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Stories of Italian Anousim, People’s Thoughts on Rabbi Barbara Aiello

Hello all, I am half Ashkenazi Jewish through my mom, and have been noodling through my genealogy. My dad is Calabrese and there are some last names that migggghtt be Jewish within his family tree. I shot out an email to Rabbi Barbara Aiello and she said she recognized these names. I’m confused because outside of Italian-Jewish names that are clearly calqued or translated from Hebrew, many Italian Jewish surnames could be either Jewish or just Italian. I can’t help but notice that Aiello is one of them as well, and every time I’ve seen someone claiming B’nei Anusim ancestry, the entire body of proof has rested on surnames that while attested as Jewish, also can not be as well. What is the reaction to this? Please note that I am not trying to deny people’s ability to relate to their culture, but what is viewed as valid proof of this?

There seems to have been a fair amount of influence of Hebrew and Jewish culture on some Italian regional cultures. For example, the Sardinian word for September is caputanni, a calque of Rosh Hashanah, and in some villages in the Piedmont, the word bayta is used to refer to a house: https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/history-ideas/2016/11/how-a-hebrew-word-made-its-way-into-the-speech-of-a-remote-italian-village/. Couldn’t one then say that Italy was a rather porous place where cultures and languages intermingled?

Also, if anybody has info about Italian-Jewish dialects, would be very cool to get more resources, I speak Italian and decent Russian, so those resources would be cool.

submitted by /u/RemoteWeight
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Source: Reditt

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