Jouraling: While visiting Venice, I made a point to visit the Venetian Ghetto. There have been Jews in Venice since the 13th Century, but even before they were confined to the gheto - which means foundry in Italian - there were laws preventing them from building synagogues. So, the Jews hid their places of worship on the top floors of buildings.
There are five synagogues in the ghetto, one for each cultural group: German, Spanish, Levantine, Italian, and one built for a private group of families. This is a photo of the Italian Synagogue, built in 1575. As with all of the Venetian synagogues, one would never know that it was a House of Worship but for the five windows on the top floor. The Jews marked their synagogues by incorporating five arched windows into their design so that those in the know would be able to find where to worship.
As an American Jew used to worshiping where and how I like, this is a foreign concept to me, but one that still exists in many parts of the world. I want to record this so that my children and grandchildren will never take their religious freedom for granted.


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