Organizers of the fifth edition of the Jewish Literature and Culture Festival presented it to the public on the Capitoline Hill on Tuesday.
To be held in the so-called Roman ghetto from September 8-12, this year's festival is titled Beyond the Border, and it aims to take Roman citizens beyond the cliches that trap Jews in general and Israel in particular, according to festival curators Ariela Piattelli, Raffaella Spizzichino and Shulim Vogelmann. Also present were the president of Rome province, Nicola Zingaretti, Rome mayor, Gianni Alemanno, and Jewish Community President Riccardo Pacifici.
''In the collective imagination, Jews are considered solely as the people of the Shoah or as one of the parties in the Middle East conflict,'' Pacifici, the keynote speaker, said. ''This is why I gladly salute initiatives that, like this festival, make the cultural, traditional, culinary and artistic aspects of Jewish daily life known to the general public.'' Art and culture are winning propositions in times of economic crisis, Pacifici added.
Unlike past editions, this year the festival focuses not just on literature, but on other arts as well, Piattelli said. Among invited artists are singer and musician David Broza and painter-graffiti artist Rami Meiri, whose splendid, unmistakable murals decorate Tel Aviv.
Both Zingaretti and Alemanno praised the festival. ''Its role is one of civic resistance in the face of an economic crisis that could generate a crisis in the relationships between people,'' the president of Rome province said.
''This kind of initiative is the best possible answer to anti-Semitic outbursts,'' said the mayor. ''And since we are talking about what may be the world's most ancient people, there is also a profound message in the way tradition faces modernity.'' The first festival event, on September 8 beginning at 9pm, is the Night of the Cabala, an evening dedicated to Judaic mysticism, being organized for the second time after last year's record 30,000 visitors.