February 18, 2007

Today in Jewish History - 30 Shvat

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In 1667, the Jews of Rome ran the humiliating "Carnival race" for the last time. Every year, during Rome's annual carnival, scantily-clad Jews had been forced to race along the main street, while the crowd mocked them, threw trash, and reigned heavy blows. (The event often proved fatal.) As further indignity, Jews were forced to contribute financially to the operation of the Carnival. During this time, Jews were confined to living in the Roman Ghetto, a walled quarter with three gates that were locked at night. The Jews were subjected to other degradations, including having to attend compulsory Catholic sermons on Shabbat. Outside the ghetto, Jews were required to wear identifying yellow clothing.