VERONA , city in N. Italy. Jews may have settled there as early as the Roman period, and certainly not later than the early Middle Ages. In the tenth century they were expelled from the city as a consequence of incitement by the bishop Ratherius. Jewish settlement was renewed in the 12th century, and in this period and the following century most of the Jews apparently engaged in trade. Several scholars lived in Verona, including the tosafists *Eliezer b. Samuel of Verona (grandfather of the philosopher and physician *Hillel b. Samuel of Verona) and Isaiah b. Mali di Trani (the Elder). The bet din of Verona and the teaching of its scholars are mentioned by the scholars of Germany. The poet *Immanuel of Rome was in Verona at the beginning of the 14th century. After an interval, Jewish settlement was renewed at the beginning of the 15th century, when the city passed to the Republic of Venice, and Jewish loan-bankers settled there. The Jews were again expelled from Verona after the establishment in 1490 of a Christian loan bank (*Monte di Pietà). However, at the beginning of the 16th century the community became permanent, consisting largely of immigrants who had been arriving from Germany. In the 17th century a number of Sephardim settled there, among them members of the well-known *Aboab family, and organized a separate community. The two communities eventually set up a common organization, but friction between them lasted for a long while. The Verona community numbered about 400 at the end of the 16th century, and approximately 900 at the end of the 18th century. A ghetto was set up in Verona in 1599 after a threatened expulsion. The community succeeded in securing charge of the keys, an event commemorated by the Verona Jews in the 17th and 18th centuries by an annual festivity. The community suffered numerous deaths (about 200) in the great plague which swept Italy in 1629–30. Jewish banking diminished in importance in this period and the Jews of Verona mainly earned their livelihood from trade and crafts. Another important source of subsistence for Verona Jews in the 17th and 18th centuries was lease of the tobacco monopoly. Many Jews from other centers attended the great fairs held in Verona, and in the middle of the 18th century the Verona community demanded that levies should be paid by Jews visiting the fairs from outside. In consequence a bitter dispute broke out between the Verona Jews and the communities of Mantua, Modena, and Ferrara.
The Jews in Verona were not spared the economic crisis from which the communities of Italy suffered in this period. The number of poor dependent upon the community continually increased. The structure and organization of the community were similar to those of the other communities in Italy. Apparently the Verona community was the first to establish the reform of the tax system known as the "casella", which was introduced at the end of the 17th century and in the course of time was adopted in many of the communities in Italy. Rabbis of Verona from the 16th century on included Johanan b. Saadiah, Joez b. Jacob, Samuel *Aboab, Samuel *Meldola, Menahem Navarra, and members of the *Bassani, *Hephetz (Gentile), Marini, Pincherle, and other families.
A few books in Hebrew type were printed in Verona at the press of Francesco delle Donne between 1592 and 1595, one of them in Judeo-German (Pariz un Viena, 1594). Most important of the Hebrew books was the Tanḥuma of 1595, produced by Jacob b. Gershon *Bak, of Prague, and Abraham b. Shabbetai Bath-Sheba (*Basevi). Fifty years later Hebrew printing was resumed at the press of Francesco de' Rossi (1645–52), on the initiative of the Verona rabbis Samuel Aboab (and his sons Jacob and Joseph) and Jacob *Ḥagiz, the first part of the latter's edition of the Mishnah with his commentary Eẓ Ḥayyim appearing in 1649 (the rest in Leghorn, 1650). Abraham Ortona was employed as typesetter. Two other printers were active in Verona late in the 18th and early in the 19th century, printing mainly liturgical items.
When the French revolutionary armies appeared in the vicinity of Verona, the local population made an assault upon the ghetto and its inhabitants. After the capture of the city by the French in 1796, however, the ghetto was abolished, its gates were symbolically torn down, and the Jews were granted civil equality. Israel Cohen from Verona took part in the deliberations of the French *Sanhedrin. When subsequently Verona came under Austrian rule, their civil rights were slightly curtailed, but the Jews of the city were not again confined to the ghetto. Full civil equality was restored to them when Verona was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. There were about 1,200 Jews living in Verona in the middle of the 19th century. Subsequently their numbers steadily diminished through emigration or assimilation and at the beginning of the 20th century they numbered about 600. In 1931 there were 429 Jews in the community of Verona. During the Holocaust 30 Jews were taken to the extermination camps. After the war the membership of the community was about 120, which remained constant over the next few decades.
Milano, Bibliotheca, 183–4, supplement: 1954–63 (1964), 68; Milano, Italia, index; Roth, Italy, index; idem, History of the Jews in Venice (1930), index; idem, Gleanings (1967), 200–39; I. Sonne, in: Kobez al-Jad, 13 (1940), 151–83; D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 388–91; B. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri … (19502), 84f.
Verona (city, Italy)
Verona (vərô´nä), city (1991 pop. 255,824), capital of Verona prov., Venetia, NE Italy, on the Adige River. It is a transportation junction and a major industrial and agricultural center, with noted annual agricultural fairs. Its diversified manufactures include food and paper products, textiles, metals, machinery, and chemicals. Handicrafts using metal and marble, and the making of wine are two other important industries. Verona's position on the Brenner road to central Europe has given it commercial and strategic importance since Roman times. The date of its founding is obscure, but it was an important settlement before its conquest by Rome in 89 BC During the barbarian invasions of Rome (5th–6th cent. AD) Odoacer made it his fortress, and Theodoric later made it his favorite residence. Verona later became the seat of a Lombard duchy and then of Frankish counts. In the 12th cent. it was made a free commune. Along with other communes of Venetia, Verona formed (1164) the Veronese League, which joined (1167) the Lombard League in opposing Emperor Frederick I. Ezzelino da Romano ruled the city from 1226 to 1259. The story of Romeo and Juliet embodies the strife between the Guelphs (of whom Romeo's family were members) and the Ghibellines (Juliet's family) that tore Verona in the 13th and 14th cent. The Ghibelline Della Scala (or Scaligeri) family became lords of Verona in the 1260s; under Can Francesco (Can Grande) della Scala (1291–1329) the city reached its greatest power. His successors gradually lost all the city's possessions, and in 1387 Verona fell to Milan. Venice conquered Verona in 1405, and the city fared well under Venetian rule (to 1797). During the Renaissance, Verona produced major artists, e.g., the architects Giocondo and Sanmichele and the painters Pisanello and Paolo Veronese, who embellished both Verona and Venice. In the 19th cent. Austria, which then ruled Venetia, made Verona one of its chief fortresses in N Italy. The Congress of Verona (see Verona, Congress of) was held there in 1822. After Austrian rule of Venetia was ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War (1866), Verona joined the kingdom of Italy. Because of its strategic position Verona was the target of heavy Allied bombings in World War II and suffered considerable damage. It was further damaged by retreating Germans in Apr., 1945. Among the numerous points of interest in Verona (some reconstructed after 1945) are the Romanesque Church of San Zeno Maggiore (9th–15th cent.), which has a fine triptych (1459) by Mantegna; the large Roman amphitheater (1st cent. AD); a Roman theater; the castle and bridge of the Scaligeri (both 1354); the Gothic tombs of the Scaligeri; the Romanesque cathedral (12th–15th cent.); the Gothic Church of Sant' Anastasia (13th–15th cent.); the Giusti Gardens (c.1580); and the Renaissance-style Loggia del Consiglio (15th cent.).