“The Lord of Hosts Is with Us”: Italian Rabbis Respond to the Great War

Abstract

In the spring of 1915, Italian Jews faced the first real test of their integration into the “body of the nation” since they had obtained their definitive political-juridical emancipation about sixty years earlier. This essay analyzes the interpretation of the war offered by Italian rabbis, and in particular by the “military rabbis”—those serving in a role first introduced into the Italian military at the beginning of this conflict. By analyzing sermons, prayers, discourses, and statements published by Italian rabbis in the Jewish press, both Zionist and non-Zionist, and by examining documentation generated by the military rabbis working on the war front, this article focuses on the content of rabbinical teachings during the war and examines the religious and cultural references with which Jewish religious leaders tried to combine and harmonize the values of the Jewish tradition with new patriotic and nationalistic expectations.

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Correspondence to Ilaria Pavan.

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Pavan, I. “The Lord of Hosts Is with Us”: Italian Rabbis Respond to the Great War. Jew History 29, 137–162 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10835-015-9233-6

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Keywords

  • Rabbis
  • Italy
  • World War I
  • Sermons
  • Emancipation