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Journey into Hell… *RESCHEDULED*

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
  2–4:30 p.m.

Location: CHASS Interdisciplinary Bldg South 1109
  Parking Information

Category: Lecture


This event has been rescheduled to May 10.
Apologies for the inconvenience.


Following the expulsion or forced conversion of Jews and Moslems from the Iberian peninsula, Northern Italy became a place of refuge for the exiled communities. Jewish culture flourished in the early-modern cities of Ferrara, Mantua and Venice, where intercultural encounters and exchanges enabled the creation of sometimes surprising cultural expressions. In the summer of 1720, in the Italian town of Ferrara, the Jewish community gathered to attend the public performance of Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Prepared), a lugubrious dramatic poem in Hebrew graphically depicting the punishments meted out to sinners in the Jewish hell. Its author, Rabbi Moses Zacuto (c. 1620- 1697), was a Baroque polymath equally familiar with Jewish mystical lore— on which his poem massively relies—and the Italian and Spanish literary traditions. Carefully designed to terrify and amaze the reader, Tofteh ‘Arukh adhered to the prescripts of contemporary religious and moral drama (by Christian authors) and soon became, likely against the author’s original intention, a best-seller, thus carving for itself a unique place in the cultural history of early modern Jews.

Guest Speaker

Michela Andreatta (PhD), University of Rochester
Senior Lecturer in Hebrew
Jewish Studies Program, Coordinator
Hebrew Language Program, Coordinator
Dept. of Religion and Classics


2:00 PM Erith Jaffe-Berg (UCR) - Dramatic Reading of Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Prepared)

3:15 PM Michela Andreatta (University of Rochester) - Talk: Hebrew Poetry of the Macabre in the Italian Ghetto

Sponsored by Mellon AIS Lectures, Jewish Studies and Department of Theatre, Film and Digital Production

Refreshments served. Free parking available.

Part of Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies

Additional Information: Center for Ideas & Society

Open to: General Public
Admission: Free
Sponsor: Center for Ideas & Society

Contact Information:
Center for Ideas
(951) 827-1556