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Mikve users are increasing as young families of the Jewish Community of Florence are rediscovering the importance of ritual purity in Jewish life. The investment in improving the mikve will certainly serve as encouraging factor and a positive example for the Community. A new mikve will also enable us to satisfy many requests coming from tourists visiting Florence, who are now redirected to other places and, among them, young couples coming to get married. A wedding performed kedat Moshe veYisrael, including mikve practice, helps kalot in basing their family life on Jewish values.
The Florence Jewish Community is small but, as most communities in Italy, it has been here for various centuries and cherishes its own age old traditions. Today, as it always had, the community does its best to offer all basic services needed for a Jewish life, from birth to burial: a beautiful synagogue, open daily for services and for tours; kosher food facilities, a kosher shehita and butchery in which you can find kosher food to buy or to cook at home, and a kosher restaurant & café situated next to the community quarter; a private nursery and a city recognized kindergarden; and a Beit Avot with 40 beds. A Community Center, which offers a vast range of services and promotes cultural activities for members and foreigners is in a process of being renovated and improved, in collaboration with international Jewish organizations.
Rav Dr. Joseph Levi grew up in Jerusalem to a family of Italian origins. He studied Jewish law, history and philosophy in Orthodox institutions in Jerusalem. He was ordained as a Rabbi by the chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rav Shear Yashuv ha Kohen. He holds also a Ph.D.in History of Psychology (Copenhagen University 1981) , and Master dagrees in Jewish Studies, Clinical Psychology and Modern Philosphy. He is member of the Italian Rabbis and The European Rabbis Associations , The European and Italian Associations of Jewish Studies and the Association of Lacan’s psychoanalytic forums.
Before being called to Florence to serve as a Chief Rabbi in 1996, he taught Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 1996, he serves as the Chief Rabbi of the Florentine community, in the frame of which he has developed a Beit Midrash forum activity aiming at creating a “Kehilah Lomedet” promoting rabbinical and Jewish studies, offering basic and advanced knowledge of Jewish sources to the community members. He developed forums of study on the relations between Science and Judaism in general and Jewish Bio-Ethics in particular. He is also involved in promoting knowledge on Judaism outside the community and takes part in the cultural life of the city. He is known for his promotion of interreligious dialogue, at a regional and a national level for which he won various awards, including an honorary citizenship from the city of Florence.