Jews in Bologna: The Edgardo Mortara Kidnapping and the Unification of Italy

Ronelle Delmont
Jewish Culture & History / History

Course Description

There were only 200 Jews living in Bologna on the night of June 23, 1858 when papal police arrived at the Mortara's middle class home to take away their 6 year-old son Edgardo. The Grand Inquisitor of that Papal State heard about a Jewish child who had been secretly baptized by a 13 year-old servant during an illness which she mistakenly believed would cause his death. As a baptized Christian, Edgardo could no longer,  according to Papal doctrine, be permitted to grow up in a Jewish home. This crisis would become the greatest cause celebre of the mid-19th century leading to the formation of modern Italy. This story is soon to be re-created in Hollywood by Steven Spielberg.

About the Instructor

  • Ronelle Delmont is an associate of the James Randi Educational Foundation and an Adjunct Lecturer at FIU. For the past 20 years she has presented extemporaneous lectures on a wide variety of thought provoking topics. Born on the Lower East Side, she lived and worked for 28 years in Greenwich Village as co-owner of Old Horizons Antiques on Bleecker Street. Also a professional dancer, Ronelle taught classes in Mid-Eastern Dance while performing in NYC's ethnic nightclubs. Her knowledge of Mid- Eastern culture led her towards a BA from the Dept. of International Relations at FIU in 1996. As a staff writer for The Observer - Broward College's award winning newspaper - she was given a 1994 Journalism Award for her coverage of the Ku Klux Klan and the Haitian refugee crisis. She continues to lecture throughout Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Upcoming programs presented by Ronelle Delmont.

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