregular projection of the buildings. This kind of architecture connected all the buildings as a sort of unified place in which the impurity

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Table 3. Dwellings and Families in the Ghetto, c. 1646–1655 Dwelling Type

Householder Name Apartments

Families

House

Servadio Rovigo

3 “of the brothers”

“With a bank”

House

Rafael and Calmo 3 Sanguinetti

5

“With a synagogue”

House

Benedetto Sanguinetti

3

5

Little house

Simon Carpi

2

3

House

Elia Formigine

“Many”

“Elia and his large family”

House

Leon Vigevano

2

3

House

Benedetto Rubiera

2 rooms

1

House

Angelo Fani

3

6 “large families”

Little house

M. Vita

2

2

House

Benedetto Pontassi

2

3

House

Calmo Sanguinetti

2

1 “with his large family”

House

Leon Verona

3 flatlets

4

House

Salomon Modena

2

3

House

Abram Camerini

2

4

House

Rafael Rava

2

3

Small house

3

Mr. Castelvecchio 3

3

Bigger house Mr. Castelvecchio 3

8

House

Lazar Tedesco

3

6

House

Angel Uziel

2

3

House

Pellegrino Donati

3

5

Shops/ Synagogues

“With a bank and a synagogue”

“With two empty attics that are mostly inhabited”

“With his shops”

“With a room and a little house both empty” (continues)

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Table 3. (Continued) Dwelling Type

Householder Name Apartments

Families

House

Elia Modena

3

5

House

Graziadio Urbini

2

2

House

Aron Carpi

2

2

House

Leon Fermi

3

3

House

M. Pontassi

2

2

House

Elia Vigevani

2

3

House

Aron Navara

2 mezzanines

1

House

Iacob Modena

2

2

House

Malachin (Modena)

2

“By themselves”

Other little house

Malachin (Modena)

1

“Their own family”

House

Moisè Sanguinetti 2

6

House

Emanuel Fano

2

“His large family”

House

Emanuel Israel Nacman

3

5

House

Vita

1

2

House

“Spaniards”

3

4

House

Abram Rovigo

3

4

House

Tobia Modena

2

3

House

Alessandro Sanguinetti

3

4

House

Angel Cambiador

2

3

House

Abram Rovigo

3

4

House

Alessandro Sanguinetti

3

4

House

Angel Cambiador

2

3

House

Iosef Latis

3 flatlets

2

House

Rachela Bazola

“2 rooms inhabited by her and used as an inn.”

“Used as an inn”

Shops/ Synagogues “With a synagogue”

“With one synagogue”

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Householder Name Apartments

Families

House

Angel Castelfranco

2

2

House

Iacob Rabeni

2

3

House

Moisè Efraim

2

2

House

Archivoltis

3

5

House

Samuel Levi

3 flatlets

“2 are theirs”

House

Elia Malachim

3

5

Old house

Usigli

3

5

House

Zacaria Sessa

3 flatlets

3

House

Sanson Cividali

2

2

House

Lazaro Sacerdoti

6

8

Big house

Lelio Modena

3

9

Little house

Lelio Modena

2

3

Another little house

Lelio Modena

2

4

Another little house

Lelio Modena

“with 2 small dark rooms”

1

House

Emanuel Norsa

2

2

House of the Nacmanis square

2

1

House

Matasia Mantovani

2

5

House

Doctor

2

3

Shops/ Synagogues

“Used as an inn” “And there is a place where to quarter foreigners.” “And a synagogue” “2 mezzanines rented out as granaries”

“2 empty rooms rented out as shops”

Source: ACEMO, fascicolo Ghetto, “Descrizione delle case del Ghetto di Modena, appartamenti e famiglie che vi abitano,” c. 1646–1655.

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of the dead was shared. As such the ghetto served also as a spatialization of Jewish purity that evolved in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Modenese ghetto housed twelve places of worship: nine synagogues and three “camere di confraternita,” all owned by Jewish merchants.23 Other confraternities, such as So‘ed H> olim, gathered in private houses or synagogues. In Chapter 4, we explored the Formiggini synagogue, founded around 1650 and recognized as the “inalienable property” of the family. It was located on the fourth and highest floor of the two connected apartments K 944 and K 945, and faced the ghetto square. Before the establishment of the ghetto, the synagogues and the h>evrot of the Modenas and Sanguinettis had been the two main Jewish aggregating poles in the city. However, this polarization was not a result of a rational organization and distribution of the space, but rather of a casual and at times inevitable situation. Only in the ghetto could Modenese Jewish merchants plan and rationalize their space; each dwelling was assigned according to the number of members in each family and each place of worship was given a precise location (Table 3).24 Nevertheless, Jewish life gradually became more and more difficult due to the high demographic density and the consequent reduction of the available space. The Jewish population increased from 750 in 1638 to 1,262 in 1767.25 According to some historians, such as Attilio Milano and more recently Jonathan Israel, Jewish life in Europe deteriorated in the eighteenth century. As we have seen, in the second half of the eighteenth century Jewish confraternities estimated there were 75 needy families out a total Jewish population of almost 250 families.26 Studies on the ghettos in Venice, Rome, and Turin broadly show that a high demographic density and overcrowding had immediate consequences on family dynamics, such as the necessity of postponing weddings because of a lack of housing; the always problematic lack of privacy; and the continuous overlapping of tasks, people, and things within Jewish houses.27 Yet, in Modena, conditions must have been slightly better than elsewhere because most of the work spaces lay outside the ghetto, which provided relief from crowded conditions as Gorani’s descriptions seem to suggest.28 In 1690, for example, among the twenty-one Jewish goldsmiths and silversmiths who owned shops and were ubbidienti of the corporation, only Leon Levi and the Formigginis had shops in the ghetto.29 The others had their own shops and workshops in the city’s main squares and streets. These conditions did not restrain Modenese Jews from an almost wild building phase in the late eighteenth century. This implied the sacrifice of minimal spaces in the courtyards

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in order to create new lodgings, but also made both the housing conditions and the very static nature of the buildings more precarious.30 All the duties collectively owed by the Jewish community fell on the Jewish leadership. The philanthropic network of confraternities, schools, and synagogues established in the ghetto allowed for assistance to the individual in each phase of his or her life, from birth to education, from marriage to sickness and burial. Most important, while at the turn of the eighteenth century Christian confraternities devoted to the assistance of the poor were all bankrupted by failing administrators, philanthropic h>evrot were flourishing economically. The administration of this community also included other practical duties such as payment and division of taxes, allocation of available resources, public works, the upkeep of the synagogues,31 and hygiene and maintenance of both streets and squares.32 Toilets and basins connected to sewers were the norm, and Jewish lay leaders were in charge of organizing frequent cleaning operations in order to avoid waste being thrown or flushed into the ghetto streets. Cleanliness extended to mikva’ot (plural for mikveh): the free-running water in the baths for bodily cleansing was kept hot in cauldrons, with water drawn from the well located in the square.33 This internal administration needed cohesive leadership in addition to external legal approval that was assured by the status of the Jewish community as a a moderately self-regulating body. As such, legality emerged as a central issue in the upkeep of synagogues and confraternities. According to ducal laws, the Jewish lay leaders could assign all the synagogues that existed before 1638 a precise and stable location within the ghetto. The Sanguinetti synagogue “che si faceva alli Servi” (that was located in Contrada dei Servi) was transferred to Contrada Blasia—which, according to the nineteenth-century numeration, was in building no. 6, demolished in 1904—in the block of the ghetto that faced the Strada Maestra.34 In 1644 the lay leaders declared the institution of new confraternities with the duties of “Misericordia, Seppellire i morti, Scuole de’ Poveri [mercy, burial of the dead, and schools for the poor].”35 The 1640–41 ducal chapters on the administration of the ghetto were also crucial to the constitution of Jews’ legal rights in the matter of space: The confraternities can gather for their interests and needs, and keep the confraternities due to charity and common benefit, electing massari and tax collectors, offices that have the authority to divide and earn money in Modena and in the other places of the state; . . . that can keep and continue their synagogues that presently are here and restore,

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enlarge, and celebrate their services and rites, and keep people who read and explain their laws, keep cemeteries and acquire other new [cemeteries] to bury their dead; . . . that can keep inns to economically assist and house foreigners; as well as keep the butcher shop active.36 In 1717 the massari succeeded in getting all the synagogues in the ghetto, including the more recent ones, and the cemetery exempted from city taxation “not only because of the use they were designed for, but also for not being a source of any income.”37 Apparently, it was very common for each family to have a bench in a ghetto synagogue according to different minhagim—Italian, Ashkenazi, and Sephardi. In some cases, this kind of right was sold, passed down through inheritance, or donated. These institutions were always administered by the same families who gathered in congregations; founders’ heirs were usually accepted as members of the same congregation and then were often appointed as massari of those institutions. In 1643 the families that belonged to the Compagnia Tedesca (German community) established the Ashkenazi synagogue in Nacmano Nacmani’s house. It was a “public synagogue according to their customs [of Ashkenazi Jews], where any Jew from any nation could intervene with the right to even remove [the place] and to build it [elsewhere] if necessary, and to keep one or more individuals appointed to read, and explain their own laws and books of any science as long as it was not prohibited, as it is confirmed in a previous legal document.” Over the following decades, it continued to be administered and supported by members of the Nacmani and Levi families.38 The fact “that any Jew from any nation” was potentially entitled to play a role in the administration of the synagogue is meaningful in and of itself. Both Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews blended, with minimal friction, into the preexisting Jewish population; in other contexts, such as in Amsterdam, both ethnicity and economic status were strict criteria for even belonging to synagogues and to confraternities or for being recipients of alms and donations.39 By 1638 the Modenas had transferred their Scola Grande (also nicknamed “dei Modena”) to Contrada Coltellini K 954 (the building that is now nos. 12–14 of the same street), above the bakery for matzot (the unleavened bread baked for Passover). The Modenas had also founded on the same street the Scola Piccola in a building that was demolished in 1904, in Contrada Coltellini no. 7. Both of these synagogues were defined as “public”—recognized by the ducal authorities and open to all Jews in the ghetto—and both followed the Italian minhag.40 The Usiglios’ private synagogue, which had been there before

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the ghetto period, was maintained in the original location at the end of Contrada Blasia, in the building on the corner that faced Via Emilia (today’s Palazzo Levi).41 A new synagogue was built there in 1771 by Leone Orsi, a Usiglio heir.42 Three other synagogues were built between 1638 and the end of the century in Contrada Coltellini: the Sephardi synagogue and the private oratories owned by the Formigginis and Rovigos, which were open not only to family members but also to friends and acquaintances.43 The building that hosted the Sephardi synagogue (currently no. 25 on the street) still shows the original structure with a little court for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (the feast of the tabernacles) and the gates of small sixteenth- and seventeenth-century shops.44 In 1744 a new scola nicknamed La Nuova (the New) was established by Salomon d’Abram Lustro Levi “con ritiro per le donne e camerino [a female section and an additional small room].”45 Often synagogues were located on the upper floors, according to the first of the rather rare indications of the Talmud and other more recent sources on synagogal architecture that recommend an elevated position because of the association between knowledge and ascent.46 As in other Italian ghettos, buildings were often higher than in the other neighborhoods and externally anonymous. Places of worship were almost concealed in order to avoid provoking either ducal or ecclesiastical reactions; the Italian Inquisition strongly required that synagogues should not be visibly noticeable to avoid offending Christian sensibilities.47 Yet, in spite of the lack of physical visibility, synagogues in the ghetto were still powerful symbols of the status, influence, and philanthropic action of the families who owned them.

Gender, Visibility, and Space Even more than in the previous decades, in the ghetto gazing at women became a crucial element in how the mercantile elite acted in keeping control of both women and the community itself. According to the Modenese sumptuary laws after 1638, in the ghetto and in the city every woman, except for destitute servants and beggars, was required to wear a black shawl—the so-called cendale or zendale—which entirely covered her face and chest. If she had to go from a nearby house to another within the ghetto, she was exempt, although she was obliged to wear the shawl if she had to pass by two lateral doors or one front door in the ghetto, and when she was going to any religious service.48 Of note, Christian women in Modena and other Italian cities were also required

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to wear shawls while on the streets as a sign of respectability. Furthermore, the concepts of domestic and public, related to women’s appearance, were clear, at least from the perspective of the community leadership.49 (See Figure 13). In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Modena, sartorial tools brought together prostitutes and Jews, both men and women. Indeed, middle- and upper-middle-class Jewish women were also required to wear shawls that elevated them to a level of respectability equal to that of Christian matrons. The exemption—not the prohibition—for poor Jewish women not to wear shawls demonstrates how respectability and gender intersected with class. The visible status of a matron was not perceived as necessary for lower-class women, even if evidence shows that the shawl was a piece of clothing all Modenese Jewish women identified with. What emerges here is how the mercantile Jewish elites and the massari understood female bodies through the prism of class. In October 1689, five impoverished Jewish widows were found without badges while in the center of the city to buy something for the upcoming Jewish holidays with the money they had received from charity in the ghetto. They were arrested and jailed by ducal authorities. The massari promptly intervened in their defense. These poor women, the massari declared, “actually had two badges, one sewed on their corsets and covered by the shawls that all women wore, while the other, a ribbon, was attached on the shawl but probably fell off.”50 Indeed, poor women were in need of legal and physical protection, while more affluent women were entitled to receive protection not only for their bodies but also for their honor and respectability. If the badge was a humiliating sartorial mark for them, the shawl covering their entire body and face was a beneficial tool that protected both their body and honor from the intrusive male gaze. Moreover, the relationship between the built environment and gendered identity in early modern Modena produced a new feminization not only of the house and the confraternity (with So‘ed H> olim) but also of the synagogue—in the women’s section in the form of a room, a balcony, or simply a section of the larger prayer room.51 Moshe Rosman has recently observed that, starting in Ashkenaz and then moving to Poland-Lithuania, Jewish women in the eighteenth century were allowed to express their participation in public worship because Jewish communities included permanent women’s sections (ezrat nashim) in the synagogue architecture.52 By contrast, in Modena—and more generally in Italy—Jewish women had always had a space in the synagogue where they could follow the religious services. Attempts at discouraging women from attending synagogue—such as the practice of distancing menstruants common in sixteenth-century Poland—were never contemplated in Modena.53

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In the ghetto, each synagogue had a women’s section and many also had a room designed for the use of a confraternity; almost all the synagogues were located in Jewish homes not in external, community buildings. If female sections excluded women as performers in the religious services, the “windows” of their galleries, as in the Formiggini synagogue, gave them an exclusive view of the men. Women occupied a broader visual space than men and could look out onto the male section below without being observed. Indeed, those internal windows posed less danger than the windows in homes in the ghetto which— though supposedly more isolated and sheltered than the two neighborhoods where Modenese Jews lived before 1638—also presented challenges to the safety of Jewish women. For example, the Christian suitor who tried to push Vittoria Formiggini toward conversion had developed his attraction for her by looking at and talking to her through the windows of a tavern, located in the street (Strada di mezzo) overlooking the ghetto: he was seeing and admiring Vittoria through her own windows.54 The Sanguinetti synagogue annexed a school and a mikveh (ritual bath).55 The Sanguinettis, and before them Aaron Berekhiah Modena and his son Lelio (the original owners), were to provide clean linen for the mikveh. According to archival evidence, the Sanguinetti synagogue was the only one equipped with a mikveh, at least until the early nineteenth century. Considering the high density of the female population in the ghetto—at the mid-eighteenth century, adult Jewish women totaled more than one-third of the Jewish population (470–490 out of 1,200–1,220 people)—this seems unlikely.56 Rather, according to contemporary rabbinical literature, the built environment, and Italian illuminated and handwritten books, we can infer that Jewish women from the middle and upper classes used tubs in their houses for the monthly purity rituals followed by the recitation of both individual and collective prayers and blessings.57 The inclusion of this female ritual in the domestic sphere is another example of the process of feminization invested in the home which allowed women’s gatherings to occur without community control.

Defending the Jewish Space In 1639 the Modenese inquisitor opened a new trial against Pellegrino Formiggini from Modena, Raffaele Sora, and other Jews. They were accused of offending two brothers and neophytes, Joseph and David de’ Nachman, calling them “messumadim [meshummadim],” “that means in Hebrew as well as

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in Italian renegade.” According to a witness, on a Sabbath morning “they were doing business in the square of the ghetto, while we were going to listen to a sermon in the house of Isach Sanguinetti; and being with others Pellegrino began attacking and punching.”58 At the end of the depositions, the trial was closed and Pellegrino was released without any condemnation because the inquisitor declared that nothing had been proven. In order to curse former Jews who converted to Christianity, Modenese Jews—merchants, artisans, simple workers, housewives, and prostitutes— frequently used the Hebrew terms “meshummad” (lit. destroyed, plural “meshummadim”) and “goy” (non-Jew, plural “goyim”), and the Italian “rinnegati” (renegade) and “luterani” (Lutherans).59 Inquisitors often considered these Hebrew terms typical Jewish curses against Christians under the category of “bestemmiae hereticales” or “iniuriae”; they were targeted in both print (confiscation and brutal censorship of Hebrew books) and daily language (inquisitorial trials). Since the sixteenth century, this cultural phenomenon had had a Christian counterpart against Jews in contemporary popular poems—authored and published by the Modenese poet Orazio Vecchi in his Anfiparnaso Comedia Harmonica—which show an awareness of the JudeoItalian language “used in the streets of the Jews” and the precise intent to ridicule: “Ahi Baruchai, Badanai Merdochai, An Biluchan, Ghet Milotran, La Baruchabà.”60 This is a combination of Hebrew expressions, whose aim is to designate an ebraica, a song about Jews, in vogue in Italy since the sixteenth century. Thus, composers created the noun “La Baruchabà” for Jewishness, from barukh ha-ba’, which derives from Psalm 118.26: “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord” (barukh ha-ba’ be-shem Adonai) which was and still is a common form of salutation and blessing. “Merdochai” comes from the Hebrew name Mordechai but is eschatologically punned by the Italian “merda” (shit).61 In similarly derogatory terms, Modenese Gentiles defined the ghetto square: “la piazza delle oche” (the square of the geese), referring to the fact that Modenese Jews bred geese on a large scale and were well known for producing fine sausages and salted meat.62 The production of goose fat, prosciutto, and salami was not only a classic part of Italian Jewish cuisine but also an important aspect of the family economy in medieval and early modern Europe. This kind of production stood out in Modena, Reggio, Ferrara, and other cities on the plain of the river Po to the point that the treasurers of local municipalities taxed the producers, setting their retail sale price.63 Yet, in Italian, the noun

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“goose” is female and was (and is) typically used derogatorily to define “stupid women.” Indeed, the nickname “square of the geese” for the soil of the Jewish area had more layers of meaning, not all of which were neutral. In early modern Italian cities, squares, streets, vicinati (small neighborhoods), ghettos, porches, and shops were sites where verbal exchange could easily lead to outbursts of violent language in spite of efforts by various magistracies, through sumptuary laws and other instruments of coercion, to limit and reprimand them. “Reputations were won and lost on a neighbourhood stage.”64 According to the Holy Office’s records, in Modena Jews erupted into offensive speech and insults only in the ghetto or, before ghettoization, in other places identified as Jewish. Both perception of space and the use of speech created identity; verbal offenses and insults illuminate how Jews in Modena viewed themselves as a proud and cohesive minority with a pronounced sense of honor, and how at times they were perceived by others.65 In Pellegrino’s case, it is worth noting that his anger appeared perfectly justified in the eyes of the inquisitor, who in the end did not take the two neophyte brothers seriously—he and his friends were absolved.66 Pellegrino interpreted the fact that two neophytes were conducting business on Saturday in the ghetto square as a clear provocation.67 He considered the area of the ghetto during the Sabbath as a Jewish place, and the inquisitor almost seemed to share his view. In fact, local inquisitors were the first in Modena to push for ghettoization, and accordingly they recognized the enclosure as a proper place for Jews.68 Jews’ perceptions of city spaces before and after ghettoization as well as their transformation into Jewish places were also exemplified through words, expressions, even curses. This was a general process that affected the Modenese Jewish society as whole, bringing together the elite and the lower classes. In a somewhat related example from the trials of the Holy Office, on May 14, 1665, another neophyte—Francesco, at the time an Augustinian priest—complained to the inquisitor that he had been insulted by Jews for his conversion in Contrada Coltellini next to the German synagogue and the ghetto square. At first, he stated, his sister Regina, the wife of a Jewish mercer, had contacted him expressing her desire to convert to Christianity, but after a while she strongly rejected him during a harsh confrontation. Francesco declared that the woman’s attitude had completely changed because “she reconciled with her husband thanks to her rabbis, declaring that she did not want to leave her children.”69 An animated discussion followed between the

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two in the presence of many Jews, both young and old. The verbal exchange led to a sort of reciprocal declaration of pride and firmness in their respective identities. Francesco maintained that he had changed profoundly; he was no longer the same person he was when he had abandoned Judaism, and “being observant [Christian] [implies that] it is no longer proper for me to do things that are otherwise allowed for Jews.”70 Regina replied, “Oh, how miserable you are, you who should have been the consolation to our home, at least that was what our mother dreamed of; well, dreams are lies,” adding “Hebrew words that mean penance and pittance” and wishing he would mend his ways.71 First the vicinati and neighborhoods and, after 1638, the ghetto generated not only an emotional burden but also uncontrolled emotional expressions and anger that at times worked their way into the inquisitors’ always attentive ears. The historians of the Italian Renaissance Edward Muir and Ronald Weissman have analyzed conceptions of spaces in relation to the building of the community, exploring the “social geography” versus “symbolic geography” of Italian Renaissance cities in which one could distinguish between “place” primarily “as a cultural artifact, embedded in a grid of other meaningful objects and locales,” and “space” as understood “in a grid as a physical location that related to other locations.” In sum, “places are spaces with names, spaces with evocative, multidimensional identities.”72 In another groundbreaking essay, Muir convincingly argues that planned spaces and planned towns such as fortified cittadelle failed to generate “living communities” in Renaissance Italy,73 because of the impossibility of creating a community from the top down, while “besides a collection of spaces—buildings, streets, piazze, and churches—that provide the architectural frame for a community, places provided the vocabulary for the idea of community. By transforming physical spaces into places, citizens build their communities with words and emotions as much as with bricks, creating a semantic order to the urban surface.”74 Since its foundation and during the eighteenth-century, the ghetto’s name changed from “our enclosure” to “our h>atzer [courtyard]” to “our kahal [here, the whole community].” By building, administering, and distributing physical spaces, the Modenese Jewish elite built their ghetto community with words and emotions as much as with bricks. The intimacy of the ghetto environment was the habitual backdrop for most social life. Furthermore, the process of cultural hybridization, internalizing and transforming outside elements, also affected the language and popular culture of the Jewish society as a whole.

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Outside the Ghetto In contrast to the enclosure of the ghetto, there was an extreme professional dispersion of the Jews within the city: with the exception of Portico degli ebrei, there was not a single area characterized by the exclusive concentration of shops, manufactures, or stalls owned by Jews as occurred in other European cities. During the eighteenth century, Jewish secondhand dealers, fruit sellers, and mercers displayed their goods in all three main market squares, Piazza Grande, Piazzetta Torre, and Piazzetta del Pallone (today Piazzetta delle Ova); silversmiths and jewelers—the Modenas, Levis, and Formigginis—owned shops in the Strada Maestra;75 while the textile mills of the Sacerdotis, Usiglios, and Sanguinettis were scattered near the gates of Modena.76 In the name of discretion, the ducal authorities attempted to avoid areas of the city specifically marked as Jewish, but in fact the Jewish presence in the city became more and more prominent. The ghetto was at the center of the city and its enlargement was multidirectional. The 1670 Grida sopra gli ebrei prescribed that, being that all Jews are obliged to live in the enclosure of the designated place, it will not be allowed for any Jew or Jewess of any age and condition to live outside the ghetto with the exception of those houses or storage areas that keep goods both their own or entrusted to them (except for the public tax) under the condemnation of losing their goods. . . . No Jew will be allowed to have in their house a gate, a window, or a dump from which it would be possible to leave the ghetto. The windows that have the front outside the ghetto will have to be obstructed with a wall, or they will have to be at least eight braccia high from the street or earth . . . but if from those [windows], when the gates have to be closed, anyone with ladders or a rope or in another way leaves, they will be summoned to the pain of the whip.77 A magistrate was appointed for the distribution of lodgings and houses; new rules were imposed and others reiterated. For example, Jews were not allowed to leave their houses on Good Friday; and barring of windows facing outside the ghetto was mandatory in order to prevent Jews from escaping during the night and visual contact between Jews and Christians, who were living in the immediate vicinity of the ghetto.78 According to Dana Katz, “Windows produced anxiety in early modern Europe precisely because they punctured

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the stability and closure of the wall. The window perforated the architectural integrity of concealment, exposing the permeability of place.”79 Thus, windows made walls penetrable and made places porous.80 The Modenese authorities indeed imposed of only the walling-up of specific windows and doors of some newly built dwellings but also the erection of additional walls without doors or balconies.81 Of note, they specified that if the windows were at least eight braccia high (about twelve meters), Jews were exempted from the legislation on fenestration construction. The anxiety expressed by the ducal authorities pertained to the sight and the seeing of Christian citizens; looking at or seeing Jews in their daily lives and possibly observing their ceremonies could constitute a reason for a disturbance or be a virtually subversive threat. However, the concern was one-sided. For Jews to gaze on Christians was not viewed as creating pollution or impurity. The fact that, from the top of their ghetto dwellings, Jews could observe and watch the city did not bother or threaten the ducal authorities, while a very similar situation generated anxiety in Venice beginning in the sixteenth century.82 Not surprisingly, the only exception for Modenese authorities was Holy Week: Jews were not allowed to leave their ghetto or look out their windows from Holy Thursday until Holy Saturday, from one campana to the other according to the local custom: “During the Holy Week from noon of Holy Thursday to the noon of the Saturday it will not be allowed for any Jew or Jewess to leave the ghetto or look out the window that has a view outside.”83 The septimana sancta (Holy Week) was notoriously characterized by ritualized violence against Jews throughout medieval Europe. Indeed, throughout the early modern period, it was during Holy Week that the Jewish presence in the cities was still perceived as particularly threatening to the Catholic rituals of the Eucharist and the sacrality of the Catholic community. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, in addition to the imposition of the badge on Jews, declared that Jews could not walk in public during the Holy Week of Easter in order to prevent them from blaspheming Christ’s passion and resurrection. Both ducal and Jewish authorities took this imposition very seriously: the former were motivated by traditional Catholic concerns and the latter by the need for safety and security of the Jewish population.84 Thus, in Modenese Jews’ daily lives, city spaces were apparently relatively fluid and porous, and included piazzas, main streets (such as the Contrada del Catecumeno), alleys, and canals, with the exception of the area around the Casa dei Catecumeni.85 Modenese Jews at least felt legitimized in their use of

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those spaces that were available for common use and perceived as “public.”86 At the same time, their social marginality could become evident when the same spaces became stages for public rituals pervaded by sacred Christianity. In fact, an exclusively Christian reappropriation of Modena could happen at times through the mobility of the sacred space legitimated by the authorities: during ecclesiastical processions for the patron saint or the Corpus Domini that paraded throughout the city, as well as during Easter, Jews were explicitly prohibited from leaving their ghetto and entering Christian space. Jews were daily spectators of those public rituals and at times, during sacred processions, invisible contributors. The 1670 Grida sopra gli ebrei also established that “the Università degli Ebrei will be obliged to provide that, on the occasion of processions and other public functions in which Christians will adorn their streets, they should decently wallpaper the exterior part of the ghetto, which would face the street that the procession or others will cross.”87 In addition, in order to not offend the sanctity of Christian holidays or damage the aesthetic of the city, during processions or other public ceremonies in the city, the Jewish community was required to brick up the section of their portico and the other sections of the ghetto that would face the procession or any other celebration.88 Thus, during sacred events, the ghetto had to disappear from the Christians’ gaze while in daily life it remained visible in order to reiterate the social order at the base of the Este state. By contrast, only on the occasion of funeral rituals were Modenese Jews allowed to conduct nocturnal processions beyond the ghetto. In 1657, after a long dispute between the massari of the Jewish community and the Carmelitane Scalze nuns, who wanted to incorporate it in order to expand their monastery, the Jewish cemetery was permanently located close to Porta Bologna on the left side of Via Emilia.89 In addition, Modenese Jews, following Aaron Berekhiah Modena’s revolutionary funerary rituals, were conducting burial processions, transforming them into highly symbolic ceremonies with allusions to the ritual of purification through the flames of the biblical river Yabbok.90 The Jewish ritual also included the custom of the seven hakkafot, seven circuits around the dead while reciting seven stanzas from a liturgical piyyut composed by Aaron Berekhiah himself. According to kabbalistic interpretations, the function of the hakkafot was to distance impurity from the soul. Aaron Berekhiah was convinced that this was a crucial passage in order to return the soul to God because the relationship between man and Lilith began in the same moment in which the malign spirit had conceived him or her.91 During the night, a time associated with freedom for ghettoized Jews,

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the entire city was perceived as a stage for the embodiment of a Jewish transcendent community, as in the case of the ‘eruv on the Sabbath. The Navile canal, which crossed the city, was the Yabbok, and Modena was transformed into an ideal Jewish Jerusalem where Jews could purify the body and the soul of their dead fellow and return him or her to God. Thus, with the exception of nocturnal funerary processions, where it served as a liminal transcendent space, in daily life the section of the portico that faced the Strada Maestra with the shops of Jewish silversmiths, mercers, and weavers functioned as a neat physical boundary between the interior and exterior of the ghetto in addition to the gates, as well as a hybrid site for encounter and exchange. In Modena, a few porticos took their names on the basis of their respective functions: in Piazza Grande, there was the so-called Portico degli orefici (portico of the goldsmiths); the section facing Via Emilia, in front of the Portico degli ebrei between Piazza Torre and Piazzatta delle Ova, was named Portico del Monte from the new Monte di Pietà that was probably not located there accidentally at the beginning of the eighteenth century.92 The Portico degli ebrei represented a singular compromise between the public and private where only Jewish artisans and sellers worked and offered their commodities in their shops. It was also a daily meeting place where Jews and non-Jews, both men and women, could walk and converse, initiating or consolidating social relationships. The work spaces, stalls, shops, and factories were shared, contested, and negotiated with non-Jews. At times, individuals would plead before a magistrate, and at other times the community lay leaders asked for permission if the question regarded the entire community or broad segments of the population, often those in poor economic conditions. In March 1754, Norsa and Usiglio, owners of the silk water mill of San Giorgio, lodged a complaint against the dyers, who would wash “the textiles dyed in Canalchiaro, whose waters supplemented their industry.”93 In February 1776, Isach Formiggini, son of Leon and cousin of Laudadio, asked for and obtained the return of “his most ancient stall now occupied by a female secondhand goods seller, in the Strada Maestra, with metalware and other items in front of Salomon Vitta Levi’s shop.”94 In October 1782, Graziano Sanguinetti was accused of keeping his own goods under the portico of the Monte Generale dei Pegni, violating the order for street cleaners and fruitsellers to evacuate and clear the portico. Questioned by a magistrate of the Giudici alle Vettovaglie, who at the time also supervised streets and spaces in the city, Sanguinetti admitted that he had no license to keep his goods under the portico, but confessed “to having used

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Figure 14. Piazza Mazzini (the area of the former ghetto) with porches that faced Via Emilia (former Strada Maestra) before the 1904 demolition. Biblioteca Poletti (Modena), Fondo Tonini. Reproduced by permission.

it at times.”95 During the eighteenth century, the community lay leaders negotiated many times with the Giudici alle Vettovaglie so that scavengers and mercers could keep their stalls open and show their “poor goods.”96 In 1769 they obtained permission for “various Jewish scavengers in this city or sellers of secondhand furniture and other goods” to keep their stalls in Piazzetta della Torre, clearing out Piazza Maggiore.97 The extent of the harsh negotiation of spaces between the Jewish massari and the city and ducal authorities never included the concepts of impurity and pollution related to Jews and their ghetto in the public discourse, as happened in other contexts. For example, in early modern Rome at the core of Christian thought, as Kenneth Stow has explained, Jews were at times perceived as “filthy dogs,” as dirty as the waters they sat in within the ghetto: “filthy dogs, who prefer [to eat] [even their own] filth, rather than, by implication, to consume the Eucharist of purification.”98 In 1783, when the ghetto in Modena was enlarged because the ducal camera ordained that the Jews acquire the so-called mezzo ghetto (the houses facing Via della Torre and Via Squallore) in order

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to eliminate bad odors due to the worsening hygienic conditions of the area, there was no explicit, nor implicit association between the stench of the area and a potential Jewish pollution of the Christian body of the city.99 Yet a weekly and yearly calendar based on different rhythms and holidays also brought inevitable confrontations. For example, there were numerous protests from corporations against the Jews who closed their shops on Saturday; in this case, “aesthetic reasons” were claimed because the closed shutters damaged the appearance of the streets and squares. On the other hand, Jews frequently requested that their own activities, shops, and workshops could remain open during Christian holidays. In August 1756, the Jewish community requested that Jewish merchants be allowed to open their shops during the Christian holidays in order to handle administrative tasks and ventilate “woolen stuff,” which was otherwise liable to deteriorate.100 Some years later, in July 1781, the Ministro di Pulizia published an ordinance that authorized Jewish mercers to display their goods in the stalls of Piazza Grande even on festive days, “until the time of the divine services.”101 In January 1773, another controversy arose between the Jewish massari and the Collegio dell’Arte della Seta. Jews had previously obtained a privilege according to which Jewish merchants could “go around in the city with canvas and other kinds of goods.” In order to protect the interests of merchants who owned any kind of shop, the collegio had questioned that privilege, claiming that a text of their own statutes prohibited anyone “from selling goods in the square.” The Jewish lay leaders then used an astute, dialectical escamotage in order to make their argument stronger: “The word piazza, speaking from a mercantile point of view, has to be intended as formal piazza” and therefore the text brought by the Collegio did not contradict the Jewish privilege in any way.102 In the early years of the fifteenth century, the celebrated Florentine writer of political theory Giovanni Cavalcante wrote, “Whoever holds the piazza [della Signoria] is master of the city.”103 Obviously, Modenese Jews did not hold the piazza, but they certainly perceived it as “public” and, as such, felt legitimized to live in and use its spaces. This was also a clear effect of the freedom the Jews enjoyed as merchants in Modena and the other cities of the duchy, which was absolutely remarkable in the whole of early modern Europe. Modenese Jews’ participation in the commercial and cultural life of the city not only caused disagreements but at times could also bond Jews and Christians together against the ducal authorities. For example, in 1692 at the notice of the forced closing of the waterwheel owned by Spanish Jews that employed three hundred people, some Modenese citizens protested and pleaded in favor of its reopening.104 In

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the same years, apparently many Christians were violating corporations’ proscriptions and working clandestinely—that is, without being examined by the corporation on the basis of their skills—in shops owned by Jews.105 The daily contact and at times professional cooperation between Jewish merchants and non-Jews in the city could also result in Jewish theological issues, not just Christian ones. The following case portrays a halakhic debate connected to Jewish-Christian relations and the Sabbath. The fact that Gentiles were working in Jews’ filatoi (mills for the production of silk) could raise halakhic issues about, according to a definition by the Modenese R. Gur Aryeh ha-Levi in 1702, the “set of attachments and wheels with which the [Gentile] craftsmen spin silk.”106 According to R. Ishmael Ha-Kohen, who was not only one of the most celebrated halakhist authorities in Italy but also a member of the silk entrepreneur family Sacerdoti (Ha-Kohen), “in Modena the custom of the filatoio owned by a Jewish owner is ancient” and implied that a Jewish owner such as Miriam Rovigo appointed a Christian as the chief craftsman, who in turn employed Christian workers specializing in interlacing silks and other related functions. From the 1730s to the 1750s, the rabbis in Modena, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara, and Mantua debated the halakhic implications of having Gentile employers working during the Sabbath in filatoi owned by Jews. Ha-Kohen complained that “the custom has spread far and wide in Modena and in nearby towns and villages, where the affluent merchants build various devices for stretching the filatura on their own properties, being the workers hired by day . . . while only the chief craftsman (the capomastro) is hired by contract and even then not always.”107 He added that “if the laborers do not work on the Sabbath, there will be a loud outcry against the wheel owners, which will certainly reach the landowner.”108 The halakhic question at the center of the disagreement was whether the restriction stipulating that work not be performed in the home of the Jew was applicable here. For Ha-Kohen, the only applicable solution was to hire the workers by the year instead of by the day—in this case, their situation would have been similar to those working under contract and, according to Moses Maimonides (1138–1204), halakhically permissible. The fact that, in Modena, Jewish silk entrepreneurs were accustomed to renting out their workshops to Gentiles implied that the property was no longer associated with the Jewish owner’s name. Ha-Kohen held fast to the point that this solution would permit one to maintain a livelihood, in opposition to other contemporary Italian rabbis such as Samuel Aboab and Abraham ben David. The latter two argued that, even if the workshops were rented out to Gentiles, as was the case in Modena, the

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place would still be known by the name of its Jewish owner and this would bring discredit on Jews since the work would publicly continue on Sabbaths and other Jewish holidays as on regular weekdays. Ha-Kohen also strongly disagreed with the much more lenient Isaiah Bassan (1703–1790) from Padua, the rabbi in Reggio Emilia, who argued in 1741 that a filatoio should be included in the category of “movable property” like tanning and shoemaking, and therefore the limitation on performing the work in private did not apply. In Ha-Kohen’s words, Bassan was legislating in “a court that was considered to be habitually too flexible.”109 On the other hand, Bassan stated that, in Modena and in the nearby city of Reggio Emilia, Jewish butchers had their Gentile workers sell meat to customers, Gentile as well, in their shop in the Jewish courtyards even on the Sabbath, and that local rabbis did not protest.110 These sources reveal once again how Italian rabbis worked within the orthodox domain in order to grant a certain flexibility in the interpretation of the halakhah. In reality, Ha-Kohen called for an enlargement of the category of the shabbes goy (a Gentile who on Saturday performs certain types of work—mel’akhah—prohibited to Jews) in order to embrace local Jewish entrepreneurs’ needs in shops and premodern factories, and to guarantee economic income that was the most remunerative for commerce and trade. Of note, the same custom is currently maintained by Jewish traders in Rome in spite of recent rabbinical attempts to impose a more restrictive interpretation of the law and the shutting down of any commercial activity owned and conducted by Jews on Saturdays.

Jewish Merchants, Jesuits, and Their Library In Modena, the cultural interchange between Jews and Christians was not limited to the Renaissance or the baroque period, but persisted and evolved in the eighteenth century; in the 1770s and 1780s, for example, Enlightenment culture reached the Este state together with the works of the best English thinkers, French philosophes, and Sephardi thinkers and régènerateurs due to the collaboration between Jewish booksellers and Jesuit librarians. In 1764 Duke Francesco III (r. 1737–1780), the Jesuit and ducal librarian Francesco Antonio Zaccaria, and the Jew and ducal bookseller Moisè Beniamino Foa (1730–1815) opened the first public library of the Este Duchy in Modena.111 Ten years later, in January 1774, Moisè Beniamino Foa founded the Nuova Società Tipografica, a printing house for the publication of books in Greek and Hebrew for the duchy and its university faculties, an effort he

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undertook with another Jew, Emanuele Sacerdoti, whom we have already encountered as the most important silk entrepreneur of the city. The two men were the duke’s banker and bookseller, respectively; they had previously received approval, from the new duke Ercole III and the new Jesuit librarian Girolamo Tiraboschi, to publish these books. Both the public library and the Nuova Società Tipografica represented the ultimate confirmation of the leading role of Foa within Modena’s society. Foa was born in the ghetto of Reggio Emilia to a Jewish small-merchant family specializing in affordable books and antiquities. The Foa family business expanded through trade—in Italy and in the rest of Western Europe—in books along with wine, silks, coins, and wheat as well as via credit activities and by the acquisition of land in the last thirty years of the century. Like Formiggini and Sacerdoti, Foa became a prominent merchant, a lay leader of the Jewish community, and an intermediary between the Jewish communities of Modena and the duchy’s second-largest city, Reggio Emilia, and the civic, church, and ducal authorities.112 Most importantly for our purposes, Foa was a distinguished expert on books, who was able to import through his bookshop precious collections of Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek manuscripts and entire libraries from England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and France to Modena for more than fifty years. The ducal public library and Foa’s printing house and bookshop served as cultural centers, circulating the main works of d’Holbach, Locke, Hobbes, La Mettrie, Boulanger, Voltaire, Rousseau, Raynal, and the Encyclopédie among both Jews and non-Jews in Modena and other Italian states. Although these works were permitted in Modena due to a certain liberality on the part of the duke, they were forbidden in most other Italian states.113 The ducal library allows us to address the question of how Jewish cultural life in Italy during the eighteenth century and beyond went through considerable changes by taking into account new forms of association between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. Despite the ambiguous relationship between Jews and non-Jews, the two groups intermingled in the new public library, the printing house, and Foa’s bookshop, meeting and exchanging ideas. At the time, both Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals in Modena preferred Frenchoriented culture, a preference that materialized when they expanded their roles in civic and national societies during the Napoleonic era. The relations among Francesco III, Antonio Zaccaria, and Moisè Beniamino Foa was complex, and must be analyzed in light of their common preference for French lay-oriented culture in Modena’s social and political context. First, they were all inspired by the ambition to go beyond provincialism, considering the broader European

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context in addition to pursuing a profitable operation. However, at times the dukes, Jesuits, and Jews pursued complementary agendas and at times competing ones in their cooperative ventures of the library, the printing press, and the bookstore. Foa’s cultural mindset has to be interpreted along with his commercial activity: he was a refined, cultured businessman. He participated actively in the administration of the Jewish community in Reggio Emilia, serving as the head of the kehillah (Jewish community); took charge of two h>evrot—the Talmud Torah and the Shomerim la-Boker; and had arbitrated between the Jewish community and city, ducal, and church authorities since at least the 1750s.114 It was exactly at this mid-eighteenth-century moment that the close collaboration between Zaccaria, Ercole III, and Foa took place. From 1757 to 1764, the ducal library acquired 2,400 titles (5,700 volumes) through Foa, many of them forbidden by the Congregation of the Index. They included the opera omnia by Machiavelli, the Encyclopédie, and works by Erasmus, Luther, Galileo, and Pico della Mirandola, along with those of Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Condillac.115 According to the scholar Franco Venturi, the years 1758 to 1774, commonly referred as the “sixties,” marked the springtime of the Italian Enlightenment. This period saw the publication of Cesare Beccaria’s Dei delitti e delle pene, the Caffè by the Verri brothers and their collaborators, and the Lezioni di Commercio by Antonio Genovesi. In the Italian states, the tensions between the Catholic Church and the governments reached their apex, particularly in regard to the relationship between civil and religious society. Often, state resolutions included expulsion of the Jesuits, transformation of schools, and debates on papal power, inquisition, and censorship. The situation in Modena was characterized by the cross-influence of local tradition and new elements. While the intellectual and historian Lodovico Muratori of the previous generation attempted cultural and social reformations in light of a moderate Enlightenment, the problems in the sixties became more and more economic—in the city, one-third of the population was unable to live without subsidies or some form of charity.116 Both Francesco III and his son Ercole III (1723–1803) were inspired by the reformation process underway within the Habsburg-Lorraine Empire, which oversaw the Este Duchy while allowing it a good deal of autonomy. Throughout the 1780s, both were convinced that the Enlightenment would enable the reformation of the state internally, as well as enhance and reinforce their own authority. Nevertheless, the dukes won their battle against the centuryold enemy of their autonomy—the Catholic Church—a victory they won by defining its structure as an enemy of Enlightenment advances. In fact, starting

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in 1770, they suppressed many Catholic confraternities and institutions, even including the Jesuit society in 1773 and the Inquisition in 1785, without any popular revolt. Yet the public ducal library was a great success and became a model for other Italian states. It was well frequented and open every day with full access by a selected public—people with at least a university degree in philosophy—to all the books, including prohibited ones. The habitués of the library were enlightened noblemen such as Carlo di Firmian and Clemente Bagnesi and jurists such as Ludovico Ricci and Giuseppe Luosi.117 The daily contact and fruitful cultural exchange between Francesco III, Antonio Zaccaria, and Moisè Beniamino Foa did not extend to intercultural and religious appreciation. Their collaboration fostered and was fostered by a high level of reciprocal professional esteem, but without any substantial JewishChristian rapprochement. For example, the collaboration had no influence in the Jewish community’s vain struggle for the release of Jews, who at the time were being kidnapped from the ghetto due to false rumors about their intentions to convert or were “offered” to the church to be baptized by relatives who had already embraced or were in the process of embracing Christianity, then locked up in the Opera pia dei Catecumeni.118 During these decades, Jewish lay leaders and rabbis struggled in vain to obtain a ducal decree that would prevent the forced conversion of minors according to the right of patria potestas, a well-known argument against conversion since the Middle Ages. Starting in 1771, the Jewish massari had been vehemently opposed to the custom that the procession escorting the neophyte from the Opera pia dei Catecumeni to the Church of the Collegio San Carlo stopped in front of the ghetto; the tension between the Jewish community and the Opera pia had noticeably increased.119 Nevertheless, neither the dukes nor the Jesuits hesitated to send poor young Christians from the Hospice of the Poor to work as apprentices at the city textile wheel and in factories under the Albergo delle Arti of the Jewish bankers Sanguinettis, evidence of the pragmatic aspect of Jewish-Christian relationships at the time.120 The two Jesuits, Zaccaria and Tiraboschi, who were appointed as directors of the library in 1764 and 1773, respectively, aspired to create a new, open, and cosmopolitan bibliotheca selecta like “a garden with rich and various flowerbeds of various fields,” solidly built on a broad humanistic, scientific, and interdisciplinary culture. They attempted to organize and to direct a cultural center that would be independent of even the central church authorities in Rome—the reason for their unconventional choices in books—and promote a Jesuit agenda even outside of the duchy borders and within and outside of

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the Italian context. Even after the ducal suppression of the Jesuit Society in 1773, which reduced their autonomy, Jesuits continued to serve as librarians of duchy institutions, including the university library, because of their exemplary management skills.121 Foa enabled the French acculturation of the Este Duchy intelligentsia. His decision to import the major works of the European Enlightenment to Modena can be considered a perfect expression of his political agenda, which was aimed at improving the status of the Este Jews. Looking at his catalogs and his private library, Foa was reading both Jewish and non-Jewish authors; his collection contained the Encyclopédie as well as some writings by Isaac Pinto and Moses Mendelssohn.122 It is noteworthy that in 1788 he transformed his private library into a public institution in the ghetto of Reggio Emilia, organized in the same way as its duchy counterpart in terms of access, times, and so on.123 Despite the unquestioned confidence granted by the Este ruling family, Foa’s freedom of the press came under attack due to the instability of the state and the international changes at the turn of the century. Let us consider a short example. In 1791 Foa’s Nuova Società Tipografica printed the Lettere piacevoli se piaceranno by Giuseppe Compagnoni, an Italian intellectual who later became known as a Jacobin. This work includes the Saggio sugli ebrei e sui greci: Lettere a S.E. il sig. marchese Francesco Albergati Capacelli, which is a fierce statement of the supremacy of the Jewish people over “other civilizations,” principally the “Greek,” noting in particular figures like Spinoza and Mendelssohn. The Saggio also attacks the works of various Catholic authors, including that of Giovan Battista D’Arco—Della influenza del ghetto nello stato (Venice, 1782). Remarkably, many sections of the book were expurgated by a new official, the state’s censor Giuseppe Fabrizi.124 Its publication was daring because it brought the Jewish question to the public’s attention, an indiscretion, one might say, that threatened to break the fragile balance that had characterized the Estes’ politics toward Jews for more than two centuries. Compagnoni’s pro-Jewish argument was perceived as a danger not so much for its implicit request to change the old system regulating Jewish-Christian relations as for the idea that this change would be based on French ideas of natural justice and the Rights of Man, which consequently implied political changes in the Italian peninsula, including in the Este Duchy. The diffusion of this book would have made visible the Jewish presence in the state and the already volatile political balance of the state even more dangerous, considering that the Jewish question would be associated with revolutionary ideas. Compagnoni’s work was thus considered much more dangerous for the Este state than the

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opera omnia of Guillaume Raynal, an author whose works were forbidden in Venice and France because of his antiauthoritarian and anticlerical beliefs.125 Foa had bought Raynal’s works for Modena’s public library in 1788 without protest. Ducal cultural choices mirrored both past attempts at reformation and Ercole III’s contemporary efforts to stop international changes that would have deleterious effects on his political power. In 1792 Ercole III organized a broad transnational censorial operation aimed at stopping the influx of French books into the Italian peninsula.126 This dimension of both secrecy and ambiguity closely resembles the idea of a state that Jürgen Habermas would characterize as an “inauthentic public sphere.” In the absence of a genuine public life, private interests shaped Modena’s market of culture products, the Republic of Letters with its institutions of intellectual sociability, and public sphere in the political realm.127 In the Este Duchy, the public sphere had been weakening at least since the devolution from Ferrara in 1598. The continuous escapes of the dukes to Milan upon any invasion of French or Spanish troops and the consequent abandonment of the cities in the eighteenth century made the Este political realm basically a nonexistent political reality. Thus, in the ghetto, did the Jewish mercantile leadership develop an authentic public sphere based on civil society and the bourgeois family?128 Habermas articulates the tension between an inauthentic and an authentic sphere in the opposition between public and private, secret and open.129 The fact that Jews were the only non-Christian minority in the early modern Este Duchy complicates that dichotomy. Jewish individuals and their private authentic institutions—such as their confraternities, synagogues, and bookshops—had to deal on a daily basis with the intrusion of both the Este Duchy and to a certain extent the Jewish massari and the kahal. Roger Chartier explains that “if the ‘private’ is a product of the modern state, the ‘public’ is by no means a state monopoly. . . . The public social life of the Enlightenment took many forms, only some of which were institutionalized. Discussion and criticism gradually came to focus on the authority of the state itself. In literary societies, Masonic lodges, clubs, and cafés, people learned to associate as intellectuals, recognizing all participants regardless of status, as equals.”130 Thus, was the ducal library a private institution that grew out of “the public use of reason by private individuals,” similar to a contemporaneous French Masonic lodge or a culturally vibrant café? Was the role of the Jewish confraternities, the kahal, and the ghetto courts alike? When they arrived in Modena in 1796, French soldiers found Jewish and non-Jewish enthusiasts of the French Enlightenment, such as the Jewish lay

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leaders Moisè Beniamino Foa and Moisè Formiggini and the Christian jurists Ludovico Ricci and Giuseppe Luosi, who were ready to welcome Bonaparte’s revolution and expand their activities into politics in the name of the principles of the “magnanimous French nation,” as well as to embrace Rights of Man, natural justice, and the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity.131 Their cultural formation was clearly indebted to the duchy library and its circulation of books, an intellectual context produced by the peculiar yet fruitful Jewish-Christian collaboration described above. The eighteenthcentury utilitarian, business, and cultural relationship between dukes, Jesuits, and Jews reflects many of the dynamics of the pattern of Jewish integration and the general modernization of the state, with two steps forward toward modernity and emancipation and one step back within the cross-influence of the Estes’ half-absolutism, the confessional identity of the state, and the impoverishment of the masses. Indeed, during the eighteenth century, the ghetto evolved into a sort of laboratory for learning governmental skills for men such as Moisè Formiggini and Moisè Beniamino Foa who administered the Jewish community as a moderately self-regulating body through commitment to local Jewish affairs and an active role in the struggle for the improvement of Jews’ status, along with a vigorous involvement in the wider cultural and commercial affairs of the city. As we shall see in Chapter 7, Modenese Jews even elaborated their own form of Enlightenment based on the dissemination of Italian and Jewish culture throughout Europe, and the spread of a scholarly and French-oriented lay culture within both the Italian Jewish and non-Jewish societies, while their knowledge of the Prussian Haskalah remained secondary. For the reasons described above, Modenese Jewish leadership did not generate an authentic public sphere, but they built a civil society that was at least capable of creating, from private individuals and institutions, forms of public social life and of participation in the cultural environment of the Enlightenment.

Understanding the Old and the New at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century: Internal and External Purity We have examined some aspects of the Modenese ghetto as both a halakhic neighborhood and a Jewish transcendent community. How Jews related to purity and pollution within their ghettos, courtyards, and houses adds an additional glimpse into understanding how these conceptualizations were

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elaborated and how they were embodied in spatial organization and the built environment. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, concepts of purity gradually evolved through a complex and profound dialogue with Jewish identity and a redefinition of the phenomenology of Judaism, in which once again the collaboration between local rabbis and Jewish merchants played a major role. In the case of death, for example, the treatise Ma’avar Yabbok recommends that the son of the deceased scatter earth on his parent’s eyes, then cover the face. After waiting at least a quarter of an hour, the deceased is put on the ground, on earth or sand, or on a straw pallet. Aaron Berekhiah Modena explains that the ground is impervious to the impurity of the dead; this is not the case with a bed or table, which retains evil spirits. The sheet used to cover the deceased serves to isolate the corpse from the sight of the living, who must not see the mystery of death. The windows are then thrown open; according to the Talmudic principle known as “Throw it down!,” all water found in receptacles in the house of the dead as well as in those of the closest neighbors must be thrown out.132 This water must be spilled on the earth since, again, the earth cannot absorb impurity. Aaron Berekhiah illuminates the meaning of this practice by indicating that anyone who drank this water, poisoned by the “angel of death,” would be in grave danger.133 A few decades later, Abraham Rovigo led new forms of devotional religiosity and ritual experimentation in the synagogues, such as the annulment of the fasts and mourning practices for the Nine of Av. This experimentation impacted the concept of space and the perception of the ghetto as a Jewish place. There were even some believers in Rovigo’s circle who went so far as to turn Nine of Av into a day of feasting and rejoicing.134 With complete redemption and the achievement of an absolute imminent purity because of the upcoming messianic revolution led by Sabbatai Tzevi, holy Jerusalem and holy Modena were identical. In the eighteenth century, the ghetto architecture served as a spatialization of similar concepts of Jewish purity. According to Isaac Lampronti, Italian rabbis described the architecture of the Italian ghettos thus: “All the houses in the Jews’ street [the ghetto], on each and every path, are surrounded by a projection on all their sides, or are surrounded by a projection under the roofs, which protrude over the entrances to the houses.”135 Because of this projection, as David Malkiel recently explained, all the houses in the ghetto constituted a single tent and perforce everyone in the ghetto contracted pollution at the moment someone died, with a specific reference to the priests. In 1728–30

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Lampronti and other Italian rabbis broadly discussed the rabbinic principle that “pollution will exit” (sof tum’ah la-tze’t) or seeks to escape confinement; thus, pollution will exit a confined space and avoid entering a neighboring confined space. Given that pollution exists but does not penetrate buildings, the presence of a corpse does not pollute neighboring structures with closed windows and doors. Thus, neighboring Cohanim (priests) could escape contamination by remaining in their homes until the corpse was removed.136 Building on Malkiel’s analysis of eighteenth-century Italy and Lampronti’s elaborations on purity, it emerges that the status of “pollution will exit” had also surfaced in early eighteenth-century Modena. In Lampronti’s pages on tum’at ohel (tent pollution), a great deal of information is given on the structure of the ghetto of Modena. There, each street that led into the city had at its outlet a gate and wooden doors in order to make the enclosure visible. The walls of the ghetto were built to fit snugly under the eaves of the houses on both sides of Contrade Coltellini and Blasia. In order to protect the wooden doors and the entranceway from rain and snow, Modenese Jews had built a stonework protrusion (a portico). These protrusions extended under the eaves of the buildings at the head of the street but did not fit snugly to the buildings. The same model was used in Venice and other Italian ghettos.137 In Modena, however, there was an additional protective device made of boards, planed to the width of the stone overhang, that were affixed above it. This architecture could prevent the exit of the pollution because it kept the elements from ruining the doors. In the previous century, when he was asked his opinion on the architecture and the danger of the pollution by members of the Jewish community, R. Abraham Graziano decided to leave the shape and size of the overhang as they were.138 Yet Modenese rabbis raised their concern that pollution could pass from side to side even when the open window in the house of the deceased was situated above the projection, and that a death in any building in the ghetto could inevitably contaminate everyone in the ghetto. Modenese rabbinical authorities doubted that the principle of “throw it down” applied since there was a gap that would allow pollution to pass underneath the projection. Ephraim Kohen of Modena recommended breaking the projections in the middle, creating an interruption in the flow of pollution and thereby eliminating the problem. According to Netanel Levi of Modena, the Cohanim sat in the ghetto courtyard (the h>atzer) and effected a physical adjustment at the ghetto entrance facing the market (the shuk, which is a reshut ha-rabbim). Modenese rabbis and Jewish lay leaders then physically altered the architecture

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of the portico between the ghetto gates in order to remove any chance for contamination. They removed the glaze tiles from the roof of the house of Eliezer Ashkenazi located at the entrance, discontinued the projections of the gate in the middle with diagonal breaks, and made a separation between the roof of the house and the overhang of the protective shelf creating an interruption in the flow of pollution and thereby eliminating the problem.139 Once again, the entrance of the Modenese ghetto with its gates and porticos emerges as crucial for our understanding of Jewish space, place, and boundaries in early modern Modena. This place punctured the contiguous walls between the ghetto and the city and exposed the porosity of both social and cultural boundaries without blurring theological borders. It encapsulates the essence of a gradual process of Jewish transformation shaped by ambiguous state attitudes and Catholic anxiety toward Jews, Jewish internal cultural phenomena, and daily Jewish-Christian exchanges. Two final examples related to the removal of these physical boundaries under Napoleon illuminate the complexity of both Gentile perceptions of Jews and Jewish internal self-perception in relation to the surrounding society in what I consider to be the passage between the early modern and the proper modern age for Italian Jews. In Modena, the requirement that Jews not go outside of their houses at Easter time was taken seriously. When Modenese and French authorities promulgated an edict in 1797 that Jews be allowed to open the ghetto gates, leave their quarter, and freely conduct their business during Holy Week, anti-Jewish sentiments and concerns erupted and mob riots against Jews exploded.140 This happened a few days after the election of Jewish representatives to the new city government. Jews were becoming visible.141 The public and visible presence of Jews in the city was perceived as an open challenge, a threat to the body of the city that, despite the impact of the Enlightenment and the arrival of Napoleon, was still profoundly Christian. The new French-oriented government had not only removed the architectural boundaries between Jews and Christians but also the trust between the state and the Modenese Christian community that the Estes, despite all their contradictions, had developed and maintained since 1638 through their rhetoric of enclosure and compulsory residential segregation of the Jews. On the other side, an optimistic belief in the leadership of Napoleon and in commerce as a venue of integration and emancipation seems to have been widespread among Modenese rabbis and Jewish merchants. When the celebrated rabbi and scholar Ishmael Ha-Kohen was required on different

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occasions to examine the possibility of Jews leaving the ghetto and living elsewhere in the cities of Modena, Mantua, Verona, and Venice under Napoleon in relation to the ‘eruv, he declared that the move did not imply that Jews were prohibited from carrying objects outside of their homes on the Sabbath.142 Since the ghetto quarter was separate from the city and the city walls, Modenese Jews were permitted to carry objects in this area based on the architectural and natural boundaries found there—‘eruv. According to Ha-Kohen’s interpretation, not only was Modena a walled city but should be considered, in spite of contrary opinions, a permanent reshut ha-yah>id since, in agreement with Rashi and his supporters, an area is considered a reshut ha-rabbim only if it has at least 600,000 inhabitants.143 Consequently, Modena was still considered to be a private, walled place. Even if living outside the ghetto, Jews would be allowed to carry on the Sabbath. With the arrival in Modena of the French troops with Napoleon in 1796, the old political and social orders that had functioned under the Estes were subverted. In Chapter 7, we shall see how the attitudes toward Jewish and non-Jewish purity as well as Jewish conceptualizations of space described here, in fact, mirrored the impact of the first phases of emancipation on the Jewish and the non-Jewish populations.

Chapter 7

Moisè Formiggini Before Napoleon Two Steps Toward Emancipation and One Step Back

On the night of October 16, 1796, an elaborate scene was staged in the main square of Modena, which had been conquered only a month earlier by Napoleon Bonaparte’s French troops. The first Congress of the Cispadane Federation—soon to be called the Cispadane Republic, the new state that incorporated Modena—concluded with an impressive festival and dancing. The streets that led from the square to the palace of the municipality, the Bishop’s Palace, and the cathedral were all lit up. A tree of liberty with windresistant torches, the symbol of Napoleonic power, was adorned with an Italian flag and four lamps. In the middle of the ghetto, two loggias, located near the main square, were outfitted with an impressive white pavilion where a statue of liberty was erected, covered with numerous crystals, lamps, and flags of silk, velvet, and damask. The scene was a clear reflection of the Napoleonic image, the new “savior” who had just arrived in the city.1 During the Congress, Moisè Formiggini (1756–1810), the influential Modenese Jewish silversmith and jeweler, delivered an emphatic speech urging the new Modenese government to recognize Jews as “active citizens” because of their usefulness, a designation taken straight from the 1791 Declaration of Emancipation of French Jews.2 As a capital city during the ancien régime, Modena was accustomed to this kind of celebration, but this event mingled both old and new elements: on the one hand, a new ruler took the place of the old (the Este dynasty), and on the other, a completely new public discourse now emerged based on a constitutional order that demanded the unconditional participation of all citizens in the new French system.3

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Figure 15. Piazza Grande con l’Albero della Libertà, oil on canvas, 1796–97. At the center of the square, the Tree of Liberty, brought by the French army to every Italian city that was conquered by Napoleon; behind the Duomo a view of the ghetto porch. Museo Civico d’Arte, Modena. Fotografia Istituto per i Beni Culturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna (PatER–Catalogo digitale del Patrimonio Culturale).

As subjects liberated from “slavery” during the Napoleonic Italian campaign, the Jews played a fundamental role in this narrative.4 For Moisè Formiggini and the other 1,246 Jews of Modena, who constituted a full 6 percent of the city’s population,5 the arrival of Napoleon marked the passage from separation to integration into the mainstream society. As elsewhere, ghetto segregation had not been hermetic. As we have seen, eighteenth-century Modenese Jews had developed a prominent, Italian merchant trading society with established commercial networks throughout the Italian peninsula. Modenese Jewish merchants were book dealers, silversmiths, jewelers, printers, and silk weavers.6 A few Jewish merchant families—the Norsa, Usiglio, Rovigo, Sanguinetti, and Sacerdoti—owned all the city’s textile mills, which employed dozens of men and women.7 Upon liberation, Modenese Jews were prepared for active civic and political participation. Indeed, on May 23, 1796, after France subdued Italy, Bonaparte and the Duke of Modena, Ercole III (1727–1803),8 signed an armistice in Milan. According to Modenese chroniclers, this armistice was greatly facilitated by the role played by Formiggini as intermediary.9 Together with non-Jewish

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Modenese supporters of the French cause, such as the jurist Giuseppe Luosi (1755–1830), Formiggini became an influential representative of the new regime.10 In October of the same year, Formiggini was selected by Napoleon himself to be a member of the parliament of the Cispadane Republic.11 The republic incorporated the Duchy of Modena until June 1797, at which time the new Cisalpine Republic emerged. Formiggini was the first Italian Jew to hold office in a national government. In July of the same year, he was considered by Napoleon to be the most reliable jeweler in Italy to be trusted for estimates.12 Within this new government, Formiggini served as a member of various national committees, including the self-governing professional body of landowners and professionals, the Collegio, in 1801, and the Committee of Lyon, which was responsible for the promulgation of a new constitution for the Italian Republic, in 1802. Moisè also organized and politically united the Jews of northern Italy under their new French rulers until his death, and he led the Italian delegation during the 1806 and 1807 assemblies in Paris.13 In addition, Formiggini participated in the European debate on emancipation alongside Jacob Lazard and Orly Hayem Worms (representatives of the Jewish community of Paris),14 the respected Abraham Furtado of Bordeaux,15 and Italian politicians such as Antonio Aldini, the secretary of state.16 Cultural historians have generally viewed the Italian Renaissance as one of the main anticipatory movements of the modern age in terms of Jewish acculturation and negotiation within the wider non-Jewish society. In so many areas, including Modena, Italian Jews had in fact always been virtually Italian in language, dress, and outlook. Likewise, emancipation was seen as something that would “come of its own,” an advance Jews so well acculturated could easily achieve once the old barriers to participation in civic society were removed, which of course did occur under Napoleon.17 The preceding chapters have addressed a previously neglected process of Jewish sociocultural transformation and legal and political integration that gradually evolved in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through a complex and profound dialogue with Jewish identity, without the momentous or sudden transformations that sometimes led to assimilation and conversion elsewhere. The événement, the arrival of Napoleon in Italy, was a moment of transition for the majority of Italian Jews toward both emancipation and citizenship.18 In Modena, it meant even more: under Napoleon, Modenese Jewish merchants became the leaders of the Italian Jewry, operating on a national scale. However, this event still left a significant emancipatory road for the Modenese Jewry to travel. In contrast to other European Jewish communities, Modenese

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Jews were not overwhelmed by the eighteenth-century challenge of acculturation nor was their lot a flight to assimilation and conversion.19 By focusing on the first steps in the arena of Italian political life taken by this lesser-known Jewish leader, Formiggini, and in the context of his eighteenth-century Jewish community, this chapter explores a unique model of political, cultural, and legal integration. The progress of Modenese Jews toward emancipation was not simple and could not be taken for granted; in contrast to the French or American pattern of total and instant equality and to the German one of reluctant involvement, it was one of gradual transformation that they pursued while maintaining traditional networks and communal institutions. Evidence to illustrate this assertion comes from Formiggini’s Discorso, delivered orally but set down in writing. This text served as the ideological basis of requests for active Jewish citizenship, and provides a glimpse into Modenese Jewish mercantile society and its dynamics of integration. Formiggini’s construction of model citizenship was derived from the concept of “active citizenship” that had emerged in revolutionary France when the deputies of the National Assembly discussed the famous decree of September 27, 1791. One of the major issues debated was that of Jewish eligibility for public office. In fact, the decree of September 27 changed the legal status of only those few Jews who fulfilled the “necessary conditions,” monetary and otherwise, for office. However, the Constitution of 1791 granted virtually all Jews “active” citizenship with political rights, including the vote and eligibility to be elected.20

Life in the Ghetto Moisè Formiggini was born to one of the most influential families of Jewish silversmiths in the city.21 As we saw in Chapter 6, Laudadio and Benedetto Formiggini expanded the family business by reinforcing their relations with the Este dukes and the nobility (both were appointed as the duke’s silversmiths). They extended their trade to the neighboring Gonzaga Duchy and the Papal States, and finally, via a series of strategic marriages that forged important alliances within the Italian Jewish mercantile elite including the Olivettis of Turin, the Vitas of Lugo, and the Pintos of Livorno.22 After the premature deaths of his parents, Benedetto and Grazia Levi (?–1777), in 1776 and 1777, Moisè became the guardian of his five siblings—Vita Laudadio, Salomone, Luigi Raffaele, Consola, and Ventura (or Bonaventura). Moisè’s business strategies followed those of his father, except for an increase in the extension of credit and

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a reduction in the trade of jewels other than diamonds. Moisè always preferred foreign markets, causing some to accuse him of giving important commissions to foreign silversmiths and consequently impoverishing the local silver-working economy.23 He then married Anna Levi, daughter of David Levi, an influential Modenese silk trader.24 In 1784, when Formiggini’s brother Salomone reached maturity, the family patrimony totaled 711,264.13.12 lire.25 By 1791 Moisè’s guidance had increased the capital to 1,052,444.5.8.26 When the French troops arrived, Moisè was serving as the duke’s silversmith and jeweler.27 He was fluent in Italian and knew French and Hebrew.28 He owned one of the most important ghetto synagogues outright, and could travel through all the Italian states (including the Papal States) with a carriage and a pair of horses. He and his brothers also owned a number of buildings in the city, including shops and apartments, as well as farms in the countryside near Modena.29 Additionally, Moisè participated in the Jewish community’s administration as head (massaro) of the kehillah, as the leader of the confraternity Gemilut H> asadim ve-Rah>amim, and as a mediator between the community and both city and ducal authorities beginning around 1782.30 Like the other principal affluent merchants within the Modenese Jewish elite, Formiggini was responsible for paying the taxes to the ducal chamber required of Jews through “l’entrata di casella”;31 during the eighteenth century these totaled 200,000 lire a year.32

The Discorso of Moisè Formiggini If, as Kant pointed out, the eighteenth century was not an enlightened age but an “age of enlightenment,” Formiggini—in his Discorso, composed in 1796— saw it as an “age of definition” for Italian Jewry. This speech must be seen as a programmatic manifesto of his future political agenda and as an apologetic account offered within the framework of the seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury pamphlets favored by Jews in France and Italy. The fact that Formiggini’s text was not intended for publication but was actually conceived and delivered as a political speech in front of the new state government— which Formiggini refers to as “our comitato”—differentiates it from earlier works and makes it worthy of attention in and of itself. In a sense, this speech marked Formiggini’s entry into his career as a statist. Formiggini did not write about commerce in the abstract; rather, he promoted commerce because he himself was part of an informal “body of merchants”—referring to the other Jewish merchants of Modena with whom he

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associated. If real communities are messy affairs, ideal ones—“imagined communities,” as Benedict Anderson has called them—should have clear boundaries. Imagined communities, like other fragments of the imagination, have real effects, and attempts to create communities by imposing a particular language or variety of languages have important consequences, even if they are not always the consequences intended by the planners.33 Formiggini’s speech shows that he belonged to a number of different communities whose boundaries were at times porous and fluid including the new state of active citizens, Jewish cosmopolitans, and a transnational community of merchants that included Jewish, Protestant, and Muslim traders.34 At times, some of these communities were in competition for the loyalty of individual speakers—Voltaire, for instance. However, Formiggini’s political and cultural approach must be analyzed as the work of a man who was a well-educated member of the Italian Jewish mercantile elite, but was neither an intellectual nor a scholar. Formiggini lacked the sophisticated intellectual approach to the Jewish (and non-Jewish) Enlightenment of his contemporary, the physician and maskil (proponent of the Haskalah) Benedetto Frizzi (1756–1844). Born in Ostiano, a village near Modena in the Gonzaga Duchy, Frizzi was the author of Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti alla nazione ebrea (Pavia, 1784),35 composed in response to the nobleman Giovan Battista d’Arco. D’Arco’s Dell’influenza del ghetto nello stato (Mantua, 1782) attacked what he called the Jews’ vile and despicable occupations, deceitfulness, and miserly goals. Nevertheless, Formiggini was able to intervene and become an important agent in the shift in the Italian Jewish society. And, as we shall see, Formiggini’s work was very widely read. The structure of the Discorso is straightforward. Formiggini tied the need to admit Jews as citizens to the importance of tolerance, which he defined as the most distinguished human virtue and a necessary element of the Enlightenment. He also stressed the Jews’ commercial utility, as well as their achievements in the arts and sciences. Jews have to be recognized as active citizens, Formiggini declared, because, as Louis de Jancourt put it in the Encyclopédie, they “are as necessary to societies as the nails and bolts one uses in constructing great buildings.”36 Formiggini also relied on earlier Jewish apologetic works. One was the Lettre ou Réflexions d’un milord à son correspondant à Paris (London 1768; translated into Italian in 1772 in Venice) by Bernard Valabrègue, a bibliographer of Hebrew and “Oriental” languages at the Bibliothèque du Roi and a lay leader of the Avignonese Jews in Paris. Valabrègue was responding to a series of attacks by the merchants’ guilds in Paris, which accused Jews of being eternal foreigners and ritual murderers.37 Another was

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the Lettera apologetica a sua eccellenza il signor marchese n.n. amico del signor avvocato Giovambattista Benedetti (Mantua, 1775), written by Jacob Saraval, the celebrated rabbi from Mantua who was involved in the case of illicit sex regarding Lea Modena. Without revealing his name, Saraval wrote his letter to refute the charges leveled by an unnamed lawyer in Ferrara that Jews were overly clever, disliked non-Jews, and put their trust in suspicious Talmudic texts.38 Formiggini made much use of Frizzi’s Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti alla nazione ebrea, and was well acquainted with the Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei et in particolar dimoranti nell’inclita città di Venetia by Simone Luzzatto (Venice, 1638), as well as the Apologie pour la Nation Juive, ou Réflexions Critiques by Isaac de Pinto (Paris, 1762).39 All these authors, each in his own way, emphasized the validity of Judaism, the good character of Jews, their loyalty to Gentile rulers, and their commercial and general economic utility; Formiggini borrowed his arguments from all of them. Addressing the Congress of the Cispadane Federation, Formiggini pointed out that Jews “can and will be useful citizens, more than others, because they are more industrious.”40 By emphasizing both wise and tyrannical rulers, Formiggini maintained that, on the one hand, the typical portrait of Jewish history was a tearful sequence of persecutions, but on the other he praised kings who had seen the utility of the Jews for their state’s commerce and acted with tolerance. Frizzi and Valabrègue had also made the latter point. Formiggini explicitly cited Valabrègue’s mention of the Jewish settlement in Hamburg under King Christian IV.41 Thanks to his mercantilist-utilitarian outlook, Formiggini explicitly connected Jews with trade and suggested that commerce was a civic virtue; when allowed, Jewish trade was of primary benefit to the state in which it was practiced. Formiggini then offered a rather traditional exploration of the merits of Jews in science, literature, and philosophy, which, as we shall see, reveals a certain originality in the sources cited. In the end, Formiggini emphatically pleaded for improvement in the legal status of the Jews in the name of the natural rights of all men.

In Praise of Tolerance Formiggini began his plea by praising the main principles he attributed to the “magnanimous French nation,” which were at the core of the European early Enlightenment: the parity among its members in the name of the righteous law of Caronda, a legendary Hellenistic legislator; the paternal attitude toward

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its citizens; and finally, the importance of “toleration rather than religious superstition.”42 In Formiggini’s mercantilist view, both tolerance and commerce were universal values that promoted the development of societies: “Not one of you is unaware that commerce is the most powerful tool in connecting man through reciprocal friendship and that supporting the goals of providence with mutual exchange, in nature’s immense variety, has always been, and remains, one of the major sources of public happiness.”43 Formiggini believed that “the religious intolerance, first with the expulsion of the Muslims, and of the Jews, had deprived Spain of many millions of industrious inhabitants and had brought there a desolation from which it has never been able to recover and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes [in 1685 by Louis XIV, with the mass migration of French Protestants] made us look elsewhere for the Arts that once brought splendor and happiness to France.”44 According to Formiggini, if a government wishes to successfully combat superstition and prejudice, it can only grant office to “enlightened citizens” in order to promote good principles and teachings among common people (citizens). For these “enlightened citizens,” tolerance is the only possible resource at their disposal: “From a philosophical point of view, tolerance is among human virtues the more necessary, and, indeed, it would have been the more familiar to men.”45 Benedetto Frizzi similarly begins his Difesa with a long description of the importance of tolerance understood in both its theological and moral values, which he views to be not only an expression of God’s attitude but also useful to the state. By contrast, “Intolerance opposes the good of the State.”46 Formiggini expressed the same confidence as the mid-eighteenthcentury philosophes, arguing that the advocacy of tolerance should be obvious to any rational individual: Man is weak and imperfect, agitated by passions and the prey of error, so he constantly needs to tolerate and be tolerated. On top of that, human reason is devoid of a precise and fixed measure: that which is clear for one is obscure for another. Consequently, no one has the right to impose his reasoning as a general rule nor to subjugate others to his opinions. It would be an act of tyranny to demand it. Yet such a necessary virtue came later in establishing itself among men, and the major calamities presented by the world have been caused by intolerant religions. The Apostle of Virtue, Voltaire, calculated millions of victims [of intolerance], sacrificed by the fury who, out of malice or trickery, did not know it [tolerance]. It is astonishing how men have

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been imbeciles for such a long time because, up until the age of our fathers, the Inquisition and religious persecution have remained present. The cliffs of Cevenna glisten still today with the buried bones of a thousand victims of intolerance, sacrificed by the most despotic and superstitious tyrannies in France.47 However, Voltaire was at best ambiguous, if not negative, with respect to Jews, whom he repeatedly attacked along with the Torah and the Talmud. In his Dictionnaire Philosophique (Paris, 1764), he writes, “This nation [the Jews] is, in many respects, the most detestable ever to have sullied the earth.”48 Eventually, even Formiggini began to see Voltaire as the paragon of the eighteenthcentury attacks: “It does not escape me that this century’s Lucian [Voltaire], following a quarrel that he had in Berlin with a Jewish jeweler, has often spit his venom on us. But the insults of this unstable writer presented to all of Europe, are to our advantage, since he was refuted not with the weapon of ridicule, but with those of Criticism and Doctrine [the Apology] of our immortal Pinto. Not only did he [Voltaire] not reply but he was also forced to confess to having been more influenced by his heart than reason in his sarcasms, and he has honored his adversary with praises.”49 Formiggini was referring to the 1762 debate that pitted Isaac de Pinto against Voltaire. De Pinto’s Apologie pour la nation Juive addressed the themes that Voltaire, along with other French Enlightenment thinkers, had designated as the major issues constituting the Jewish question, such as the validity of Judaism in its biblical and Talmudic forms, its morality, and the openness or lack thereof to change within the Jewish nation, as well as the national and international character of Jews and their relationship to Gentiles. Moreover, de Pinto had a clear preference for Sephardi communities, insisting that “a Portuguese Jew of Bordeaux and a German Jew of Metz appear to be two beings of a different nature.”50 In Formiggini’s mercantilist approach, Jews of both Metz and Amsterdam had the same role; both shaped prosperity in their respective countries. In this sense, Formiggini distinguished himself not only from de Pinto but also from other writers who especially praised Sephardi Jewish commerce in works such as the Discorso by Luzzatto together with Humble Addresses to the Lord Protector (1655) by Menasseh ben Israel (1604–1657) and Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland on the Same Foot with All Nations (1714) by John Toland (1670–1722), who argued for the readmission of Jews into England.51 Formiggini then launched into a broad description of the usefulness of the Jews and of their mercantile success from ancient to present times in both

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the Old World and the New World, and specifically within the Este Duchy, Modena, and Reggio Emilia: Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Athens, Corinth owe their power and fortune to the Jews of long ago. Genoa, Florence, and Pisa in their heights of liberty also flourished thanks to them. Venice is forever indebted to them for not having remained a mass of shapeless canopies covered in algae and mucus, a refuge for fugitives and squalid degenerates. Dispersed by the Romans, they [Jews] spread out across Spain and particularly in Lusitania, and they prospered infinitely during the Arab rule. Expelled from Spain, the necessity caused them to invent the Lettere di cambio (bills of exchange) so as to safeguard their riches from curious tyrants, and from then on they spread out more rapidly and more securely, which consequently benefitted the trading Nation. . . . Jews are as necessary to societies as the nails and bolts one uses in constructing great buildings. They play practically the same role in the trading cities, where they are allowed to live. And it is well known, speaking only of Italy, that Venice, Mantua, and Livorno are largely populated by manufacturers established by Jews. Neither in Modena nor Reggio Emilia do they lack industries of various products, which are sent to foreign markets, constituting a notable profit for the State, together with other manufacturers, which cover the State’s internal consumption, allowing for a continuous increase of profit.52 Here, Formiggini’s speech shows his familiarity with Benedetto Frizzi’s work, which names Italian Jewish entrepreneurs, inventors, and intellectuals, including Jewish manufacturers in Modena and Reggio Emilia, such as the Modenese Angelo Sanguinetti and his factory for organza veils.53 Frizzi and Formiggini both mention Abram Colorni, a Jewish engineer in the sixteenth-century Ferrarese Este court, as a “remarkable example of Jewish utility.”54 Describing the role of Mazo di Gabriel (known as Magino Gabrielli), a young Jew from Padua then living in Venice who, during the 1580s in both Venice and Rome (under Pope Sixtus V), “was the most skillful in multiplying the silkworms and in producing that product,”55 Formiggini noted as his source the fourth volume of Giulio Bartolocci’s vast Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica (1675–93), which eventually became the most notable Christian-Hebraist project of the late seventeenth century. Bartolocci served as a professor of Hebrew at the Collegium Neophytorum from 1651.56 Valabrègue, Saraval, and

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Frizzi labored to use Christian-Hebraists, from Paulus Fagius to Giambattista Ugolini, in their apologies, with the purpose of defending the validity of Judaism and its biblical and Talmudic traditions.57 Uniquely and even more noteworthy, Formiggini cited books that were permitted in Modena but were forbidden or considered suspect by Catholic censors in most of the other Italian states.58 For example, Formiggini used the article on Metz from the Encyclopédie in order to emphasize the usefulness of Jews there—whose numbers grew from just two families in 1565 to 300 in 1698—for the “universal good.”59 Jews in Metz, Formiggini declared, were instrumental in supplying the French army, especially its cavalry. Formiggini also cites the Piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo (Venice, 1585) by Tomaso Garzoni da Bagnacavallo, who praises work, professions, and industry as primary benefits to humanity, largely referring to Jews like the engineer Raffaello Mirani to support his argument. It is not surprising that Garzoni’s book was harshly criticized by Antonio Possevino, himself a polemicist against Jews, because of its combination of Catholic and heterodox sources.60 Formiggini also referred to the Storia Universale dal principio del mondo sino al presente scritta da una compagnia di letterati inglesi tradotta dall’inglese con aggiunta di note ad Amsterdam (Florence, 1766), which was the Italian translation of the known Universal History (London, 1753–88). The point was to emphasize that Philip the Fair had to readmit Jews into his kingdom in 1306 because he could not find any other means to increase commerce and resettle the economy.61 Formiggini next quoted Guillaume Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique (Geneva, 1775) to emphasize the usefulness of Jews such as Beniamino d’Aosta in the cultivation of cacao in the new world.62 Likewise, Formiggini quoted the second volume of the Saggio storico sul Regno di Corsica dalla sollevazione del 1729 sino alla metà del 1768 by Domenico Caminer (Venice, 1768) and the Saggio sul commercio di Olanda by the Jacobin Matteo Angelo Galdi, which at the time was still unpublished.63 Yet Formiggini mentioned all these works without polemicizing; his emphasis was on data and examples.

The Circulation of Books: Jewish-Christian Relations in the State Of note is the fact that works like those Formiggini cited reached the Jewish mercantile elite. Most likely, Formiggini himself had become familiar with the Enlightenment through his proximity to Moisè Beniamino Foa, the agent

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(provveditore) who purchased the many books that became the core of Modena’s ducal public library and university library under both Francesco III and Ercole III.64 The Formiggini family was also involved in the book trade.65 Foa’s work in compiling the libraries was enormous, and Formiggini greatly benefitted from it.66 Like Formiggini, Foa, the older of the two, grew up in the Este Duchy, in the ghetto of Reggio Emilia.67 In adulthood they shared many personal and professional contacts, not to mention their common enthusiasm for the French “savior.” It was likely through Foa that Formiggini came to know the works of Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) like Phaedon, which he probably read in the 1772 Italian translation by Carlo Ferdinandi.68 In addition, Formiggini quoted in an apologetic tone the main champions of the Jewish Enlightenment, such as Jacob Rodrigues Péreire (1715–1780) and Isaac de Pinto along with Moses Mendelssohn and Naftali Hertz Wessely (1725–1805), in his Discorso: “Thus although even in this age we could not boast a Hertz [Naftali Hertz Wessely] or a Pinto [Isaac de Pinto] or a Pereira [Jacob Rodrigues Péreire], nevertheless, if we had no other name with which to enrich our literary splendors, it would be enough to mention the incomparable Moses Mendelssohn, alone capable of illustrating a century, a nation. His Phaedon will survive as the most luminous proof of the immortality of our soul that man has ever produced. It is he whom cultured Europe has quickly agreed to considered in life and death the prince of metaphysicians.”69 Interestingly, but perhaps as a result of his not knowing German, Formiggini never referred to Christian Wilhelm von Dohm (1751–1820)’s 1781 work Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden (On the civil improvement of the Jews). More striking is the absence of references to Joseph II’s Toleranz edicts of 1781–82, which were the principal subject of D’Arco’s tract.70 As Formiggini’s correspondence suggests, it was only in 1807 that he felt the need to know the works of German maskilim better, such as those by Mendelssohn and Friedländer in addition to Dohm.71 Another important source that Formiggini surely knew well and used was the Lettere piacevoli se piaceranno by Compagnoni, analyzed in Chapter 6.72 In a sort of counter-Voltairean account, Compagnoni, with arguments that remind us of those in Formiggini’s Discorso, praises Jews as leaders in promoting commerce: “They more than any others contributed to the revival of the arts and commerce in Europe, where they had been mistreated worse than anywhere else. . . . I will just mention the admirable invention of Letters of Change that is due to Jews’ speculation. If European nations had treated Jews for seventeen centuries according to natural justice and human

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rights, they [the Letters of Change] would not have been considered such a useful invention.”73

The Modenese Jewish Mercantile Elite and Simone Luzzatto The fact that it exploits sources like the Lettere piacevoli reveals how composite a work the Discorso of Formiggini was. At the same time, it makes clear that Formiggini’s arguments must be seen as derivative. On subjects such as toleration or Jewish utility, Formiggini has anthologized and anthologized well, but he has not innovated. Yet, for all that, studying his work is of historical value; unlike so many others if not everyone else, Formiggini was actually doing what he was writing about. In a sense, Modenese Jewish merchants in the eighteenth century had been the perfect counterweights to Simone Luzzatto’s ideal as found in his Discorso published in 1638, significantly the year in which the Modena ghetto was founded. Luzzatto had celebrated the role Jews played in commerce along with their civic loyalty and ethical standards, all three of which, he said, justified Venetian toleration. Luzzatto had also argued that Jews, with no place to go outside the city, never posed the threat of moving their activities elsewhere.74 In Modena, as we know, Jewish commerce had furthered both internal and external expansion. Moreover, in the late eighteenth century, Jewish merchants held all the state trade monopolies, including those for grappa, glass, coral, diamonds, and the minting of money. Modenese Jewish silk producers had also avoided the failure that occurred in the other textile sectors in the city, successfully managing all the silk mills at the turn of the eighteenth century. In 1780 all five licenses for Modenese textile mills were issued to Jews: Moisè Aron, Angelo and Iacob Sanguinetti, David Usiglio, and Giuseppe Diena.75 Nevertheless, as we have seen, this commercial leadership had not stirred Modena’s Jews to seek civic reform. Modenese Jews’ full participation in the economy gave them a certain negotiating power with both state and church authorities. Starting as early as 1622, they could belong to any guild, though by paying a fee higher than that paid by non-Jews,76 and by 1643 both major entrepreneurs and small traders could conduct their activities outside the ghetto, in the squares and streets of the city. In 1781 small Jewish peddlers, members of the Peddlers’ Guild, obtained permission to conduct their business during Christian holy days until the time of church services.77 Since 1629 members of the Formiggini family had been enrolled in the Guild of Silversmiths and

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Jewelers and had been protected by the Este dukes.78 Modenese Jews could even buy property—where, paradoxically, they were forbidden to live—both within the city and in the countryside. In 1775 Benedetto Formiggini administered and was held responsible for a landed property, the Terrazzo, which he rented from Count Giovanni Battista Scotti of Piacenza in the nearby Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, for both agriculture and cattle farming.79 In 1754 Miriam Rovigo, the well-to-do Jewish widow who established So’ed H> olim, got back her complete dowry and its appurtenances, which included two huge farms in San Prospero, a small town near Modena,80 and since 1769 a water-powered silk mill equipped with a house for the master and all its “tools and instruments.”81 Furthermore, the mill employed six workers and was directed by Emanuele Sacerdoti.82 All of this was contrary to Luzzatto’s argument that Jews would not threaten the Venetian economy since they could not own property. Modenese Jewish merchants in the eighteenth century also challenged another of Luzzatto’s assertions—that Jews, by marrying and raising large families, were “incurring great expenses and causing a division of their possessions.”83 Modenese Jewish merchants used the dowry system to create and transfer estates among themselves, the Italian Jewish mercantile elite.84 When Moisè Formiggini married Anna Levi, she brought with her a dowry of 43,245 lire. Moisè himself then oversaw the creation of strategic marital unions that forged alliances among the Modenese and other Italian Jewish mercantile elites. He arranged the marriage of his brothers Salomone and Vita, respectively, with his sister-in-law Ricca in 1784 and with Anna Calimani Levi, a member of an influential family of Triestine jewelers, in 1788.85 Finally, in 1789 he brokered the marriage of his niece Anna to Moisè Vita Sanguinetti, a wealthy banker and silk trader in Modena,86 and of his sister Buonaventura with the Venetian jeweler Angelo Polacco.87 However, as we have seen, ducal authorities forced the Jews to keep a low profile despite their commercial privileges: Jews in the Este Duchy could not participate in the general councils of the city and could not formally engage in civic affairs as was already the case in other Italian cities.88 Formiggini’s stance and his writings with the arrival of Napoleon must be seen against this background and as a protest against it. His vision of Jews as “active citizens” was quite the opposite of that of Luzzatto; in fact, it greatly distanced him from Menasseh ben Israel and John Toland as well.89 As recently noted by Jonathan Karp, Luzzatto and Ben Israel, with their innovative naturalistic rationales for Jewish toleration, had a conservative side too. Toleration was predicated on the Jews’ acquiescence to their permanent confinement within a single

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economic sector and their exclusion from any wider participation in Venetian society. According to Karp’s study, for both these authors Jewish commerce enabled the political liberty of the host society because Jews themselves had no aspirations to enjoy such liberty.90 At the same time, Formiggini was a man caught between two centuries, or perhaps two worlds. He did not propose renovating Jewish life or turning it upside down to achieve the “virtue” people like the Abbé Henri Grégoire (1750–1831), the best known advocate for Jewish emancipation in France,91 or Dohm were touting; he seemed to view Jewish utility as sufficient justification for Jewish inclusion and rights. Yet he was also aware that being an active citizen meant more than just continuing the old ways; it meant the responsibility of voting, the ability to hold public office, and access to university education and the liberal professions.92 In this spirit and in a kind of peroration, he stated: “Thus enlightened listeners, we hope that by your grace the Modenese people will accept us as active citizens. When we will be free from oppression, you will see that, remembering our ancient glories, we will justify with our work [emphasis mine] the favorable opinion that you have of us.”93 Formiggini said nothing about Jews “needing to improve,” the theme so prevalent in so many writings, to prove that the citizenship they had acquired was deserved.94 The discourse on the need for “Jewish improvement” prevalent among Ashkenazi communities across the Alps was absent, while an optimistic belief in the nexus between commerce, utility, culture, and morality seems to have characterized the Jewish intellectual and mercantile elite in Modena. At the end of his Discorso, Formiggini returned to his initial topic—the unjust status of those forced to flee to various parts of the world because of differing beliefs—which he tied to praise for the universal values expressed by the French Revolution. Quoting Edmund Burke’s Storia degli Stabilimenti europei in America divisa in sei parti tradotta dall’inglese in italiano (Venice, 1763),95 he declared: “Such is the progress of the Spirit of Commerce that it diminishes all the prejudices of the nations and of religion in favor of the general interest, which must unite all men. What are these vain distinctions of Lutheran, and of Jew, of French, and of Dutch? . . . Are you all not men? Why do you expel each other from a land where maybe you have only a day to live?”96 Formiggini then concluded his plea, asking: “In order to accomplish this goal it would seem opportune that by means of your Council the governmental authorities be pushed to order as expeditiously as possible the translation into Italian of the Rights of Man, already promulgated with great honor before the Supreme Being by the victorious French Republic. Thus, when published, it

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might perhaps be ordered that parish priests take inspiration from it to inspire in their flocks through their inducements and eloquence from the altar its principles wherever they might be enjoyed, as analogous to the pure meaning of the Gospel, and for all who are to come.”97 On December 11, 1796, in the elections for the new Modenese Council of the Cispadane Republic, Modenese Jews obtained the right to be elected and to vote in municipal elections for the first time. Four Jews—Moisè Formiggini, Emanuele Sacerdoti, Isaac d’Angelo Levi (a silversmith and silk trader), and Beniamino Amadio Padoa (a physician)—were chosen to become council members.98 In October 1797, no doubt reflecting on successes like this, Formiggini, as part of a request to the Modena municipality to admit Jews into the city’s military service, boldly reinforced his previous requests: It is contrary to the law [emphasis mine] and to the constitution that there exist distinctions among citizens: those distinctions that create distinct groups. The contract stipulated between the municipality and the Jews ceased ipso iure the day that the constitution was promulgated, and even more so after the promulgation of the law for the organization of the civic guard. Throughout the entire Republic, where there are Jews, they have been enlisted and have performed this service for a long time. Only the city of Modena should preserve these distinctions? Is it not true that the legislative body needs to fix this situation?99 The issue was no longer tolerance; Formiggini asked the Modenese authorities to admit Jews because of the law. Formiggini’s political awareness had grown. The insistence that the Jews’ legal rights be observed—no longer just a call to renew a set of ephemeral privileges—was to be the main component of Formiggini’s agenda in the following years.100 At the same time, he concluded his request reverting to a traditional tone: “To conclude, I beseech you to maintain your trust in me, turning to me whenever you believe I will be able to be useful to the nation, and I will do more and more anything possible to deserve this trust.”101 Through a process of two steps forward and one step back, as this document of 1797 attests, Modenese Jewish mercantile society tentatively moved toward a new civil world. The lay leader and merchant Moisè Formiggini individuated the basis for Italian Jewish emancipation and integration in both the Jewish commercial utility and entrepreneurial savvy and in the equalizing

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forces of the French Revolution. Ishmael Ha-Kohen, the renowned rabbi and halakhist from Modena who had mastered Hebrew, Italian, Latin, and Greek literatures, was the only rabbi in Italy who rejected the Haskalah manifesto Divrei shalom ve-emet (1782) by Naftali Wessely, which generated a debate from 1782 to 1784 over more liberal and secular instruction within Italian Jewish communities. Ishmael Ha-Kohen refused Wessely’s ideological prominence of secular education over Jewish culture not because he was against secular culture per se, on which he was highly acculturated; rather, similar to what Lois Dubin argues regarding the Jews of Trieste (which was part of the Haskalah orbit while Modena was not), Ha-Kohen and the other Modenese Jews did not need (and then refused) a specific ideology of transformation in order to make their culture “Italian” or “European.”102 In Modena, the acquisition of vernacular languages and Latin, immersion in secular studies, and the dynamics of cultural hybridization had entered Jewish daily life two centuries earlier. Moreover, these phenomena involved a large Jewish public, far beyond the intellectual elites. The leading Jewish merchants shaped Modenese Jewish society, culture, and politics, impregnating them with their own kind of Enlightenment. This was based on the dissemination of Italian and Jewish culture throughout Europe, and the spread of a scholarly and French-oriented lay culture within both the Italian Jewish and non-Jewish societies. For Formiggini as for the rest of the Modenese Jews, the arrival of Napoleon constituted the challenging beginning of their participation as equals in Italy’s civic and national societies.

Abbreviations

ACEMO AA-R AB-IeR AM-O AM-TI SH TT ASCI-PT

Modena, Archivio della Comunità ebraica Archivio Antico, Recapiti Asmored Aboker [Ashmoret ha-Boker], Istrumenti e Recapiti Archivio moderno, Oratori Archivio moderno, Tempio Israelitico Archivio aggregato della Confraternita Soed Holim [So‘ed H> olim], poi Misericordia Donne Archivio aggregato Talmud Torà Imola (BO), Archivio Storico Comunale, Archivio di Palazzo Tozzoni

ASCMO Modena, Archivio Storico Comunale Aa-O Atti amministrativi, Ornato BC Filza Blasia e Coltellini C1903 Serie Contratti, 1903 CM-EA Consiglio della Municipalità, Ex Actis (ante 1796) CM-P Consiglio della Municipalità, Prodotte (post 1796) CS Camera Segreta Statuti ed atti diversi delle corporazioni d’Arti e mestieri CS-AE Arte degli Orefici CS-AS Arte della Seta poi collegio sopra la nobil Arte della seta della città di Modena CS-ASI Arte dei Sartori CS-RAE-secc. XVI–XVIII Recapiti dell’Arte de’ Orefici secc. XVI–XVIII

256

Abbreviations

GV MR

Giudici alle Vettovaglie Miscellanea di Ragioneria

ASFE Ferrara NA

Archivio di Stato Notarile Antico

ASMI Milano

Archivio di Stato

ASMO Modena AM-AeM AM-AeM-S AM-BB AM-E AM-I-CH

Archivio di Stato Archivio per Materie, Arti e Mestieri Archivio per Materie, Arti e Mestieri, Arte della Seta Archivio per Materie, Banchi e Banchieri Archivio per Materie, Ebrei Archivio per Materie, Inquisizione, Causae Hebreorum Archivio per Materie, Inquisizione, Miscellanea Archivio dell’Inquisizione, Processi Archivio Napoleonico Archivio Napoleonico, Prefettura

AM-I-M AM-I-P AN AN-P AN-PV AN-PV-T CD

CFM CPU EC SN UCE_1 UCE_2

Archivio Notarile, Primo Versamento Archivio Notarile, Primo Versamento, Testamenti Camera Ducale CD-G Camera Ducale, Guardaroba CD-Z Camera Ducale, Zecche Collezione Ferrari Moreni Catasto Preunitario Estimi e Catasti Soppressioni napoleoniche Ufficio centrale del Censo (1791–1803) Ufficio centrale del Censo (1805)

ASRE Reggio Emilia AB-C

Archivio di Stato Archivio Bassani, Cancelli

BAFE Ferrara Ms BEMO Modena

Biblioteca Ariostea Manoscritti Biblioteca Estense

Abbreviations

AfAF CC CFM Ms BUB Bologna Ms

257

Archivio famigliare Angelo Fortunato Formiggini Collezione Campori Collezione Ferrari-Moreni Manoscritti Biblioteca Universitaria Manoscritti

CAJHP Central Archive for the History of Jewish People JTS New York Ms

Jewish Theological Seminary Manuscripts

NLI

National Library of Israel Department of Manuscripts and Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts

IMHM

Whenever available, folio numbers are indicated.

Notes

Introduction 1. On the concept of “first emancipation” for Italian Jews, see A. Milano, Storia degli ebrei, 282–88. 2. On the periodization of the early modern period in Jewish history, see Siegmund, Medici State, 4–5, and, more recently, Karp and Sutcliffe, introduction, 1–11, esp. 5–6. 3. J. Israel, European Jewry. 4. On these themes painted by Cosmè Tura and other artists in Ferrara, see Campbell, Cosmè Tura, esp. 99–129; and Fiorenza, “Hebrew, Hieroglyphs,” 126–48. On Benvenuto Tisi detto Garofalo’s fresco and its historical and artistic context, see the illuminating D. E. Katz, Jew in the Art, 69–98. On Jews in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Ferrara, see Herzig, Convert’s Tale, and the bibliography therein. 5. On the 1652–53 immigration, see Leoni, La nazione ebraica. 6. Folin, Rinascimento estense, 372. 7. For a new study on anti-Semitism and ritual murder accusations in the medieval and early modern age in Europe (including Italy), see Teter, Blood Libel. 8. Francesca Trivellato has recently outlined the potentiality of microhistory as historical methodology solidly built on archival sources, a synchronic approach, and individual remarkable lives as tools for exploring historical contexts in a global and comparative perspective with macrohistorical inquiries; see Trivellato, “Is There a Future.” On this wonderful essay, I have based many of my arguments on microhistory in these pages. 9. Grendi, “Micro-analisi e storia,” 506–20. 10. Burke, Cultural Hybridity. I wish to thank Magda Teter, who pushed me to think in this context beyond the more common category of acculturation that at least regarding Italian Jews and book culture in the early modern age appears problematic. 11. For an example of this analysis in Jewish cultural history, see Baruchson, Sefarim ve-korim. 12. For this methodological approach, although with different emphases and sometimes different conclusions, see Tedeschi, Prosecution of Heresy, 47–88; Del Col, “I processi dell’Inquisizione,” 29–49; and Ginzburg, “Witchcraft and Popular Piety,” 1–16. 13. Ginzburg, “Inquisitor as Anthropologist,” quotation from 160. 14. See E. Milano, “Vicende e consistenza.” 15. Formiggini, Archivio della Famiglia; Cerasi, Archivio della famiglia. 16. I have borrowed the formulation of “silenced” women from Chajes, “He Said and She Said,” 118.

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17. See, for example, the collections of the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem, Kibbutz Yavne, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. All the silver ceremonial objects are internally inventoried but remain unpublished. 18. Trivellato, Familiarity of Strangers, 18. 19. Dubin, “Introduction.” 20. Dubin, “Introduction” and “Subjects into Citizens.” For a revision of the category of “port Jews” and its applicability to the Italian context, see Bregoli, Mediterranean Enlightenment, and Chapter 4. 21. Sorkin, “Port Jew,” quotation from 88. 22. Subrahmanyan, introduction to Merchants Networks, ed. Subrahmanyan, xiv–xv. See also Trivellato, “From Livorno to Goa,” 200. 23. Terpstra, Religious Refugees, esp. 7–13. 24. N. Davis, Trickster Travels, 13. 25. On the 1652–53 immigration, see Leoni, La nazione ebraica and Chapter 4. 26. On Jews in early modern Amsterdam, see Kaplan, From Christianity to Judaism; Bodian, Hebrews of the Portuguese, 96–131. 27. A. Milano, Storia degli ebrei, 286–337. 28. Colorni, Gli ebrei nel sistema del diritto, 64–66. 29. Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi; Marini, Lo Stato estense. 30. The history of Jews in Modena and the Este Duchy is currently a sorely underresearched area in both Italian and Jewish histories, aside from two recent books: Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial; and Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede. The former analyzes Jews accused by the local inquisitors during some trials in the first four decades of the seventeenth century (up to 1638); the latter is a thorough analysis of the Houses of Converts and their politics of conversion in Modena and Reggio Emilia. 31. See Chapter 1. 32. J. Israel, European Jewry, 1. 33. See Chapter 5. 34. On the Modenese Inquisition and the Jews in the early modern period, see A. Biondi, “La ‘Nuova Inquisizione’”; A. Bondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione”; Perani, “Confisca e censura”; Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial (more recent further articles on the topic of Modenese Jewry and the Inquisition published by Aron-Beller are indicated in the following chapters); and Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” “Dangerous Readings,” and “‘This Passage Can Also.’” 35. Tedeschi, Prosecution of Heresy, 8. 36. Nevertheless, when approaching the Inquisition in Modena and its relation to Jews, in light of the evidence at our disposal, it is misleading for Katherine Aron-Beller to state that “we must treat with caution any assumption that the Holy Office seriously affected Jewish life. . . . Conscious mitigation, its objectivity, and fairness toward Jews, and its types of punishments were far milder than in secular courts.” See Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 76 and 240. 37. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, August 17, 1617. Testimonies of December 1 and 2, 1617. 38. Stow, “Papi, chiesa.” 39. See Stow, Theater of Acculturation; and Siegmund, Medici State. 40. Stow, “Consciousness of Closure.” 41. Roth, Jews, 193–215; Roth, History of the Jews, 193–227; H. Graetz, Structure of Jewish History; Shulvass, H>aye ha-Yehudim. 42. Sermoneta, “Aspetti del pensiero”; Bonfil, “Società cristiana.”

Notes to Pages 17–25

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43. This process of negotiation has been articulated by Ruderman, “Cecil Roth,” 128–42, quotation from 139. Robert Bonfil and Kenneth Stow, respectively, have used “active selective cultural participation” and “tense intimacy” to define very similar processes: Bonfil, Gli ebrei d’Italia, 145—the expression is not maintained in the English translation of the book; Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 3–4. 44. Stow, “Corporate Double,” 283–301. 45. For some excellent exceptions, see Dubin, Port Jews; Trivellato, Familiarity of Strangers; and Bregoli, Mediterranean Enlightenment. 46. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 107–9. 47. For an important discussion of these themes in their Italian context, see Stow, “Jewish Pre-Emancipation.” 48. As it will emerge later, I have largely used Anderson, Imagined Communities, for the broader conceptualization of community. 49. On the vicissitudes of Sara Usiglio, see Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 121–39, esp. 135. 50. See n. 20. Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre’s famous declaration, “The Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals,” is published in MendesFlohr and Reinharz, Jew in the Modern World, 124. 51. H. Graetz, Structure of Jewish History, 37, 41, 117–24; J. Katz, Out of the Ghetto. In regard to the German context, in the 1960s Azriel Schochet’s pioneering work investigated phenomena of social and cultural integration that happened before the Haskalah; Schochet, ‘Im Hilufe ha-Tekufot. 52. For a recent historiographical overview, see Bregoli and Francesconi, introduction to Bregoli and Francesconi eds., Tradition and Transformation. 53. Ruderman, Early Modern Jewry, 14–15. 54. Rosman, How Jewish, 63. 55. On Formiggini and Modenese Jews post-1796 under the Regno d’Italia, see also Francesconi, “Jewish Families,” 240–307.

Chapter 1 1. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 98. 2. ASCMO, CM-EA, February 1617, n.d. 3. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 98–99. 4. According to interesting historiographical revisions by Victor Turner, Keith Thomas, and Mikhail Bakhtin, Carnival served as a ritual liberation, a form of free expression, and the transformation of reality; see Turner, Ritual Process, 167–68; Turner, “Center Out There”; Thomas, “Work and Leisure”; and Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, 279–80, 300. Natalie Zemon Davis similarly argues that popular feasts and rituals of reversal were the products of popular culture, but she is more cautious in considering the social and popular effects: “Rather than being a mere ‘safety-valve,’ deflecting attention from social reality, festive life can on the one hand perpetuate certain values of the community, even guarantee its survival, and on the other hand, criticize political order.” See N. Davis, “Reasons of Misrule,” 41, 48–49. 5. On the political balances in Modena, see Marini, Lo Stato estense, 103–9. 6. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 98–99.

262

Notes to Pages 25–31

7. On early modern cities conceived as Christian bodies in the Italian context, see Muir, Civic Ritual, 185–210; Ruggiero, “Constructing Civic Morality,” 174–90; Stow, “Medieval Jews,” 73–100; and Terpstra, Religious Refugees, 28–33. 8. On these previous inquisitorial campaigns, see Rotondò, “I movimenti ereticali”; Peyronel Rambaldi, Speranze e crisi; Firpo, Inquisizione romana e controriforma; and Ginzburg, “Witchcraft and Popular Piety.” 9. A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 270–73. 10. Cattini, “Per un profilo.” 11. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 67–70; see also Basini, L’uomo e il pane, 135–78; and Basini, Sul mercato di Modena, 42–78. 12. Basini, Sul mercato di Modena, 35–73; Rombaldi, “L’economia dei territori,” 72; Marini, Lo Stato estense, 67–75. 13. Folin, “Ferrara: 1385–1505,” 354–88, quotation from 387. 14. See more about this in Chapter 2. 15. See A. Biondi, “La ‘Nuova Inquisizione,’” 61–76. The quotation is from Folin, Rinascimento estense, 372. 16. See Folin, “Modena e la corte.” 17. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 126–27. 18. ASCMO, CM-EA, 1617, n.d. 19. ASCMO, CM-EA, 1617, n.d., and May 14, 1618, quoted by A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 274. 20. ASCMO, CM-EA, 1617, n.d.; quoted in A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 274. 21. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1617–1620, 201. 22. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 79–81 and 107–9. 23. For a contextualization of Jews in Counter-Reformation Italy, see Stow, Catholic Thought. 24. Barbieri, Entrata solenne. 25. See, for example, Marrara, Riseduti e nobiltà; Berengo, Nobili e mercanti; Politi, Aristocrazia e potere; Grendi, “Capitazioni e nobiltà”; Borelli, Un patriziato della terraferma; Zenobi, Ceti e potere; and J. Davis, Decline of the Venetian. For a recent, accurate analysis of the current scholarship on this topic, see Mozzarelli “Stato, patriziato.” 26. Mozzarelli “Stato, patriziato,” 510. 27. See L. Modena, Autobiography, 76–77 (quotation), 185–86. 28. On the expulsion of Jews from France, see Schwarzfuchs, “Expulsion of the Jews,” 482–89; Chazan, Medieval Jewry, 191–205; and Jordan, French Monarchy. 29. ASMO, Alberti II et Nicolai Officiorum pubblicorum Decretorumque Registrum, 1392 ad 1396, fol. 23. See Greco, “Modena: Crocevia di merci,” 36. 30. A. Milano, Storia degli ebrei, 109–211; Luzzati, “Banchi e insediamenti.” 31. Luzzati, “Banchi e insediamenti.” 32. See Campanini, “Tracce documentarie,” 35. 33. In 1366 “Moises iudeus” acquired the cemetery in an area in San Giacomo from Giacomo da Leone, son of the late Sabbatuccio da Montensanto, for 19 Modenese lire. According to a decree promulgated by Marquise Nicolò d’Este on November 5, 1366, Jews could be buried there; Campanini, “Tracce documentarie,” 35. 34. Leoni, “La posizione giuridica,” 51–61. 35. ASMO, AM-E, 18B, fols. 40–41; ASMO, AM-E, 15/8, fols. 15–20.

Notes to Pages 31–36

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36. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 20–22. 37. Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné, 25–26. See more about this in Chapter 3. 38. The private interest was 4 denari per lira per month in the case of credit under 10 lire (20 percent interest rate per year), while in the case of credit above 10 lire the interest was 5 denari per month (25 percent per year); in the case of foreigners the interest amounted to 6 denari. ASMO, AM-BB, 2A, April 16, 1654; ASMO, AM-E, 18B, fols. 40–41; ASMO, AM-E, 15/8, fols. 15–30, 56–62. 39. L. Modena, Autobiography, 80-100. 40. Lancellotti, “Cronaca modenese,” vol. 5 (13 agosto 1553–5 novembre 1555), 18–19 (September 1, 1555). 41. ASMO, AM-E, 18B, fols. 40–41; ASMO, AM-E, 15/8, fols. 15–30, 56–62. 42. Pioppi, Diario (1541–1612), 32 (quotation); L. Modena, Autobiography, 78–79. 43. ASMO, AM-I-P, 15, November 2, 1601; ASMO, AM-BB, 1B, “Memoriale dell’11 luglio 1620.” See also Lancellotti, “Cronaca modenese,” vol. 1, 113–15. 44. ASMO, AM-E, 6, fols. 48 (January 21, 1565), 49 (May 9, 1565), and 68 (April 28, 1572). See also Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 66. 45. ASMO, AM-E, 6, fol. 49r and v. 46. ASMO, AM-E, 8, August 3, 1586; ASMO, AM-BB, 2B, documents not numbered, 1578, n.d. 47. ASMO, AM-BB, 1A/1, “Tassazione del 1589,” “Autorizzazione rilasciata a Moisè Modena del 18 agosto 1589”; ASMO, AM-BB, 1A/2, “Banchi del 1592”; ASMO, AM-BB, 2B, “Informazione sui banchi ebraici di Modena dall’anno 1519,” June 9, 1634. 48. ASMO, AM-E, 7, “Supplica di Samuele Sanguinetti e suoi nipoti heredi del quondam Viviano suo fratello,” fol. 2; “Calmo Sanguinetti del Banco dei Servi, Samuel e nipoti, Pellegrino e fratelli,” fol. 8; “Moisè padre di Leone, Michele, Jacob e Zacharia appartenevano al banco dei Servi,” fol. 12; “4 ottobre 1610 Vertenza per eredità dei Fratelli e Figli Sanguinetti, accordata dalla Camera Ducale,” fols. 14–15. 49. Horowitz, “Membership and Its Rewards”; Ruderman, “Founding of a Gemilut.” On the ethnic composition of the Jewish community in Ferrara, see Leoni, “Gli ebrei sefarditi”; and Segre, “La formazione di una comunità.” 50. Spinelli, “Del Ghetto degli Israeliti,” June 4 and 11, 1893. 51. Ibid. 52. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 29–30. 53. ACEMO, 2/47M, “Memoriali,” fol. 18, August 29, 1661. See more about this in Chapter 4. 54. See Leoni, La nazione ebraica; Segre, “La formazione di una comunità”; and Muzzarelli, ed., Verso l’epilogo. On the arrivals of Sephardi Jews in Modena, see Valdrighi, Dizionario storicoetimologico, 100–101. Documentation is preserved in ASMO, AM-BB, 1B, fol. 80, “Elenco degli ebrei portoghesi”; ASMO, AM-BB, 1A, “Ripartizione delle tasse 1589.” 55. On the arrival of the Norsa family, see ASMO, AM-E, 7, “Memoriali,” letter of October 9, 1605. See also Norsa, “Una famiglia di banchieri”; and Masina, La comunità ebraica, 31. 56. Leone Modena also mentions business relations in Ferrara with his son-in-law, Mosè Saltaro, in May–June 1637; L. Modena, Autobiography, 149–50, 156–57, 162. 57. ASMO, AM-E, 18B, fol. 143, n.d. 58. ASMO, AM-E, 7, fol. 79, June 2, 1607; ASMO, AM-E, 4, 1607. 59. ASMO, AM-E, 13, Memoriali, fol. 23, n.d.

264

Notes to Pages 36–43

60. ASMO, AM-E, 7, fol. 110, March 6, 1609. 61. See Chapters 2, 4 and 6. 62. ASMO, AM-E, 22, fol. 1023. 63. ASMO, AM-BB, 2B, June 9, 1634; ASMO, AM-I-CH, 250/25, May 10, 1665, “Processo contro i Banchieri Helia Teseo e Isac Benedetto Modena” and an appendix, “Informativa sui banchieri nella città di Modena.” 64. ASMO, AM-I-P, 15/3, fols. 76r–85r, April 27, 1601, testimony of Simone Sanguinetti. 65. Ibid., fols. 12r–13v. 66. See Chapter 3. 67. Zaggia, “Gli spazi urbani.” 68. On attacks against the local Jewish population in Modena, see mentions in Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 13–56. 69. See Owen Hughes, “Distinguishing Signs”; and Cassen, Marking the Jews, 35–36. 70. Dall’Olio, “La disciplina dei religiosi,” 120–21. 71. Owen Hughes, “Distinguishing Signs,” 17–18; Bonfil, Jewish Life, 44–50; Sennett, Flesh and Stone, 228; and, more recently, see Cassen, Marking the Jews. For a synthesis on the history of Jewish prostitutes in early modern Italy, see Pullan, Tolerance, Regulation, 48–66, and the bibliography therein. 72. The text is published in Coser, ed., “Modena,” 402–6, esp. 404. 73. Ibid. For a contextualization, see Owen Hughes, “Sumptuary Law and Social Relation.” 74. de’ Hortensii, I Cinque Libri, 21, discussed by Cohn in “Plague and Violence.” 75. Pullan, “Poveri, mendicanti,” quotations from 1009–10. 76. Ibid. 77. Folin, Rinascimento estense, 363–91. For a recent in-depth analysis of similar church conceptions of and attitudes toward Jews and prostitutes in early modern Italy, see Lazar, Working in the Vineyard, 126–52. 78. The grida was published on September 25; Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588– 1602, 126–27. 79. Pullan, “Poveri, mendicanti,” 1008–15. 80. ASMO, AM-I-P, 24/15, Processo “Contra Angelo de’ Tedeschi ebreo et complicis in causa chibuz fatti contra Sancto Uffizio,” August 1, 1603. The folder includes various kibbutzim. On Meshullam da Mantova, see Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 507; and Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 191–92. 81. On the importance and diffusion of the kibbutzim, see Penslar, Shylock’s Children, 92–93. 82. ACEMO, Testamenti e Istrumenti Filza 21, “Accordo fra i Poveri ebrei e li Signori Salvador e fratelli Modena per una casa di provenienza di eredità del Signor Melli decaduta alli suddetti poveri,” Modena, February 6, 1616, notary Giovan Battista Malsani. 83. Soli, Le chiese di Modena, vol. 1, 130–31. 84. Soli, Le chiese di Modena, vol. 3, 318–20; ASCMO, Camillo Sappori and Cornelio Gadaldini, Pianta di una parte della città, zona di Canalchiaro, 1621. 85. Baracchi, “Vie, Piazze,” 121. 86. Ibid. 87. I borrowed the definition of “internal exile” from Terpstra, Religious Refugees, 45. 88. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 67–84. 89. Martini, Manuale di metrologia, 189–90. 90. Folin, Rinascimento estense, 89–90.

Notes to Pages 43–49

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91. Basini, Sul mercato di Modena, 32–68. 92. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 108–9. 93. Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 235–39. 94. ASCMO, CM-EA, 44, January 8, 1621. 95. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 73–82, 107–18; A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 265–85. 96. See below in this chapter and Chapter 2. 97. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1617–1620, 237. 98. Ibid., 77–81. 99. Ibid., 80. 100. Ibid., 201. 101. ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, fols. 31–35, January 21, 1619; ASCMO, CM-EA, 44, May 21, 1615. The deputies in charge of calculating the expenses for the erection of the ghetto proposed a budget with total expenses of 60264.0.4 lire (including the amount for the gates). The motion was not approved. ASCMO, CM-EA, 44, March 11, 1619: the massari of the Guild of the Beccari offered 500 lire as their contribution to the erection of the ghetto. Other pertinent documentation is preserved in ASCMO, CM-EA, 43, May 28, 1618. The minutes of the board meeting on June 1, 1618, included there refer to the discussion of the admissibility of a Jewish butcher shop in the ghetto. References to the same issue are in ASCMO, CM-EA, 44, January 21, 1619. 102. ASCMO, CS-AE, 21, fols. 582–92, handwritten copy from the seventeenth century. See Chapter 4. 103. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 584–90. 104. ASCMO, Gridario, 1566–1760, no. 273. On Catholic authorities’ concerns regarding the corruption of Christian women by Jewish men and consequent prohibitions against Christian women working in Jewish houses since the thirteenth century (and actually even earlier with the Council of Nicea), see Grayzel, Church and the Jews, 106–7, 308–9. 105. ASCMO, Gridario, 1566–1760, no. 273. On inquisition trials that involved Jews and Christians in ludic activities, see Aaron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 219–38. 106. ASCMO, Gridario, 1566–1760, no. 273. 107. Ibid. 108. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/12, February 12, 1624. 109. Ibid., fols. 17r–25v. 110. Ibid., fols. 33r–35v. 111. Jarrard, Architecture as Performance. Quotations are from Gamberti, L’idea di un prencipe. 112. Folin, Rinascimento estense, 363–91. See also A. Biondi, “Per una storia dell’attività.” 113. Quotation from Jarrard, Architecture as Performance, 13. 114. Jarrard, Architecture as Performance, 13–14. 115. This is largely based on Folin, Rinascimento estense, 363–91. For a broad historical contextualization of early modern Italy, see Sella, Italy in the Seventeenth Century, 50–100. 116. Folin, Rinascimento estense. 117. ASMO, AM-E, 15, “Memoriale,” fols. 104–6. 118. ASMO, Libro Registro dei Decreti, filza VI, cited in Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 98. 119. Calabi, “Dal quartiere ebraico,” 87–93; Francesconi, “Fra ‘sacro’ e ‘profano,’”128–35. The ghetto project in Contrada Mazzocchi, drawn up by Gaspare Guerra, is published in Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 171.

266

Notes to Pages 49–58

120. ASCMO, CM-EA, 44, March 20, 1619; on the same occasion, the members of the Modenese city council who were in charge of the ghetto expenses presented a budget for the ghetto that totaled 60,264.0.4 lire. 121. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 104r–106v. 122. Serra, La peste dell’anno 1630, 235. 123. Ibid. 124. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 55–57, esp. 56. 125. Serra, La peste dell’anno 1630, 69. 126. Ibid., 235. 127. ASCMO, Cancelleria dei Conservatori, April 1630, n.d. 128. Serra, La peste dell’anno 1630, 236. 129. Ibid., 237. 130. ASCMO, Denunce di Sanità, November 15, 1630; ASCMO, Sanità, 15, documents not numbered. See also the document of November 8, 1630, in which the heirs of Viviano Sanguinetti declared the death of their twelve-year-old daughter. 131. ASMO, AM-E, 9, documents not numbered. 132. According to Kenneth Stow, the demand that Jews attend conversionary sermons was a violation of canon law; Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 42. 133. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fol. 12. 134. Ibid. See also Chapter 3. 135. ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, fols. 40–41, January 8, 1635. 136. Ibid., fols. 42–43, January 8, 1635. 137. Ravid, Economics and Toleration, 211–59; Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, 94–106. 138. For example, in Livorno the Jewish population increased from 134 in 1601 to 1,250 in 1645; see Toaff, La nazione ebrea, 63, 121. In 1630, in Mantua, between 1,600 and 1,800 Jews made up 5 percent of the entire population; see Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 192–93. In Venice, in 1632–33, Jews totaled 2,420 while in 1642 they totaled 2,671; see Favero and Trivellato, “Gli abitanti del ghetto,” esp., 10–11, 44. 139. See Finlay, “Foundation of the Ghetto”; Ravid, “Establishment of the Ghetto”; and Ravid, “From Geographical Realia.” 140. Sennett, Flesh and Stone, 228. 141. Bonfil, Jewish Life, 63–64; Calabi, “Les quartiers juifs en Italie.” 142. See Stow, Catholic Thought, 291–98. 143. Bonfil, Jewish Life, 177. 144. See also Ravid, “From Geographical Realia”; and Stow, “Consciousness of Closure.” 145. Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 18–23. 146. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 511–13. 147. Brenner, “Early Modern Period,” 86–94. 148. Ibid., 79–103. 149. For the text of the Cum Nimis Absurdum and its contextualization, see Stow, Catholic Thought, 291–98. 150. On the synagogues in Soliera, evidence is preserved in ASMO, AM-I-P, 119/9, October 13, 1608; and ASMO, AM-I-P, 119/27, April 17, 1617. On the synagogues in Spilamberto and Spezzano, see ASMO, AM-I-CH, 119/30, May 2, 1631. On Jews in Finale Emilia, see Masina, La comunità ebraica, 35–38. On the Modenese Inquisition and Jews on the matter of synagogues, see Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 52–130; and Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 191–218.

Notes to Pages 58–65

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151. Siegmund, Medici State, 51–134, 168, 223. 152. On Jews in towns and small villages in the Este Duchy, see Aron-Beller, “Outside the Ghetto,” and the bibliography therein. 153. I wish to thank Kenneth Stow for this suggestion. 154. Tomas, “Did Women Have a Space?,” esp. 323; Siegmund, Medici State, 201–6. 155. See above in this chapter. On Jews as a “plague,” see the speech by Gherardo Mazzoli, a giureconsulto, in 1555, reported in Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 158. 156. ASMO, AM-E, 15, documents of April 16, 1638, and February 16, 1639; see also Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 56–57. 157. ACEMO, AA-R, 19G, “Permessi per le sinagoghe tedesca e spagnola,” and 17E, “Memoriali,” unpaginated documents. 158. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 126–27. 159. ASCMO, CM-EA, July 28, 1700. 160. See Calabi, “Dal quartiere ebraico,” 87–93; and Francesconi, “Fra ‘sacro’ e ‘profano,’” 119–45. For comparisons with other contexts, see Zaggia, “Gli spazi urbani,” 143–70; and Francesconi, “Ebrei a Modena e a Lugo,” 114–30. 161. On the structure of Italian ghettos, see Calabi, “Il ghetto e la città”; Calabi, “Dalle contrade ebraiche” and the bibliography therein. 162. ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, fols. 20–21, 1618. See Calabi, “Dal quartiere ebraico,” 88–90. 163. In 1635 the city authorities definitely accepted the idea of the square at the center of the ghetto between Blasia and Coltellini. The Jewish massari agreed to make some variations regarding the numbers of houses to be demolished to create the enlargement; ACEMO, AA-R, 19G, and see Calabi, “Dal quartiere ebraico,” 88–90. On June 28, 1618, the Conservatori decided to communicate to the duke the quantity and consequences of renovations necessary for the establishment of the ghetto as well as the expenses related to the demolition of buildings and the creation of the “clausura e piazza” within the ghetto. ASCMO, CM-EA, May–June 1618, n.d. 164. On squares in Italy during the early modern period, see Calabi, Il mercato e la città and the bibliography therein; and Calabi, “‘La plathea magna.’” 165. Jones, Italian City-State, 404. 166. The documentation n.d. is preserved in ASCMO, MR, “Pratiche non numerate” (post 1640). 167. Ibid. 168. Ibid. 169. Laras, “Una ‘sommossa’ nel ghetto.” 170. ASCMO, MR, “Pratiche non numerate” (post 1640). 171. ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, fols. 126–28.

Chapter 2 1. Tishby, “Debate over Kabbalah”; Horowitz, “Eve of Circumcision.” 2. On Abraham Hananiah De Gallichi, Mordechai Dato, and Menachem Azariah da Fano, see Ruderman, ed., Essential Papers, and the sources cited below in the following pages of the chapter. 3. For a study on the impact of the Index in Italy, see Fragnito, ed., Church, Censorship. For other important contributions on censorship and books in early modern Italy, see Fragnito,

268

Notes to Pages 65–67

La Bibbia al rogo; Rotondò, “La censura ecclesiastica”; Rotondò, “Nuovi documenti”; Rozzo, “L’espurgazione dei testi”; Prosperi, “Anime in trappola”; Rozzo, “Sulla censura ecclesiastica”; and Frajese, Nascita dell’Indice. 4. For the impact of censorship on the Italian Jewish communities, see Popper, Censorship of Hebrew Books; Amran, Makers of Hebrew Books; Sonne, “Expurgation of Hebrew Books”; RazKrakotzkin, Censor, the Editor; Francesconi “‘This Passage Can Also’”; Francesconi, “La censura dei libri ebraici”; Francesconi, “Illustrious Rabbis”; and van Boxel, Jewish Books. 5. The references to Modena as a “diabolical synagogue” and a “land of Lutheran infection” are from Firpo, Il processo inquisitoriale, vol. 1, 291, and Peyronel Rambaldi, Speranze e crisi, 244, respectively. 6. On Modenese Christian readers, see Rotondò, “I movimenti ereticali”; Peyronel Rambaldi, Speranze e crisi; and Firpo, Inquisizione romana e controriforma. On Modenese Jewish readers, see Francesconi, “Dangerous Readings” and “This Passage Can Also.” 7. Eventually, it was the discovery of the informal group of intellectuals, the Accademici in Modena, who met to read classical texts and discuss scientific and philosophical subjects including current religious issues, that offered a pretext for Pope Paul III to promulgate the bull Licet ab initio and establish the Congregation of the Holy Office in 1542; Prosperi, Tribunali della coscienza, 38–39. 8. This aspect is usually neglected by Jewish historians. On the promulgation of the Index, see Fragnito, La Bibbia al rogo; and Rotondò, “La Censura Ecclesiastica” and “Nuovi documenti per la storia.” 9. On the church’s attitude toward the Talmud, see Stow, “Burning of the Talmud.” On the background and consequences of the banning of the Talmud, see Parente, “La Chiesa e il ‘Talmud’” and “Index, the Holy Office,” esp. 182–93. 10. For a general overview of the Inquisition in early modern Italy, see Tedeschi, Prosecution of Heresy. See Pullan, Jews of Europe, esp. 3–142. 11. For the application of the 1596 Index in early modern Italy, see Fragnito, “Central and Peripheral.” For specific investigations of the impact of the Index and its applications to Italian Jewish communities, see the sources listed in n. 4. 12. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 98–99. 13. ASCMO, CM-EA, 1617, s.d., and May 14, 1618, quoted by A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 274. 14. See Chapter 1. 15. Perani, “Confisca e censura” and “‘La Genizah Italiana.’” 16. Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 98–99. See Chapter 1. 17. See, respectively, document no. 156, February 28, 1593, and no. 161 (Register of all decisions dealing with the Papal and Inquisition courts, Rome [1556–1659]), in Stern, Urkundliche Beiträge über die, 163–64, 170–75. 18. Pullan, Jews of Europe, 85. 19. ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, January 29, 1599. On Netanel Trabotti, see Kaufmann, “Quatre élégies”; Gruen, “Biography and Some Responsa”; Francesconi, “This Passage Can Also” and “Illustrious Rabbis”; and Chapter 3. According to Gruen, the year of birth “1576” cited by other scholars should be substituted with “1568.” My archival evidence confirms Gruen’s hypothesis. In addition, Gruen explores the history of the Trabotto family in “Trabot Family.” References to Trabotti are also included in Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 63, 358, 508, 510, 576, 623, 727, 737.

Notes to Pages 67–71

269

20. ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, January 29, 1599. 21. Ibid. 22. Ibid. 23. Bonfil, “Le biblioteche degli ebrei”; see the discussion of the same passage from Tzeror ha-mor in Gross, “Ha-Satan ve-ha-Natzrut”; the translation of the passage is from RazKrakotzkin, Censor, the Editor, 142. 24. Bonfil, “Le biblioteche degli ebrei.” 25. AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, January 29, 1599. 26. Ibid. 27. ASMO, AM-I-M, 251, Lettere del Cardinale di Santa Severina all’Inquisitore di Modena, 1 (1568–1600), September 29, 1600. 28. The documentation regarding the library of Moisè Modena is preserved in ASMO, AM-I-P, 12/9, February 13, 1600. 29. See Fragnito, “Central and Peripheral” and Proibito capire. 30. For sixteenth-century books and those printed in Italy, I indicate the “editio princeps” in parentheses. 31. Weinberg, translator’s introduction,” xxxii. 32. On Aaron Berekhiah Modena, see later in Chapter 3 and Tishby “Confrontation Between Lurianic and Cordoverian”; Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 88, 106-22; and Francesconi, “Dangerous Readings.” The date of birth is reported in ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, fol. 135r. 33. See Chapters 1 and 3. 34. For a contextualization, see Bonfil, Jewish Life, 125–44; Bonfil, “Reading in the Jewish Communities,” 149–78; and Assaf, Mekorot le-toledot, vol. 2, 115–20. 35. Assaf, Mekorot le-toledot, vol. 2, 115–20. 36. I have used the translation by Jacob Marcus, Jew in the Medieval World, 438–45, quotation from 441. For a recent discussion, see Miletto, “Teaching Program.” For a comparison with the Christian world, see Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy. 37. Marcus, Jew in the Medieval World, 442. 38. About the importance of this group of texts for Italian Jews, see Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 135–37; and on Da Pisa, see Guetta, “Religious Life.” 39. Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 140–41. 40. Interestingly, in 1601, only a year after this proceeding, Aaron Berekhiah, the son of Moisè, was engaged in preparing the compendia of Cordovero’s works; see Tishby, “Confrontation Between Lurianic and Cordoverian,” 25–81. 41. For the context, see Garin, Il rinascimento italiano; and Grafton, Defenders of the Text. 42. Shear, “Judah Moscato’s,” 159–60. 43. See s.v. de Bujanda, ed., Index Librorum Prohibitorum. 44. Weinberg, translator’s introduction, xxxvi. 45. Marcus, Jew in the Medieval World, 442. 46. On this point, see Ruderman, “Exemplary Sermon,” esp. 7–13. 47. Saperstein, “Italian Jewish Preaching,” esp. 28–29. For a comparison with the Catholic context, see Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, 203–34, 275–82. Provenzali’s curriculum emphasizes that, “at fixed periods, the students will engage in debates in the presence of the teacher, deliberating on matters of Jewish law and the sciences in order to sharpen their

270

Notes to Pages 71–75

minds. . . . Also they will gradually be taught to speak in public and to preach before congregations”; quotation from Marcus, Jew in the Medieval World, 443. 48. Osley, Scribes and Sources, 57–59. 49. The bibliography is quite expansive, but see Fragnito, In museo e in villa; and Bolzoni, La stanza della memoria. 50. Bonfil, “One of the Italian Sermons”; Saperstein, Jewish Preaching, 41. 51. On Cornelio Musso, see Norman, Humanist Taste. 52. Yates, Art of Memory; on the diffusion of the theater of memory among Italian Jewish intellectuals at the time, see Ruderman, Kabbalah, Magic, and Science, 113. 53. Weinberg, “Preaching in the Venetian Ghetto,” esp. 110. In fact, Modena owned Panigarola’s book along with others on preaching and sermons that were inventoried after his death. Ancona, “L’inventario dei beni.” 54. Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance, 377–81. 55. Ruderman, Kabbalah, Magic, 16-17. 56. Ruderman, Valley of Vision, esp. 5–11. See also Idel, “Major Currents,” 353-358. 57. See the classic treatments of Rossi, Logic and the Art of Memory; Yates, Giordano Bruno; and Yates, Art of Memory. More recently, see the new and expanded edition of Carruthers, Book of Memory; and Bolzoni, Il teatro della memoria. 58. Fragnito, In museo e in villa, 11–64. 59. For a contextualization, see Grafton, Cardano’s Cosmos; specifically on the Jewish milieu, see Ruderman, Kabbalah, Magic, and Science. A physician, the Catholic Scipione Mercurio (1540–1615), who lived between Modena and Mantua at that time, had similar interests: he owned and read books by Avicenna, Ficino, and Paracelsus, along with Juan Harte and Albertus Magnus, Boccaccio and Bembo. See Pancino, “Scipione Mercurio.” 60. A. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, “Minhat ‘Aharon,’” pt. 4, chap. 4. 61. See Chapter 1. 62. ASMO, AM-E, 6, fol. 48 (January 21, 1565), fol. 49 (May 9, 1565), and fol. 68 (April 28, 1572). See also Chapter 1. 63. See Chapters 1 and 3. 64. See also Chapter 3. 65. A. Biondi, “La ‘Nuova Inquisizione,’” 61–76. The complete documentation is preserved in ASMO, AM-I, 282, Libro di Spesa della Fabrica del Santo Officio, 1601–1602. 66. ASMO, AM-I-P, 15/3, November 3, 1602. On the censorship of Ashkenazi mah>zorim, see Benayahu, Haskamah ve-reshut. On Yiddish literature and culture in Italy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Shmeruk, “Yiddish Printing”; and Turniansky and Timm, Yiddish in Italia. 67. Leone Modena, Autobiography, 79; Aaron Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, 7r. 68. On Leone Poggetti, see Chapter 1; documentation is also preserved in ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, and ASMO, AM-I-CH, 119/25. 69. See introduction to A. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, fols. 2–11. See Bar-Levav, “Rabbi Aharon Berechia,” esp. 189–226. Other documentation is preserved in ASMO, AM-I-P, 77/14, March 24, 1625. 70. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/3, November 25, 1636. 71. On these figures, see Chapter 1. 72. ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, March 21, 1621.

Notes to Pages 76–77

271

73. Their relationship is proved by a ducal report preserved in ASMO, AM-E, 7A/II, Carteggio Memoriale 1610–19, fols. 108–9, November 8 and 9, 1614. 74. The definition is from Lazar, Working in the Vineyard, 116. 75. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/2, May 15, 1620, and 56/3, May 28, 1620 (both of these proceedings finished at the end of the following year; both are partially paginated). According to the proceedings, the inquisitor in 1620 examined Camillo’s list of books that had been presented in 1614. In 1620 Camillo gave evidence for his son Ciro three times: on November 29, 1620 (fols. 220r–220v), and on January 25 (fols. 223v–224r) and April 23 (fol. 228v) in 1621. The circumstances of the 1614 list are not reported in the existing documentation. For other data on Camillo and Ciro da Correggio, see Popper, Censorship of Hebrew, index; and Francesconi, “‘This Passage Can Also.’” For other recent works on censorship and Jews in early modern Italy, see the works listed in n. 4. 76. The letter is published in Rotondò, “Nuovi documenti,” 196–98. 77. ASMO, AM-E, 15/“Libri ebraici,” fols. 21–62. The booklet is titled Errores in libris quibusdam Hebreoum (fols. 24–62). 78. I consulted the only extant version of Purgatio aliquorum librorum hebraicorum inchoata juxta Breve Apostolicum Iulii Tertii per Rabbinum Abraham Provincialem Mantuanum, novissime vero per Rev. Prem. Fratrem Hippolitum Ferrariensem Minoritam. . . . die XXIV Maji MDLXXXIV Cremona, preserved at BAFE, Ms. 290, and—as reported in a reminder of a superscription— copied in Italian by Fře. Gabriel at M. Sta. Tecla, Arg. Discalcato on September 23, 1672. 79. Francesconi, “This Passage Can Also,’” 146-48. 80. ASMO, AM-E, 15/“Libri ebraici,” fol. 22. 81. Modenese Jews had already asked for a second expurgation of their books in 1602 in order to avoid accusations of owning forbidden books; ASMO, AM-I, Miscellaena, 251, Lettere del Cardinale di Santa Severina all’Inquisitore di Modena, 2 (1601), December 15, 1601. For a superb overview of the conception and dynamics of censorship in early modern Italy, see Rotondò, “La censura ecclesiastica.” We know of the existence of at least five “indices expurgatorii” for Hebrew books. They were composed by the Jewish scholar Abraham Provenzali of Mantua in 1555; by seven authors (six of them converts) under the direction of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine in 1578; by the convert Laurentius Franguellus in the 1580s; by the Franciscan monk Hippolitus Ferrariensis in 1584 (based on Provenzali’s booklet); and by the convert Domenico Gerosolomitano, possibly with the Franciscan Renato da Modena (another convert, originally from Spain) in Mantua in 1596, titled Sefer ha-Zikkuk (Book of Expurgation). I have used the copy of the Sefer ha-Zikkuk preserved at BUB, Ms. 3574. On the previous indices for the correction of Hebrew books, see Sacerdote, “Deux Index Expurgatoirs”; Popper, Censorship of Hebrew Books, 39; Sonne, “Expurgation of Hebrew Books,” 980–81; and Francesconi, “‘This Passage Can Also.’” 82. ASMO, Ebrei, 15, Errores in Libris. 83. Ibid., fol. 44. 84. In the index by Hippolitus Ferrariensis, the following are listed to be censored: ad vocem in Expositio Litteralis Magistri Scelohmó supra Pentateucum (commentary on the Pentateuch by Rashi), 198–202, the following passages: Genesis: 1:21, 2:19, 3:20, 5:24, 6:6, 15:10, 26:34, 49:1, 49:33; Exodus 21:1, 22:30, 29:42, 34:9; and Numbers 22:5, 23:10, 24:10. 85. Arbaʻ v≥e-ʻeśrim . . . : ha-h>umash ʻim targum u-ferush Rashi v≥e-Ibn Ezra . . . (Venice: Daniel Bomberg, 1548), ARC Special Collection, University of Utah. It was analyzed by Michael Walton and Phyllis Walton in “In Defense of the Church.” The passages erased in this copy are

272

Notes to Pages 78–82

Genesis 1:21, 1:26, 2:23, 6:6, 15:10, 15:14, 15:17, 24:16; Exodus 21:1, 22:30, 23:13; Numbers 23:10, 24:3, 24:19, 28:15; Deuteronomy 12:3, 21:13, 28:64, 32:21, 32:27, 32:28, 32:32, 32:37, 32:43, 33:3. 86. The censored passages are underlined in both Italian and Hebrew versions. Genesis 1:26 ,‫ לפי שאדם בדמות המלאכים ויתקנאו בו לפיכך נמלך בהם‬,‫ענותנותו של הקב''ה למדנו מכאן‬.‫ נעשה אדם‬.‫כו‬ ‫ ראיתי את ה' יושב על כסאו‬:‫ שאמר לי מיכה‬,‫ שכן מצינו באחאב‬,‫וכשהוא דן את המלכים הוא נמלך בפמליא שלו‬ ‫ ויש מקום למינים‬. . . )‫וכל צבא השמים עומדים עליו מימינו ומשמאלו (מ''א כ''ב‬ 87. Hailperin, Rashi and the Christian Scholars, esp. 148–49. 88. On this point, see Merchavia, “Quntres neged,” which deals with the notorious Sixtus Senese’s Bibliotheca Sancta (Venice, 1566); and Merchavia, Ha-Talmud. 89. Francesconi, “‘This Passage Can Also,’” 149–51. 90. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/18, August 9, 1617; ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, August 17, 1617 (trials partially paginated). 91. On Dato, see Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 295–96; and Bonfil, “One of the Italian Sermons.” 92. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, testimony of August 17, 1617, fols. 2r–7v. 93. Ibid., fol. 6r. 94. Ibid., fol. 7r. 95. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/18, testimony of September 10, 1617, fols. 5v–7r, quotation from 7r. See also a contemporaneous chronicle of these facts in Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1617-1621, 342; and ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, letters of September 16, September 21, and October 7, 1617. 96. See s.v., de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum. 97. On the Olivétan, see Tedeschi, Prosecution of Heresy, 35–37. 98. Ruderman, Kabbalah, Magic, and Science, esp. 102–20. 99. On this aspect of the book market, see Novo, Il commercio librario, 160–74. The list dated 1614 is preserved in ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/3, May 28, 1620. 100. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/3, May 28, 1620. I indicate the “editio princeps” in parentheses. 101. Ibid. 102. ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, March 21, 1621; ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/12, July 18, 1634 (unpaginated documents). Other sources on Ciro da Correggio are located in ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/18; and ASMO, AM-I-CH, 245/55. 103. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/2, unpaginated documents, n.d. 104. It is not clear from the inquisitorial documents which books Ciro really wanted to sell and which he wanted to keep, nor do we have a description of his entire library even though his house and studio were visited by the inquisitor and at least twenty-three uncorrected books were confiscated. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/2, testimonies of Ciro, June 10 (fols. 58v–62r), June 21 (fols. 169r–174r), and September 17 (fols. 214r–217r); ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/3; ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, March 21, 1621. 105. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/3, May 28, 1620. 106. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/2, testimonies of Ciro, June 10 (fols. 58v–62r), June 21 (fols. 169r–174r), and September 17 (fols. 214r–217r); ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/3. 107. See also Barbierato, Nella stanza dei circoli. 108. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/10, November 29, 1623; the list of books was reported on October 21, 1624.

Notes to Pages 82–87

273

109. On the relationship between Baldassarre Rangoni and Simone Sanguinetti, see ASMO, AM-I-CH, 256/17. See also A. Biondi, “Gli ebrei e l’Inquisizione,” 280–81; Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 262–63; and Aron-Beller, “Image and Desecration,” 828–30. 110. ASMO, AM-I-P, 56/2, fols. 20v–22r, testimony of Antonio Speranzani, June 14, 1620; in this case, editions are indicated in the sources. Other documentation is also preserved in ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/1, Lettere dei Padri Inquisitori alla Sacra Congregazione dal 1598, 1599, 1600 usque ad annum 1624, letters of September 16, September 21, and October 7, 1617. 111. Barbierato, Inquisitor in the Hat Shop. 112. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/8, October 10, 1624, unpaginated documents, and report by Ciro da Correggio, October 12, 1624. 113. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/8, October 10, 1624, unpaginated documents, and report by Ciro da Correggio, October 12, 1624. 114. On blurring the identity of Italians converting from Judaism to Christianity, see Stow, “Tale of Uncertainties” and Bonfil, “Mi haya ha-mumar.” 115. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/8, October 10, 1624, unpaginated documents; report by Ciro da Correggio, October 12, 1624. 116. Ibid. 117. Francesconi, “‘This Passage Can Also,’” 149–53. 118. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25; ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/2, Lettere de’ Padri Inquistori alla Sacra Congregazione del 1631 usque ad 1643, letters of December 6 and 10, 1636. 119. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, “Nota de libri Hebraichi che sono prohibiti.” 120. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25; ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/2, Lettere de’ Padri Inquistori alla Sacra Congregazione del 1631 usque ad 1643, letters of December 6 and 10, 1636. 121. ASMO, AM-I-M, 295/2, Lettere de’ Padri Inquistori alla Sacra Congregazione del 1631 usque ad 1643, letters of December 6 and 10, 1636, and January 28 and February 4, 1637. 122. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25. 123. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, December 5, 1636, “Nota de libri Hebraichi che sono prohibiti.” 124. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, Testimony of December 3, 1636; also in Perani, “Confisca e cansura,” 307. 125. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, Testimony of December 5, 1636. 126. On the Index and the consequences of its application, see the contributions in Fragnito, ed., Church, Censorship. 127. The number of trials dealing with Jewish possession of both illicit and uncensored titles from 1598 to 1638 is 40 cases out of 1,400 from the comprehensive collections of the Fondo Causae Hebreorum and the Fondo Processi, preserved in the Modenese Inquisition archives (73 are proceedings against Christians, accused of owning forbidden books). My analysis is based on a database I created of virtually all inquisitorial records involving Jews in the Inquisition Archives of Modena for the period 1598–1650. 128. Apparently, he owned only the nonproblematic books of many “suspected” authors. For example, he did not own the banned Cento Novelle by Sansovino but did own his Diverse orationi; nor did he own the forbidden De Geomantia by Pietro D’Abano but did own his I libri di Gio: Mesue. For this I consulted ad vocem de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, vol. 9, Index de Rome 1590, 1593, 1596 avec étude des index de Parme 1580 et Munich 1582; vol. 10, Thesaurus de la litérature interdit au XVIe siècle; and vol. 11, Index des livres interdit 1600–1966. 129. ASMO, AM-I-P, 26/17, July 2, 1605. 130. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, December 9, 1636.

274

Notes to Pages 87–92

131. For this point, I am very grateful to Piet van Boxel and Joanna Weinberg. 132. Baruchson, Sefarim ve-korim, 107. 133. See for example Baruchson, Sefarim ve-korim and n. 15. For a broader approach to the analysis of the Mantuan lists, see Horowitz, “Families and Their Fortunes,” esp. 601–3. 134. See Blau, Renaissance of Modern Hebrew, 1–6, on Hebrew as a nonspoken language during the Renaissance; specifically in Italy, see Stow, “Writing in Hebrew,” and the bibliography therein. 135. On these misunderstandings, see Rozzo, Linee per una storia, 7–20, and the bibliography therein. 136. ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, “Nota delle famiglie che sono fuori del loco preposto per il ghetto.” 137. Stow, “Consciousness of Closure,” 386–400. 138. For an illuminating study of this mentality in the Christian world, see N. Davis, “Sacred and the Body Social”; for the repercussion of the concepts of purity and impurity on Christian attitudes toward Jews in early modern Italy, see Stow, “Sisto V, the Jews.” 139. On this point, see Prosperi, Tribunali della coscienza. 140. Dated 1640 and 1641, Girolamo da Durallano’s signature is found in books previously corrected by Camillo Jagel, Renato da Modena, and Luigi da Bologna, such as Rashi’s commentary on the Pentateuch now located at the University of Utah, analyzed in the following pages (see also Popper, Censorship of Hebrew Books, 104). Nevertheless, no documentation of da Durallano’s presence has been preserved in the Modenese archives. Beyond his possible work on some books, no massive operations of expurgation of Hebrew books took place in Modena after the erection of the ghetto. 141. Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 244. 142. Established by a group of Jesuits, priests, and teachers of the Collegio di San Carlo, the Opera pia dei Catecumeni (Holy House of the Catechumens) functioned much like a confraternity, obtaining headquarters in the city’s historic center in 1707. Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 8-17. 143. Ruderman, introduction to Ruderman and Veltri, eds., Cultural Intermediaries, esp. 8–9. See also his Early Modern Jewry. 144. Ruderman, introduction to Ruderman and Veltri, eds., Cultural Intermediaries, 4; Shear, “Judah Moscato’s,” esp. 157–60. See also Ruderman, “Why Periodization Matters.”

Chapter 3 1. See also Chapter 2. 2. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 91–93. 3. See Chapter 1. 4. Elizabeth Cohen and Thomas Cohen, “Social Meaning,” 65. 5. Cf. Bonfil, Jewish Life, 222–28. 6. See Allegra, Identità in bilico; Stow, Theater of Acculturation; and Francesconi, “Ebrei a Modena e a Lugo” and “Jewish Women.” 7. For a contextualization of tkhines, see Weissler, Voices of the Matriarchs. 8. Barbagli, Sotto lo stesso tetto, 142, 167, 170, 189–95; see also Ferraro, Family and Public Life; and J. Davis, Decline of the Venetian, 87–95.

Notes to Pages 92–97

275

9. See Aaron Berekhiah Modena’s declarations in a 1625 Inquisition trial in which his father Moisè was accused of attempting to Judaize a servant in ASMO, AM-I-P, 77/14, March 24, 1625 (I thank Katherine Aron-Beller for bringing this trial to my attention). See also Bar-Levav, “Rabbi Aharon Berechia.” 10. Lanteri, Della economica, in particular 14–30. 11. Ferraro, Family and Public Life, 101–30. 12. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 104r–106v. See also Chapter 1. 13. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25. 14. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 20–22, “Concessione a Agnolo Canaruti e Salvatore Camerini per fondare un oratorio ad uso loro ed a pubblico benefizio di Ebrei poveri.” According to the archival evidence retrieved, this synagogue was not transferred into the ghetto. Andrea Balletti mentioned the existence of three synagogues without identifying them; see his Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 97–98. 15. On the Norsa synagogue in Mantua, see Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 567–71; on the Luzzatti scola, see Concina, “Parva Jerusalem,” 96–98. 16. See more on this in Chapter 6. 17. Wolbe, Geschichte der Juden, 122–23. 18. Bonfil, Jewish Life, 215–22. 19. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 104r–106v. See also Chapter 1. 20. E.g., ACEMO, TT, papers not numbered. 21. Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné, 25–26. 22. The dimensions are 265 x 130 x 78 cm. It is decorated with a gridlike framework of blind tracery panels framed by strips of intarsia, enclosed by attached twisted columns at the corners. Bagatin, Le pitture lignee, 125. 23. Klagsbald, Catalogue raisonné; Rodov, “Tower-Like Torah Arks,” 76–77. 24. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 8–12; the documentation also includes the Italian rabbis’ act of h≥erem (excommunication) against Jewish thieves in the Modenas’ house in the same year (fol. 9). Similar worshipping places are portrayed in fifteenth-century Hebrew illuminated manuscripts such as the opening page of Orah H>ayyim (Way of Life), fol. 12v, Arba‘ah Turim, Mantua, 1435, Vatican City. 25. ASMO, AM-E, 22, fol. 809, September 9, 1603. 26. ASMO, AM-E, 15/8, fols. 12–19, n.d., and fol. 20, May 21, 1586. 27. ASMO, AM-E, 22, fol. 20. 28. See Chapter 1. 29. For a contextualization, see Stow, Jews in Rome, vol. 1, lviii–lxix. 30. See N. Davis, “Fame and Secrecy.” 31. Siegmund, Medici State, 332–85. 32. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/12, February 12, 1624. 33. See more on this in Chapter 5. 34. On Leone Poggetti’s school, see ASMO, AM-I-CH, 119/25, fol. 3r, January 27, 1620. See also Chapters 1 and 2. 35. See the following works in spite of, at times, different interpretations of the role of the “itinerant rabbi”: Sonne, “On the History”; and Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 192–206. 36. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/12; the trial of February 12, 1624, was against Anna Sacerdoti, Pellegrina Camerini, Marianna Modena, Smeralda Pontassi, and Salomone Bondi (fols. 35r–36v).

276

Notes to Pages 97–102

37. ASMO, AM-I-P, 15/3, April 27, 1601. 38. Even more illustrious scholars had to face economic struggles. For example, the rabbi and scholar Yosef Yedidià Carmi also worked as a silversmith. See Bonfil, Rabbis and Jewish Communities, 190–91. 39. See n. 34. 40. L. Modena, Autobiography, 76–77, 185–86. 41. The date of birth is reported in ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, fol. 135r. 42. Simonsohn, in his History of the Jews, mentions Trabotti’s relation to the Jewish community in Mantua in a few passages: 63, 358, 508, 510, 576, 623, 727, 737. 43. Y. Carmi, Kenaf Renanim, 7a. 44. On this aspect, see Esther Cohen and Horowitz, “In Search of the Sacred”; and Baumgarten, Mothers and Children, 24–26 and 83–85. 45. See Epstein, Marriage Laws, 146; specifically on Italy, see Colorni, Legge ebraica, 185–87. 46. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 135/10, Processo “Contra Beniamini hebreos habitantes in Viniola per sinagoghe,” December 3, 1619. 47. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/18, testimonies of Simone and Viviano Sanguinetti, August 9, 1617. 48. Simonsohn, Documentary History, 1664. 49. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 533n83. 50. ASMO, AM-E, 7, fol. 189. 51. On Salomon Tintore, son of Iosef de Tintori (1586–?), who owned a house and a shop in Modena, see ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/4, fols. 32r–36v, 55r–62v. 52. See Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 94. 53. See Chapter 5. 54. See Colorni, Legge ebraica, 185–87. 55. For an overview of the Jewish law and the dowry, see Epstein, Marriage Laws. 56. Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 137–38; Allegra, Identità in bilico, 37–47, 255–58. 57. Simonsohn, Documentary History, 1664. 58. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 533n83. 59. Klapisch-Zuber, Women, Family, and Ritual. 60. Allegra, Identità in bilico; Galasso, Alle origini di una comunità; Stow, “Jewish Woman.” 61. See Allegra, Identità in bilico; Galasso, Alle origini di una comunità; and Stow, “Jewish Woman,” 87–100. Yet, see the divergent methodological considerations in Cooperman, review of Alle origini di una comunità. 62. The two scholars analyzed two communities that were profoundly different, yet they reach similar conclusions. According to Kenneth Stow, the lower amount of money requested was due to the structure of the community, while for Luciano Allegra the high amount was a strategy for survival. 63. See, for example, Kuehn, Law, Family, and Women; Ferraro, Family and Public Life; Chojnacki, Women and Men; and on Florence, see Chabot, La dette des familles. 64. ASMO, AM-I-P, 69/12, February 12, 1624. 65. ASMO, AM-E, 22, fol. 105. 66. Ibid. 67. Ibid., fol. 107. 68. Klapisch-Zuber, “‘Cruel Mother,’” 117–31. Other studies have emphasized the importance of the dowry in consolidating important familial alliances: Martines, Social World, 18–19, 38–39; Kent, Household and Lineage, 92–93.

Notes to Pages 102–108

277

69. Sperling, Convents and the Body Politic. 70. See Allegra, Identità in bilico; Galasso, Alle origini di una comunità; and Stow, “Jewish Woman,” 87–100. 71. On this topic in relation to the Christian world, see, in addition to the sources cited above, Goody, Development of the Family, 25–53; and Goody, European Family, 86–99. 72. ASMO, AM-E, 18/167, papers n.d. 73. ASMO, AM-E, 18B, fol. 92. 74. See Leone Modena, Autobiography, 79; Aaron B. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, fol. 7a. See also Assaf, Mekorot le-toledot, vol. 2, 54. 75. ASMO, AM-E, 22, fol. 183, n.d., presumably early seventeenth century. 76. Ferraro, Family and Public Life, esp. 101–30. See also J. Davis, Decline of the Venetian, 68–72. 77. Barbagli, Sotto lo stesso tetto, 199. 78. Ferraro, Family and Public Life, esp. 101–30. 79. Luzzatto, Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei, 18v; Ravid, trans., Economics and Toleration, 66 and 73. 80. As for Christian society and the strategies enacted by fathers and brothers in order to put together dowries and place through matrimonial politics sisters and daughters within other families functional to their own male patrimonial line, see Ercole, “L’istituto dotale,” 215; Chojnacki, “Dowries and Kinsmen”; Berengo, “Patriziato e nobiltà,” 514–15; and Chabot, “A proposito di ‘Men and Women.’” 81. See Allegra, Identità in bilico, 115; and Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 102-17. 82. For a comparison with Livorno where the dynamics were similar, see Frattarelli Fischer, “Reti toscane”; and Trivellato, Familiarity of Strangers. 83. Diena, Sheelot uteshuvot, vol. 1, no. 6; Horowitz, “Beyn adonim le-meshartot,” 201; Adelman, “Italian Jewish Women at Prayer,” 59–60. 84. Horowitz, “Jewish Confraternal Piety”; Perani and Rivlin Vita religiosa ebraica, esp. 67–70 and 121–24. 85. The quotation is from Adelman, “Italian Jewish Women at Prayer,” 59. 86. Yagel-Gallico, Eshet H>ayil; see the analysis in Weinstein, “Abraham Yagel Galico’s,” 118–35. 87. Weinstein, “Abraham Yagel Galico’s,” 121–22. 88. Zarri, “Living Saints.” 89. Ibid., 219–303, at 293–94. 90. Ibid., 236. 91. Ibid., 221, 227–28. 92. Ibid. 93. Romeo, Esorcisti, confessori, 15–103. 94. Zarri, Recinti: Donne, 456–80. 95. On Aaron Berekhiah Modena, see works cited in Chapters 1 and 2. On his and Fano’s reception of Kabbalah, see Idel, “Major Currents,” 352. 96. See Horowitz, “Eve of the Circumcision” and also “Coffee, Coffeehouses.” 97. On this, see the considerations by Koren, “Gender and the Women.” 98. See Chajes, Between Worlds, 101–18. 99. See Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 108–9. In medieval Ashkenaz, a somewhat similar process involving Jewish women, the rabbinic establishment, and piety took place. Halakhic sources show that, from the eleventh through the thirteenth century, women performed positive

278

Notes to Pages 108–113

mitzvot (including wearing the tefillin) and participated widely in the synagogue ritual life (e.g., playing the role of godmothers). Then the general development of Jewish pietism came to the exclusion of women from the religious public space, for example in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Jewish women as potential menstruants were pushed out of the synagogues. See Grossman, Pious and Rebellious, 174–97; Baumgarten, Practicing Piety, 86–89 and 138–69. 100. Mattox, “Domestic Sacral Space,” 658–76. 101. Wolfthal, In and Out. 102. See Chapter 4, and for a similar trend in Christian society, see Romano, “Gender and the Urban.” 103. See Klein, Time to Be Born, 298n27; and the beautiful analysis by Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 116–17. 104. See Klein, Time to Be Born, 298n27. 105. A. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, 132, translated and analyzed by Howard Adelman in “Italian Jewish Women,” quotation from 57. 106. JTS, Ms. 8255, fol. 5v. In 1480 Farissol copied another prayer book while he was in Mantua with the same blessing (NLI, Special Collections, Ms. 5492, fol. 7a). We have at least four manuscripts that present similar blessings to “who made me a woman.” Jochnowitz, “Who Made Me a Woman,” 63–64, based on Ms. Leeds, Roth no. 32, in Judeo-Provençal; Sabar, “Bride, Heroine and Courtesan”; Kahn, “Three Morning Blessings”; and Evelyn Cohen, “Women’s Illuminated.” 107. For an excursus on Jewish women’s prayers in the Italian context, see Lavie, Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book. 108. Klein, Time to Be Born, 142–43n24, 297; Adelman, “Italian Jewish Women,” 52–60; the source is Aaron Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, 22. 109. Diena, Sheelot uteshuvot, 8–9; and Lampronti, Pah>ad Yitzh>ak, vol. 3, pt. 4, 11a. For a general overview of the custom, see Sabar, “Torah and Magic,” 143–52. As Shalom Sabar’s study shows, many non-Italian rabbis approved of the custom. 110. A. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, 10. 111. Ibid., 21–22. See Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 116–17. 112. See, for example, Prammatica instituita (1790), 7–8 and Prammatica instituita (1793), 9–10. 113. D. Z. Modena, Sefer Zakher, pt. 1, chap. 70, 186b–190b. See also L. Modena, Historia de riti, 94–98; Bonfil, Jewish Life, 251; and Fox and Lewis, Many Pious Women, 236. 114. ASMO, AM-E, 15/12, “Obbligo di andare alle prediche,” fols. 1–5 (1635 and 1637). In Theater of Acculturation (42), Stow notes that demanding that Jews attend conversionary sermons was a violation of canon law. See also the interesting case described by Adriano Prosperi in his “L’Inquisizione romana e gli ebrei,” 104–5. In Ferrara in 1629, as the Jews passed through town on their way to the Church of San Crispino to attend their Saturday sermon, garrisons of soldiers began to shout abuse and throw stones at the Jews. The Jews protested and threatened to leave the city if they were forced to continue to submit to such tactics. The compulsory sermons were canceled for the time being. 115. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 20/22, May 20, 1602; testimony released on May 25, 1602 (not examined in Aron-Beller’s Jews on Trial). 116. Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 185. 117. Wolfthal, In and Out, 79. 118. Ibid. For a pertinent contextualization of the window and its relevance to JewishChristian relations in early modern Venice, see D. E. Katz, Jewish Ghetto, 67–83. 119. Fonrobert, Menstrual Purity, 40–67, quotation from 65.

Notes to Pages 113–122

279

120. Ibid., 56 and 59. 121. Ibid., 57. 122. Wolfthal, In and Out, 75–102. 123. Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 158–59, 250–53. 124. JTS, Ms. 1356 (NLI-IMHM no. 43360), responsa Me-Arvei Nahal Avot, nos. 125, 197b–207a, cited in Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 159. 125. Strasbourg Ms., National and University Library 4085 (NLI-IMHM no. 3960), 84–85, cited in Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 344. 126. Stow, “Marriages are Made in Heaven,” 453–55. 127. Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 311–12; the source is Leningrad Ms., Oriental Studies Institute B381 (NLI-IMHM no. 53599), 1 a–b. 128. See Chapters 4 and 6. 129. Fram, My Dear Daughter, 63. 130. Weddle, “Enclosing Le Murate,” 70; Niccolini, Chronicle of Le Murate, 18–19. 131. Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” esp. 124–27. 132. Lavie, Jewish Woman’s Prayer Book, 224. 133. H.anukkah lamps of Modenese Jewish families are published in Arte e cultura ebraiche. For a general contextualization of H.anukkah lamps throughout history, see Braunstein, Luminous Art, 6–26. 134. For photos of the H.anukkah lamps, see Arte e cultura ebraiche. 135. Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 111–37, 128–29. 136. For Judith in the arts see Crun, “Judith between the Private,” and McHam, “Donatello’s Judith.” 137. Levine Gera, “Shorter Medieval Hebrew Tales.” 138. Ago, Gusto for Things, 61 (quotation). 139. See Chapters 1 and 2. 140. See Westwater, Sarra Copia Sulam and the vast bibliography therein. 141. Richler, “On the Education of Daughters,” quotation from 276. 142. Shmeruk, “Yiddish Printing”; Turniansky and Timm, Yiddish in Italia, 132. The book has recently been beautifully translated and published as Fram, My Dear Daughter, but this edition does not report the mentioned passage from the introduction to the Paduan edition. 143. Possevino, Bibliotheca selecta, 113. 144. NLI-IMHM, Ms. Kaufmann, nos. 151, 147, Poseq by Netanel Trabotti, November 11, 1645. See Adler, La pratique musicale, vol. 1, 78. 145. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/25, December 9, 1636. Evidence of her private life is in ASMO, AM-I-M (“Atti estratti da diversi fascioli 1613–1659”), May 16, 1636; ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/24, Testimony of December 12, 1636. 146. The formulation is from Chajes, “He Said and She Said,” 118. 147. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 247/24, testimomy of Allegra Carmi Poggetti, December 12, 1636. 148. Weissler, Voices of the Matriarchs, 39–41. 149. Archival evidence is preserved in ACEMO, TT/1. 150. Tishby, “Confrontation Between Lurianic and Cordoverian,” 35–36. 151. On the polemic between Aaron Berekhiah Modena and Yosef Yedidià Carmi in addition to Tishby’s “Confrontation Between Lurianic and Cordoverian,” see Rathaus, “Poesia, preghiera, Midrash,” 129-49. 152. See Rathaus, “Poesia, preghiera, Midrash,” 129–49. On De’ Rossi, see Weinberg, translator’s introduction, xiii–xlv.

280

Notes to Pages 122–128

153. See above in this chapter. 154. Raimondi, “Lo specchio del barocco”; Battistini, Il Barocco. 155. Rathaus, “Poesia, preghiera, Midrash,” 146–49. 156. Bonfil, “Historian’s Perception” and Tra due mondi. 157. See below in this chapter. 158. On the Sabbatean movement, see Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi. Specifically on Abraham Rovigo and his connection to Sabbateanism, see Scholem, H>alomotav shel ha-shabta᾿i R. Mordechai; Tishby, “Iggrot R. Meir Rofe” and “Visitors at the House.” 159. On Rovigo’s house and the various activities there, see also Francesconi, “Strategie di sopravvivenza,” 24–26, 29–31. 160. On the history of H.atzot Laila, see Horowitz, “Eve of Circumcision” and “Coffee, Coffeehouses.” The building still exists and is located in Via Coltellini 33 (K 949 in the eighteenth-century ghetto numeration). 161. See Chapter 3. 162. Tishby, Messianic Mysticism, 266. For a contextualization, see Carlebach, Pursuit of Heresy; and Lehmann, Emissaries from the Holy Land. 163. Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, 770–71. 164. Ibid., and Halperin, Sabbetai Zevi, 21–22. 165. On the presence of Ber Perlhefter (d. after 1701) and Mordechai of Eisenstadt (1650– 1729) at Rovigo’s house along with other visitors, see Tishby, “Visitors at the House.” See also Elisheva Carlebach’s discussion of Wagenseil’s correspondence with Ber Perlhefter’s wife Bella in her Divided Souls, 204–5 and “Letters of Bella Perlhefter.” 166. The translation is from Carlebach, Divided Souls, 80–81. 167. Scholem, H>alomotav shel ha-shabta᾿i R. Mordechai. 168. Goldish, Sabbatean Prophets, 165. 169. See Terpstra, “De-Institutionalizing Confraternity Studies,” 264–83. 170. Grossi, Cantata ebraica in dialogo; Adler, La pratique musicale, 82; Andreatta, Poesia religiosa, 44–47. 171. Grossi, Cantata ebraica in dialogo. 172. Ibid. 173. Ibid. 174. See later in this chapter. 175. On the night as both space and time of freedom in Italian Jewish ghettos, see Horowitz, “Eve of the Circumcision” and “Coffee, Coffeehouses.” 176. Differently, Robert Bonfil attributes a major role to the synagogue as a separated space where cultural, social, and devotional activities took place. See Bonfil, Jewish Life, 219–22.

Chapter 4 1. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, August 17, 1617; testimonies of December 1 and 2, 1617. On the Formigginis’ origins and activities in Ferrara, evidence is preserved in ASFE, NA, M. Taurino, Matricola 535, Pacco no. 6, 1547, “Fratelli Iacob e Simon Formiggini.” 2. ACEMO, AA-R/59 P, February 5, 1738. 3. For a comparison with Mantua that presented a similar system, see Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 384–85. In Turin the community tax duties seemed to be distributed among all the members of the kahal; Segre, Jews of Piedmont, vol. 3, nos. 1776–1782.

Notes to Pages 129–131

281

4. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, August 17, 1617, c. 23. 5. Sella, Italy in the Seventeenth Century, 19–49. 6. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/19, August 17, 1617, fol. 23. 7. ASCMO, CS-AE, 21, fols. 582–92, copia ms. del XVII secolo; see also Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 23–30. Of note, as emphasized earlier, is the somewhat contradictory politics of the corporations in the Este Duchy that in the same years were requesting the expulsion or the ghettoization of the Jews. 8. Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 28. 9. BEMO, AfAF, 1/2, fols. 1–5: “Lettere patente,” by Francesco I who declared Formiggini “jeweler and servant of the ducal camera,” dated 1629, 1675, 1677, and 1694 (two). 10. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/2, May 2, 1633; ASMO, AM-I-M, “Atti estratti da diversi fascicoli 1613–1659,” February 5, 1634. 11. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 244/2, May 2, 1633; ASMO, AM-I-M, “Atti estratti da diversi fascicoli 1613–1659,” February 5, 1634. 12. ASMO, AM-BB, 2B, fols. 135–36; ASMO, AM-I-P, 250/25, April 14, 1665, fols. 16–42, “Contro ebreos banchieri per vendita proibita di croci.” The pawnshop owned by Elia Teseo and his son was known also as the “Bank of the Spaniards” and was located in Contrada de la Zuca (della Zucca). The other associates were Giacobo Modena, nicknamed Malachin Teseo, and Abraham Norsa. 13. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (July 4, 1691–December 24, 1693), nos. 231–33. 14. BEMO, AfAF, 1/9, “Passaporto rilasciato da Ferdinando Carlo Duca di Mantova, Monferrato, Carlovilla e Guastalla a Pelegrino Formiggini,” February 5, 1683. 15. For a description of court Jews, see M. Graetz, “Court Jews.” See also the essays in Ries and Friedrich, eds., Hofjuden: Ökonomie und Interkulturalität. 16. The documentation n.d. is preserved in ASCMO, MR, “Pratiche non numerate” (post 1640). See more about this in Chapter 1. 17. ASMO, AM-I-P, 116/2. 18. BEMO, AfAF, 1/7, fol. 1, “Notizie su Elia Formiggini (1692).” 19. Ibid. See also other documentation in ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 30–31. 20. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 6249/231–33, February 4–10, 1692; ASMO, ANPV, Repertorio, 4218 (1688–93). 21. BEMO, AfAF, 1/6, fols. 1–15. After a criminal trial and because of the intervention of Alfonso d’Este, Vitale of the late Moisè Cannaruti was obliged to repay Elia Formiggini for certain jewels with a shop in the ghetto, guaranteed by his wife, Allegra. Allegra put forward half of her dowry and requested permission from the ducal camera to dispose of it. The shop was located in the square of the ghetto adjacent to the apartments of Meir Pontassi (Allegra’s brother) and of Allegra herself and to the street, and was valued at 400 scudi. According to this source, Allegra Pontassi, Benedetto’s daughter and Vitale’s wife, represented by the Christian agent Alfiere Giulio, saved her dowry (“salva la dote”). However, Elia could regain half of Allegra’s dowry; due to the fact that her brother Meir had declined any responsibility, a trial followed and the judgment favored Vitale Cannaruti, who was assigned 400 scudi. Cannaruti transferred his credit to Elia Formiggini in exchange for jewels. In the end, Elia and Allegra each received half of the shop; notary Andrea Vecchi, July 4, 1670. 22. BEMO, AfAF, 1/2, no. 24, June 10, 1681, Modena. 23. ASRE, AB-C, XXVII E 27, November 6, 1686: Elia Formiggini and Ester Sanguinetti asked for (and obtained) the renewal of the charter of their bank.

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Notes to Pages 131–135

24. ASMO, AN-PV, Tommaso Manetti, 3285 (January 5, 1666–June 19, 1668), no. 310 of November 18, 1666; the original amount of Ester’s dowry was 870 ducats for lire 5.3=4611 lire and 262.15 lire for the “doni della tavola.” 25. ASMO, AN-PV, Francesco Raschini, 4061 (January 4, 1674–December 24, 1675), no. 58 of December 17, 1674, fols. 103v–104r. The instrument was redacted after the wedding and had included a private contract (ketubbah). Elia had already received on account 466 and 2/3 ungari from Clara’s father, Michele, in cash, and a third part in “tanti mobili (the list of which mentioned by the notary is not included).” ASMO, AN-PV, Francesco Raschini, 4063 (January 30, 1680–December 29, 1682), no. 233 of October 26, 1682. In this case Elia stipulated the contract in the presence of a judge with the brothers Giuseppe and Salvatore, who were younger than twenty-five and older than eighteen and fourteen, respectively, and under the control of Moisè, son of the late Isach Modena and Richa Sema, mother of Giuseppe and Salvatore and sister of Michele, whose dowry, used for Rachele’s, totaled 16,000 Venetian ducats. The contract stated that at Richa’s death Elia and his family would receive one-third of her inheritance as part of Rachele’s dowry. 26. The patrimony included 44,272.6 lire in houses and shops in the ghetto, estimated by a certain Ottavio Biavardi from Modena; 46,455.18.8 lire in furniture, jewels, and personal effects, divided among the heirs. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (1688–1693), no. 231, February 5, 1692; see also nos. 231–33 and 239 (adjustments with Pellegrino) in the same folder. 27. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (1688–1693), no. 233, February 4, 1692 (dowry). 28. Allegra, Identità in bilico, 192–93. 29. A similar pattern has been individuated among affluent Jewish families in eighteenthcentury Ancona by Bonazzoli, “Sulla struttura familiare,” esp. 146–48. 30. The balance of the business totaled 63,485.13 lire (credits of the bank of Monte San Pietro, a village near Bologna, in jewels, diamonds, and pearls) and 54,588.18 lire for jewels and Modenese policies of credit for a total of 11,8073.31 lire. Debts consisted of 61,717 lire. Each quota of the inheritance consisted of 14,089.0775 plus additional quotas from undivided patrimonies to a total of 14,806.11.6 lire for each heir. “Somma dei mobili, gioie, argenti et altro dell’eredità del già Elia Formiggini toccata alli sottoscritti Fratelli Formiggini e pupilli descritti in questa stima: Pellegrino lire 10522.2; Pupilli lire 12956.2.8; Simone lire 10.926.19; Lustro lire 12050.15; Totale lire 46455.18.8.” ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218, no. 232. 31. BEMO, AfAF, 1/13, “Il neofito Signor Contardo Geminiano San Felice assolve i di lui fratelli Moisè e Laudadio Formiggini ed eredi,” June 12, 1705, notary Silvestro Galloni. 32. ASMO, AM-I-P, 182/7, August 18, 1704, “Proceeding against Pellegrino Formiggini.” 33. Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 52. 34. For example, in March 1756 the baptism of Abram Israel Vita Tedeschi and his family in the Church of San Carlo was of particular resonance in the city. Duke Ercole III and his wife Maria Teresa Cybo were the godfather and the godmother of Abram and his wife, respectively, while their children Beatrice and Rinaldo d’Este were the mentors of Abram’s daughters Rosa and Sara. Hymns were composed and published for the occasion. See Inni composti in onore. 35. Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 138; Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 67–70. 36. In the nineteenth century, accounts of conversion appear to be well documented; see Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 298. 37. ASMO, AM-I-P, 182/7, August 18, 1704, Proceeding against Pellegrino Formiggini. 38. Bellavitis, Identité, mariage, 288, 340, 268–73; Zannini, “La presenza borghese.”

Notes to Pages 135–141

283

39. ASMO, AN-PV, 1087 (1689), no. 58 (Testament of Abram Modena); ASMO, AN-PV, 1082 (1687), no. 45 (Testament of Lelio Modena). 40. ASMO, AM-E, 15/8, fols. 30–31, legal case Modena-Formiggini, July 1659; in the documentation, the ducal decree on the synagogue in Modena sent to the Jewish community on January 29, 1653, is also reported. ASMO, AN-PV, 1082 (1687), no. 45 (testament of Lelio Modena). 41. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Memorie dell’oratorio Formiggini.” 42. See Chapters 1 and 3. 43. On these Inquisition impositions, see Stow, “The Papacy and the Jews”; and Stiefel, Jews and Renaissance, 7–34. 44. Mattox, “Domestic Sacral Space,” 658–76, 663–64. 45. Ibid., 665–66. 46. For the lack of private oratories in Modena, see Soli, Le chiese di Modena, 3 vols. 47. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Memorie dell’oratorio Formiggini.” 48. ASMO, CPU, A-L, anni 1772–1773; ASMO, CPU, Ufficio centrale del Censo (1791– 1803), nos. 541–42. 49. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (July 4, 1691–December 1693), no. 233. 50. Ibid. 51. BEMO, AfAF, 1/5, “Nota delli diamanti, numero e peso che si trovano nel Specchio aggioiellato fatto fare dal Magnifico Elia Formigini.” 52. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (July 4, 1691–December 1693), no. 233. 53. BEMO, AfAF, 1/11, March 4 1700, fols. 1–4, “Copia del verbale della riunione della Compagnia Covegnè Gnitim [Kove‘ei ‘Ittim] del 9 di Nissan 5450 [1690],” fols. 3r–4r. On the Italian yeshivot conceived as “studii,” see Bonfil, “Accademie rabbiniche.” 54. R. Cohen, Jewish Icons, 68–113. 55. Y. Kaplan, Alternative Path, 29–50, esp. 39. 56. R. Cohen, Jewish Icons, 74–78. 57. Y. Kaplan, Alternative Path, 29–50. 58. The dimensions are: 44 x 28 x 42 x 22 feet / 13.4 x 8.7 x 12.9 x 6.7 meters; Concina, “Parva Jerusalem” and Calabi, “City of the Jews.” 59. BEMO, AfAF, 1/7, fol. 2, “Accordato col fabbro Francesco Solmi la fattura del detto matroneo e darci noi il ferro.” 60. The plan is preserved in ACEMO, AM-O/“Sinagoga Formiggini,” “Atto di vendita del 1905.” BEMO, AfAF, 1/26, February 23, 1752. For a description of other contemporary synagogues in northern Italy, see Cassuto, “La sinagoga in Italia.” 61. Documentation preserved in BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Memorie dell’oratorio Formiggini.” 62. See above and ACEMO, AA-R/17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777.” On the confraternity Mishmeret ha-boker, see references in Chapter 5. 63. ACEMO, AM-O/“Sinagoga Formiggini.” 64. On Venice, see Ravid, “Christian Travelers”; and Horowitz, “‘Dangerous Encounter.’” 65. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Memorie dell’oratorio Formiggini”; BEMO, AfAF, 1/21, May 25, 1741, notary Sigismondo Castolini, fols. 1–4. 66. This is according to Richard Cohen’s statements in Jewish Icons, 74. 67. ASCMO, CS-RAE-secc. 16–18, pratica 35, Modena, September 26, 1690. 68. ASMO, AM-E, 15/16, January 25, 1692, fols. 1–67, 22. 69. The representatives of the Portuguese nation in Modena were Jacob Nunes Franco from Livorno, David Telles (Teglio) from Siena, Angelo and Salomone Fano of the late David

284

Notes to Pages 141–152

Fano from Livorno, and Graziadio Levi (Salomone’s son-in-law). ASMO, AM-E, 15, Libro del Corame Rosso; Leoni, La nazione ebraica, 174–75. Few of them, at least until 1671, were even allowed to live outside the ghetto, in the area of the Castellanze; ACEMO, AA-R/21 I, no. 29, March 20, 1671. 70. ASMO, AM-E, 15/16, fol. 58. Salomone Vita Levi’s patrimony totaled 18,000 lire, including diamonds both loose and assembled (10,500 lire), pearls (4,000 lire), silver and gold (3,500 lire). 71. Ibid., fols. 56–57. Of note is the discrepancy between the sum declared and the patrimony listed in the notarial acts of 1692–93, analyzed earlier in this chapter. 72. This does not allow us to conclude whether this was actually requested by Modenese Jews, as sustained by Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 126. 73. ASMO, AM-E, 14, no. 143, n.d., c. mid-seventeenth century: “Abram Cordiglia e David Abendana di Reggio di nazione ebrea privilegiata chiedono di potere continuare l’attività della fabbrica di conce di corami degli eredi di Gian Maria Piastra.” 74. J. Israel, European Jewry, 119–50. 75. ACEMO, AA-R/19 G, fascicolo 11; ACEMO, AA-R/21 I, “Memoriale del 1643”; ACEMO, AA-R/17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O/“Sinagoga spagnola”; ASMO, CPU, Ufficio centrale del Censo (1791–1803), nos. 541 and 141(1805). 76. ACEMO, AA-R47 M, “Memoriali,” no. 18, August 29, 1661, and no. 19, August 29, 1661. 77. Leoni, La nazione ebraica, 174–75. 78. Documentation on the Annobuono’s family is preserved in ASMO, AM-AeM, 23, Arte dei Cappellai, “Annobuono Salomone sue suppliche per ottenere la privativa dei cappelli di panno, Anni 1657–58”; ASMO, AM-AeM, 24, Arte dei Drappieri e Filatoi, “Privilegi concessi a Salomone Annobuono, Anni 1655–1660”; and ASMO, AM-AeM, 37, Arte dei Vetrai, “Privilegi concessi alla famiglia Annobuono, Anni 1655–1685.” See also G. Biondi, “Le Lettere della Sacra.” 79. See Sella, Italy in the Seventeenth Century, for a general contextualization; for the Modenese context specifically, see Valenti and Curti, Artigianato e oggetti, 3–26; and Gibellini, “Produzione e commercio,” 237–57. 80. See Gibellini, “L’arte modenese.” 81. ASCMO, CS-ASI, 8, nos. 2, 3, 4 (Libri delle obbedienze): 1665–1708 (Jews and Christians); 1709–1743 (Men and Women, Christians and Jews); 1744–1797 (Male and Female Tailors, “sarti [tailors] di bottega, sarti casalini e sarti di villa”). 82. For a contextualization, see J. Israel, European Jewry; M. Graetz, Jews in NineteenthCentury France; and Endelman, Radical Assimilation, 9-72. 83. BEMO, AfAF, 1/20, fol. 26, February 15, 1747. For other pertinent documentation, see below. 84. Elliott, “Afterword,” 239. 85. Mentions of these activities occur in Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 66–68, 79–83, 105–13, 116–22, 171–86; Rombaldi, Gli Estensi al Governo, 63, 76, 79, 86, 88; Rombaldi, “L’economia degli Stati Estensi,” 15–22; Basini, L’uomo e il pane, 97–98, 145; and Marini, Lo Stato estense, 107–9, 126–31, 140–43. 86. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 126–31. 87. Chiappini, Gli Estensi, 391, 417, 418–22. On the history of Jews specifically, see Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 66–68, 79–83; and Marini, Lo Stato estense, 106–8, 126–31. 88. E.g., Pellegrino and Elia liquidated the dowries of their daughters-in-law from the society capital, in their wills (see above).

Notes to Pages 152–155

285

89. On the structure of the ragione cantante, see Melano di Portula, Dizionario Analitico, 576, 975. 90. ASMO, AN, Comitato di Governo, 25 (6141 bis/2), “1796 Ebrei dello Stato,” November 23, 1796, “Regolamento provvisorio per la nazione ebrea di questi stati.” For a precise account of all the expenses sustained by the Jewish community in the ghetto under the leadership of Jewish merchants appointed as massari for the years 1766–67, see Libro delle spese nella Mishmarah delli Signori Lustro Rovigo, Salomon d’Abram Usiglio e Leone Fano, Ms. Codex 2038, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Kislak Center for Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania. 91. See the documentation on the loan imposed on Modenese Jews in 1799 during the temporary return of Estes to Modena under the Napoleonic domination, preserved in ASMO, AM-E, 14B, fols. 219–23. Salomone Formiggini and Moisè Vita Fano, a silk entrepreneur and owner of textile mills in Modena, were creditors to the Estes for 24,472 lire, due as payment of two rings. This sum was subtracted from the total loan (fol. 221r). 92. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 100. 93. For a contemporaneous analysis of the Christian dimensions of charity in Modena, see Ricci, Della Riforma degli Istituti. 94. ASCMO, Atti di Amministrazione Generale del Comune di Modena (1796–1853), Fascicolo 2 termidoro 20 luglio uscente 1798, “Nota delle compagnie ebraiche redatta da Buona Ventura Modena per Leonelli, commissario del Potere esecutivo.” 95. BEMO, AfAF, 1/2, July 5, 1727. 96. BEMO, AfAF, 1/2, January 30, 1738. Documentation of the Formigginis’ trade between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is preserved in AfAF, 1/1 and 7. 97. Moisè undertook to return to Laudadio half of 900 pezze (each for 8 reali) that he had allocated for his daughter’s wedding to Angelo Archivolti from Livorno. Half of the sum of 450 pezze would be returned by the fifteenth of the same month. BEMO, AfAF, 1/19, July 2, 1736. 98. Ibid. 99. ASCMO, CM-P, 182 (175), December 1811, “Affitto di due botteghe e mezzani in condotta Formiggini.” 100. BEMO, AfAF, 1/19, “Moisè e Laudadio fratelli Formiggini del fu Pellegrino si assolvono reciprocamente ed indi contraggono società di commercio,” July 2, 1736, notary Dionigi Lombardini. ASCMO, CM-P, 182 (175), December 1811, “Affitto di due botteghe e mezzani in condotta Formiggini.” 101. Winkler, “Storia di un acquisto.” 102. See documentation preserved in the folders in ASMO, CD, Inventario per la Corte, pertinent to the eighteenth century. 103. BEMO, AfAF, 1/20, no. 18, “Permesso rilasciato dallo Stato Pontificio il 28 aprile 1789 a Flaminio, Moisè e Salomone Formiggini.” BEMO, AfAF, 1/20, nos. 19–20: privilege given to Formiggini and Lazzaro Grego, “negozianti di gioie” of Modena, and to a servant “to go to Rome as usual, reside outside the ghetto, without the obligation of the badge in their hats for them and for their servant,” March 22, 1749. 104. BEMO, AfAF, 1/20, no. 1 (June 21, 1740), no. 2 (August 3, 1785), no. 3 (June 19, 1737). 105. BEMO, AfAF, 1/8–9, Naples, May 18, 1789. 106. The documentation of the Formigginis’ business travels to marketplaces outside the duchy is located in BEMO, AfAF, 1/Registro dell’Archivio dell’azienda, anni 1740–1760. For the context of Livorno, see Trivellato, “La fiera del corallo.” On marriage relations, see below.

286

Notes to Pages 155–159

107. For a comparison to the commercial networks of Sephardi Jews for the trade of diamonds and other valuables and its importance in the early modern period, see Trivellato, Familiarity of Strangers and the bibliography therein. 108. On the Corporation of the Goldsmiths in Modena, see Barbolini Ferrari and Boccolari, Agenti estensi. On the Formigginis and their role in the corporation, see below. 109. The 1622 statutes are published in Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 23–29. 110. ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, n.d. 111. ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, n.d. 112. ASCMO, CS-RAE-secc. 16–18, no. 35, Modena, September 26 (without year but probably from the early eighteenth century). 113. ASMO, SN, Arti, Orefici, 74, “Registri per i pagamenti degli anni 1783 e 1784.” 114. ASCMO, CS-RAE-secc. 16–18, no. 26. 115. ASCMO, CS-RAE-secc. 16–18, no. 42, 1702. 116. Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 32–33. 117. December 2, 1707; Valenti and Curti, Artigianato e oggetti, 94. 118. Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 33. 119. Ibid. 120. Ibid., 39. 121. ASCMO, Calendari di corte (1700–1796). 122. Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 38. 123. In 1690 a request by members of the guilds had already been advanced that they be prohibited from acquiring “gold and silver to then dismantle it and sell it privately with the exception of Christians and Jews who would present a request [to do so] to the massaro in due time”; ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, August 12, 1690. 124. In 1745, for example, the Jews Camerini and Moisè Modona were recorded as “workers,” while the Formigginis, Levis, Modonas, Daniz Usilli, and Giuseppe Sanguinetti were “ebrei capi di bottega.” In addition, over the years Jews were at times called “merchants” and at other times “ubbidienti” probably for no precise reason but depending on which massaro compiled the registers of the corporation; ASCMO, CS-AE, Libro 4, Registro dei pagamenti dell’anno 1745. On the Camerinis, see ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, Conti dell’Arte degli Orafi, years 1718–24). 125. ASMO, SN, Registers of the years 1775–96. 126. ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, Conti dell’Arte degli Orafi, “Registro dei pagamenti degli anni 1728–1729.” 127. Ibid., May 22, 1705. The profession of secondhand dealer was at times left to women, both Jewish and non-Jewish; for example, in 1734 “Anna Todeshi Jewish, Barabara Corli, la signora Gezzani and Camilla Mezzani” were named; ASCMO, CS-AE, Libro 4, “Registro dei pagamenti dell’anno 1734.” 128. ASCMO, CS-RAE-secc. 16–18, October 25, 1720. 129. ASCMO, CS-AE, Libro 4, “Registro dei pagamenti dell’anno 1739.” 130. BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, fol. 3r. 131. E.g., in 1713 Francesco Donini worked at Benedetto Levi’s (ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, Conti dell’Arte degli Orafi, Registro dell’anno 1713); in 1722 Zacaria Sterchi, who later opened his own shop, worked at Vita Levi’s; in 1728 a certain Soldati worked at Moisè Usigli’s (ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, Conti dell’Arte degli Orafi, Registro dell’anno 1728); during 1733 a certain “Barucho” worked at the Levis’ shop together with Isacho

Notes to Pages 159–164

287

Modena, Abram Camerini, and Orsini (ASCMO, CS-AE, Libro 4, “Registro dei pagamenti dell’anno 1733”). 132. ASCMO CS-AE, Libro 4, “Registro dei pagamenti dell’anno 1733.” 133. See below and also the observations of Marini. 134. ASCI-PT, Titolo 21, Cartone 2, Mobili, quadri e stime, “Lettera inviata da Sarti e Muratori il 3 ottobre 1781.” On the Tozzoni family, see Cherici et al., Imola: Palazzo Tozzoni. 135. ASCI-PT, Titolo 21, Cartone 2, Mobili, quadri e stime, “Lettera di Sanguinetti e Levi al Conte Alessandro Tozzoni, 3 ottobre 1781.” 136. Siegmund, Medici State, 314–19; Bemporad, “Due famiglie di gioiellieri.” In Florence, many Jewish jewelers or silversmiths were admitted into the Corporation of Silk. Of note, in Modena as in Florence, the Corporation of Silk functioned as a broad umbrella for various professions, such as bookmakers. On Venice, see R. Davis and Ravid, Jews of Early Modern Venice. Similarly to Modena, in the Ottoman Empire Jews were allowed to enroll in the guilds; BenNaeh, Jews in the Realm, 343-46. 137. Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 40–65. 138. Ramada Curto and Molho, introduction to Find Europe, esp. 12–13. 139. Marini, Lo Stato estense, 100–103. 140. See Balsamo, “Gli ebrei nell’editoria”; and Francesconi, “Strategie di sopravvivenza,” 39–41. 141. In February 1769, Leone Rovigo was baptized in the Duomo (the main church) of Modena with great publicity, and his godfather was the duke himself. Given the name Francesco Maria Varesi, he became a canon of Mirandola and in 1762 donated to Francesco III the important manuscript of Or Yakar (BEMO, Ms, Or. 56); see Bernheimer, Catalogo dei manoscritti, 26–29. Interestingly, in 1601 Aaron Berekhiah, the son of Moses, was engaged in preparing the compendium of Cordovero’s works; see Tishby, “Confrontation Between Lurianic and Cordoverian,” 186. 142. Levi D’Ancona, “Philanthropy and Politics,” 90–100. 143. ASMO, CD, Inventario per la Corte dell’anno 1771, Casa, Guardaroba, registro no. 305, tomo 1 argenti, fols. 1–36. For a historical contextualization, see Valenti and Curti, L’Inventario 1771, esp. 85–88. 144. See Cattani and Fornari Schianchi, “‘Per uso del santificare,’” spec. 10–25. 145. Barbolini Ferrari and Boccolari, Argenti estensi; Valenti and Curti, Artigianato e oggetti. 146. ASMO, CD, Inventario per la Corte dell’anno 1771, Casa, Guardaroba, registro no. 305, tomo 1 argenti. 147. On the artistic production of Ferdinando Manzini, see Barbolini Ferrari and Boccolari, Argenti estensi, 55–61. 148. ASMO, CD, Inventario per la Corte dell’anno 1771, Casa, Guardaroba, registro no. 305, tomo 1 argenti. 149. For a comparison to the silver objects both imported and produced in the nearby Duchy of Parma, see Mordacci, Argenti e argentieri. 150. Francesconi, “Sinagoghe e argenti sinagogali,” 8–14. 151. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, fol. 25, according to Vives, February 4, 1692 (no. 230); 2/5 of the scola to Pellegrino Formiggini for his birthright. 152. BEMO, AfAF, 1/26, fols. 1r–4r, February 23, 1752, notary Giacomo Antonio Alessandri. 153. BEMO, AfAF, 1/39, June 20, 1775, notary Valentino Mazorana, Trieste. Approval of the wife Gentile of Emanuel Anau from Ferrara was given; the agreement also included 175 zecchini

288

Notes to Pages 164–171

for the dowry of Isach’s daughter Ricca, engaged to Benedetto Pincherle from Gorizia (fols. 4v–5r). In 1800 Moisè Formiggini rented another portion of the scola from his brother Laudadio Vita in Trieste in order to help Laudadio, who was dealing with economic difficulties. 154. See Cusin, Arte nella tradizione; Crusvar, “Argenti e arredi”; Bemporad, “Aspetti dell’arte”; and Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 111–36. 155. R. Cohen, Jewish Icons, 84–88, quotation from 84; Landsberger, “Jewish Artist.” 156. Cohen, Jewish Icons, 85. 157. See Cohen, Jewish Icons, 84–88 as well as Sabar, “Use and Meaning,” “Beginning of Ketubbah,” Ketubbah, and Mazal Tov. 158. Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 120–24; Francesconi, “Sinagoghe e argenti,” 8–14. 159. Francesconi, “Sinagoghe e argenti,” 8–14, and “Schede,” 40–45. 160. Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 120–24. 161. Kaufmann, “Art in the Synagogues,” 259; Mann, Jewish Texts, 120–23; Rodov, “TowerLike Torah Arks,” 66–68. 162. Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 120–24; Francesconi, “Sinagoghe e argenti,” 8–14. 163. See Cohen, Jewish Icons, 84–88 . 164. Many Jewish ornaments, whether silver or textiles, bear dedicatory inscriptions in order to honor the synagogue and demonstrate the wealth of the donor. Often the inscription does not correspond to the moment of the work’s execution; it can often be linked to a specific commission or to a donation that occurred much later than the designing of the object; Bemporad, “Jewish Ceremonial Art,” 117–18. 165. See Chapter 3 and Francesconi, “Sinagoghe e argenti,” 8–14, and “Schede,” 40–45. 166. BEMO, AfAF, 1/15, June 3, 1718. 167. BEMO, AfAF, 2/52, “Dotale di Ricca Levi sposa di Salomon Formiggini,” December 25, 1785, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. 168. ASMO, AN-PV, Giambattista Vives, 4218 (1688–1693), no. 232, February 4, 1692. 169. The former totaled 428.22 lire while the latter totaled 2,660. On the basis of Pellegrino’s will, each son had to pay 31 scudi per year to their mother; when subtracted from the abovementioned amounts, the total was brought to 3,097.22 lire. Because he had already received 1,997.11 lire, Contardo remained the creditor of only 1,200 lire, from which a total debt of 598.4 lire was subtracted. Moisè declared himself ready to pay Contardo the remaining 596.20 lire. BEMO, AfAF, 1/13, June 12, 1705, notary Silvestro Galloni. 170. On the system of ius gazagà in Italy, see Colorni, Gli ebrei nel diritto, 60–65. 171. BEMO, AfAF, 1/12, May 11, 1705, notary Paolo Benzi. 172. BEMO, AfAF, 1/41. 173. BEMO, AfAF, 1/15, fols. 1–4, June 3, 1718, notary Giacinto Degni. See more on this in Chapter 5. 174. ASCMO, CS-AE, Suppliche all’Arte Orafa, Conti dell’Arte degli Orafi, ad vocem. 175. ASMO, CD, Zecca, 1–20. 176. See Allegra, Identità in bilico, 172–74. 177. BEMO, AfAF, 1/25, fol. 1. On the role of the mundualdus (representant), see Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 82. 178. BEMO, AfAF, 1/25, fols. 4v–5r. On the trading collaboration between the Formigginis and Leone de Vita from Lugo for the commerce of jewels, gold, and silver, see the patente granted on January 25, 1748, by Camillo Paolucci, cardinal and legatus in Ferrara and Romagna; BEMO, AfAF, 1/20, fols. 24–25.

Notes to Pages 171–173

289

179. BEMO, AfAF, 1/Registro dell’Archivio dell’azienda, anni 1740–1760; BEMO, AfAF, 1/30, testament of Laudadio Formiggini, May 15, 1763, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. 180. The dotal contract related to the marriage of Sara Formiggini to Raffaele Salom d’Olivetti was redacted on August 18, 1763, by the brothers Benedetto and Flaminio Formiggini on the one side and the brothers Raffaele and Marco Olivetti on the other. The actual marriage had already been celebrated the previous year, and the ketubbah included a sum of 600 zecchini of Venice of which 500 was to be deposited in cash while the other part of the sum consisted of “many furniture and giugali” as well as “other furniture for the use and comfort of the bride, commonly defined as the mobiletto.” The mobiletto was estimated by Gabriele Urbino and Benedetto Sacerdoti at 4,151 lire, to which were added 1,132 lire and half of the value of the engagement ring with diamonds; the wedding ring was estimated at 18 Venetian zecchini according to the jeweler Cristiano Fiori. BEMO, AfAF, 1/25, August 18, 1763, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. In 1791 Sara Formiggini (fifty years old) and Raffaele Salom Olivetti (fifty-seven years old) lived in the ghetto of Ivrea with their two sons David Giuseppe and Laudadio (aged twenty-four and eighteen, respectively), David’s eighty-year-old wife Sara Levi from Vercelli, and their one-month-old daughter Devora. Archivio Comunale di Ivrea, reg. 1763, in Segre, Jews of Piedmont, vol. 3, no. 1985. 181. ASMO, AN-PV, Niccolò Giannozzi, 5238/ 666; BEMO, AfAF, 1/31, fols. 1–2, June 20, 1763. 182. BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, July 7, 1770, notary Gaetano Radighieri. 183. In order to cover the fund of the dowry, Emanuele and Flaminio assigned two capitali di censo of 20,000 and 10,000 lire, acquired on November 7, 1768, and July 5, 1770, respectively; BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, fol. 1v. They also had to calculate the dowry of Grazia Vitta Levi, wife of Benedetto, for 28,545 lire, including mobili e donativi that was assured and received by their father, Laudadio. This was in accordance with the instrument redacted by Gaetano Giuseppe Barberi on September 7, 1754, for which Benedetto assumed the entire responsibility and charges with the declaration of acceptance by Grazia to no longer consider Emanuele and Flaminio responsible for her dowry. BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, fol. 1r. On that occasion, Devora Levi, their mother, made a donatio inter vivos for her dowry. The children were to give her 15 lire per month, as decided by Laudadio in his testament, and Devora declared she would leave all her furniture and jewels (“mobile, arredi, gioie, e contanti che si trovarà avere al tempo di sua morte, salva la quantità di Lire mille, che si riferiva per testarne a di Lei arbitrio”). The brothers also decided on a sum of 900 lire for her food to be paid by the two with whom she would not live. Any other expenses including clothes, sickness, and funeral costs would be paid by the three brothers (BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, fol. 2v). 184. BEMO, AfAF, 1/38, fol. 1r–1v. In addition, because the company utilized the shop that belonged to Benedetto according to the inheritance, every year each member of the company had to pay 55 scudi (each 5 lire) for the rent, that is, 275 lire in total. BEMO, AfAF, 1/42, October 13, 1775, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. The sum for the rent was taken from the credit of 2,5146.6 lire due from Giovanni Battista Scotti from Piacenza, according to the notarial instrument redacted by Giovanni Carandini on December 1, 1767; BEMO, AfAF, 1/38, fols. 1v–2r. 185. BEMO, AfAF, 1/41, October, 13, 1775, fols. 13–14, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. The socalled “sheet balance of the female pupil” from November 1, 1775, gives the following summary: “First and second bed, linen, clothes lire 12,296; plus commodities preserved from the auction for the use of the pupil 12,296.3.10 lire; goods sold at the auction and its profit (clothes and furniture) lire 12,605.19.10; Balance register—to give lire 14,102.9.10; Balance register—to receive 14,102.9.10 lire; Census, credits and stables Total Lire 227,237.4; Yearly profit lire 11,810.17.2; Summary of the Balance lire 252,255.13.10.”

290

Notes to Pages 173–177

186. BEMO, AfAF, 1/40, fols. 1–4, October 13, 1775, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. Emanuele died on April 24, 1775, without testament. 187. BEMO, AfAF, 1/40, fol. 1r, October 13, 1775, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. The balance sheet totaled 252,255.13.10 lire. The first patrimonial sheet, calculated by the Formiggini family in the 1680s at the death of the patriarch Elia, totaled 90,728.4 lire. 188. CAJHP, IT/MO, IT 497. 189. For example, in 1768, on the account of Ragione cantante Laudadio Formiggini, Benedetto paid out the credit of 14,243.19.3 lire that Marquise Francesco Pio Ghisilieri from Bologna, represented by Giovanni Montanari, had owed to Società Tipografica of Modena in the previous year for a balance due for books and etchings. With a new debt, the Ditta Eredi di Angelo Sanguinetti was accepted in front of Benedetto Formiggini guaranteeing the marquise for the financial plan established for the payment of 121,500 lire. Jewels for the amount of 11,475 lire and yearly payments of 17,357.2 were divided at rates of 5,785.14 lire each. BEMO, AfAF, 1/23, February 23, 1774, notary Tommaso Vandelli. 190. BEMO, AfAF, 1/42, “Divisione del negozio di gioie eseguita fra i fratelli Benedetto e Flaminio Formiggini in data 13 ottobre 1775,” fol. 4, notary Niccolò Giannozzi. According to the divisions, the landed property Predio, nicknamed il Torrazzo and located in Villa Baggiovara, was owned by the heirs of the late Count Giovanni Battista Scotti from Piacenza, as confirmed by the instrument of the Modenese notary Giovanni Carandini on December 1, 1767. It was to pass to Benedetto Formiggini, who at the end of the condotta (charter) should have returned the seed and cattle that were originally a common debt shared by all the Formiggini brothers (fol. 3r). Only the synagogue and yeshivah remained undivided among Benedetto, Flaminio, and Anna (fol. 3v). Credits assigned to Flaminio Formiggini at his own risk totaled 74,764.10 lire (fols. 1–2). 191. On this aspect in the Italian society, see Capra, L’età rivoluzionaria; Macry, Ottocento: Famiglia. 192. Capuzzo, Gli ebrei nella società, 55–72. 193. ASMO, EC, filza no. 307, 1773. 194. Letter from Beltrame Cristiani to Giovanni Battista Bogino, from Milan, December 14, 1751, published in Venturi, Settecento riformatore, 416. 195. Spaggiari, “Politica e istituzioni”; Marini, Lo Stato estense, esp. 70–91. 196. Codice di Leggi, Libro 3, titolo 9, articoli 3, 16, 17: tomo 2, 68, 75, 76. 197. Ibid., 75. 198. Ibid., 68, 75, 76; Marini, Lo Stato estense, 123–43, esp. 140–43. 199. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Recapiti diversi di data antica, o memoria, dell’epoche delle nascite di parecchi individui della famiglia,” fols. 14–23. 200. See more on this in Chapters 6 and 7. 201. For a discussion of these themes in the Italian context, see Stow, “Jewish PreEmancipation.” 202. Dubin, Port Jews, and “Subjects into Citizens.”

Chapter 5 1. See Chapter 3. 2. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 22–December 21, 1735. The archive consists of a folder of unpaginated documents written in Italian with Hebrew insertions.

Notes to Pages 177–182

291

3. Members included Miriam Rovigo and her mother Grazia Rovigo, Devora Formiggini, Rosa and Grazia Fano, Sara Levi, Bellina Norsa, and Buonaventura Sanguinetti. 4. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 22–December 21, 1735. 5. Lampronti, Pah>ad Yitzh≥ak, s.v. Yolededt, vol. 3, pt. 4, 11a. For a recent and thorough analysis of Lampronti’s work, see Glasberg Gail, “Scientific Authority.” On this custom see Chapter 3. 6. The number of these female servants is quite remarkable for the entire early modern period if we consider that, in other European cities at this time, male and female domestic servants accounted for 10 percent of the population. For example, in Trieste in the 1760s, male and female Jewish servants made up about 10 percent of the total Jewish population; see Horowitz, “Beyn adonim le-meshartot.” 7. ASMO, EC, 307, 1773, p. 428, no. 120. On the Catasto, Nicassio, “A Tale of Three Cities,” 436–41. Anna Cangiassi owned a spinning factory, an inn, six shops, and a wine store (ibid., 440). 8. For a comparison with the Sephardi world, see Menkis, “Patriarchs and Patricians.” 9. It ceased functioning in 1943 when the Nazis entered Italy to prop up the failing Fascist regime. I have explored this confraternity in Francesconi, “Jewish Women” and Francesconi, “Confraternal Community.” The existence of So‘ed H.olim is also mentioned in Rivlin, Mutual Responsibility, 52; and Luisa Modena, “Note a margine,” 152–53 (with some misunderstandings). On the other female Jewish confraternities in the early modern Italy, see later in this chapter. 10. This study builds on the recent historiographical shift that conceives of fraternalism as a critical but contradictory early modern European phenomenon, “which was simultaneously transformative and reactionary, egalitarian and elitist, a vehicle of resistance and one of acculturation,” according to the definition by Terpstra, “De-Institutionalizing Confraternity Studies,” quotation from 277. 11. See Chapter 3. 12. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 8, 1750, and August 23, 1751. 13. On the importance of Rosh H.odesh for Jewish women in the early modern period, see Weissler, Voices of the Matriarchs, 23, 112–16. For a specific reference to the Italian Jewish context, see Leone Modena, Historia de riti, 63. 14. Horowitz, “Worlds of Jewish Youth.” 15. This analysis is based on the SH-Register as well as a database I created of the Jewish population in the ghetto for the period 1766–96, primarily using the following documentation: ASMO, AM-E, 15; ACEMO, AA-R, 14 D/2; ACEMO, AA-R, 15 D/2; and ACEMO, AA-R, 16 D/2. 16. ACEMO, SH-Register, June 20, 1756. 17. In 1775, for example, their work aided at least 76 needy families out of a total Jewish population of 1,207 individuals, or 247 families. See n. 15. On the non-Jewish population, see Marini, Lo Stato estense, 100. 18. See Chapters 3 and 4. 19. Ibid. 20. BEMO, AfAF, 1/15, June 3, 1718. 21. Attempts by the Jewish massari at contrasting this interference are documented in ACEMO, AA-R/21 I, no. 49, February 21, 1726. 22. ASMO, AN-PV, Niccolò Giannozzi, 5238/666, June 20, 1763; BEMO, AfAF, 1/31, June  20, 1763, “Obbligazione assunta per parte della Compagnia Ebraica Covegnè Gnitim a favore dell’eredità di Laudadio Formiggini.”

292

Notes to Pages 182–187

23. BEMO, AfAF, 1/37, July 7, 1770; notary Gaetano Radighieri. See Chapter 7. 24. For a comparison with the Christian world, see Ago, Economia barocca, 103–5. 25. A similar pattern has been individuated by Viviana Bonazzoli among affluent Jewish families in eighteenth-century Ancona in “Sulla struttura familiare.” 26. Documentation regarding the Jewish ownership and administration of zecche (mints) in Modena is located in ASMO, CD-Z, 1–20. The documentation pertinent to the Società Attias is preserved in ASMO, CD-Z, 20/2. 27. ASMO, CD-Z, 20/2. Furthermore, Anna Rovighi, wife of Flaminio (owner of the Sanson Rovighi Firm, famous for silk production, and whose patrimony was 20,000 lire) renounced her dowry rights as well. 28. ACEMO, AA-R, 47 M/49, February 21, 1726. 29. Berkovitz, Protocols of Justice, 177. Berkovitz analyzes cases of this kind that occurred in the rabbinical tribunal of Metz during the last three decades of the eighteenth century; Berkovitz, Rites and Passages, 39–51. 30. ACEMO, SH–Register, November 22, 1785. 31. Ibid., December 23, 1787. 32. Ibid., November 22, 1735. 33. Useful documentation is preserved in ASMO, AM-AeM-S, 34/b. On the Rovigo family, see also Francesconi, “Strategie di sopravvivenza.” 34. These data have been calculated from sources located in ASMO, AM-E, 15, “Denunce dell’Arte dei Merciai ebrei aperte dal Magistrato al 6 febbraio 1693.” 35. ASMO, AN-PV, Nicolò Giannozzi, 5242/1418, June 9, 1769. Miriam and Lazzaro sold to Giacinto Solieri two of their landed properties located in San Prospero for 34,000 lire. Servadio and Leone, and Raffaele and Lustro Rovigo (the future husband and the father of Miriam, respectively) were two pairs of brothers. 36. Cammeo, “Gli ebrei di Modena.” 37. ASMO, AN-PV, Gaetano Tonani, 5227/87, October 17, 1754, and 5227/96. 38. ASMO, AN-PV, Giuseppe Antonio Cavicchioli, 5370/59, July 4, 1768. The document reports the donation that took place on August 2, 1758. 39. See Chapter 3. 40. Francesconi, “Fra ‘sacro’ e ‘profano.’” 41. On the history of H.atzot Laila, see Horowitz, “Coffee, Coffeehouses,” 33–42. 42. On the presence of Ber Perlhefter (d. after 1701) and Mordechai of Eisenstadt (1650– 1729) at Rovigo’s house along with other visitors, see Chapter 3. 43. See Rapoport-Albert, “On the Position of Women” and Women and the Messianic Heresy. 44. On this point, see Carlebach, Pursuit of Heresy, 76–77. 45. Sonne, “New Material on Sabbatai Zevi,” 49. 46. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 22–December 21, 1735, and April 16, 1778. 47. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E; ACEMO, AM-O. ASCMO, BC2–4; ASCMO, C1903. ASMO, AN-PV-T, 1087/45 and 58 (1689). 48. Horowitz, “Coffee, Coffeehouses,” 42. 49. In April 1777, for example, the confraternity Ahsmoret Ha-Boker received a land property located in the town Villa Delle Roncole in emphyteusis from the Catholic confraternity of the Sacramento in Mirandola; ACEMO, AB-IeR, April 5, 1777. 50. ASCMO, CM-P, 26, Fascicolo 2 termidoro 20 luglio uscente 1798, “Nota delle compagnie ebraiche redatta da Buona Ventura Modena per Leonelli, commissario del Potere esecutivo.”

Notes to Pages 187–190

293

51. See also Chapter 4. 52. ACEMO, AA-R, 52 N/14, Felice Fiori (1726–27). For a contextualization of the phenomenon of emissaries similar to Rovigo, see Lehmann, Emissaries from the Holy Land. 53. ACEMO, AA-R, 52 N/14, Felice Fiori (1726–27). 54. See also Chapters 4 and 6. 55. On the Opera pia dei Catecumeni, see Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 121–39; and Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede. 56. Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 129. 57. See Costituzione della Compagnia ebraica. This publication demonstrates that Rah≥amim was united with Gemilut H.asadim before 1791; according to the registers of So‘ed H.olim, the two confraternities were already united in 1762 (ACEMO, SH-Register, August 11, 1762). 58. Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 125; Francesconi, “Jewish Women,” 198–99. 59. Memorie attinenti all’Opera Pia del Catecumeno, vol. 2, 115–17, cited in Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 125, 128. 60. The documentation for this complicated economic settlement is located in ASMO, AN-PV, Giuseppe Antonio Cavicchioli, 5370/59, July 4, 1768. In February 1769, Leone was baptized in the Duomo (the main church) of Modena with great publicity, and his godfather was the duke himself. Given the name Francesco Maria Varesi, he became a canon of Mirandola. According to notarial documents, Leone, afraid of Miriam’s reaction, who “could not treat him with both equality and parity[,] and afraid that she and his older and widowed sister, Bonaventura, would decide to disinherit him,” asked for and obtained his inheritance immediately before the conversion, thanks to the intercession of both the duke and the Opera pia dei Catecumeni. Remarkably, the life of Leone, the neophyte son of Miriam, was strongly influenced by the use or virtual use to which his mother, his wife, and his sister put their dowries. 61. Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 93–96; other data provided in the same publication indicate that 148 Jews converted from 1700 to 1796 and 90 from 1731 to 1796. 62. ASMO, AN-PV, Nicolò Giannozzi, 5242/1418, June 9, 1769. 63. ACEMO, SH-Register, October 18, 1768. 64. Ibid., November 22, 1785. 65. Ibid., “Nota delle robbe che sono state date dalle signore fondatrici,” without a precise chronological indication, but presumably December 21, 1735. 66. Ibid., November 22–December 21, 1735. 67. Ibid., October 3, 1750. 68. For a general overview of this specific issue in the Jewish law, see Gray, “Married Women.” For an exploration of Jewish charity in the early modern period, see Horowitz, “Ve-yehiyu ’aniyim”; and Berkovitz, “Jewish Philanthropy”; and Kaplan, Patrons and their Poor. On charity in early modern Italy, see Pullan, Poverty and Charity; and Cavallo, Charity and Power. 69. See Gray, “Married Women”on Luria’s influence in Europe. 70. Ibid. 71. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 22–December 21, 1735. 72. Ibid., October 15, 1747. During the same period, the neighboring Catholic Ospizio dei poveri (Hospice for the poor) offered women training in basic spinning and sewing while men had options in a broad spectrum of professional possibilities. So‘ed H.olim also employed men for the care of corpses. Starting in the 1770s, two of these were Leone Senigaglia and Prospero Tedeschi (SH-Register, December 29, 1765). 73. Ibid., November 8, 1750.

294

Notes to Pages 190–192

74. ACEMO, AA-R, 71 S, December 28, 1767, “Confessione di Graziadio Benedetto Levi di avere commesso stupro ai danni di Buona Ventura figlia del fu Jacob Formiggini, di cui fu dalla stessa fanciulla denunziato d’esserne stato l’autore.” 75. Francesconi, “Illicit Sex and Law.” Considering that the main subject of this book is the mercantile Jewish elite in Modena, I have concentrated more on how this elite looked at their servants rather than servants’ own vicissitudes—a topic to which I will devote a future study. 76. For example, in the case of Lea Modena, who in 1777 while serving in the home of the celebrated R. Jacob Saraval of Mantua, was seduced by Saraval’s nephew—sixty-five-yearold Jacob Mazzetto. When at the end of the year she returned to Modena, Lea’s pregnancy was discovered by her father and some neighbors. The Modenese Jewish community initiated a long investigation and then sued Jacob and his uncle Saraval for illicit sex. ACEMO, AA-R, 71/14: “Esame fatto dalla Eccellentissima Accademia di Mantova a David Coen accusato dalla Lea Modena di avere avuto commercio seco lei assieme alli Giugali Castelletti nella cui locanda disse detta Lea che venne commesso, 1777”; “Esame fatto dalla Eccellentissima Accademia di Modena a Lea Modena, 23 novembre 1777”; “Altro esame fatto dalla Eccellentissima Accademia di Modena a Lea Modena, 7 dicembre 1777”; “Mediazione assunta da Jacob Vita Jacchia che rappresenta id kahal kadosh di Modena, luglio-agosto 1778”; “Lodo assunto da Israel Ghedalia Cases, Salomon Lampronti, Jacob Vita Jacchia, 1778.” 77. E.g., ACEMO, AA-R, 71/33, “Obbligazione e sicurtà fatta da Giuseppe Senigaglia che il figlio Angelo non si partirà da questa città e che il medesimo si presenterà davanti la nostra Accademia per rispondere alla denuncia data dalla vedova Vigevani del commercio carnale avvenuto seco lei” (March 3, 1788). 78. ACEMO, AA-R, 71, “Lodo assunto da Israel Ghedalia Cases, Salomon Lampronti, Jacob Vita Jacchia, 1778.” 79. See my “Illicit Sex and Law.” 80. See, for example, Carlebach, “Fallen Women”; Maza, Servants and Masters; Fairchilds, Domestic Enemies; Ulbrich, Shulamith and Margarete, 227; Cavallo and Cerutti, “Female Honor”; Lombardi, Matrimoni di antico regime; and Arrivo, Seduzioni, promesse. 81. In the case of Avignon, the registers refer to the assistance due to male patients as follows. The overseers or two members of their choice were also to call on every patient in danger of death, induce the patient to make a confession, urge him to write a will providing charitable bequests, and, if he was without offspring, make him give his wife a writ of divorce so that she would become independent of the levir (the brother-in-law); Baron, Jewish Community, vol. 2, 328. 82. For an overview of these issues, see Wiesner, Women and Gender, esp. 102–5, and the bibliography therein. For a comparative study on Jewish and Christian women in eighteenthcentury Europe, see Ulbrich, Shulamith and Margarete, 45–90. For a study on female work in early modern Italy, see Groppi, “Lavoro e proprietà,” and the bibliography therein. 83. See more on this below. Similar roles have been recovered by Weinstein, Marriage Rituals, 402–4; and by Carlebach, “Community, Authority.” 84. For a new analysis of the tzedakah and rabbinic sources in addition to the studies listed in n. 68, see M. R. Cohen, Poverty and Charity. For an in-depth and innovative study on the new forms of philanthropy in European Jewish societies in the passage to the modern age, see Penslar, Shylock’s Children. On Jewish female associations in Germany, see Baader, “Rabbinic Study, Self-Improvement.” 85. See Capitoli per le Illustrissime. For a comparison with the Christian world, see Terpstra, Lay Confraternities, 151–70; Terpstra, Abandoned Children, 116–17; and Casagrande, “Confraternities and Lay.”

Notes to Pages 192–197

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86. There is evidence of the existence of two Compagnie delle Donne in Venice in the 1640s and in Florence at least since 1669; unfortunately, further documentation has not been preserved. See Siegmund, Medici State, 404; and Boccato, “Aspetti della condizione,” 120. On Rome, see Lattes, “I miserabili fra le mura,” 74–75. 87. Bodian, “‘Portuguese’ Dowry”; Horowitz, “Dowering of Brides.” 88. Toaff, La nazione ebrea, 263–68; Orfali, “Portuguese Dowry.” 89. Lattes, “I miserabili fra le mura,” 74–75. 90. On this aspect, see Maclean, Renaissance Notion, 76–77. 91. Gray, “Married Women,” 202–10. 92. ACEMO, SH-Register, November 22–December 21, 1735. 93. Ibid., September 17, 1778. 94. Ibid., April 25 and August 11, 1762. 95. Ibid., November 22–December 21, 1735. 96. Ibid., May 31, 1736, August 11, 1762. It seems that donations by will were rather rare; Grazia Norsa, a founder of the So‘ed H.olim, did so by donating 100 lire in 1736 at the time of her death; ACEMO, SH-Register, May 31, 1736. 97. Ibid., August 29, 1751. It is also difficult to understand if and how Miriam reacted to this change that in essence deprived her of part of her office. 98. Ibid. 99. A report sent from the Jewish community to the municipality in 1798 (ASCMO, CM-P, July 23–July 31, 1798 [hereafter cited as CM-P-1798]) and notarial documents (wills, dowries, and financial transactions) show the income and expenses of So‘ed H.olim. 100. ASMO, AN-PV, Antonio Jacopo Alessandri, 5123/363, May 26, 1762; ASMO, AN-PV, Nicolò Giannozzi, 5242/1435, May 11, 1769. On the Jewish properties of all the textile mills in Modena during the eighteenth century, see ASMO, AM-AeM-S, 34/b. 101. ACEMO, SH-Register, April 25, 1762. 102. ASMO, AN-PV, Antonio Jacopo Alessandri, 5123/383, July 23, 1763. 103. ASMO, AN-PV, Giuseppe Antonio Cavicchioli, 5370/75, February 15, 1770. 104. For Jewish male ritual models, see Horowitz, “Processions, Piety.” For a comparison with the Christian world, see Black, Italian Confraternities, 108–21. 105. Horowitz, “Eve of the Circumcision,” 54. 106. Ibid., 54–55. 107. ACEMO, SH-Register, May 15, 1742; ASCMO, CM-P-1798. 108. See Bodian, “‘Portuguese’ Dowry.” 109. ACEMO, SH-Register, April 25, 1762. 110. Ibid., November 29, 1769; ASCMO, CM-P-1798. 111. On this mechanism within Italian Jewish confraternities, see Horowitz, “Jewish Confraternal Piety,” 150–71. 112. ACEMO, SH-Register, May 15, 1742. On the importance of Rosh H> odesh for Jewish women in Europe and in Italy, see n. 13. 113. Ibid., November 8, 1750; August 23, 1751. 114. Ibid., May 15, 1742; November 8, 1750; June 20, 1756; December 24, 1759; September 17, 1775. 115. Ibid., “Primo del 1753.” 116. Ibid., June 20, 1756; September 17, 1775. ASCMO, CM-P-1798. 117. ACEMO, SH-Register, December 24, 1759. 118. Ibid., December 2, 1777.

296

Notes to Pages 197–203

119. Ibid. 120. Modena Napoleonica, Vol. 1, 123. Often the definition of “the women’s synagogue” in Italian, Hebrew, and Yiddish documents refers to women’s sections or galleries in regular synagogues; in this case, the documentation refers to a distinctive place. 121. Baader, Gender, Judaism, quotation from 4–5. 122. Prammatica instituita (1790), 6–7; Prammatica instituita (1793), 8–10. 123. Van Gennep, Rites of Passage. For an updated and illuminating synthesis of the importance of rituals in early modern Europe, see Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe, which also includes an updated bibliography. 124. In the case of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with/of the Torah) and Shabbat Bereshit (Sabbath of the beginning), the community sumptuary laws prescribed that the number of women of the ghetto allowed to accompany the new bride in the evening was eight and in the morning six. See Prammatica instituita (1790), 8; Prammatica instituita (1793), 9–10. 125. Similarly, a woman who had just given birth was accompanied to the synagogue by six women from the ghetto along with female relatives; in the case of two women after childbirth from the same household, the number would be expanded to nine. As a general rule, the woman protagonist of “any other occasion”—probably the circumcision of a son, the pidyon (redemption of the firstborn), and so on—was allowed to be chaperoned to the synagogue by six women. See Prammatica instituita (1790), 8; Prammatica instituita (1793), 9–10. 126. ASMO, AN-PV, Nicolò Giannozzi, 5245/1772 and 1867. 127. BEMO, AfAF, 2/47, September 28, 1784. 128. ACEMO, SH-Register, May 25, 1777. 129. Ibid., November 22, 1738, and May 15, 1742; ASCMO, CM-P-1798. 130. ACEMO, SH-Register, August 11, 1762. 131. Ibid., April 16, 1778. 132. Ibid., September 17, 1778. 133. Foucault, Discipline and Punish. 134. Hyman, Gender and Assimilation, 18–19. 135. Chojnacka, Working Women. 136. For a historiographical challenge to dichotomous categories in gender studies, see Bock, “Challenging Dichotomies,” 1–23.

Chapter 6 1. Gorani, Mémoires secrets, vol. 3, 121–27, quotation from 123. 2. Ibid., 204–5. 3. Ibid. 4. See Chapters 1 and 4. 5. ASCMO, Gridario 1656–1670, no. 221, Grida sopra gli ebrei (printed in 1670 and reprinted in 1681). 6. Bertuzzi Trasformazioni edilizie, 36–42. See also ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, fols.150–51. 7. BEMO, Ms, CC, γ. d. 1.10 , Giuseppe Franchini, Cronaca modenese (unpublished manuscript), vol. 4, 381, July 19, 1797. 8. Bertuzzi, Trasformazioni edilizie, 40–42. 9. Mayer Modena, “Le parlate giudeo-italiane,” 957.

Notes to Pages 203–211

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10. The paintings are published and analyzed in Benati and Peruzzi, Musei civici, 244–54. Among these works, some are preserved in the Musei Civici medievali in Modena and a complete series of streets are in possession of private individuals. 11. See Chapter 4. 12. Fonrobert, “From Separatism to Urbanism.” Thanks to the work of Fonrobert, space has come to the foreground as a category of cultural analysis, and the ‘eruv has become a compelling reference topic within Jewish studies. See Fonrobert, “Political Symbolism,” esp. 28–29; and Fonrobert, “New Spatial Turn.” 13. Yuval, Two Nations, 236–39; Zapalac, “‘With a Morsel of Bread’”; Schuster, “Der Eruw von Würzburg”; Perry, “Imaginary Space”; Hutterer and Mintz, “Between Ghetto and City.” 14. Perry, “Imaginary Space,” 35. 15. The walls of the city were demolished in 1919. 16. Cf. Perry, “Imaginary Space,” 35–36. Perry, referring to medieval German Jewish communities, interprets similar conceptions and spatial organizations as Jewish attempts at separateness within Christian towns. 17. Aboab, Sefer Devar, no. 257. 18. Lampronti, Pah>ad Yitzh>ak, vol. III, s.v. tum’at oh>el, letter by Netanel Levi; Ha-Kohen, Lahmei Todah, Zera Emet, vol. 3, no. 41. 19. Useful information is in a pinkas of the Jewish community in Padua, October 1, 1720. The document is preserved in Padua, Archivio della Comunità Ebraica di Padova, no. 13, 168, and is discussed by Sclar in “Exercise in Civic Kabbalah,” esp. 42–47. Aboab, Sefer Devar, no. 257, is discussed by D. S. Katz, in “Question of the Eruv.” Other important references with specific reference to Modena are discussed below. 20. ASCMO, CM-EA, October 22, 1638. ACEMO, AA-R 6B includes extensive documentation on the butcher shop. Other evidence on the butcher shop is preserved in ASMO, AM-E, 15/4, “Beccheria 1645–1649,” fols. 115–29. See also Table 3. 21. See Chapter 4. 22. Jews requested and obtained permission to install a fountain in the square of the ghetto that was used throughout the nineteenth century as a source of water for the Jewish population; ASCMO, CM-EA, July 21, 1642. 23. ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, Promemoria (1776); ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141, 1805. 24. ASMO, AM-E, 15, fols. 68–90. See also Chapter 1. 25. ACEMO, AA-R, 15 D; see also Chapters 1 and 4. 26. See the Chapter 5. 27. See the references in n. 28. 28. On the life conditions in other Italian ghettos, see Milano, Il ghetto di Roma; Stow, Theater of Acculturation, 39–66; Allegra, Identità in bilico, 255–77; and Calabi, “City of the Jews.” 29. ASCMO, CS, Recapiti dell’Arte de’ Orefici secc. XVI–XVIII, n.d., “Informazioni sugli ebrei ubbidienti all’Arte.” 30. ASCMO, CM-P, 249, “Relazione dell’Ispezione ordinata dai Giudici alle Vettovaglie sulle case del ghetto,” May 11, 1819; ASCMO, CM-P, 271, “I Giudici alle Vettovaglie all’Ill.mo Sig.Podestà,” October 17, 1822. 31. BEMO, AfAF, 1/6, “Turni per le preghiere” (1670). 32. ACEMO, AA-R, 57 P and 8 C. 33. ACEMO, AA-R, 57 P.

298

Notes to Pages 211–214

34. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, Memoriali 1776–1777; ACEMO, AM-O; ASCMO, C1903; ASCMO, BC, 2–4; ASMO, AN-PV-T, 1087, no. 58 (Testament of Abram Modena); ASMO, AN-PV-T, 1083, no. 45 (Testament of Lelio Modena); ASMO, UCE_1, no.  41; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141, 1805. 35. ACEMO, AA-R, 47 M, “Memoriale del 1644.” 36. ASMO, AM-E, 14 A. See also Chapter 1. 37. ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777.” 38. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O, “Sinagoga tedesca”; ACEMO, AM-TI; ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 41, 1805. It was demolished in 1870 in order to provide space for the Tempio Israelitico. 39. See Bodian, “‘Portuguese Dowry’”; and Y. Kaplan, An Alternative Path, 1–28. 40. On the Sinagoga Grande owned by Modenas, see the following preserved documentation: ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AA-R, C 28, “Arredi e oggetti sacri”; ASCMO, Aa-O, 1869, 746/1, no. 29, “Contrada Coltellini”; ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; and ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141. On the Sinagoga Piccola, see ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O; ASCMO, C1903; ASCMO, BC, 2–4; ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; and ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141. 41. In the 1619 plan for the ghetto, the Usiglio synagogue is indicated as “Casa di Fiorantino [Usiglio]”; see Figure 4. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O (Sinagoga Usiglio); Tempio Israelitico; ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141; ASCMO, Aa-O, 1924, 425. On the restoration of Palazzo Levi in 1914, see also Bertuzzi, Trasformazioni edilizie, 40–42. 42. ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141; Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 92. 43. See, for example, BEMO, AfAF, 1/6, “Turni per le preghiere” (1670); and BEMO, AfAF, 1/7, October 18, 1817, “Ad Abram Laudadio Sacerdoti viene regalata la recita delle due Tefilad in Sinagoga Formiggini.” 44. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 21 A, “Memoriale del 1643”; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O (Sinagoga spagnola); ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141. 45. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777.” 46. Concina, “Parva Jerusalem,” 84–85; Cassuto, “Le sinagoghe piemontesi,” 168n9. 47. See Chapter 2 and, for a general contextualization, Prosperi, “L’Inquisizione romana,” 67–120. 48. The Prammatica of 1793 reports that “the women should not be allowed to go out during the day without the cendale [shawl], not being included in this prohibition going from a house to another within our h>atzer [courtyard for ghetto] as long as they don’t go over two doors of the lateral streets, or in front of their own; but leaving for any function, even from a door to another, they will have to wear the cendale; and those destitute women who go around to make house services or to request alimonies will not be subjected to this prohibition,” Prammatica instituita (1793), 7. 49. These were very similar to the attitudes of senators in sixteenth-century Florence during a proceeding against a certain Francesca, who was “in her own house seated on a chair on the first floor.” They defined a private space for a woman (versus donna pubblica) as follows: “being in a place from where someone can be looked up at, as for example staying at the door, or around with the door open even if she is in her own house, one can say that this is a transgression.” See Calvi, “Le leggi suntuarie,” esp. 224–25; and Calvi, “Gender and the Body.”

Notes to Pages 214–220

299

50. ACEMO, AA-R, 47 M/ 2, October 4, 1689. 51. See Chapter 3. 52. Rosman, “Being a Jewish Woman,” 422. 53. See Chapter 3. 54. ASMO, AM-I-P, 182/7, August 18, 1704. See also Chapter 4. 55. ACEMO, AA-R, 19 G/11; ACEMO, AA-R, 17 E, “Memoriali 1776–1777”; ACEMO, AM-O; ASCMO, C1903; ASCMO, BC, 2–4; ASMO, AN-PV-T, 1087, no. 58 (Testament of Abram Modena); ASMO, AN-PV-T, 1083, no. 45 (Testament of Lelio Modena); ASMO, UCE_1, no. 541; ASMO, UCE_2, no. 141. 56. See Chapter 5. 57. For example, Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), Ms. Héb. 586 from 1500, thoroughly analyzed by Wolfthal in Picturing Yiddish. On pertinent legal literature, see Ya’ari, “An Unknown Document”; and Carpi, Pinkas va’ad, vol. 1, no. 118. 58. ASMO, AM-E, 111/9. On the Modenese Inquisition and Jews in the matter of blasphemies, see Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 214–15; and Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 125–60. 59. On the use of the term meshummad among Jews, see Petuchowski, “‘Mumar’”; and Blidstein, “Who Is a Jew?” For some pertinent cases in Italy in which Jews were accused of using this derogatory term against Christians, see Pullan, Jews of Europe, 289–90; and Muzzarelli, “Ebrei, Bologna,” 42. For other occurrences of the use of the term meshummad in seventeenthcentury Modena and the Inquisition, see Aron-Beller, Jews on Trial, 146–49. 60. Vecchi, Anfiparnaso Comedia. Vecchi’s Veglie di Siena (1604) presents similar JudeoItalian expressions. 61. Harrán, “‘Barucabà’ as an Emblem,” 337–49. 62. Valdrighi, Dizionario storico-etimologico, 132–33. 63. See Toaff, Mangiare alla Giudia, 212–15. 64. Muir and Weissman, “Social and Symbolic Places,” 89. 65. For an in-depth study on language and verbal offenses in early modern Italy, see Horodowich, Language and Statecraft. 66. ASMO, AM-E, 111/9. For a contextualization on emotions, see Rosenwein, “Worrying About Emotions,” esp. 842–45; and Rosenwein, Emotional Communities. 67. Mayer Modena and Merzagora Massariello, “Il giudeo-modenese”; Mayer Modena, “Le parlate giudeo-italiane,” 940–63. 68. See Chapters 1 and 2. 69. ASMO, AM-I-CH, 250/112. 70. Ibid. 71. Ibid. 72. Muir and Weissman, “Social and Symbolic Places,” quotations from 93. 73. Muir, “2001 Josephine Waters Bennett,” 11. Here, Muir proposes a comparison with Palmanova in Veneto. 74. Ibid. 75. See above. 76. Gibellini, “Produzione e commercio,” 237–57. 77. ASCMO, Gridario 1656–1670, no. 221. 78. Ibid. 79. D. E. Katz, “‘Clamber Not You Up,’” quotation from 128; the article has been revised and republished in D. E. Katz, Jewish Ghetto, 67–83.

300

Notes to Pages 220–225

80. Dubbini, Geography of the Gaze; D. E. Katz, Jewish Ghetto, 67–83. 81. For a comparison with Venice, see Ravid, “Curfew Time,” 237–45, 257. 82. See Ravid, “Curfew Time”; and D. E. Katz, Jewish Ghetto, 67–83. 83. ASCMO, Gridario 1656–1670, no. 221. Kenneth Stow has noted that, in 1415 in Frankfurt am Main’s annual celebration of the Eucharist, the host had to be protected from “wrongful contact with Jews, even eye contact”; Stow, Jewish Dogs, 149. 84. ASCMO, Gridario 1656–1670, no. 221. On Jews prohibited from leaving their houses during Christian holidays, see Grayzel, Church and the Jews, vol. 2, esp. 125–37. 85. See below. 86. On this see, Muir and Wasserman, “Social and Symbolic Places.” 87. ASCMO, Gridario 1656–1670, no. 221. 88. Ibid. 89. Baracchi and Guelfi, La comunità ebraica, 29–31; ASMO, AM-E, 15/9, fols. 2–9, May 1657. In 1651 Modenese Jews had obtained permission to hold their funerals beyond the city gates without being stopped by soldiers; ASMO, AM-E, 15/9, fol. 2. 90. Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 130–35; see also Bar-Levav, “Rabbi Aharon Berechia.” 91. The minhag of the hakkafot is not mentioned in halakhic codes nor did it originate in medieval kabbalistic practices; rather, it seems to be a custom elaborated and disseminated by Sephardi Jews from Spain after the 1492 expulsion; Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 133. The custom was also adopted also by the Community of Finale; see, for example, the account of the funeral of R. Belgrado in ASMO, AM-I-CH, 250, December 2, 1667, published in Masina, La comunità ebraica, 22–23. 92. Bertuzzi, Trasformazioni edilizie, 12. 93. ASMO, AeM-S, 34 B, fol. 135, n.d. 1754. 94. ASCMO, GV, IV/AA, no. 278. 95. Ibid., no. 334. 96. Ibid., no. 233. On July 15, 1769, the Consiglio della città di Modena approved the Ebrei zavagliari’s request for both taxes and behavior to be followed by an exhibit of the “poor commodities” in Piazzetta Torre. 97. ASCMO, GV, IV/AA, no. 262; ASCMO, GV, IV/8, NNN, “Concessione di alcuni posti in Piazza”—Pratica sec. XVIII/2. 98. Stow, “Was the Ghetto Cleaner?,” quotation from 170. 99. ASMO, AM-E, “Modena, Copia di ordini ducali 17 gennario, 1783.” Similarly, in the 1598 Grida contro li mendicanti, vagabondi, et simili, et altri, per causa di Sanità, Jews were ordered “to always keep their homes free of any dirt, otherwise upon visitation they will be condemned to a discretionary penalty”; Spaccini, Cronaca di Modena, anni 1588–1602, 166. 100. ASCMO, GV, Atti e recapiti, 5/CC: “Recapiti diversi riguardanti alcuni ordini emanati sopra l’osservanza delle feste.” 101. Ibid. 102. ASCMO, CS-AS, XV/1, “Affari dell’Arte della Seta,” January 7–20, 1773. 103. Tomas, “Did Women Have a Space?,” 312. 104. Valenti and Curti, Artigianato e oggetti, 67. 105. ASMO, AM-AeM, 28 B, “Arte degli Orefici in Modena” includes pertinent documentation from 1685 to 1699. 106. For an exhaustive discussion, see J. Katz, “Shabbes Goy,” 107–20; quotation from 109 (Ha-Kohen, Zera Emet, sec. 31). On the functioning of filatoi in northern Italy with reference to Modena, see Poni, “All’origine del sistema” and “Tecnologie, organizzazione,” 269–96.

Notes to Pages 225–231

301

107. Ha-Kohen, Zera Emet, sec. 32, 40b. 108. Ibid. 109. Ha-Kohen, Zera Emet, 56a–63z, in J. Katz, “Shabbes Goy,” 117. 110. Ibid. 111. In 1771 the duke opened the state university and the three men opened the university library shortly thereafter. 112. On Moisè Beniamino Foa, see Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 366–72, and more below and in Chapter 7. 113. See Balsamo, “Editoria e biblioteche,” 520–30. 114. Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 366–72. I thank Annie Ruderman for sharing a collection of documents on Moisè Beniamino Foa in the Special Collections of Yale University. 115. On the ducal library, see Balsamo, “Editoria e biblioteche”; Balsamo, “Gli ebrei nell’editoria,” esp. 60–65; and Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 123–40. 116. For a discussion on the Enlightenment in Italy during the eighteenth century, see Venturi, Settecento riformatore, 645–747. 117. Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 123–40. 118. See, for example, the tragic vicissitudes of Sara Usiglio, who died there in 1765, analyzed in the Introduction; and Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 135. On Modena, see Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 27–100; and for a recent contextualization, Stow, Anna and Tranquillo. 119. Zanardo, “Catecumeni e neofiti,” 138; Al Kalak and Pavan, Un’altra fede, 67–70. 120. In the eighteenth century, the Sanguinettis ran the Albergo delle Arti, a structure created by the Estes for the apprenticeship of poor boys and girls. Since 1781 it had hosted a factory for the production of veils, shawls, ribbons, and other textiles whose chief craftsmen were first the Christian Pellicciari (his first name is not recorded), and later on the Jew Giuseppe Sinigaglia. In 1788 the Albergo was in the hands of Bondì d’Angelo Sanguinetti’s heirs with a factory of “veli gretti, tirati, rigati e fazzoletti ad uso di Bologna”; ASMO, AN-P, Tit. 8, Commercio, serie 27, rubrica 3, no. 5290, “Fascicolo sull’Arte della Seta: relazione del 26 aprile 1811.” 121. Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 200–201. 122. Four different and updated editions of Catalogus Librorum qui Venales prostant Mutinae et Regii apud Mosem Beniaminum Foà Serenissimi Ducis Francisci III Bibliopolam were published in Modena in the years 1770, 1775, 1780, and 1788. 123. Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 366–72. 124. On the vicissitudes of Compagnoni’s work, see Colorni, Studi sull’ebraismo, esp. 73–76; and Gunzberg, Strangers at Home, 24–40. Gunzberg emphasizes the idea that Fabrizi shifted his loyalty away from the duke in his revision of Compagnoni’s Saggio; however, it seems to me that Fabrizi was perfectly aligned with the new ducal political attitude. On this point, see Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 135–40. Moisè Beniamino Foa had purchased Raynal’s works for the ducal public library in 1788 without protest; Catalogus Librorum qui Venales prostant Mutinae et Regii apud Mosem Beniaminum Foà Serenissimi Ducis Francisci III Bibliopolam (Modena, 1788), s.v.. 125. Including Histoire philosophique et politique des établissments et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (Amsterdam, 1773). 126. Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 135–40. 127. Habermas, Structural Transformation, 26–27. 128. Goodman, “Public Sphere and Private Life,” 5–6. My elaboration of Habermas’s and Chartier’s conceptualizations of the public and the private spheres are largely based on this article. 129. Habermas, Structural Transformation, 29–30.

302

Notes to Pages 231–238

130. Chartier, introduction to Chartier and Ariès, Passions of the Renaissance, 17. 131. See Chapter 7. 132. A. Modena, Ma’avar Yabbok, Siftei Ra’ananut 1:26; also cited in Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 110. 133. Goldberg, Crossing the Jabbok, 111. 134. Tishby, Messianic Mysticism, 270–75. Some years ago, Robert Bonfil stated that kabbalistic practice played a central role in the restructuring of space and time in the social reality of Italy. Indeed, Modena can be considered a paradigmatic case in this sense; Bonfil, “Cultura e mistica a Venezia.” 135. Malkiel, “Law and Architecture,” quotation from 259. On these sources, see Gershon, “Jewish Family Life,” 70–74. 136. Malkiel, “Law and Architecture.” 137. Lampronti, Pah>ad Yitzh>ak, vol. 3, s.v. tum’at ohel, 73d–75d. Eventually, the discussion was initiated by a question related to pollution in the ghetto of Venice; Netanel Levi then added precise descriptions of the Modenese ghetto. 138. Gershon, “Jewish Family Life,” 73–74. 139. Lampronti, Pah>ad Yitzh>ak, vol. 3, s.v. tum’at ohel, 73d–75d. Netanel Levi recounts that “the priests sat in the ghetto courtyard and effected a [physical] adjustment at the ghetto entrance facing the market”; 73d. Cited and analyzed by Malkiel, “Law and Architecture,” 277. 140. BEMO, Ms, CC, γ. d. 1.10, Giuseppe Franchini, Cronaca modenese (unpublished manuscript), vol. 4, 381, July 19, 1797. For a series of similar attacks against the Jewish population in the aftermath of the French occupation and the liberation of the ghettos in other Italian cities, see Roth, “Some Revolutionary.” 141. See the Chapter 7. 142. The responsum by Ha-Kohen was authored in 1808 in his Zera Emet, vol. 3, no. 41. See the discussion in Mintz, “Halakhah in America,” 144–45. 143. Ibid.

Chapter 7 1. Rovatti, Modena napoleonica, vol. 1, 118–20. Some accounts of the Congress were published in a pamphlet composed for a Jewish wedding: Casini and Fiorini, eds., Atti del Congresso. For a contextualization of Modena under Napoleonic era, see Marini, Lo Stato estense, 159–92. 2. The Discorso is preserved in BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10 (unpaginated documents), Atti del Congresso di Modena di Ottobre 1796. The quotation of Jews as “active citizens” in the decree of the Emancipation of Jews in France (September 27, 1791) is from Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, Jew in the Modern World, 118. 3. See Chapters 1 and 6 for the city celebrations and processions in Modena during the ancient regime. 4. For an articulate analysis of Napoleon’s rhetoric connected to the Jews, see Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews, which also includes an enlightening analysis of the arrival of Napoleon to Ancona. For the enthusiastic reaction of Modenese Jews to the arrival of the French troops, see BEMO, Ms, CC, γ. d. 1.10, Giuseppe Franchini, Cronaca modenese dell’anno 1796 (unpublished manuscript), 4, c. 228.

Notes to Pages 238–241

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5. Pertinent documentation is preserved in ACEMO, AA-R, 15 D, “Denunzie delle anime all’ufficio dell’Abbondanza,” 1766–1796. 6. See Chapter 4 and also BEMO, CFM, Calendari per la Corte for the years 1776–1796; ASMO, CD-G, Inventario per la Corte dell’anno 1771, Casa, Guardaroba, registro no. 305, tomo I argenti. 7. See Chapters 4 and 6. 8. Francesco III (1698–1780) was duke from 1737 until his death, and Ercole III was duke from 1780 to 1796. Ercole’s grandson Francesco IV regained the Duchy of Modena and Reggio in 1814 after the defeat of Napoleon. 9. Rovatti, Modena napoleonica, vol. 1, 71–72. 10. On Moisè Formiggini, see Bachi, “New Collection”; Padoa, Le comunità ebraiche, 61–99; Levati, La nobiltà del lavoro; Maifreda, Gli ebrei e l’economia milanese, 47–61; Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 240–307; and Francesconi, “From Ghetto to Emancipation.” 11. Letter from Napoleon Bonaparte to Minister Fairpolt, July 5, 1797, in Correspondance Générale, vol. 1, 1046–47. 12. Moisè Formiggini was elected to the “Consiglio degli Juniori” on November 17, 1797; Rovatti, Modena napoleonica, vol. 1, 221. On the history of Napoleon in the Italian peninsula, see Capra, L’età rivoluzionaria; and Zaghi, L’Italia di Napoleone. 13. On the Italian participation in the French Assemblies with mention of Formiggini’s role, see Bachi, “New Collection”; A. Milano, Storia degli ebrei, 349–51; Sierra, “Aspetti dell’opinione”; Laras, “Le Grand Sanhédrin”; Gallingani, ed., Napoleone e gli ebrei; Luzzatto Voghera, Il prezzo dell’uguaglianza, 116–23; Dubin, “Rise and the Fall”; Padoa, Le comunità ebraiche; and Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 240–307. 14. On Lazard and Worms, see Schwarzfuchs, Napoleon, the Jews, esp. 60–66. 15. On Furtado, see Malino, Sephardic Jews. 16. The correspondence of Formiggini is preserved in BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10–10.13. See Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 240–307. Evidence of his political career in Milan is preserved in ASMI, Culto, parte moderna, Milano, 2911/“fascicolo Milano”; Direzione generale di Polizia, “Pratica del 24 novembre 1816”; Domaines nationaux d’Italie, 4; Notarile, Giorgio Sacchi, repertorio nos. 252, 488, 555, 570, 1013, 1118. On Aldini, see Zanolini, Antonio Aldini. 17. Baron, Social and Religious History, vol. 2, 164. For a recent discussion of these themes, see Myers, introduction. For a discussion of processes of Italian Jewish integration being often neglected by modern Jewish historians, see Bregoli, “Jewish Modernity.” 18. However, in Habsburg Italy this process had already begun in the 1780s; see Dubin, Port Jews. For a first account on the history of Italian Jewish participation in civic life under Napoleon, see De Felice, “Per una storia” and “Gli ebrei nella repubblica,” and more recently Symcox, “Jews of Italy.” 19. For examples of recent studies on European processes of emancipation, see Berkovitz, Rites and Passages; Fishman, Russia’s First Modern Jews; Hyman, Emancipation of the Jews; Rosman, Lord’s Jews; Rozenblit, Jews of Vienna; and Zipperstein, Jews of Odessa. For a recent historiographical overview, see Bregoli and Francesconi, “Tradition and Transformation.” 20. Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews, 151–52. 21. BEMO, AfAF, 1/24. 22. BEMO, AfAF, 1/25, August 18, 1763, notary Niccolò Giannozzi; BEMO, AfAF, Registro dell’Archivio dell’azienda, anni 1740–1760. 23. On these episodes of Formiggni’s life, see BEMO, AfAF, Memoriali and Giornali di Cassa, in 2/47, September 28, 1784. On the hostility of the Guild of Silversmiths and Jewelers

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Notes to Pages 241–243

because of his preference for foreign markets, see Boccolari, L’“arte degli orefici,” 44. Among Formiggini’s clients were also celebrated Italian noblemen such as Cesare Beccaria in Milan and Monaldo Leopardi in Recanati; Padoa, Le comunità ebraiche, 122. 24. BEMO, AfAF, Memoriali and Giornali di Cassa, in 2/47, September 28, 1784. 25. Ibid. 26. BEMO, AfAF, 2/63, “Scrittura di scioglimento di Società seguita tra Flaminio, Moisè e Salomon zio e nipoti Formiggini,” September 21, 1791, notary Ettore Poppi; BEMO, AfAF, 2/65, “Società di commercio stabilita fra i fratelli Moisè, Salomon e Raffaele Formiggini,” October 22, 1791, notary Ettore Poppi. 27. BEMO, CFM, Calendari per la Corte for the years 1776–1796; ASMO, AM-E, 15, “Regolamenti e pagamenti tasse degli ebrei.” 28. See his letters, which widely employ Italian, French, and Hebrew, preserved in BEMO, α.z.10.11 and α.z.10.13, Copialettere di Moisè Formiggini. 29. BEMO, AfAF, 2/63, “Scrittura di scioglimento di Società seguita tra Flaminio, Moisè e Salomon zio e nipoti Formiggini,” September 21, 1791, notary Ettore Poppi; BEMO, AfAF, 2/65, “Società di commercio stabilita fra i fratelli Moisè, Salomon e Raffaele Formiggini,” October 22, 1791, notary Ettore Poppi. In 1795 Formiggini bought a huge farm in Saliceto, a small town near Modena, for 160,000 lire; BEMO, AfAF, 2/68, Scrittura privata colla quale Moisè Formiggini acquista delle terre in Saliceto Panaro da Aronne del fu Moisè Sanguinetti, August 19, 1795, notary Ettore Poppi. On the Formiggini synagogue, see Chapter 4. 30. ASMO, AM-E, 15, “Atti relativi alla contabilità fra lo Stato Estense e l’Università israelitica di Modena (1780–1799)”; Costituzione della Compagnia ebraica; Prammatica instituita (1793); ASMO, AN, Comitato di Governo, 25 (6141 bis/2), “1796 Ebrei dello Stato,” November 23, 1796, “Regolamento provvisorio per la nazione ebrea di questi stati.” 31. ASCMO, CM-P, 28 (October 22–November 20, 1798), “Consiglio 3 novembre 1798.” 32. See ASMO, CD, Calendari per la Corte for the years 1775–1796; and ASMO, AM-E, 15, Regolamenti e pagamenti tasse degli ebrei. 33. See Anderson, Imagined Communities. 34. For a discussion on the development of communities of cosmopolitan intellectuals in the eighteenth century, see Jacob, Strangers Nowhere. 35. For a discussion on the Enlightenment in Italy during the eighteenth century, see Venturi, Settecento Riformatore, 645–747. On Benedetto Frizzi, see various studies in Brignani and Bertolotti, eds., Benedetto Frizzi. 36. For the passage to which Formiggini refers (see the quotation shortly later in the chapter), see Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné, s.v., “Juifs,” vol. 9, 25. The metaphor was used by Bernard Valabrègue as well a few decades earlier in his Lettre ou Réflexions, 57. Formiggini eventually attributed the concept to Matteo Angelo Galdi. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 37. On Valabrègue, see Schechter, “Jewish Agent.” 38. The Christian lawyer Giovambattista Benedetti wrote that one simply ought not trust the oaths of Jews. The anonymous letter, now universally acknowledged as the composition of the illustrious rabbi of Mantua Jacob Saraval, takes Benedetti to task, mustering proofs from rabbinic literature regarding the trustworthiness of Jewish oaths. In the title, the author pretends that the addressee is an anonymous friend of Benedetti. Although Saraval knew full well it was none other than Benedetti himself who authored the anti-Semitic piece, he feigned ignorance and pretended that a man of Benedetti’s stature could not possibly have stooped so low. On Saraval, see also Chapter 5, 294n76 and Simonsohn, History of the Jews, 93–94.

Notes to Pages 243–247

305

39. On these authors, see the following pages. 40. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 41. “Nell’opera intitolata Lettera di un Milord stampata in Londra nel 1768 parte 52 si legge che Cristiano IV scrisse una lettera agli Ebrei di Amburgo, invitandoli perché andassero ad abitare nei suoi Stati,” BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. See Valabrègue, Lettre ou Réflexions, 52–53. 42. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. For a brilliant discussion of tolerance and Jews in the Enlightenment debates, see Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment, 213–30. 43. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 44. Ibid. 45. Ibid. 46. Frizzi, Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti, quotation from 28. 47. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 48. On Voltaire’s position, see Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment, 231–46, quotation from 233; and Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews, 46–53. 49. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. On the polemic correspondence between Voltaire and Pinto, see Sutcliffe, “Can a Jew Be.” 50. Quotation from Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, 106. 51. For a recent and in-depth analysis of these works and the question of Jewish economic utility, see Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, esp. 12–93. On Luzzatto and Ben Israel, see Ravid, “‘How Profitable.’” 52. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. For a similar overview on Jewish utility, see Morpurgo, Discorso pronunciato da Elia Morpurgo, aimed at welcoming the 1781 Habsburg reform legislation. For a similar praise of Jewish commerce, see Luzzatto, Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei, 18v–19v. For a recent study on bills of exchange in the early modern economy see Trivellato, The Promise and Peril, 19-35. 53. Frizzi, Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti, 109–10, 117–18. Angelo Sanguinetti’s factory was housed in the ducal building “Albergo delle Arti” owned by the Este family; ASMO, AN-P, Tit. 8, Commercio, ser. 27, rub. 3, no. 5290. Fascicolo sull’Arte della Seta: relazione del 26 aprile 1811. 54. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso; Frizzi, Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti, 80. 55. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso; Gabrielli, Dialoghi sopra l’utilissima. See also Valabrègue, Lettre ou Réflexions, 50. On Gabrielli and his role as silk entrepreneur, see Molà, Silk Industry, 227–95. 56. On Bartolocci, see Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment, 37–40. 57. On this use of Christian-Hebraists, see Valabrègue, Lettre ou Réflexions,41. For example, Saraval’s pamphlet was aimed at demonstrating the superiority of Mishnaic teachings over the Talmud. It shows trustworthiness and righteousness of Jewish laws along with good Jewish attitudes toward Gentiles through a broad plethora of Jewish and non-Jewish sources, such as letters by Pico Della Mirandola, Histoire Critique by Richard Simon, De Arte Cabbalistica by Johanan Reuchlen, the Latin Mishnah by William Surrenhusius along with Letter by Voltaire, the Apology by Pinto, and the Lettre de Monsieur l’Advocat (Paris, 1762); see Lettera apologetica. 58. Berengo, La società veneta; Venturi, Settecento Riformatore, 645–747. 59. Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné, s.v., “Metz,” vol. 10, 472. 60. See Collina, “Un ‘cervello universale,’” xci. 61. Formiggini does not mention that eventually this did not prevent their definitive expulsion in 1311.

306

Notes to Pages 247–250

62. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 63. Ibid. Saggio sul commercio di Olanda was printed some years later in Matteo Angelo Galdi, Saggio sul commercio di Olanda (Milan, 1809) but originally in the unpublished Matteo Angelo Galdi, Quadro delle rivoluzioni e dello stato attuale del Regno d’Olanda del cavalier Galdi; and Galdi, Quadro politico delle rivoluzioni delle provincie unite e della Repubblica Batava e dello stato attuale del Regno di Olanda di Matteo Galdi Cavaliere del R. Ordine della Corona di Ferro, socio di diverse accademie (Milan, 1809). 64. On Moisè Beniamino Foa, see Balletti, Gli ebrei e gli Estensi, 366–72, and Chapter 6 (including the bibliography therein). Four different updated editions of Catalogus Librorum qui Venales prostant Mutinae et Regii apud Mosem Beniaminum Foà Serenissimi Ducis Francisci III Bibliopolam were published in Modena in the years 1770, 1775, 1780, and 1788. 65. BEMO, AfAF, 1/3, “Elenco prezzi di libri,” undated but c. 1770–80. 66. On the ducal library, see Chapter 6; Balsamo, “Editoria e biblioteche”; Balsamo, “Gli ebrei nell’editoria”; and Montecchi, Aziende tipografiche, 123–40. 67. See Chapter 6. 68. Mendelssohn, Fedone. 69. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. For an analysis of these French Jewish thinkers, see Berkovitz, Shaping of Jewish Identity, 23–56. Naftali Wessely and his Divrei shalom ve-emet (1782) were well known in northern Italy because of the 1782–84 debate over more liberal and secular instruction within Italian Jewish communities, which pitted another Formiggini, Moisè’s cousin Isaac, a charismatic rabbi from Trieste, against Ishmael Ha-Kohen from Modena. See Dubin, Port Jews, 124–33 and later in this chapter. 70. D’Arco, Dell’influenza del ghetto. 71. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.11, Letters from Clemente Errera to Moisè Formiggini (June 29 and July 7, 1807). 72. Compagnoni’s work was considered to be much more dangerous for the Este state than the opera omnia of Guillaume Raynal, which included the much discussed Histoire philosophique et politique des établissements et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, quoted in Formiggini’s speech, and was forbidden even in Venice because of his antiauthoritarian and anticlerical beliefs (BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso). See Chapter 6. 73. This quotation is from the complete Venetian edition: Compagnoni, Lettere piacevoli, 217. On Compagnoni, see Chapter 6. 74. Luzzatto, Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei, 16v; translation from Ravid, Economics and Toleration, 63. For important reassessments of Luzzatto’s Discorso, see Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, 12–42; and Stow, “Jews and Christians,” 29–44. 75. ASMO, AM-AeM-S, 34/b and Chapters 4 and 5. 76. See Chapter 1. 77. Ibid. 78. See Chapter 4. 79. BEMO, AfAF, 1/23, February 23, 1744, notary Tommaso Vandelli, and May 2, 1768, notary Zenobio Egidio Teodori. ASMO, AM-E, 14, fols. 8–11. 80. ASMO, AN-PV, 5242/1418, June 9, 1769, notary Nicolò Giannozzi. 81. BEMO, AfAF, 1/23, February 23, 1744, notary Tommaso Vandelli; BEMO, AfAF, May 2, 1768, notary Zenobio Egidio Teodori; see Chapter 4. 82. ASMO, AN-PV, Antonio Jacopo Alessandri, 5123/363, May 26, 1762; ASMO, AN-PV, Nicolò Giannozzi, 5242/1435, May 11, 1769.

Notes to Pages 250–253

307

83. Luzzatto, Discorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei, 18v; translation by Benjamin Ravid, Economics and Toleration, 66 and 73. See also Chapter 3. 84. See Chapters 3 and 5. 85. BEMO, AfAF, 2/52, Dotale di Ricca Levi sposa di Salomon Formiggini, December 25, 1785, notary Niccolò Giannozzi; BEMO, AfAF, 2/54, Assoluzione fatta da Vita Laudadio Formiggini a favore del di lui fratello Moisè, October 15, 1788, notary Ettore Poppi. 86. BEMO, AfAF, 2/58, May 1, 1790, notary Ettore Poppi. 87. BEMO, AfAF, 2/57, February 23, 1790, notary Ettore Poppi. 88. See Chapter 4. 89. Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, 12–42. 90. According to Luzzatto, the Jews had no interest in politics or ambition to exert authority over Gentiles through the acquisition of land, titles, or offices. Menasseh ben Israel, who in 1654 would make extensive use of the Discourse to win Jewish readmission to England, later asserted, “They aspire at nothing but to prefer themselves in their way of Merchandize”; see Karp, Politics of Jewish Commerce, 12–42. 91. On Henri Grégoire, see Goldstein Spinwall, Abbé Gregoire. 92. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.11, Letter to Emilio Padova, June 18, 1800; BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.11, Letter of 1806 to Salomone Formiggini (without other indication). Francesconi, “Jewish Families in Modena,” 240–307. 93. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 94. At the same time, Formiggini does not appear too distant from Valabrègue’s conclusion responding to the claims that the Jews had no homeland: “The land that nourishes them will become a new homeland for them. . . . They will not be tempted to carry the riches away from [the land] to which they owe them. . . . They will only be all the more attached and more obedient to the Sovereign who protects them. . . . Let [the Jews] enjoy all the right of citizens, [and] they will certainly have the soul of a citizen”; translation from Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews, 119. 95. This is the translation of Edmund Burke, An Account of the European Settlements in America, in Six Parts. I. A Short History of the Discovery of That Part of the World. II. The Manners and Customs of the Original Inhabitants. III. Of the Spanish Settlements. IV. Of the Portuguese. V. Of the French, Dutch, and Danish. VI. Of the English (London: R. and J. Dodsley in Pall-Mall, 1757). 96. BEMO, Ms, α z. 10.10, Atti del Congresso. 97. Ibid. 98. Rovatti, Modena napoleonica, vol. 1, 141–42. 99. ASCMO, CM-P, October 18, 1797. 100. Ibid. 101. Ibid. 102. Dubin, Port Jews, 124–33.

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Index

Page references to illustrations appear in italics. absolutism, 15, 18–19, 28, 43, 149–51 acculturation, French, 230 administration: ducal, 42–48, 151, 211–12; Jewish, 18, 57, 63, 152, 175, 211–12, 227–28, 241 agency, female: in the domestic sphere, 116–17, 120, 177–78; economic dimension of, 193– 95; elite backgrounds in, 184–88; religious and social, 105; So’ed Ho˘ lim in, 178–84, 188–93, 195–201. See also women, Jewish agriculture, 25–26, 42–43, 173–75, 177–78, 184, 241, 249–50 Albert, Ada Rapoport, 185–86 Alberti, Leon Battista, 47–48 ambiguity: of the Este dukes toward the Jews, 4, 43, 45–46, 52; of the Jewish role in the Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 155–56; of social status in land ownership, 173 Annobuono, Salomone, and family, 147–48 annuities for Jewish women, 133, 182–83 anti-Judaic sentiment/anti-Semitism, 3, 5, 19, 28, 44–45, 58, 235 arches, Jewish, 28–29 architecture: of the domestic sphere, 9–10, 112, 115–16; of Judaica, 165–68; synagogal, 9–10, 115, 213–15; in urban geography, 204–7, 210, 213, 218–20, 233–36; windows in, 115, 214–15, 219–20. See also built environment of Modena Arezzo, Baruch d’: Zikkaron li-vnei Yisra’el, 123–24 Ariani, Moisè, 87 Aron-Beller, Katherine, 89, 112 aron-ha-kodesh (Torah ark), 94 art/artistic works: in changes in Christian attitudes, 138–39; cultural exchange in, 3–4; Jewish merchants in choosing for the court, 19, 161–63; Judaica, 163–69;

in sharing of culture, 138, 160–61; urban geography in, 203–4 artisans, 12–13, 36, 157–62, 164–66, 168–69, 225. See also Formiggini, Pellegrino; silver merchants/silversmiths Ashkenazi, R. Mordechai, 124–25 Ashkenazi Jews: credit activities of, 149–50; diaspora of, 30–31, 33–34, 36–37; female spirituality of, 120; and Sabbateanism in the Modenese ghetto, 124–25; synagogues of, 74–75, 90, 93–94, 212. See also Sanguinetti family astrology in shared culture, 81–82 atarah, silver, 167 authorities, ducal. See ducal chamber autobiographical documents, 7–8 autonomy: of the Duchy from the Catholic Church, 228–29; of Jewish settlements, 43; of Jewish women, 100–104, 186, 200; of Modenese civic magistracies, 42–43; restrictions on, during the plague, 50–52; of So-ed H˘olim, 193; urban geography in, 205 badges, 37–39, 45–46, 58, 154–55, 203–4, 214 Balletti, Andrea, 13–14 bankers: books and book culture of, 64–66, 85; in economic and social development, 90–93, 97–99; in ghettoization, 52–53, 57, 58; as Jewish leaders, 48–50, 52–53, 78–79; in shared culture, 78–79, 81–82; transformation of economic activities by, 35–36. See also credit activities; Modena family; moneylenders/moneylending; Sanguinetti family baptisms of Jews, 112, 127, 133–34, 282n34, 293n60. See also conversions to Christianity

340 Bartolocci, Giulio: Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica, 246–47 Bassan, Isaiah, 226 beggars, 40–42, 152–53 Bemporad, Dora Liscia, 166 ben Israel, Menasseh, 250–51 Berkekhiah da Modena, Aaron, 21, 69, 75, 84–88, 107–11, 119–23, 221–22; Ma’avar Yabbok, 73–74, 91–92, 108–11, 233 Bibles: study of, in education, 69–70; vernacular, 15–16, 26–27, 65, 68, 70–71, 75–76, 82, 89 bittul ha-tamid (interruption of the service), 104–5 blasphemy, 7, 65–68, 75–78, 83–84, 88, 220 bodies, Jewish: deceased, 188–92, 233–34; female, 37, 39, 106–7, 113–14, 214; stigmatization of, 37–39 Bologna, 3 Bologna, Luigi da, 66–67 Bonaparte, Napoleon: in emancipation, 22, 235–36, 238–39; in sociocultural transformation, 2–3 Bonfil, Robert, 17 books, banning and censorship of: blasphemy in, 7, 65–68, 75–78, 83–84, 88, 220; expurgation in, 7, 66–68, 76–78, 88, 271n81; first confiscation of Hebrew books, 25; French books, 230–31; Inquisition in, 6–7, 64–66, 68–69; in plot by converts against the Jewish elite, 78–84; in revealing Jewish culture, 84–88; vernacular Bibles, 15–16, 26–27, 65, 68, 75–76, 82 books and book culture: in cultural interchange, 87–88, 226–32; in the female domestic sphere, 119–20; in Formiggini’s Discorso, 247; ghettoization in, 88–89; import of, 175–76; in Jewish-Christian relations, 247–49; lists of, 6–7, 68–69, 77, 84–88; Moisè Modena’s library, 68–73 boundaries, physical and cultural: between domestic and public spaces, 9–10; between Europe and the Mediterranean, 12; and female agency, 200–201; flexibilities of, 130; for imagined communities, 241–42; in Jewish identity, 5; porosity of, 19, 97, 235, 241–42; in social order, 47; theological, 75–76, 82–83, 122–23; in urban geography, 202–3, 205–6, 222, 235, 236; walls as, 205–6, 210, 219–20, 234–36. See also ghettos/ghettoization

Index Brunetta, Moisè Della, 46–47 built environment of Modena, 9–10, 116, 135–36, 203–4, 214–15, 232–36. See also architecture; geography, urban burials, 110–11, 188–89, 191–92, 199, 221–22 Calbetti, da Recanati, Arcangelo (inquisitor), 74–75; Contra gli abusi del conversare de Christiani con Hebrei, 25 Caminer, Domenico: Saggio storico sul Regno di Corsica dalla sollevazione, 247 Canalchiaro area, 37, 38 Cannaruti, Salvatori, 146 Carmi, Yosef Yedidià, 120–23; Kenaf Renanim, 121–22 Carnival, 24–25, 44–45, 261n4 Carpi, Leone, 140 Casa dei Catecumeni, 89 Castelbolognese, Moisè Vita, 181–82 Catholic Church, 11, 88, 174, 228–29. See also Dominicans; Inquisition; Jesuits Cavalcante, Giovanni, 224 cemeteries, Jewish, 27, 31, 44, 108–11, 211–12, 221–22 cendale (face-covering shawl), 213–14, 298n48 censorship, 7, 65–68, 75–78, 83–84, 88, 220, 230–31 ceremonies, Jewish, 31, 110–11, 197–99, 220–22. See also rituals, Jewish charity. See philanthropy charters, ducal, 30, 146–47, 154–55 Chartier, Roger, 231 childbirth, 91–92, 108–10, 178 children, minor, 102–3, 182, 229 chronicles, local, 8 circumcision, 107–8, 110–11, 125–26, 195–96 Cispadane Federation, Congress of, 237, 243 Cispadane Republic, 22, 252 citizenship, 21–23, 57, 237–44, 250–53 civic affairs, Jews in, 18–19, 175–76, 250–53 class, socioeconomic: and gender, 5–6; of mercers, 146; in social hierarchies and order, 47–48; in visibility and respectability, 214 Clavicula Salomonis (Magnus), 81–82 clothing, 39, 45–46, 105–6, 111, 213–14 Codebò, Andrea, 51, 59 Cohen, Richard, 138–39, 164–65 cohesion/cohesiveness, 21, 29, 49–50, 90–91, 128, 170, 187, 217

Index collaboration, Jewish-Christian: in incarceration of seducers, 190–91; public library as, 19–20, 226–29, 231–32 Collegio dell’Arte della Seta, 224 Colorni, Vittore, 13–14 commerce/commercial activity: in arguments against ghettoization, 53–55; in arguments for active citizenship, 243; commercial routes, 160, 175–76; and culture, in survival, 73–75; in expansion of Modena, 249; in Formiggini’s Discorso, 241–43; in Jewish network cohesion, 128; and tolerance, 243–44, 250–52; in urban geography, 210–11, 222–26 commodities, 35–36, 42–43, 141, 146, 154–57, 162. See also mercers community, Jewish: cohesiveness of, 49–50; involvement in, and preservation of identity and culture, 20; organization of, 152–53; as planned community, 16–18, 62–63, 203–4, 218 Compagnia delle Donne, 192–93 Compagnia Tedesca (German community), 93–94, 212 Compagnoni, Giuseppe: Lettere piacevoli se piaceranno, 230–31, 248–49 competition, 29, 53–54, 74, 121–22, 135–36, 155–56, 159–60 compromise, 45–47, 56, 141, 146, 156, 222 conflict: with the city, in Jewish-Christian bonds, 224–25; on the city council and ghettoization, 58; in the Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 155–57; Jewish–nonJewish, 89, 155–57 Confraternita delle Zittelle, 192–93 confraternities, 120–26, 138–39, 146, 178–79, 185–88, 211–12, 228–29. See also So’ed H˘olim female confraternity conservatism, 57, 125–26, 250–51 Conservatori of Modena, 24–25, 27, 42–43, 49, 51–52 constitution, French, 252–53 constraints on Jewish lives, 5, 9, 18–19, 135 control, social, 20, 62–63, 104–20, 177, 190–91, 213–15, 298nn48–49 conversions to Christianity: charity and solidarity in preventing, 152–53, 187–88; conversionary sermons, 53, 112, 278n114; forced, 18–19, 89, 229; House of Converts in, 18–20, 89, 187–88, 229; poverty in, 17

341 converts: baptism of, 134; in censorship of books, 66–67, 75–79; conflict with, in the ghetto, 215–18; ducal donations to, 187–88; in the Formiggini family, 133–34; in inquisitorial investigations and trials, 15–16, 78–86; in integration and emancipation, 21; in liquidation of patrimony, 169–70; migration to Modena by, 3–4, 12–13, 147–48; in the Rovigo family, 187–88, 293n60; in urban geography, 217–18, 229. See also baptisms of Jews Coppi, Jacopo: Miracle of the Crucifix in Beirut, 3 coral, commerce in, 149 Cordoverian Kabbalah, 121–22 Correggio, Camillo Jaghel da, 75–81 Correggio, Ciro, 80–84 cosmopolitanism, 10–12, 17 Counter-Reformation: in expurgation of books, 76; in female agency, 177–78; in ghettoization, 25–27, 56–58, 88–89; in marginalization, 47–48; politics of, and the Inquisition, 15, 26–27, 85, 88–89; in reimagining the Jewish female sphere, 91, 107–8, 110–11, 119 courts, Jewish, 9, 190–91 craftsmen/craftsmanship. See artisans credit activities: in arguments against ghettoization, 53–54; in elite merchants relationship with the Dukes, 157; expansion of family networks into, 35–36; of the Formiggini family, 130, 149–50, 173; of Jewish confraternities, 187; of So’ed Ho˘ lim, 194–95 culture: art in sharing with Christians, 138, 160–61; books in, 73–76, 78–88, 89, 226–32; centers of, 36–37, 74–75, 90, 92–93, 123, 227, 229–30; community involvement protecting, 20; Enlightenment in dissemination of, 232; in facing ghettoization, 55, 61; French-oriented, 227–28; humanistic, in Jewish households, 91–92; Inquisition in repression of, 26–27; Jewish-Christian interchange of, 3–4, 6–7, 19–20, 87–88, 125–26, 226–32; libraries in, 70–71, 75, 229–30; material, 9–10, 116–17; urban geography in, 205–6, 218; visual, 3–4. See also books and book culture; hybridization/hybridity, cultural Cum Nimis Absurdum bull of 1555 (Paul IV), 26–27 Curto, Diego Ramada, 160

342 daily life: art and architecture in, 167–68; family buildings in, 135–40; female agency in, 172, 178; in Jewish households, 97; records of, 7–8; urban geography in, 210–13, 220–23, 231 d’Arco, Giovan Battista: Dell’influenza del ghetto nello stato, 242 Dato, Mordechai, 64, 71–73, 79–80 Davis, Natalie Zemon, 12 De’ Rossi, Azariah, 121–22 diaspora in Modena, 30–31, 33–37, 147–48 Diena, R. Azriel, 105 documentation, 6–10 domestic sphere: architecture of, 9–10, 112, 115–16; female agency in, 116–17, 120, 177–78; femininity redefined in, 200–201; gender performance in, 5; housing strategies in, 91–92; rabbis reimagining women in, 104–11; reconfiguration of, 5, 91, 116–20; social control in, 111–12, 119–20 Dominicans, 28, 44–45, 66–67 donations. See philanthropy dowries: in capital of the family company, 151–52; in cases of conversion, 293n60; donations of, 180–83, 190–93, 196; dowering societies, 178–79, 192–93; in family networks, 91, 99–104; in female agency, 180–84; in Formiggini wealth, 131–33; in Laudadio Formiggini’s family politics, 170– 72, 289n180; in preservation of patrimony, 250. See also marriage Dubin, Lois, 10–11 ducal chamber (camera): advantages of Jewish entrepreneurship for, 150; in cases of unwed pregnant servants, 190–91; in conversion efforts, 187–88; and the Corporation of Jewish Mercers, 141–42; and the Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 157–58; and the dowry system, 101–2, 183; and elite families, 42–49, 157; Formigginis as intermediaries with, 175, 241; in ghettoization, 49, 51–53, 61, 63; in negotiations on use of space, 222–25; in renewals of charters and licenses, 30, 34; in safety of Jews during Holy Week, 220; in visibility of Jews, 18–19, 128, 250–51. See also Este dukes/Duchy dwellings. See housing early modern period of Jewish history, defined, 2–3, 21

Index economics/economy: in arguments against ghettoization, 53–55; ducal, 25–26, 42–43, 148–49, 157–59; in female agency, 193–95; imperial, 58; retreat of women from sphere of, 104 education, 46, 69–73, 94, 118–19, 251–53. See also schools, Jewish elections, 49–50, 94, 152, 235, 252 elite, Jewish: conversos plot against, 78–84; development of, 128; Formiggini family partnerships with, 170; households of, 91, 96–99 emancipation, 5–6, 20–23, 235–53 emigration. See migrations employees, Christian, 225–26. See also servants empowerment in ghettoization, 48–50 enclosure, compulsory, 4, 11–12, 41–42, 51–52, 83–84. See also ghettos/ghettoization endogamy, 97–99 Enlightenment, 21–23, 175, 226–32, 243–45, 247–49 entrepreneurship, 4–5, 7–8, 22–23, 129–30, 147–48, 225–27, 252–53 erasure: in censorship, 7, 78; looting of Jewish cemetery in, 27 ‘eruv (mixture), 204–6, 221–22, 235–36 Esnoga synagogue, Amsterdam, 138 Este, Alfonso II, Duke of Modena, 28–29 Este, Cesare, Duke of Modena, 1, 24, 45–47 Este, Ercole III, Duke, 226–31 Este, Francesco I, Duke of Modena, 12–13, 47, 53–55, 59 Este, Francesco III, Duke of Modena, 19–20, 128, 157–58, 174, 226–32 Este, Rinaldo I, Duke, 188 Este Code of 1771, 174–75 Este dukes/Duchy: ambiguity of, toward the Jews, 4, 43, 45–46, 52; and the Corporation of Jewish Mercers, 141, 146; economy of, 25–26, 42–43, 148–49, 157–59; Enlightenment in, 231; Este Code of 1771, 174–75; favor of, in Formigginis’ success, 128, 149, 240–41; Formigginis as art experts for court of, 160–63; haven for Jewish refugees in, 13–14; Jewish families in politics of, 42–48; loss of Ferrara by, 1–2, 25–26, 28–29; and Modena’s public library, 226– 32; and Modenese Jews in the eighteenth century, 18–20; politics of segregation in, 56–63; reformation of, 228–29; in urban

Index geography, 204–5; usefulness of Jewish commerce in, 245–46; welfare system in, 152–53. See also ducal chamber exclusion of Jews, 18–19, 175–76, 250–51 expulsions: compared to expurgation of books, 88; in defining the early modern age, 11–12; and ghettoization, 25, 56–58; Iberian, in early modern Jewish history, 2–3; intolerance in, 243–44; lack of, from Modena, 14; in migration to Modena, 34–35; in Modenese history, 41–42 face-coverings for women, 213–14 families, Jewish: elite, 18, 43, 48–50, 96–99, 157; housing of, 90–96, 207–9; marginalized groups associated with, 37–42; settlement and assessment of, 29–33, 36–37; symbolism of private oratories for, 135–36 families, networks of: in civil society, 14–15, 29, 62–63; diaspora in, 33–37; dowries, 99–104; in ducal politics, 42–48; in facing ghettoization, 52–63; of the Formigginis, 170–72, 175–76; leadership of, 48–63; marriage in, 91, 97–99, 131–32; in settlement, 29–33 Fano, Menahem Azariah da, 64, 72–73 feminization: of domestic and public space, 200–201; and female agency in the home, 177–78; of the Jewish household, 91; of membership in So’ed H˘olim, 179–80; of religion, 197–98; of synagogues, 214–15 Ferrara, 1–2, 3, 4, 25–26, 34–35 feudalism in the Este Duchy, 42, 174–75 fines, inquisitorial, 74–75 Fiorentino, Salomone, 53–55 Fiori, Antonio Felice, 187 firstborn son rights, 103–4, 132–33 Florence, 58–59, 115, 159–60 Foa, Moisè Beniamino, 6, 19–20, 226–32, 247–48 Foa family as Inquisitorial defendants, 78–79 Fonrobert, Charlotte, 113, 205 Formiggini, Allegra (Vita), 171 Formiggini, Anna, 173 Formiggini, Benedetto, 172–75, 240–41, 289nn183–84, 290nn189–90 Formiggini, Devora Levi, 181–83, 189 Formiggini, Elia, 130–32 Formiggini, Emanuele, 172–73 Formiggini, Ester, 133 Formiggini, Flaminio, 172–73

343 Formiggini, Grazia, 199 Formiggini, Isach, 222–23 Formiggini, Laudadio (son of Pellegrino), 149, 151–55, 161–72, 181–82, 240–41, 288n169 Formiggini, Leone (Contardo Geminiano San Felice), 133–34, 169–70 Formiggini, Mirra, 35–36 Formiggini, Moisè (son of Benedetto): archive of, 8–9; on citizenship rights and participation for Jews, 237–47, 250–53; as cultural and financial intermediary, 6–7; Discorso, 6, 237, 240, 241–47; in emancipation, 22–23, 237–53; on tolerance, 243–47 Formiggini, Moisè (son of Pellegrino), 151–52, 158–59, 163–64, 169–70, 181–82 Formiggini, Pellegrino, 35–36, 62–63, 127, 129–31, 135 Formiggini, Pellegrino (son of Elia), 131–34, 137–38, 149, 153–54 Formiggini, Rachele (daughter of Elia), 131–32 Formiggini, Rachele (daughter of Pellegrino), 134 Formiggini family: in acquiring Judaica for synagogues, 163–69; in agriculture, 173–75, 241, 249–50; archives of, 8–9, 163–65; as art experts for the court, 19, 160–63; in the book trade, 247–48; in commodities trading, 35–36; compared to Ashkenazi and Sephardic societies, 146–51; in the Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 155–60, 249–50; credit activities of, 130, 149–50, 173; as cultural intermediaries, 18; evolution of commercial activities of, 127, 151–55; family politics of, 169–72, 289n180; as Ferrarese immigrants, 1; house and synagogue of, 132, 135–40, 140; land acquisition and credit activity of, 172–75, 183nn183–84, 184nn189–90; mercantile accomplishments of, and membership in the Corporation of Jewish Mercers, 141–46; patrimony of, 132–33, 141, 146, 169–72, 240–41; private oratory of, 213; as silversmiths and jewelers, 1, 131, 146–47, 153–60, 161–69; synagogue of, 135–40, 163–65, 210; three generations in wealth building by, 129–34 fraternalism. See confraternities fraterna structure of the Formiggini family, 151–52 freedom: economic, 150–51; for middle class women, 200; of the press, 230–31

344 French Revolution, 2–3, 251–53 Frizzi, Benedetto: Difesa contro gli attacchi fatti alla nazione ebrea, 242–45 funeral ceremonies/rituals, 91–92, 110–11, 221–22 furnishings: of the court, 162–63; of synagogues, 94–95, 95, 163–64 Gadaldini, Cornelio: Pianta di una parte della città, zona di Canalchiaro, 38 Garzoni da Bagnacavallo, Tomaso: Piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo, 247 gates of the ghetto, 202–3, 235 gender: and assimilation, 200; in confraternal activities, 191–92; in the domestic sphere, 5, 104–20; in household roles, 97, 105–6, 109–10; objects in documentation of, 9–10; in urban geography, 213–15, 298n49; windows as issue of, 112–16 geography, urban: death in, 233–36; in defending Jewish space, 215–18; Jewish welfare, culture, and devotion in, 205–13; outside the ghetto, 219–26; public library in, 226–32; purity and pollution in, 232–36; visibility of women in, 213–15 ghettos/ghettoization: association of Jews with beggars and prostitutes in, 37–42; constraints of, 5, 18–19; CounterReformation in, 88–89; cultural, 85; ducal authorities in, 49, 52–53, 61, 63; ducal restrictions in, 45–47; in early modern Italian and Jewish history, 15, 16–18; in the Este Code of 1771, 174–75; influential Jewish families in, 48–50; Inquisition in, 15, 16, 44–45; as laboratory for governmental skills, 175; leadership in, 16–17, 46–47, 52–63; petitions in, 24–25, 27–28; plague in, 50–52; planning and erection of, 50, 59–63, 60; urban geography of, 205–18, 232–36 Giacinti, Alfredo Maria, 84–85 Ginzburg, Carlo, 7 Goldish, Matt, 124–25 Goldsmiths, Corporation of, 45, 128–30, 155– 60, 249–50. See also guilds; jewelers/jewel merchants; silver merchants/silversmiths Gorani, Joseph, 202 Gozze, Nicolò, 47–48 Graziano, R. Abraham, 234 Gregory XIII (pope): Sancta mater Ecclesia, 53

Index Grida sopra gli ebrei of 1670, 219–21 Grossi, Carlo: Cantata ebraica in dialogo, 125–26 guilds: enrollment of Jews in, 4; in ghettoization, 66, 78–79; of Goldsmiths, 45, 128–30, 155–60, 249–50; inclusion of Jews in, 45; of Jewish Mercers, 141–46; opportunities for Jews to enroll in, 129–30, 249–50; requests for expulsion of Jews by, 66–67. See also Goldsmiths, Corporation of; mercers Habermas, Jürgen, 231 hakkafot custom, 221–22 Ha-Koen, R. Ishmael, 225–26, 235–36, 252–53 halakhah: consent to marriage in, 96; dowries in, 99; in female agency, 180–83, 189–91, 193; in reconfiguring the domestic female sphere, 117; and urban geography, 205–7, 225–26 H˘anukkah lamps, 116–17, 118 Haskalah manifesto on education, 252–53 H˘atzot Laila confraternity, 123, 185 Hebrà para Cazar Orfas e Donzelas, Livorno, 192–93 Heilprun, Yaakov ben, 119–20 heresy in censorship of books, 65–66, 88 heterodoxy, Christian in censorship of books, 65, 82–83, 88, 89 H˘evrat Gemilut H˘asadim, 104–5 H˘evrat Kove’ei ‘Ittim confraternity, 146 H˘evrat Makshivim, 120–21 hierarchies: political, 24–25; social, 47–48, 193 Holy Week, Christian, 220, 235 homogamy, 97–99 Ho‘shannah Rabba, 125–26 households, Jewish: cultural hybridization in, 5, 120–23; dowry system in, 99–104; elite, 91, 96–99; family networks in, 90–92; female sphere in, 104–20; feminization of, 215; gendered spaces in, 91–92, 111–16, 119–20, 126, 195–201; male fraternalism in, 123–26; responsibility for unwed pregnant servants of, 191; sharing of, 135; as spaces for confraternities and philanthropy, 186; strategies in, 92–96; windows in, 111–16 housing: of the Formiggini family, 137–38; inspections of, during the plague, 51; negotiations on, in ghettoization, 49; for the poor, by the Formigginis, 130; in urban geography, 207–9, 210–11, 219–20, 233–34; value of, in ghettoization, 54

Index Hughes, Diane Owen, 37, 39 humanism, 6–7, 70–72, 82–83, 91–92, 116–17, 126, 229–30 hybridization/hybridity, cultural: books as evidence of, 82–83; in emancipation, 253; Jewish-Christian interchange in, 3–4, 6–7, 19–20, 81–82, 87–88, 122–23, 125–26, 226–32; in Jewish households, 5, 97, 110–11, 116–17, 120–23; male fraternalism in, 125–26; objects in documentation of, 9–10; in silver ritual objects, 167–68; urban geography in, 218 hygiene in urban geography, 211, 223–24 Hyman, Paula, 200–201 iconography, 3, 165–66 identity: gendered, 91, 116, 214–15; Jewish, 5, 14–15, 20, 21, 91, 190–91; Modenese, 25, 27; urban geography in, 217–18 idolaters/idolatry, 78, 83–84 ‘ikuv ha-keriah (stopping the service), 104–5 immigration. See migrations inclusion of Jews, 10–11, 42–43, 250–53 Index of Prohibited Books (Clement VIII), 26–27, 64–66, 85–87 Inquisition: in censorship of books, 6–7, 64–66, 68–69, 76–84; CounterReformation politics in, 15, 26–27, 85, 88–89; in early modern Italian and Jewish history, 15–16; and the Este duchy, 44–45; and the Formiggini family, 16, 127, 129–31; in ghettoization, 25–27, 44–45, 85; in scrutiny of shared culture, 78–84; treatment of “obsessed” women by, 106–7; trials and tribunals of, 6–7, 46–47, 78–88, 129–30, 215–16; women targeted by, 119–20 integration: art donations in, 160–61; and emancipation, 22–23, 252–53; and the Enlightenment, 231–32; legal and political, 2–3, 20–23, 204, 239–40; Napoleon in, 235–36, 238–40; rituals of, 198–99; of Sephardi Jews into the Modena community, 34–35, 147; in urban geography, 202, 204 intellectual life, Jewish, 73–75, 89 interactions and interchange, JewishChristian: books in, 76–77; in communitarian cosmopolitanism, 10–11; cultural, 3–4, 6–7, 19–20, 81–82, 87–88, 122–23, 125–26, 226–32; in everyday life, 97; intellectual, 6–7; in Jewish identity, 5; in Modena, 14; in requests to expel and

345 ghettoize the Jews, 25. See also relations, Jewish–non-Jewish intermediaries: cultural and financial, 5, 6, 19, 48–49, 162–63, 175–76, 227–32; political, 238–39 invasions, 47, 128, 154, 231 Inventario delle suppellettili di Palazzo Ducale (1771), 161–62 investments, 148–49, 165, 173–75, 187, 193–95 ius commune, 18, 57, 59, 99, 180–81, 183–84. See also dowries Jarrard, Alice, 47 Jesuits, 19–20, 81, 106–7, 133–34, 226–32 jewelers/jewel merchants: in the Corporation of Jewish Mercers, 141, 146; Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 155–60; Formiggini family as, 1, 131, 146–47, 153–69; Levi family as, 170; Modenas as, 35–36; in urban geography, 203–4, 206–7. See also Formiggini family Jewish Mercers, Corporation of, 141–46 Judaica, 163–69 Kabbalah: in bridging Europe and the Mediterranean, 7–8; Cordoverian, 121–22; in cosmopolitanism, 12; as forbidden books, 79–80, 85–86; kabbalistic literature/ texts, 7–8, 12, 69–72, 79–80, 85–86, 91–92, 120–22; Lurianic, 12, 107–9; in male fraternalism, 123, 125–26; in masculine cultural hybridity, 120–22; in Modena’s centrality for Jews, 4–5; in Moisè Modena’s library, 69, 70–72; in reimagining the domestic sphere, 107–8, 110–11; Safedian, 107–8, 121–22; in shared culture, 80; in urban geography, 221–22; on women’s spaces, 91–92. See also Berkekhiah da Modena, Aaron kahal (elected council), 49–50, 199–200, 218 Kahal Kadosh, 199–200 Karp, Jonathan, 250–51 Katz, Dana, 219–20 ketubbah (marriage contract), 99–100, 164–65, 171, 180–83, 282n58, 289n180 ketubbot, decorated, 116–17, 164–65 kidnapping for conversion, 18–20, 89, 187–88, 229 Klagsbald, Victor, 94 Kove’ei ‘ittim confraternity, 138, 139

346 Laderchi, Giovanni Battista, 43–44, 79–80 Lampronti, Isaac, 233–34 Lancellotti, Secondo, 122–23 Lancellotti, Tomaso, 32 Landsberger, Franz, 164–65 language: of books in Jewish collections, 87; in defending Jewish space, 215–18; knowledge of, in emancipation, 253; shared, in shared culture, 89 Lanteri, Giacomo, 48 leadership, Jewish: in cases of unwed pregnant Jewish servants, 190–91; and civic reform, 249–50; in community congregations, 152; continuity of, 14; and the ducal government, 46–47; elite families as, 48–50; Formiggini family in, 128, 146–47, 152, 175–76; and ghettoization, 16–17, 46–47, 52–63; influence of, 48–50; in integration and emancipation, 22–23; negotiation by, 16–17, 46–47, 88–89, 222–23; opposition to forced conversion by, 229; and the plague of 1630, 50–51; in tax exemption for synagogues, 212; Trabotti saved by, 84; in urban geography, 211, 222–24 legitimization: institutional structures in, 28–29; in urban geography, 220–21, 224–25 Lerri, Michelangelo (inquisitor), 76, 127 Levi, Anna, 183–84 Levi, Benedetto Vita, 141 Levi, Isaac d’Angelo, 252 Levi, Settimia, 183–84 Levi family, 183–84 libraries: as cultural centers, 74–75, 227, 229–30; in the Jewish female domestic sphere, 117–18; Moisè Foa in establishing, 19–20, 226–32, 247–48; of Moisè Modena, 68–75, 117–18; public library of Modena, 226–32; in synagogues, 94 literacy, 64–65. See also books and book culture living conditions, 13–14, 74, 180 Lodi, Giacomo da (inquisitor), 84–85 Lurianic Kabbalah, 12, 107–9 Luzzatto, Simone, 249–53; Dicorso circa il stato de gl’Hebrei, 55, 103, 242–43 Ma’avar Yabbok (Modena), 73–74 maggidim, 4, 124–25, 185 magic, 80–83, 89, 122–25

Index magistracies, civic, 42–43, 174, 181–82. See also Conservatori of Modena Magnus, Albertus: Clavicula Salomonis, 81–82 Malachim, Elia de Mutina, 35, 46–47 Malachim, Michele, 53–55 Malachim family, 35. See also Modena family Malkiel, David, 233–34 Mantua, 45, 57, 159–60 manufacturing, 35–36, 141, 219, 222–23, 225–26, 246 manuscripts: illuminated, 164–65, 168–69; kabbalistic, ducal court in collecting, 160–61 marginalization, 37–42, 45–48, 200, 220–21 Marini, Lino, 13–14, 43 Marino, Giambattista, 122–23 markets, international, 155, 162, 241–42 market squares/marketplaces, 49, 129, 203–4, 219, 222–23. See also piazzas marriage: age of, in elite households, 96–97; consanguineous, 97–99; contracts of, 99–100, 164–65, 171, 180–83, 282n58, 289n180; dowries in, 99–104; in elite households, 97–99; in family strategies, 96, 131–32, 135; in Formiggini family politics, 170–72, 250; and membership in So’ed H˘olim, 179–80; as religious obligation, 135; second, 102. See also dowries Martinozzi, Laura, Duchess of Modena, 147 masculinity, 98–99, 120–23 massari (Jewish lay leaders). See leadership, Jewish Mazzoni, Geminiano, 106–7 medical science/medicine, 73, 80, 82–83 Medici, Cosimo I, Duke of Florence, 59 Megillat Esther, 160–61, 161 Me irei Shah. ar, 120–21 Mendelssohn, Moses: Phaedon, 248 mercantilism: in arguments against ghettoization, 54–55; in ducal politics toward the Jews, 42–43; in emancipation, 243–45; in invitation for permanent settlement, 3–4; micromercantilism of the Formigginis, 160; in porous boundaries, 19; in success of Formigginis, 149–51, 154–55; in survival and maintenance of the Duchy, 153 mercers, 141–46, 142–45, 146, 156–58, 222–24. See also Formiggini family Metz Jews, 247 midrashic literature, 70, 78, 121–22

Index Midrash on Genesis, 78 midwives, 191–92 migrations, 1–4, 12–13, 30–31, 146–48 mikveh (ritual bath), 211, 215 Milano, Attilio, 13–14 minhagim, 33, 74–75, 93–94, 136–37, 212–13 mint, ducal, 153, 157, 170 Mintz, Maharil and R. Moses, 193 Mishmeret ha-Boker confraternity, 139, 196 mitzvot (Jewish precepts), 184, 197, 277–78n99 mnemonics, in Moisè Modena’s library, 71–73 mobility, 21, 35, 89, 130, 220–21 Modena, Bonaiuto, 31–32 Modena, Daniel, 30–31 Modena, Fioretta, 102, 117–18 Modena, Graziadio, 31–34 Modena, Lelio, 135 Modena, Leone: Autobiography, 29–30 Modena, Letitzia, 102 Modena, Marianna, 101 Modena, Michele di Elia, 146 Modena, Moisè, 6–7, 68–75, 96, 117–18 Modena, Rafael, 78–79 Modena, Salomone, 69 Modena, Salvatore, 41, 96 Modena, Shemaiah, 32–33 Modena family: and the Este duchy, 44; ghettoization in network building by, 29; households of, 90–91; and the Inquisition, 74–75, 78–80, 84–87; marriages within, 97–98; in the politics of segregation, 62–63; scolas of, 212–13; synagogue furnishings of, 94–96, 95; in trading and craftsmanship, 35–36 Modenese Council of the Cispadane Republic, 252 modernity/modernization, 6–7, 10–11, 14, 21–22, 200, 232 Molho, Anthony, 160 moneylenders/moneylending, 1, 30–35, 44–45, 51–52. See also bankers; credit activities; Modena family; Sanguinetti family monopolies, state, 4, 33–34, 42–43, 148–49, 249 Montefalcone, Giovanni da (inquisitor), 26–27, 66–69 Mordechai of Eisenstadt, 123–24 Moscato, Judah, 70–71 Muir, Edward, 218

347 music, in cultural interchange, 125–26 negotiation, 16–17, 41, 46–47, 49–50, 88–89, 205, 222–25, 249–50 neophytes. See converts networks, business and commercial, 97–99, 149, 175–76, 238–39 Nine of Av, 233 Norsa, Angelo Vita, 194, 197, 222–23 Norsa, Isaac, 35 Norsa family, 35 notarial documents, 7–8 Novi, Pietro Maria, 78–84 Nuova Società Tipografica printing house, 226–27, 230–31 objects: ceremonial, 161–69; household, 117, 137 objects, silver: Formigginis in acquisition of, 163–69; Modenas in trade of, 36; in Modenese homes, 9–10; in patrimony, 133–34, 141, 146, 163–64; quality of, 155–57; in synagogues, 139, 185, 197 Opera pia dei Catecumeni (House of Converts), 18–20, 89, 187–88, 229 oratories, private, 58, 93–94, 135–36, 213 Padoa, Beniamino Amadio, 252 parnassot (female officials in So’ed H˘olim), 188–89 patriarchy, 100–101, 180, 200 patrimony/patrimonies: and conversions, 188; in declarations for the Corporation of Jewish Mercers, 141–46, 144–45; donations of, as female agency, 180–84; and the dowry system, 99–100, 103–4; Formiggini, 132–33, 141, 146, 169–72, 240–41; Judaica in, 163–64; in marriage, 91, 98–99, 135; of Miriam Rovigo, 184–85 Paul IV (pope): Cum Nimis Absurdum bull of 1555, 26–27; Postquam Divina Bonitas, 39 Peddlers, Guild of, 249–50 Pellegrino, Vittoria, 133–34 Perlhefter, Ber, 123–24 persecution, 15–17, 25, 65, 129–30, 244–45 phenomenology of Judaism, 21–22, 232–33 philanthropy: confraternities in, 185, 187–88; donations of art and manuscripts as, 160– 61; of dowries, 180–83, 190–93, 196; ducal, to neophytes, 187–88; of firewood, 197, 199;

348 philanthropy (continued ) in network cohesion, 128; payment of annual tax by merchant families as, 152–53; in preventing conversion, 152–53, 187–88; by the Rovigo family, 123–24, 185–88; of silver objects to the Rovigo synagogue, 185; sistema della casella (community donations), 128; by So’ed H˘olim, 179, 180, 189–93, 196–98, 199; to So’ed H˘olim, 179, 194; in urban geography, 211 physicians: female, 191–92; Jaghel da Corregio, 75–78 Pianta prospettica di Modena, 60 Piazza Grande a Modena, 48 Piazza Grande con l’Albero della Libertà, 238 Piazza Mazzini, 223 piazzas: culture of, in design of the Modenese ghetto, 61–62; denoted as “the square of the geese,” 216–17; for the Formiggini family, 129; in ghettoization, 49, 267n163; in urban geography, 203–4, 219, 222–25 Piazza Sant’Agostino (painting), 204 piety, Jewish: in the domestic sphere, 91–92, 105–8, 119; in Jewish male fraternity, 124–25; in male fraternalism, 123; in restrictions on Jewish women, 177 pinkas of So-ed H˘olim, 9, 178–79 Pinto, Isaac de: Apologie pour la Nation Juive, 242–43, 245 piyyutim (liturgical poetry), 121–22 plague, 39–40, 50–52 poetry in cultural hybridity, 121–23 Poggetti, Allegra Carmi, 119–20 Poggetti, Leone, 62–63, 97 politics: as context for commerce and trade networks, 160; ducal, 42–48, 149–51; familial, of Laudadio Formiggini, 169–72; matrimonial, 91, 103–4, 170–72; of segregation, 56–63 pollution: death in, 233–36; in ghettoization, 56, 61–62; Jews and prostitutes as, 39, 59; in prohibition of Jews teaching Christians, 46; in surveillance of Jews, 88; in urban geography, 204, 220, 223–24, 232–36. See also purification and purgation; purity porosity of boundaries and spaces: in civil society, 63; in “imagined” communities, 241–42; in Jewish households, 97, 126; in urban geography, 17–19, 219–21, 235 porticos in urban geography, 205–7, 221–24, 234–35

Index port Jews, 10–13 Portuguese Jews, 3–4, 34–35, 147–48. See also Sephardi Jews Possevino, Antonio, 119 Postquam Divina Bonitas (Paul IV), 39 poverty/Jewish poor: confraternities in care of, 187–88; in conversion, 17; Formiggini family in housing, 130; in ghettoization, 41, 54, 62–63; in marginalization, 40; in Modena, 153; So’ed H˘olim providing dowries for, 196–97; in urban geography, 210–11, 228 prayers: for childbirth, 108–10; devotional, in Jewish male fraternalism, 125–26; for women, 91–92, 120 pregnancies, unwed, 14–15, 104–5, 190–91, 294n76 printing, 21, 226–27, 230–31 privileges, 26, 29–31, 33, 149, 152, 154–55, 160, 224 processions, 24–25, 27–29, 134, 179, 220–22, 229 property, Jewish: acquisition of, in family politics, 170; expansion of, by the Formigginis, 153–54; inspection and expropriation of, during the plague, 51–52; landed, 104, 173–75, 178, 184, 195, 249–50; moveable, in urban geography, 225–26 prophets, Sabbatean, 124–25, 185–86 prostitutes, 37, 39–42, 113–14 Provenzali, Abraham and David, 69–70 public space: domestic and synagogue architecture in, 9–10; Jewish shops in, 129; as male domain, 119; sharing of, 74; in urban geography, 204–5; women in, 169, 172, 177, 200–201 purification and purgation, 11–12, 25, 39, 56, 88, 110, 221–24 purity: in ghettoization, 17–18, 39, 41–42; in rabbinic attitudes towards women, 108–9, 113–14; in urban geography, 204–6, 210, 232–36. See also pollution rabbis: attitudes toward women of, 104–11; on the danger of windows, 113–15; in elite households, 97; itinerant, in elite households, 97; use of Modena’s library by, 75 Rabeni, Abraham, 146 ragione cantante economic structure, 151–52 Rangoni, Baldassare, 81–82 Rangoni, Bonifacio, 148

Index Rangoni, Ludovica, 41 Rashi’s commentary of the Pentateuch, 77–78 raw metals, Jews as providers of, 157–58 Raynal, Guillaume, 230–31; Histoire philosophique et politique, 247 Reformation, Christian, 65, 82–83. See also Counter-Reformation refugees, 3, 11–14, 34–35, 50–51 Reggio Emilia, 147–48, 230, 245–46 Reghezza, Giovanni Vincenzo (inquisitor), 106–7 relations, Jewish–non-Jewish: books in, 76–77, 81–82, 247–49; constraints on Jewish lives in, 135; in the Corporation of the Goldsmiths, 155–56, 159–60; cultural, 6–7, 227–28; cultural hybridity in, 121–23, 126; in urban geography, 224–26, 227–28. See also interactions and interchange, Jewish-Christian religiosity, devotional, 124–25, 185, 233 religious sphere: inter-family cooperation in, 74–75; in urban geography, 210–13, 220–21; women’s agency in, 200–201; women’s recession from, 91 renovations/renewal, urban, 27, 60, 203 representations of Jews, 3–4, 138 reshut ha-yah. id, 236 residence, right of, 57, 173 restrictions: on autonomy, during the plague, 50–52; on Christian servants of Jews, 45–47; on dowries, 100–101; in ghettoization, 45–47; during Holy Week, 220; on marriages for sons, 103; on women, 177–78, 200 rhetoric, 71–72, 118–19 rights, civil/legal/political, 22–23, 29, 31, 211–12, 243, 251, 252 Rights of Man, 231–32, 251–52 rimmonim, silver, 166–68, 167 ritual, Jewish: tikkun h. atzot, 191 ritual objects. See objects rituals, Jewish: of childbirth, 91–92, 108–10, 178; of circumcision, 110–11; followed in Modenese synagogues, 136–37; funerary, 91–92, 110–11, 221–22, 233; of integration, 198–99; of So’ed H˘olim, 195–96; in urban geography, 220–22; women in, 91–92, 197–99, 211, 215, 277–78n99, 296n125. See also ceremonies, Jewish Rocca, Anna Della, 46–47 Rodov, Ilia, 94

349 Rofe, R Meir, 123–24 Rome, 56–57, 159–62, 164–65, 223–24 Rosh H˘odesh, 179, 197 Rosman, Moshe, 21–22, 214–15 Rovighi family, 141, 148, 177–78 Rovigo, Abraham, 21, 233 Rovigo, Grazia, 186 Rovigo, Isaac, 36 Rovigo, Leone, 188, 293n60 Rovigo, Miriam, 171–72, 178, 184–88, 193–95, 249–50 Rovigo, R. Abraham, 123–25 Rovigo family, 123, 177–79, 184–88, 213 Ruderman, David, 17, 21, 89 Saba, Abraham: Tzeror ha-mor, 67 Sabbateanism, 2–5, 123–25, 178–79, 185–87, 195–96 Sabbath, 205–6, 215–17, 221–22, 225–26, 235–36 Sacerdoti, Emanuele, 6, 173, 226–27, 252 Sacerdoti, Ricca, 102–3 Safedian Kabbalah, 107–8, 121–22 Saggio sugli ebrei e sui greci, 230–31 Salvatico, Antonio, 32–33 San Giorgio area, 31–32, 37, 90, 93–94, 96 Sanguinetti, Ester (Formiggini), 131 Sanguinetti, Fulvia, 102–3 Sanguinetti, Graziano, 222–23 Sanguinetti, Jacob, 33–34 Sanguinetti, Miriana, 112 Sanguinetti, Pellegrino, 46–47, 53–55 Sanguinetti, Samuele, 95 Sanguinetti, Sara, 101–2 Sanguinetti, Simone, 78–79, 97–99 Sanguinetti, Stella, 101–2 Sanguinetti, Viviano, 95 Sanguinetti family: building complex of, 38; in construction of San Bartolomeo Church, 41; dowries of, 100–102; in ducal politics, 44; family networks of, 33–37; ghettoization in network building by, 29; households of, 90–91; influence and leadership of, 1, 48–50; and the Inquisition, 74–75, 78–80, 84–86; mikveh of, 215; private oratories of, 95; in silk production and trade, 36, 148–50 Sappori, Camillo: Pianta di una parte della città, zona di Canalchiaro, 38 Saraval, Jacob: Lettera apologetica a sua eccellenza il signor marchese, 242–43, 294n76

350 scholars, itinerant, 21 Scholem, Gershom, 123–24 schools, Jewish: curricula in, 69–72, 118–19, 269–70n47; in elite households, 97; Formiggini, 135, 137–139, 153–54, 168; restrictions on, 46; in the Rovigo house, 124; sharing of, 74; in urban geography, 212–13 seclusion and segregation: of beggars and mendicants, 40–43; gendered, in the Jewish household, 110–11, 115, 119; guilds requesting, 27–28; Napoleon’s arrival in end of, 238; politics of, 56–63; as protection for Christians, 83–84; and tolerance, 250–51; in urban geography, 204. See also ghettos/ghettoization secondhand dealers, 156–60, 203–4, 222–23 secularism of the French revolution, 252–53 self-regulation, 16–18, 52–53, 211, 232 Sennett, Richard, 56 Sephardi Jews: in bridging Europe and the Mediterranean, 10–13; compared to Italian Jews in Modena, 146–49; diaspora of, 34–35; in male fraternalism, 124–25; in matrimonial politics, 103–4; in the Mercers guild, 141; settlement of, 30–31; in the Venetian ghetto, 56 Sephardi-Portuguese conversos, 3–4, 12–13 Sephardi synagogues, 212, 213 sermons: anti-Semitic, in ghettoization, 44–45; conversionary, 53, 112, 278n114 servants: Christian, 45–47, 78–79, 97, 129–30, 178; Jewish, 14–15, 178, 190–91; unwed pregnancies of, 104–5, 190–91, 294n76 Severina, Santa, 67–68 shittuf mevo’ot (partnership in streets), 205 Shomerim la-Boker, 120–21, 125–26 shops: acquisitions of, by the Formigginis, 19, 153–54; in expansion of commercial activities, 35–36; of the Formiggini family, 129, 133, 134, 141, 153–54; in ghettoization, 59; of Jewish mercers, 141–46; of Jewish silversmiths, 156–59, 161–62, 170, 203–4; pawnshops, 30–31; in urban geography, 203–4, 210–11, 219, 222–23 sick people: during the 1630 plague, 50–52; care of, 177, 180, 187–92, 199, 200, 294n81; enclosure of, 11–12, 40–42 siddurim, silver, 169 Siegmund, Stefanie, 58, 96–97

Index silk production and trade: Formigginis in, 148–49; in Jewish commerce, 249–50; Miriam Rovigo in, 184, 185, 194–95, 249–50; in prestige of leading families, 55; Sanguinettis in, 36, 148–50; So’ed H˘olim in, 195; in urban geography, 222–23, 225–27 silver merchants/silversmiths: Formiggini family as, 1, 131, 146–47, 153–69; in the goldsmiths’ guild, 155–60; marriage ties of, 170; in Modena, 1; Modenas as, 36; shops of, 156–59, 161–62, 170, 203–4, 206–7, 210–11, 222; in urban geography, 203–4. See also Goldsmiths, Corporation of Sinagoga de’ Poveri, 93 social welfare system, Jewish, 152–53 Società Attias e Compagni di Modena, 183 society: civil, 14–15, 29, 62–63, 231, 232; social centers, 123, 185, 203 So’ed H˘olim female confraternity, 5, 9, 172, 177–84, 188–201 solidarity, 152–53, 187 Sora, Gabriele, 78–79 Sorkin, David, 10–11 Spaccini, Giambattista, 27, 44–45 Spanish Jews, 34–35, 147–48. See also Sephardi Jews status: civil-legal, 10–11, 20, 25, 28–29, 44; social, 40, 76, 173 Stow, Kenneth, 17, 18, 57, 88 succession, praxis of, 132–33 surveillance, 39–40, 64–66, 88–89, 186, 199–200 synagogues: acquisition of Judaica for, 163–69; architecture of, 9–10, 115, 213–15; Ashkenazi, 212; as cultural centers, 36–37, 74–75, 90, 92–93; and family networks, 36–37; of the Formiggini family, 135–40, 163–65, 210; household, as right, 31; independent female, 200–201; in Jewish households, 90; private, 93–94, 135–40, 212–13; public, 37, 58, 74–75, 90, 93–94, 212–13; restrictions on Jewish women in, 177; in urban and household strategies, 92–96; in urban geography, 210–13; women-made ornaments in, 116; women’s galleries in, 115, 214–15 Talmud: banning and censorship of, 15–16, 26–27, 65–66, 78, 86; in calls for tolerance, 242–43, 245–47; fathers’ obligations in,

Index 192; in rabbinic attitudes towards women, 113–15; in urban geography, 204–7, 213, 233; women’s charity in, 189 Talmud Torah confraternity, 120–21, 170 Tassoni, Alessandro: Paragone degli ingegni anichi e moderni, 122–23 taxes: in arguments against ghettoization, 53; collection of, 53, 128; Formiggini exemption from, 130, 154–55; Formiggini family in, 128; Formigginis request on taxation of foreign Jews, 147; leading families in payment of, 152–53, 184; in urban geography, 206, 211 teachers: in elite households, 97; use of Modena’s library by, 75 Tedeschi, John, 15 Tempio Israelitico, 132, 165–66, 203 Terpstra, Nicholas, 11–12 textiles/textile production: Formigginis in, 148–49; mills, textile, 147–49, 203–4, 204, 219, 249; Miriam Rovigo in, 178; Sanguinettis in, 36; synagogal, 9–10, 116, 147–48, 169; in urban geography, 203–4, 219. See also silk production and trade Tilles family (David and Franco), 141 Tinti, Giacomo (inquisitor), 84–85 Tiraboschi, Girolamo, 226–27, 229–30 Tisi, Benevenuto detto Garofalo: Crucifix with Ecclesia and Synagoga, 3 tkhines (prayers for women), 91–92, 120 tolerance, 55, 242–47 Torah, 69–70, 110, 116, 178, 245 Torah arks, 94–95, 95, 168–69 Tossignani, Giacob, 141, 146 Tozzoni family, 159 Trabotti, Judith, 119–20 Trabotti, Netanel, 66–67, 84–88, 121–22 transformation, social: cultural, 2–3, 5, 25–26, 90–91, 125, 204; political, 5–6, 14–15, 20–23, 235–53; urban, 27, 41–42 trials/tribunals, Inquisitorial, 6–7, 46–47, 78–88, 129–30, 215–16 Trivellato, Francesca, 10–11 trousseaus, 99–100, 131–32, 169, 171–72, 181–83 tzedakah (charity), 189, 192, 193 Tzeror ha-mor (Saba), 67 Tzevi, Sabbetai, 123–25 Università, 18, 48–49, 52–53, 221 Ursuline women, 106–7

351 Usiglio, Leone Moisè, 9, 222–23 Usiglio, Sara, 20 Usiglio family synagogue, 212–13 utility, commercial of Jews, 4, 22–23, 30–31, 43, 55, 242–43, 245–47, 252–53 Valabrègue, Bernard: Lettre ou Réflexions d’un milord, 242–43 values, revolutionary, 251–52 Vecchi, Antonio, 148 Vecchi, Orazio: Anfiparnaso Comedia Harmonica, 216 veglia ritual, 195–96 Venice, 56, 139, 159–62, 164–66, 168–69, 173 vigils, 107–8, 110–11, 121–22, 125–26, 195–96 violence, anti-Semitic, 45, 220, 235 visibility of Jews: in eighteenth-century Modena, 18–19; ducal authorities in, 18–19, 128, 250–51; Ferrara and Modena, 4; of the Formiggini’s role at the ducal court, 128; during Holy Week, 235; of Jewish households, 96; in requests to expel and ghettoize, 25; in urban geography, 203–4, 213–15, 221, 298nn48–49; of women, 197–98, 213–14, 298nn48–49 Vita, Moisè, 171 Vita Levi, Abram, 170 Vita Levi, Benedetto Giuseppe, 194, 197 Viviani, Carlo Calvi, 181–82 Volta, Isac Della, 31–32 Voltaire: Dictionnaire Philosophique, 244–45 voting rights, 252 walls in urban geography, 205–6, 210, 219–20, 234–36 wars: in ducal politics, 43, 47, 149–51; in economic crisis, 153; in economic expansion of the Formigginis, 154; of succession, 128, 156, 180 Weddle, Saundra, 115 Weinstein, Roni, 105–6, 113–14 Weissler, Chava, 120 Weissman, Ronald, 218 Wessely, Naftali: Divrei shalom ve-emet, 253 windows, 112–16, 133–34, 214–15, 219–20 Wofthal, Diane, 113–14 women, Christian, 15–16, 46–47, 100–104, 106–7, 115, 213–14

352 women, Jewish: 1624 trial of, 46; active roles of, 172; age of, at marriage, 96–97; assimilation of, 200; autonomy of, 100–104, 186, 200; divorce and widowhood of, 102–3; domestic sphere of, 104–20; founders of Soed Ho˘ lim confraternity, 179–84; and Jewish male fraternalism, 126; lived experience of, in archives, 9; marking of, as prostitutes, 37, 39; in mercantile government, 190–91; obligations of, 105–6, 191; in public life, 91, 104, 179; as recipients of ceremonial and religious objects, 169; respectability and appearance of, 213–14; in ritual and ceremonial life,

Index 110–11, 197–99, 277–78n99; social control of, 5, 20, 105–7, 111–14, 119–20, 177, 213–15, 298nn48–49; spiritual lives of, 110, 120, 197–98; valorous, 105–6, 192; visibility of, 197–98, 213–14, 298nn48–49; “wise women,” 190–91. See also agency, female; dowries; So’ed Ho˘ lim female confraternity Yagel, Abraham ben de Gallichi, 72–73, 105–6 Zaccaria, Antonio, 19–20, 226–32 Zacuto, Moses, 123 zealots, female, 105–7

Acknowledgments

This book would not have been possible without generous contributions from colleagues and institutions, and it is with great pleasure that I acknowledge their support. For their insightful comments on various chapters and their challenging observations on my work, I owe infinite gratitude to Michela Andreatta, Elissa Bemporad, Robert Bonfil, Francesca Bregoli, Alexander Dawson, Cristina Florea, Elliott Horowitz z’’l, Dali Islam, Dana Katz, David Myers, Jennifer Presto, Marc Schacter, Adam Shear, Nicholas Terpstra, Francesca Trivellato, Piet van Boxel, and Joanna Weinberg. For helping shape foundational ideas of this book through stimulating conversations, I am especially grateful to Matteo Al Kalak, Katherine Aron-Beller, Leora Auslander, Rudy Bell, Jay Berkovitz, Andrew Berns, Donatella Calabi, Elisheva Carlebach, Flora Cassen, Yossi Chajes, Evelyn Cohen, Cedric Cohen-Skalli, Berny Cooperman, Lois Dubin, Konrad Eisenbichler, Giovanni Favero, Carlo Ginzburg, Matt Goldish, Anthony Grafton, Deborah Green, David Hollenberg, Mee-Ae Kim, Arthur Kiron, Rena Lauer, Scott Lerner, Luisa Levi D’Ancona, Lorenzo Lorenzini, Michele Matteini, Steve Maughan, John Monfasani, Patrick Nold, Micha Pery, Angelo Piattelli, Benjamin Ravid, Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Moshe Rosman, Jeffrey Shandler, Stefanie Siegmund, Jeff Snyder-Reinke, David Sorkin, Geoffrey Symcox, John Tedeschi, Chava Turniansky, Roni Weinstein. Cyndy Brown helped me edit the entire manuscript. This book was completed in the spring of 2020, when the people of Modena were suffering from the greatest levels of Covid-19. Nevertheless, friends, colleagues, and even (until then) strangers from Modena and its vicinity helped procure illustrations: I thank profusely Matteo Al Kalak, Paolo Battaglia, Elisa Della Casa, Raffaella Gattiani, Lorenzo Lorenzini, and Cristina Stefani. Elissa Bemporad, Francesca Bregoli, Michele Matteini, and Paola Ugolini generously assisted in choosing the image for the jacket. Portions of Chapters 2, 5, and 7 appeared in earlier incarnations in Jewish History (2010 and 2012), The Hebrew Book in Early Modern Italy (2011),

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Acknowledgments

and Faith’s Boundaries: Laity and Clergy in Early Modern Confraternities (2013). I thank the readers and the editors of those earlier publications for improving important points of my project. It is a pleasure to acknowledge all the help I received from the directors and the staff of the many institutions in which I conducted archival research: Archivio di Stato di Milano; Archivio di Stato di Modena; Archivio di Stato di Reggio Emilia; Archivio Storico Comunale di Modena; Biblioteca Estense, Modena; Bodleian Library, Oxford; Leopold Muller Library, Oxford; Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna; Biblioteca Ariostea, Ferrara; Archivio di Stato di Ferrara; Central Archive for the History of Jewish People, Jerusalem; National Library of Israel, Jerusalem; and the Library at the Herbert Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Comunità ebraica di Modena, whose members opened to me not only their archive but also their homes. My gratitude to Sandra Eckert and Felice Crema z’’l is endless. Judith Baskin and Warren Ginsburg as well as Jane and Roger Gerber provided a home away from home many times and in so many cities. For research grants, travel support, and residential fellowships over the years, I would like to thank the following institutions: the Herbert Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; the Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford; the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and the Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Judaic Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Hadassah Brandeis Institute; the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the Faculty Growth Development Fund at the College of Idaho; and the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Oregon. With great appreciation I would like to acknowledge the generous support I have received from my own institution, the University at Albany, SUNY: in particular, the Research Foundation and the United University Professors; Steve Galime in his capacity as associate dean for administration made possible my research leave in 2019–20. I am grateful to our library staff members for their constant support in procuring books and resources around the globe. I am truly proud of being a member of the History Department and I am so grateful to all my colleagues for welcoming me and supporting my work in every possible way. At the University of Pennsylvania Press, I would like to thank Shaul Magid, Francesca Trivellato, and Steve Weitzman, who welcomed my book in their Jewish Cultures and Contexts series. I am grateful to the two anonymous readers

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for their careful reading of the manuscript and thoughtful suggestions. I thank Karen Carroll, Erica Ginsburg, Zoe Kovacs, and Noreen O’Connor-Abel who helped me greatly in the last stages of this book. Jerry Singerman deserves special thanks for his professional mentorship, generosity, and kindness. My deepest gratitude goes to Judith Baskin, Jane Gerber, David Ruderman, Kenneth Stow, and Magda Teter, all scholars of valor, friends, and teachers, who changed the paths of this book and its author in many innumerable ways. In addition, Kenneth Stow read many parts of the book more than once, while Magda Teter read the whole manuscript twice; both asked challenging questions and offered precious suggestions. Most of all, thanks to my parents Emilia and Floriano, invisible enlighteners, to whom this book is dedicated.