The Jewish community in Italy is grieving: Elio Toaff died – he was the rabbi leader of Rome from 1951 to 2001. He would have turned 100 on April 30th. Young and old people, friends and fans gathered during the night in Tempio Maggiore in Rome for the memorial in honor of the head of the Jewish Community. Many people heard the rumor before it was released on newspapers and crowded the most important Synagogue in Rome. The whole Jewish Community of the Italian capital gathered, President Riccardo Pacifici among them, but there were also non-Jewish people showing how respected Toaff was. He was the main protagonist of an unforgettable meeting with Pope John Paul II in the Synagogue itself, and he was an inspiration even for non-Jewish people.
No flowers, it is not in the Jewish tradition, but touching feelings and prayers. The Rabbi head of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, and other Rabbis of the community prayed the Psalms of David. Toaff was born in Livorno on April 30th 1915, and funerals are in his birth city. In addition, at 11 am his body is going to be in Tempio Maggiore, in Rome, so that everyone can honor the former Rabbi. At 1.30 pm, a march will start from the Tempio and the body will travel to Livorno. The site of the Jewish Community of Rome honored the eminent leader,the writing: “Shalom Rav Elio Toaff” is on www.romaebraica.it, on top of a photo showing the Rabbi with his memorable smile. He was a spiritual guide for Jewish Romans and he was a datum point for Jewish throughout Italy.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa