Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud (“The Eternal Light of the South”) is the first synagogue to openly function in Calabria in 500 years. During the time of the Inquisition, Jews either fled the area, were forced to convert, or practiced Judaism in secret. Serrastretta was originally founded by Jewish families who had fled nearby villages.
The congregation counts about 80 families as members and draws from the southern mainland, as well as Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. Many members are Italians whose ancestors were forced into conversion centuries ago and are now rediscovering lost or hidden Jewish roots, identifying as bnei anusim, a Hebrew term meaning “children of the forced ones.”
The synagogue and its sister organization, the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria, are led by American-born Rabbi Barbara Aiello, who is Italy’s first and only modern, liberal, and female rabbi. Rabbi Aiello’s father, grandfather, and generations of her ancestors hailed from Calabria, in the deep south of Italy or the “toe” of the Italian “boot.” She has made it her mission to return to their birthplace and offer Italian Jews a liberal Jewish option at Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud, the first active synagogue in Calabria in 500 years since Inquisition times. Rabbi Aiello’s welcoming and non-judgmental approach to interacting with all people aligns with the Reconstructionist ethos.
Mailing address: 835 S. Osprey Ave, #409, Sarasota, FL 34236
(from the US) 011 941-306-3255
(from Europe) +39 0968 81302
(from Italy) 0968 81302