Rome's Titus Arch - now a symbol of Jewish Triumph

posted 20 Apr 2017, 07:22 by Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin


On Pesach eve, I stood with my partner in the middle of the Piazza di Santa Francesca in Rome.

While regarding Titus Arch of Triumph, the symbol of humiliation of your and mine ancestors who were brought through that arch after the destruction of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, we knew perfectly well of yet another symbol of humiliation standing right behind us. The Colosseum, as you know, was largely built by Jewish slaves with the proceeds of plunder from the temple in Judaea.

And - here we were. Right before the holy day of our freedom. Free Jews. Free citizens of a free Jewish state.

The Arch was closed to passage only a few decades ago.
For hundreds of years, the Jews who lived in the city refused to pass under it.


On May 14, 1948 the Roman Jews started to gather here. There was no formal call, no communication, no invitation. Just the word about the independence of Israel that was heard through the grapevine. More and more Roman Jews arrived, and when their presence reached a certain critical mass, they turned around and did walk, all together, through the Arch... entering from the opposite direction to that of their ancestors, then passing through, all of them in turn, towards Jerusalem.

This year's Holiday of Freedom, my inspiration came from a carved piece of stone. We should all give it a try; reverse the flow of time around us to become truly free.

Happy freedom,
Rabbi Eli