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July 13, 2012

The Jews of Florence

Berry Communication students converge media to chronicle the Jewish experience in Florence, Italy

The coverage that begins here is the product of a seven-member team of Berry students who traveled to Florence in May and June to tell the stories of the Jews of Florence.

The students learned print, video and photo journalism on the ground in Italy in order to tell the stories of a minority people that date back in this Renaissance Catholic city to the mid-15th century.

The Project Florence team: Kelly Dickerson, left, Mary Claire Stewart, Kayla Sanner, Rachel Shin, Bethany McDaniel, Chardonnay Copeland, and Kirstie Broadwell

The seven Communication majors learned multimedia journalism in an intercultural, international context, first at Berry, then in Florence. Story topics include how Jewish Florentines negotiate their religious and national identity in a predominantly Catholic country, a story on kosher Italian cooking, a photo tour of the city’s only synagogue, and the heart-wrenching story of World War II survivor Fortunata Franchetti Treves.

“We had so much help from so many good people in Italy,” said Dr. Brian Carroll, Florence project director and associate professor of Communication at Berry. “The kindness of Florentines in opening up their homes and giving of their time was overwhelming.”

Joining Carroll on the faculty for the project were Kevin Kleine, lecturer of Communication and Berry’s student publications advisor; Curt Hersey, instructor of Communication; and Steve Farina, a historian and native of Florence.

Participating students included Bethany McDaniel, Chardonnay Copeland, Kirstie Broadwell, Kelly Dickerson, Kayla Sanner, Rachel Shin and Mary Claire Stewart.

“To be honest, I was intimidated by the converged media nature of our project, especially video,” said Chardonnay Copeland, a junior communication major from Pine Mountain, Ga. “But I found out I could rise to the challenge, and I learned how to do journalism in any medium, in all media. It was an incredible experience.”

The Project Florence team would like to thank Steve Farina for consulting on the project and helping in ways big and small; Accent for logistics support, including Beth and Daniela; Michele Gaeta for feeding the hungry; Adel at the LdM Café; Rabbi Joseph Levi; the Treves family; Sandro and Silvia Servi; Tomas Jelinek at Ruth’s restaurant; Gabriel at Carrozze; and the Viking Fusion crew for production support and for publishing all the content.

The multimedia reporting practicum is offered by Berry every other summer.

3rd place winner in the national multimedia reporting competition in Washington, D.C.


The Jews of Florence articles

An Italian history: How one Jewish family survived Italy’s fascist persecution

86-year-old Fortunata Franchetti Treves looks back.

Fully Italian, fully Jewish

Florence’s Jews ‘fight’ to maintain distinct identity in a culture dominated by Catholicism.

Florence’s storytellers

How Jewish Italians remember their history, pass on tradition and preserve their identity.

The Empty Cradles of Florence

City’s Jewish population continues to decline.

Florence’s Jewish food business feeds off tourists, not local Jewish community

City’s small Jewish population not enough to sustain local merchants.

Historic sites cater to Jewish tourism in Florence, Italy

Visitors share experiences.

The ups and downs of being Jewish in Italy

Minority status has made Jews convenient scapegoats.

The Jews of Florence video coverage

Jewish AND Italian: Identity in Florence a complex negotiation

A look into the struggles Italian Jews face in attempting to combine and reconcile their cultural and religious identities.

Re-living Italy's fascist past

The Treves family story represents in microcosm Italy's conflicted political and religious history. Hear the story first-hand from Fortunata Franchetti of Florence.

Keeping kosher in Florence: The city’s Jewish businesses look beyond

Because there are so few Jewish Florentines, the city’s kosher businesses have to reach out to the many Jewish tourists who come to the city.

Florentine piazza hides a dark past

Few tourists realize that the popular Piazza delle Repubblica in Florence is the former location of a 16th-century Jewish ghetto, one of Europe’s largest. Florentine Jews say they wish there was more recognition in the piazza for the hardships once endured.

Jewish tourism in Florence a bigger business than many might think

Several sites of Jewish historical significance are preserved in Florence, sites that attract many Jewish visitors each year.

The Jews of Florence photo slideshows

Florence Synagogue attracts tourists interested in Jewish experience

Jewish tourists from near and far visit more than just Renaissance art. Jewish historical sites like the synagogue and Jewish businesses cater to Jewish tourism in Florence, Italy.

The Treves family: An uncommon story

A photo narrative highlighting the unique aspects of one Jewish-Italian family.

Children serve as legacy to Florentine Jewish

Jews discuss how difficult it can be to maintain their heritage in Florence.
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