Even If You’re Not, Pretend You Are. Loving Venice, Italian Or Not.

These two little boys are lucky. We took them to the Irish-Italian Parade in Metairie, in March, and they got to yell “I’m Irish!” and “I’m Italian” (which are both completely true — from Rabbi Moshe Chafetz in Venice on Av’s side, to all the Polloks and Polks in Scotland and Ireland on mine) to the people with throws, but the fun thing about these parades is that (rightly so) *nobody* cares if you are or not!  Fake it!  Or don’t!  Everyone’s just happy!!
2014 Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie

We caught cabbages and carrots and potatoes; moon pies, frisbees, go-cups, what must’ve been more than 25lbs of beads, a giant foam finger, packs of ramen, bouncy-balls, great-big stuffed animals, and more.  The good thing is that we know to bring several big shopping bags with us so we’re able to take it all back!  We had terrific people around us and it was a great time!
2014 Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie

It’s a fabulous cast of characters!  One older lady on the neutral ground side *really* wanted a kiss and a flower from almost everyone she could get her hands on!
2014 Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie

This gentleman was super-sweet and I think Shug was a little embarrassed (which doesn’t happen often!).
2014 Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie

Shugie says he’s ready to tango!
2014 Irish-Italian Parade, Metairie

Since I mentioned the boys’ (I think 8th-great-grandfather) Rabbi Moshe Chafetz from Venice, this is a pic of the Jewish ghetto there where he lived.  This was one of our stops on our honeymoon.  We ate at a kosher restaurant for lunch, and it so happened that we ran into Chabadniks who offered to do the sheva brachot for us!  So sweet!

Honeymoon Pics Venice Ghetto 1999
We went to the Jewish museum there in the ghetto and got to tour the synagogues.  One of the interesting things was that they’re not necessarily built on the ground floor.  They are *gorgeous* and something to see no matter what religion you are, really.  Of all the places we went on our honeymoon — Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Paris and Disneyland Paris, Zurich, Copenhagen, and Helsingborg (Sweden) — Venice was my favorite.  Just magical.

Great pics of each of the synagogues:
Levantine Synagogue (In the entrance hall of the Scola, enriched by a beautiful ceiling, one reads on two ancient tablets: “If you understand, oh, man, what your end in the world will be, and if you show charity discreetly, then when you depart this life your place will be assured: then your chalice will be full of goodness and on your head will be placed a crown”)
Spanish Synagogue (On the arch of the portal one reads the inscription: “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy House and continue to praise Thee” (Psalm 84, 5))
Canton Synagogue (Above the second doorway there is a verse from Solomon’s Proverbs (8-34): “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates.” )
Great German Synagogue
Italian Synagogue (Inside the small entrance hall of the ground floor one can read an 18th century style warning: “Humble in attitude and with sure faith May all devout worshipers lay here their prayers and even when their foot is turned elsewhere May their thoughts be always turned to G-d.”)

The next time we visit, though, will Venice still be a part of Italy?  They voted overwhelmingly in March (89%) to become an independent state.  

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