Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ghetto School

In my pursuit of Roman schooling, I am still finding different institutions to catalog. Walking with Jessica on my way home from the Sede, we passed through the Jewish Ghetto. The name of the school on the plaque is in two pieces. The first, "Scuole Ebriache di Roma," simply translates to "The Jewish School of Rome." The second part, "Scuola Primaria Ebraica Parificata e Paritaria 'Vittorio Polacco,'" is more difficult to make out. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia online, Vittorio Polacco was an Italian law professor at the University of Padua who was Jewish and of Polish descent . It would appear that the school is named after him. "Scuola Primaria Ebracia" means Jewish Primary School. "Paritaria" means equal, but I cannot figure out what "parificata" means. So, as far as I can tell, the plaque means something along the lines of "Vittorio Polacco: Equal Jewish Primary School."

The space around the school is the very center of the Jewish community in Rome. Rome's most prominent synagogue is just up the street and the area is under heavy surveillance and police protection. The display of power is confusing in its ubiquity. There are at least three policy guard posts and tens of cameras around the outside of the synagogue. One is forced to wonder whether the state is protecting the people there or monitoring them. The school is slightly removed from this scene and opens, on its other end, to a modest piazza. The building itself looks well kept and I suspect that it is a good school. Passing by this morning I saw a group of well-behave students outside listening to their instructor.

There are more schools to catalog in Rome, but I think that I will need to get inside of one to improve my exploration, so I am going to try to put together a visit through our office at the Sede. Watching Caterina in the Big City, I was able to get a brief glimpse inside the Collegio Romano (as staged by a filmmaker in 2003), but I would like to see for myself.

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