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Angelo-Raphael Chaim Sacerdoti

SACERDOTI, ANGELO-RAPHAEL CHAIM (1886–1935),chief rabbi of Rome and Zionist leader in Italy. Born and educated in Florence, he officiated as the rabbi of Reggio Emilia until 1912, when he was invited to take up the post of chief rabbi of Rome, which he retained until his death. While he was preoccupied with the reorganization of the Rome community, World War I broke out. He volunteered to serve as an army chaplain and organized Jewish chaplains to serve on all the fronts. After the war he began an active campaign to revitalize Italian Jewry, of which he was a leading guide and teacher. When Mussolini assumed power, Sacerdoti held a series of meetings with him in an attempt to protect Jewish interests and ensure that the Jews of Italy would not be harmed by the Fascist regime. He was instrumental in obtaining the passage of a law that required all Italian Jews to belong to one of the 26 united communities, unless they specifically renounced their Judaism. This led to increased participation in Jewish community life. He also transferred the Rabbinical Seminary from Florence to Rome. Sacerdoti was active in the Zionist field, participating in the opening of The Hebrew University (1925) as the representative of the Rome community and the Italian government. Due to his efforts, a political office of the Zionist Organization was established in Rome.


R.R. Cohen, in: Hed ha-Mizraḥ, no. 34–35 (March 28, 1945), 18–19.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.