The Jewish Heritage Museum of Padua is situated in the old “ghetto” area and it narrates the events and rituals of the Jewish Community of Padua from its origins.
The museum is housed in the first and largest Ashkenazi Synagogue, dating from 1522 and active until May 1943, when it was burnt down by a group of local fascists. The Jewish Community together with the Local Authorities- Regione Veneto and Comune di Padova- contributed to its restoration and gave back a fascinating location, enhanced by the women’s lodges and 19th century staircase.
The exhibition displays objects from the family tradition, e.g. candelabras, spice holders, Passover Seder dishes, and objects connected to Synagogue rituals. Just to mention some of the most precious ones, a 15th century Mamluk Parochet, precious embroidered materials and Torah Sefers.
You can also live a multimedia experience inside the museum itself thanks to two video installations. A short and captivating documentary offers a historical overview on the Jewish Community of Padua through Corrado Augias’s voice over. Besides the information on the Museum and the Synagogues you can discover the presence of historical cemeteries where famous Rabbis are buried, e.g. Meir Katzenellenbogen (1482-1565), Samuel David Luzzatto (1800-1865), and learn about the birth of The Rabbinical Boarding School at Palazzo Cumano in 1829.
The pervasive video installation by director Denis Brotto makes you delve into the life of ten eminent characters:” Generation comes and generation goes” is the account of the women and men who were part of the Community and epitomised it. They come to life to tell their stories through the sites which represent Judaism in Padua. Their words are ideally addressed to all the people who are meant to take over from the past generations and hand down their inheritance to the new ones.