John A. Davis will examine the extraordinary events that took place in the small town of San Nicandro, Italy in the first half of the 20th century. In the late 1920s, a shoemaker had a vision where God called upon him to bring the Jewish faith to this “dark corner” in the Catholic heartlands, despite his having had no prior contact with Judaism itself. By 1938, about a dozen families had converted at one of the most troubled times for Italy’s Jews. The community came under the watchful eyes of Mussolini’s regime and the Catholic Church, but persisted in their new belief, eventually securing approval of their conversion from the rabbinical authorities, and emigrating to the State of Israel, where a community still exists today.
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