views updated


RIVA (di Trento ), town on the Lake of Garda, N. Italy. A Jewish community existed there from the 14th century. Though expelled in 1520 as the result of the Simon of Trent blood libel, Jews returned to Riva soon after, but they were compelled to wear the *badge, pay a capitation tax, and were subject to other restrictions. There was a Hebrew printing press in Riva, which was active between 1558 and 1562 and produced about 35 titles.

The press owed its success to the cooperation of three men: Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo, bishop of Trent, who had jurisdiction over the town and whose coat-of-arms appears on many of the Riva publications; Joseph b. Nathan *Ottolenghi, rabbi and rosh yeshivah at Cremona; and Jacob Marcaria, dayyan and physician, also of Cremona, who was the printer and contributed learned prefaces to his productions. The first work issued was Isaac Alfasi's Halakhot (1558), followed by other halakhic works, including two editions of Jacob b. Asher's Turim (1560 and 1561). With the Talmud banned in Italy, there was a need for these substitutes. The press also produced philosophic works, notably the first printing of Levi b. Gershom's Milḥamot Adonai (1560), and ethical literature. The illiberal attitude of Cardinal Madruzzo's nephew and successor must have led to the abrupt end of Marcaria's venture. For about another year he continued to print non-He-brew books, including some concerned with the Council of Trent (1545–64), though only one of them carried the printer's name. Joseph b. Jacob Shalit of Padua, who had been Marcaria's proofreader, took some of the unfinished works to Venice and had them printed there.


D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 296–305; J. Bloch, Hebrew Printing in Riva di Trento (1933).

More From encyclopedia.com