Synagogue rituals are both structured communal performances dictated by religious authority, and arenas for the public display of variegated social issues. Since early modernity, Italian synagogues ritualized the encounter of Italian Jews with Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews through sound. Prof. Spagnolo will examine the inner dynamics of Italian “ritual identities” through a series of case studies based on diverse musical and literary sources.


Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at The Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley), received a PhD in Musicology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the editor of the anthology Italian Jewish Musical Traditions (Rome-Jerusalem 2001).