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southern italian jewish history?

hello all! ❤️

i’ve been interested in my family genealogy lately (i sorta became the family historian when lockdown started and it’s been a hobby i’ve had ever since), and i made some discoveries recently that i find both very interesting and very profound

(i should preface this by saying i don’t consider myself jewish, nor would i unless i actually converted. my family have, at this point, been catholic for generations, even if we seem to be a sad consequence of assimilation or worse–though i grew up with many lovely jewish friends and neighbors. personally my thoughts on religion as a whole are kinda just ???????, but that’s neither here nor there i suppose haha)

now, my ancestry on my mother’s side is italian, and specifically calabrian (the “tip” of the italian boot, so to speak) and, within that, in the cantanzaro region. during my research, i came across many surnames that, when i looked them up, hint at them being italian jews–names like tedesco, marino, gentile, and more. i hit a wall by the time i got to the 1700s, but nonetheless, intrigued, i did more digging

to think there’s a whole history of judaism in calabria that i never knew about! all of these are still leads at the moment, and i don’t know why these threads are gripping me so, but they are, which leads me to my question:

i want to make sure i’m not getting false information, of course–anyone can post anything on the internet, after all. so does anyone here happen to have any knowledge about the history of judaism/the jewish people in southern italy, especially in calabria? or reputable resources i could use to learn more about this history–how they lived, how they came to italy, all of that

for reasons i’m sure you can imagine, this has been all kinds of emotional on so many levels. right now, i’m eager to learn more about how my ancestors may have lived–it’s the least i could do to honor them, in a way

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