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PAGE 24A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 23, 2009_ By Ruth Ellen Gruber ROME (JTA)--When It- aly's first national Jewish newspaper launches this month, Italy will get what few Jewish communities around the world offer: a Jewish newspaper geared toward non-Jews. Sponsored by the Union of Italian Jewish Communi- ties, or UCEI, the umbrella organization that links Italy's 21 established Jewish communities, the newspa- per and an online Jewish in- formation portal launched last year are part of a multidimensional media offensive aimed at bolster- ing the Jewish voice in Italy and creating a constructive dialogue between Jews and non-Jewish Italians. "Italian Jews are very representative of Italian society in general," said journalist Guido Vitale, who directs the newspaper, Pagine Ebraiche (Jewish Pages), and the Web site, "I want to con- struct a piazza, an agora, where they can interact with each other and with Italian society." The impetus behind them is the UCEI's desire to con- front a seeming paradox: Italians are fascinated by things Jewish even though the country's 30,000 Jews comprise a tiny fraction of the population of 60 million. "There is a huge interest in Jews and Jewish culture here," said Emanuele As- carelli, who directs "Sor- gente di Vita" ("Source of Life"), a biweekly Jewish television program co-pro- duced by UCEI and state- run RAI television that draws 200,000 to 400,000 viewers. Ascarelli estimates that 90 to 95 percent of them are not Jewish. Ascarelli says the new media initiatives reach- ing out to the non-Jewish world reflects a new self- confidence among Italian Jews. "The Jews in Italy have changed a lot in "recent years," he said. "There's no longer the sense of being in a symbolic ghetto. There is a greater openness to making ourselves known. The desire of non-Jews to know the Jewish reality thus meets with the desire of Jews to be known. This is a dynamic process." Numerous Jewish- themed cultural events, including festivals, food tastings, book launches and concerts, take place throughout the year throughout the country. In September, on the an- nual European Day of Jewish Culture, nearly 60,000 Italians--most of them non-Jews--flocked to Jewish-themed lectures, exhibits and other events held in nearly 50 towns and cities up and down the peninsula. Scores of articles on Jewish-related topics ap- pear in the mainstream media each week. In one mm ~B'lnu Ine U~ao ~ C~m.'JJ~ I~r~(he k~me ,a~lwl~p~wm ~ ; Jm m Raccontare gli ebrei italiani Identi e integrazione ..... ;- ..... Otto Pagine Ebraiche The online version of Pagine gbraiche, or Jewish Pages, which is starting its print version this month. It will feature news reports, essays, commentaries, historical articles and cultural pieces. year, Vitale said, the press review on Moked included more than 100,000 articles, most of them in the Italian press. Many, of course, are on Israel and the Middle East. But even elections to the Jewish community or- ganization are apt to make headlines. At the same time, igno- rance about Jewish beliefs, traditions and values--not to mention Israel--is wide- spread in italy. "There is an incredible over-exposure, but the ca- pacity for understanding is generally low," Vitale said. "In the Italian mainstream media, Jews are usually the objects of news, of some- thing happening. In Pagine Ebraiche, Jews will make their own voices heard." To be published monthly and with an initial press run of 30,000, Pagine Ebraiche will be sold at selected newsstands in major Italian cities. Its contents will in- clude news reports, essays, commentaries, historical articles, cultural pieces and other material, all written to be accessible to the gen- eral public. "Its role will be to speak to the external world, not the internal Jewish world," Vitale said. "We want to open a dialogue with the external world." With non-Jewish Italians its target audience, Pagine Ebraiche will not replace the Jewish print media in Italy, which include glossy monthlies in Rome and Milan with-small press runs that are directed at Jewish readers. The reasons for the prom- inence of Jews and Jewish culture in Italy are rooted in the long, complex history of Jews in Italy, as well as the symbolism attached to Jews as survivors who have maintained their identity despite waves of violent discrimination. Jews have lived in Italy since ancient Roman times; the Rome Jewish commu- nity is the oldest continu- ous Jewish community in the Diaspora. Over the centuries, popes persecuted Jews in parts of Italy. In the mid-19th centu- ry, Jews took an active part in the Italian Risorgimento, or liberation process. They won civil rights and became highly acculturated into Italian society. But fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, allied with Nazi Germany, imposed harsh anti-Jewish laws, and about one-fifth of Italian Jews perished in the Holocaust. After World War II, Italy's surviving Jews were bol- stered by immigrants from many countries, including thousands who came from Libya fleeing anti-Semitic violence in 1967. More recently, Palestin- Jan terrorists attacked Rome's main synagogue in 1982, andin 1986 Pope John Paul II made a historic visit there. He embraced Rome's chief rabbi in a gesture that symbolized a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. "Everything that Jews do has a symbolism," Ascarelli said. "What Jews say counts on issues such as immigration, minority rights, the Shoah, the culture of memory." UCEI President Renzo Gattega elaborated on this attitude in a report pre- sented last year to the orga- nization's leaders in which he laid out the reasons for broadening the Jewish media to reach beyond the community. "A minority like ours cannot only have the goal of recounting itself and its history, or only reacting to the initiatives and actions of others, be they positive or negative," he said. "Rather it must act concretely to bear witness of its values, its identity, its vitality." By Eric Fingerhut WASHINGTON (JTA)-- After six years as agriculture secretary and five years as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Dan Glick- man knows something that might surprise some people: You can find plenty of Jews in both industries. "Historically there were not a lot of Jewish farmers in this country," primarily because so many Jews in Europe were not permitted to own land, Glickman said during a recent interview with JTA. But, he points out, many Jewish Americans are involved in other aspects of the agriculture industry, from meatpacking to pro- cessed foods. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, the original movie moguls indeed were mostly Jewish, and Jews continue to fill the ranks of the creative side of the business. But these days, Glickman says, most"movie companies are subsidiaries" of larger corporations and "tend to be not Jewish- controlled at all." He adds that the bulk of the movie industry--from the truck drivers to the caterers to the camera operators--is really no more Jewish than any other business. Still, as Glickman likes to joke, where else but America would you find a Jewish secretary of agriculture pro- moting the pork industry? Glickman, also a U.S. NJDC Dan Giickman (!) holds the National Jewish Democratic Council's Hubert H. Humphrey Humanitarian Award as he stands with NJDC Chairman Marc Stanley. Congress member from Kansas for 18 years, made the quip earlier this month at a dinner in Washington, where he accepted the Hu- bert H. Humphrey Award from the National Jewish Democratic Council. Being Jewish wasn't a problem in any of his jobs, he says, but his Democratic Party background didn't help when he took over in 2004 at the Motion Picture Association of America, which among other things runs the movie ratings system. "When I came into the job, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency," he recalled. "It was an uphill battle." But his experience as agriculture secretary, which Glickman calls "the most nonpartisan department," and his willingness to do some things he'd never done--like attend fund- raisers for Republican can- didates--enabled him to build relationships with the GOP, he said. Glickman says he occa- sionally sees attacks on Hol- lywood that meld "liberal" and "Jewish" together, and that though Hollywood is often attacked as liberal, it's really a misnomer except for the most visible actors and filmmakers. There are "more and more conservative Jewish people in the business," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of Hollywood is not out de- fending Roman Polanski," said Glickman, who works in Washington. "They're normal people who do their job, work hard and want to help their families as best they can." Much of Giickman's job has nothing to do with the creative side of the movie business. He. deals with economic and business matters, particularly intel- lectual property issues such as "protecting our content from being stolen." Glickman gained experi- ence on the issue and others during his tenure in Con- gress, where he was one of three Jewish representatives or senators who were born in Wichita, Kan. According to Glickman, his grandfather and the father of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) were in the oil-field supply business together, and their families were close friends. Meanwhile, Glickman and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) were born in the same Wichita hos- pital. Glickman, 64, recalls that the 1,000-member Jewish community in Wichita dur- ing his childhood provided him with "a good Jewish education" and says his Jewish heritage "goes long and deep." His Judaism, he says, gives him "a value system of treating people well" and leads him to try to "follow the golden rule." While Glickman says he's not much of a synagogue goer other than on the High Holidays, he has struck up a relationship with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington director of the American Friends of Lubavitch. Shemtov, who has con- nections on both sides of the aisle, recalls when Glickman was scheduled to light the national Chanukah menorah on the Ellipse on an afternoon of pouring rain. The rabbi worried that the then-agriculture secretary wouldn't show, but his motorcade pulled up and Glickman battled the elements to do the job. "Everyone likes Dan Glickman," said Shemtov, "and that's very rare in Washington." Glickman says he's not a member of Lubavitch, but likes Shemtov's "very modern view of problems people have." As to his future, Glickman doesn't know how long he'll be at the motion picture association, but says with confidence that it won't ap- proach the 38-year tenure of his legendary predecessor, Jack Valenti. Glickman is active in the fight against hunger, serv- ing as a board member of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger. "Ultimately at heart I'm a nonprofit, public service guy," he said. "I don't miss raising money," Glickman said about being a congressman, but "I do miss the impact on lives."