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Law Library Program to Further Explore History of Venetian Ghetto

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On Tuesday, February 21, the Law Library of Congress in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy will host a second program to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice.

The first commemorative program that the Law Library hosted on May 24, 2016,  La Città degli Ebrei/The City of the Jews: Segregated Space and the Admission of Strangers in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, highlighted the work of Primo Levi and Venetian Jews’ contributions to the arts and economy in early modern Italy.

Photo by Shawn Miller.
Depiction of Krakow’s Jewish quarter in Kazimierz (Casmirus). [Schedel, Hartmann]. Liber Chronicarum. German. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 23 Dec. 1493. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collection Division. Photo by Shawn Miller.
This year’s program, “Understanding Seclusion: the Legal Dimensions of the Ghetto,” will highlight the early history of the segregated Jewish community in Venice and showcase rare books and documents from the Library of Congress collection related to the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. The program will also offer a viewing of the documentary film, “The Venice Ghetto, 500 Years of Life” (2015), which reconstructs the history of the Venetian Ghetto.

This commemorative program will feature remarks by several Jewish history and legal scholars. Benjamin Ravid, professor emeritus of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, will discuss the European legal context that surrounded the walled district. David Malkiel, professor of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University, will discuss the Jewish institutions of self-government that existed within the walled district. Lastly, Dick Schneider, associate dean for International Affairs and professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law, will address the play The Merchant of Venice, which he staged as a mock trial that featured Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Venice during the summer of 2016.

The presentations and rare book and document displays will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. The documentary film will be shown at 2:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room. The program and film showing are free and open to the public, and tickets are not required.

We hope you can join us!

Update (2/13/17): Professor Malkiel will no longer participate in the program.




  1. Thanks.

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