Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Hebrew has gotten worse, but my Italian has gotten better.

Conversation with Larry, the tour mechanic during Kol Nidre services at the synagogue in Siena:

Larry: When is he going to do something I recognize?

Me: Ashamnu is coming up in a couple of pages.

Larry: Yeah, but they won't be doing my tune.

The rabbi actually spoke no Italian during the service; only rapid fire Hebrew. Later, we were told that there are only 50 Jews left in Siena, and only 5 show up regularly for services. Even on Kol Nidre, the busiest night of the year at US synagogues, we tourists were required to make a minyon.

Things were a little brighter in Florence, with their 800 Jews (and absolutely fabulous synagogue). The day school was apparently guarded by IDF soldiers. I wanted to talk to one of them, but they kept disappearing.

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