The political significance of Primo Levi’s work; Shulim Vogelmann’s cultural focus as head of the Giuntina publishing house; Tobia Zevi’s militant commitment – in Rome and elsewhere. These are the three insights into the Italian Jewish world that K. has offered in the first months of its existence. Nothing more than a beginning, of course: an invitation to further reading, research and journeys. But it is already worth asking whether there is not a characteristic trait that emerges from this collection, for the underlying theme remains the same: the relationship between the identity of the Jewish minority and the host society. The background is indeed something very specific to Italy: the desire of men who – like Primo Levi, Tobia Zevi or Shulim Vogelmann – intend to engage in a constant dialogue with Italy as a whole from a vision, certainly secular, but firmly imbued with the Jewish heritage. Their respective journeys draw three parables, among the many others that could be told, which are part of that solid tradition of Italian Jews who, proudly, though often in a tormented manner, set out to find their place in the social, political and cultural space. Each time, the ambition to structure a vision that incorporates the values of a millennial experience in order to influence Italian society – and why not advance it – is manifest… >>> [read more]  

Shulim Vogelmann is the director of the Giuntina publishing house, founded by his father Daniel. All of his books are related in one way or another to Jewish tradition, culture, history and literature. Giuntina represents today the unique case in Italy of a small publisher specialized in Judaism that is fully involved in the cultural debate and ideas.

On March 13, 1961, Primo Levi was invited, with several other prominent political and intellectual figures from across Italy, to speak at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, in one of a series of conferences held that year on “Nazism and the Racial Laws in Italy.” It was one of the first times he spoke publicly. Commemorating this event, the Jewish Museum of Bologna has dedicated a virtual exhibition to Levi’s speech,.

A century after the death of Ernesto Nathan, Rome’s historic mayor (1907-1913), another Jewish politician has entered the battle to lead the Italian capital: Tobia Zevi, who discusses with K....

While Proust was not raised in the Jewish religion, much of his education bore the imprint of a social and cultural Judaism. But can he be read as a Jewish writer? Can we detect the influences of the Talmud or Kabbalah in his opus, In Search of Lost Time (French: A la Recherche du temps perdu)?

Following the Euro 2020 final, K. opens its columns to SoFoot, republishing an article which has just received the Franco-German Journalism Prize in the Young Talents category. Adrien Candau and Julien Duez tell the story of Emmanuel Schaffer, born in Ukraine but raised in Germany, a survivor of the Holocaust who became the mythical coach of the Israeli team. After making Aliyah, Schaffer returned to the country of his childhood in the late 1950s to learn their methods of play. Criticized for this choice, he gave the Jewish state a winning team and led the country’s soccer team to its one and only World Cup appearance.

What did Kafka’s work mean to the rising generation of German Jews who embraced it with fervor in the 1910s and 1920s? What experience of the modern European Jew was refracted for them in his writings?

Kafka’s art is accessible again. Hundreds of his drawings are now available, free, from the National Library of Israel, where the Kafka Archive–a collection of his work saved by his friend and collaborator Max Brod–remains to this day.

Since 2018, Michael Blume has served as Commissioner for Combating antisemitism in Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart, the capital of this southern German state, has found itself at the center of nationwide controversy since last spring: It is the home of Querdenken 711, an anti-quarantine/anti-vaccine movement spawned in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic which has since made its name as one of Germany’s protest movements most radical, most violent, and most tolerant of antisemitsm.

Director of the film Me Ivan, You Abraham, a fictional account in which Yiddish in Ukraine comes alive again, Yolande Zauberman tells us about her special relationship with the language…

K. had lived in the big city for ages. None of his friends realized he was born in the country. He found it hard to believe himself–that he’d spent the first eighteen years of his life surrounded by fields, that he’d ridden his bicycle on little roads where distance was marked by red and white milestones…

In her first column for K., Macha Fogel recounted some news from today’s flourishing Yiddish Hasidic press. In this second piece, she asks heself what Yiddish offers to those who use it. Is it a language of the ghetto? Or on the opposite a language of exchanges? Or both at the same time?

Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s astonishing statement about the sudden occurrence of a “major event” during the next presidential election has been widely commented upon. However, what is most surprising here is the astonishment itself that these remarks have provoked. There is nothing new in Mélenchon’s dabbling in conspiracy theories, underestimation of the seriousness of anti-Semitism and concomitant scolding of those who dare to worry about it.

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.