The creation of the ghetto presents questions about how the Jews defended themselves. Did immigration after 1492 change the community’s nature, including its leadership? What about rabbis and the “Jewish notary” which is a Roman innovation? Additional topics for discussion will be the ghetto as a “theater” in the Jewish public sphere, the Jews’ ability to maintain halakhic institutions, the rights of women within the community, cultural innovation, similarities with Christian behavior and unique Jewish food: Artichokes, zucchini flowers, and the saga of kosher meat.
In 1555, Pope Paul IV ordered the Jews of Rome who lived there since Ancient times to reside in a Claustrum, a Serraglio, as it was called, and after 1588, nostro ghet, by the Jews themselves. The first ghetto was Venice, in 1516. However, it was only after this took place in Rome that ghettoization spread throughout Italy.