Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue visit with Dr. Janis Fine

Students reading about Jewish history

As a part of Inter-Religious Week at the John Felice Rome Center, Dr. Janis Fine led a group of students to visit the Jewish Ghetto and the nearby synagogue to get a better understanding of the Jewish faith and its religious processes.  The trip started with the group gathering at the banks of the Tiber River where various students read the history of the Jewish people aloud.  Dr. Fine interjected the readings of history with the singing of various Jewish hymns and chants.  The group also broke bread together and shared a blessing of peace afterwards.  Then they crossed Isola Tiberina and entered the Jewish Synagogue for a guided tour through the 2 synagogues and the museum of artifacts.  Here the students were able to witness first-hand the illuminated synagogue and learn the importance of its decorations and significances of its depicted art. 

Student Emily Hankinson (LUC) reading along the banks of the Tiber with Dr. Janis Fine.jpg

In the museum, students saw the beautiful tapestry hand-sewn by local members of the ghetto and some of the most elegant torah holders.  A section of the museum was devoted to the ghetto in the time of the world wars and housed various letters between family members as they were getting deported to work camps in Poland.  The museum showed the struggle of the people, but also their resiliency to rebuild and exist as a stronger community after such turmoil.  The synagogue in its grandeur is another symbol of the communities willingness to stay instead of flee and to rebuild something magnificent to celebrate the freedom of the people.

Delicious Jewish treats from a kosher bakery in the Jewish Ghetto.jpg

After the synagogue visit, the group walked the streets of the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood together and ended their stroll with a stop at a kosher Jewish bakery.  Here the group broke break once again and indulged in various delicious home-baked goods.

Students (from left) Laura Traflet and Sahar Bhatti (both Fordham) in front of a Jewish shop.jpg

A special thank you to Dr. Janis Fine for travelling from Chicago to the John Felice Rome Center to partake and enhance this year’s Inter-Religious week and lead students and staff in such important events as the trip to the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue.