2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the arrival of the Lybian Jews to the Roman Jewish community.
Following the Six Day War in June 1967 the 6,000 Jews of Libya were forced to flee the country. Most traveled to Israel via Italy, but 2,000 chose to stay on the Italian Penninsula, settling in Rome or Milan. Italy was a first choice for many of these refugees; many Libyan families to spoke Italian as a second language and, more importantly, many of them were already Italian citizens.
Those leaving Libya were forced to flee their homes under desperate circumstances, yet these courageous Jews continued their traditions with pride. Scholars have cited these Libyan Jews as the power behind a renewed Jewish pride that strengthened and encouraged Jewish tradition in Rome.
Today, Libyan Jews constitute approximately thirty percent of the registered Roman Jewish population. 2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the arrival of these Libyan Jews to the Roman Jewish community. Over the course of the past half century, they have added a new layer of culture to Rome’s Jewish traditions. Come join Jews in Rome to learn more about the Roman Jewish story.