Sunday, 20 November 2011

“Mortifying Ceremony to which the Jews are subject in Rome”, 1769

I think that the Roman Jews follow their own, Italian, minhag rather than those of Spain & Portugal. The account below is fascinating; a piece of medieval theatre in Enlightenment Europe.

At the time of the possesso [I think, Papal coronation] the Jews in Rome are subject to a very mortifying ceremony, but strictly kept up. Near Titus’s triumphal arch, the rabbis and elders of the Ghetto stand in a place fitted up at their expence. As the pope is on his solumn procession to St. John de Lateran, they step forth, and on their knees offer him the Pentateuch in a basin full of gold and silver coins. The pope, making a stop, touches the basin with a wand, and performs the like ceremony on the head and shoulders of the chief rabbi, in token that he accepts of the Jews homage, and allows them to remain in Rome during his pontificate.

Annual Register, 1770. Page 169

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