Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Hanukkah Candle-Lighting Ceremony Held at Former Prison in Italy

A Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony was held in the Steri Palace Prison in Palermo in Italy, which served as a prison during the Spanish Inquisition.

The candle lighting Wednesday was sponsored by the Shavei Israel organization and led by Rabbi Pinchas Punturello, the organization’s emissary to the Bnei Anousim, or Crypto-Jews, in southern Italy and Sicily. Italian Jewish leaders and about 100 Bnei Anousim from the Palermo area attended the event, according to Shavei Israel.

The organization seeks to bring descendants of hidden Jews back to their roots.

“For 200 years, Jews were tortured within the palace’s walls, and many were then burned at the stake by the Inquisition for secretly practicing Judaism,” said Michael Freund, Shavei Israel’s founder and chairman. “In the place where the darkness of the Inquisition once predominated, the flicker of our Hanukkah candles now prevails.”

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.