publisher colophon

VERONA

169. Seal of the Verona Community

The Verona Community

[below]

Kehillah Kadosha V[erona]

Holy Congregation of V[erona]

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: unknown.

Bibliography: Wurmbrand, 1967; Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972, s.v.

“Verona”; Bascapè and del Piazzo, 1983.

This elliptical seal, presently unlocatable, is of unknown size since the illustrations of it are enlargements. Dominating the field is a building with four columns, which create two windows, and a large entry, surmounted by a dome. The building has been described as a Renaissance temple, supposedly modeled on the Holy of Holies, and it is indeed similar to certain Renaissance structures. The word “Verona” in the Hebrew inscription is clear; the preceding word combination, “the Community,” has some incorrect Hebrew letters, but no other interpretation seems possible.* Below, the vav standing for the “V” of “Verona” lacks the correct form, but must stand for the first letter of that name. We are, of course, dealing with a line drawing taken from an impression, with many possibilities of faulty reproduction.

Though this seal of the Jewish Community of Verona has been referred to in several books on Jewish history, its whereabouts is a complete mystery. This writer spent almost two years trying to track it down, without success. The State Archives of Verona no longer possess any documents dealing with the old Jewish community of that city, theirs having been turned over to the Historical Society of Jerusalem (Società Storica di Gerusalemme, in their records). At present these records are stored at the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem. M. Nadav, head of the Department of Manuscripts and Archives at that institution, examined the surviving twenty minute books of the Verona Jewish Community and could find no trace of this seal. Yosef H. Yerushalmi, an authority on Italian Jewry, knows nothing of the where-abouts of the seal, nor does Shlomo Simonsohn, also a specialist on the subject.

San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, designed by Bramante, 1502.

Laura Castellazzi, director of the State Archives at Verona, informed the writer that Jewish seals—small seals of Jewish merchants—first appeared there in the second half of the sixteenth century. Shlomo Simonsohn also acknowledged in personal correspondence that he had seen such seals, but never before the sixteenth century. This accords with all recorded information from other state archives in Italy except a small group of seals from Mantua and Lucca. The Encyclopaedia Judaica illustrates this seal and categorically states that it comes from the sixteenth century, but Cecil Roth, the editor-in-chief of this encyclopedia, is also the author of the definitive book on Italian Jewry, The History of the Jews in Italy, and had a great personal interest in Jewish seals as well. Despite the many references to Verona in his master work, there is none to a community seal for the Jews. If this elusive seal ever existed, it probably was a small paper stamp which is now lost or destroyed. If it did exist, under no circumstances can it be considered a seal from the medieval period.


*Since the last Hebrew letter of “the community,” the word to the right, appears more like a yod than a hay, Norman Golb postulates that or ha kelali may be an abbreviation, though its meaning is not clear.

The record of the Rabbinical Tribunal of Verona (Pinchas bet din) from 1653 to 1656, eighteen leaves, was offered for sale in New York City in early 1984. The writer examined all its pages at that time and found no seal impressed anywhere.

*Since the last Hebrew letter of “the community,” the word to the right, appears more like a yod than a hay, Norman Golb postulates that or ha kelali may be an abbreviation, though its meaning is not clear.

The record of the Rabbinical Tribunal of Verona (Pinchas bet din) from 1653 to 1656, eighteen leaves, was offered for sale in New York City in early 1984. The writer examined all its pages at that time and found no seal impressed anywhere.

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Pages
337-338
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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