Holy Mole!

By Anthony Weiss

Published February 10, 2006, issue of February 10, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Mole Antonelliana, the domed and spired building that dominates the skyline in Turin, Italy, has become the iconic image of the 2006 Winter Olympics. A stylized version of the building appears above the five Olympic rings to form the current Olympic logo. Though one might not guess it from its looks, the 530-foot-tall structure — an exuberant cross between classical and Far Eastern architecture — has a Jewish past.

The building was originally designed, with a modest dome, as a synagogue in 1863. It was a heady time, both for Turin and its Jews. The city was the capital of the newly unified Italy, and non-Catholics had just been granted religious freedom. The times were perhaps too heady for architect Alessandro Antonelli, who began to propose ever larger and more extravagant designs for the synagogue. After 10 years, the congregation ran out of patience (and money) and gave the building to the city of Turin in exchange for a new piece of land. In 1889, 26 years after he began his work, Antonelli finally finished the building (which came to be called ‘”Antonelli’s Mass”). The city of Turin dedicated the edifice to national hero and Turin native King Victor Emmanuel II, and the building served as the head office for the National Museum of the Italian Independence. Today it serves as the home for the National Cinema Museum and offers panoramic views from its roof of the surrounding city.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.