Shabbat & Jewish Holidays
Shabbat/Holidays in Venice
ATTENTION: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AS THERE ARE CHANGES IN OUR SHABBAT MEALS OPTIONS STARTING JUNE 1, 2015.
You can reserve your Shabbat meals by emailing the following to firstname.lastname@example.org 1. Calendar date of the Shabbat you will be here 2. Names/emails of each attendee 3. Your choice of the following two options:
1) Luxury Shabbat at GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant - by reservation only.
Three Shabbat meals at your pre-reserved private table in GAM GAM, with more of a luxury atmosphere/meal.**
Minimum donation: 100 euro per person
2) Shabbat in the Gallery - by reservation only.
Three Shabbat meals at an art gallery in the Ghetto, a few doors from GAM GAM**
75 euro per person, children under 12 years 37.50
**Shabbat meals are served any time you wish after prayer services. Shabbat prayer times differ weekly, but will be posted at the Chabad House.
Chabad of Venice offers a Kiddush after synagogue services. Both Friday night and Shabbat day: Kiddush, challah & a light meal is served. No reservations necessary, all are welcome.
On Friday, until an hour before Shabbat, GAM GAM offers a Shabbat take-away menu, conveniently packed to take to your hotel. Menu items available may vary but will include: Choices of salads, fish, chicken and more.....
GAM GAM also delivers Shabbat meals to hotels if you pre-order at GAM GAM or at www.gamgamkosher.com.
Looking forward to welcoming you for Shabbat in Jewish Venice.
We have been serving the international Jewish community for almost 25 years and we urge you to donate generously so that we can continue. This is "the World's Hometown Chabad House." We do not receive financial assistance from a central office and we absolutely do need your generous tzedakah. Your donations are our only source of support for the Chabad House activities, comprising our 400,000 euro annual budget. Donations can be made by clicking the “Donate” tab in the lower right corner of this site.
Come sing the songs you know, and learn some new ones too! Live with the times and learn about the weekly Torah portion while one of our yeshiva bochurim gives a Dvar Torah. Trade stories with new friends from around the globe. At Shabbat in Venice, you will find a Jew who only speaks French, one who speaks Hebrew, another who speaks only English, yet after they say "HaMotzi Lechem Min Haaretz" on the challah, everyone is completely united. This past tourist season, there were Shabbatot which drew approximately 800 people.
With decades of catering expertise, Chabad of Venice shares with you a Shabbat that is abundant, well-organized and where each person is made to feel personally taken care of. We hope to see you soon in Venice.
Jewish Holidays in Venice - Shavuot (Services and Meals)
Join us for any of the Jewish holidays all throughout the year. Rosh Hashana, Tashlich, Yom Kippur, Sukkot (including the sukkah), Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Passover (seders both nights) and Shavuot. Prayer Services and Holiday Meals are open to every Jew, young and young at heart!
Saturday, May 23 Eve of first day: Light candles at GAMGAM after 9:37pm
Sunday, May 24 Eve of second day: Light candles after 9:39pm
Monday, May 25 Holiday ends 9:40pm
Holiday meals are on a generous donation basis, and we strongly encourage you to make a recurring monthly/annual contribution to our work, as your donations are our Only source of support for everything we provide you in Jewish Venice: Shabbat/Holiday hospitality, a synagogue for three daily services, dairy & meat kosher food options, as well as our other programs which serve 300,000 Jews from around the world annually. May Hashem bless you 1000-fold in return. Donations are tax-deductible in the USA. We do not receive financial assistance from a central office and we absolutely do need your generous tzedakah.
Please use the “Donate” tab on the lower right of this website for your convenience.
Hotels and Kosher Food
Hotels, Rooms & Apartments Near the Jewish Ghetto
For your convenience, we've compiled a short list of personally recommended hotels from the hundreds of hotels in Venice. These Hotels, Rooms & Apartments are all within ten minutes walking distance of the Jewish Ghetto, (of course are all clean, neat and in the eruv). The hotels are familiar with Shabbat, so don't worry about lights, electric keys etc...They will help you with whatever you need. Prices are approximate, and are based on a double room in midseason. Prices are in Euros.
When you call, mention Chabad of Venice and GAM GAM for the best rates and service.
Palazzo Ca Segredo5 Star Luxury in recently renovated Venetian Palace on the Grand Canal. Quite possibly the nicest Luxury Hotel in Venice now Tel ++39.041.2771740
Grand Hotel Principe4 Star Luxurious Venetian Style Hotel Euro150-200
Tel.++39 041-220-4010 or email email@example.com ask for the special GAM-GAM rate
Amadeus Hotel4 Star Euro 140 - 200 ++39 041 220-4010
ask for the special GAM-GAM rate firstname.lastname@example.org
Carnival Palace4 Star ++39 041 244 0320 Euro 125 - 200
New! Mention GAM GAM for best rates & service
Pesaro Palace4 Star ++39 041 296 0748 email@example.com
Hotel Dei Dogi4 Star ++39 041 220 8111 venezia.boscolohotels.com
Leonardo Hotel2 Star family friendly hotel Euro 80 - 125
++39 041-718-666 also runs new premises called Antica Raffineria
Hotel Silvaalso rents apartments Euro 70 - 125 ++39 041-720326
Hotel MarteEuro 80 - 125 ++39 041 71 63 51
Biasin RoomsEuro 50 - 90 ++39 041 71 63 51
Ca GerottoHostel and rooms ++39.041.715361
FOR APARTMENT RENTALS, PLEASE EMAIL:
GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant & Glatt Kosher Catering
Great Food. Great Prices. Great Time.
Welcome to GAM GAM. Redefining kosher cuisine, through presentation and taste with the finest ingredients. Located at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto by the Guglie Bridge, GAM GAM is a five minute walk from the train station, or take vaporetto number 42 or 52.
"Best Kosher restaurant we found on our travels to Rome, Milan and Florence"
Turn your hotel in Venice into a KOSHER HOTEL or KOSHER APARTMENT with GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant convenient hotel delivery. Kosher food delivered to your hotel with waiter service or double-wrapped to be heated in any oven.
Delicious fresh baked goods, such as bread, pita, cakes, cookies and holiday specialties are available at GAM GAM. Baked daily on premises. "There's a brocha in the dough"
GAM-GAM Kosher Restaurant can conveniently double-wrap meals to go to be heated. Let us know how we can make your travels throughout Italy more comfortable. Hours: Sun - Thurs noon until 10:00pm Fri: noon until 2 hours before Shabbat (open Saturday night in the Winter, an hour after Shabbat goes out until 10:00pm)
gam gam goodies, located a few steps away from GAM GAM, offers coffee, delicious Italian kosher pizza, sandwiches, baked goods, ice cream, wine and other kosher products. Hours: Sun - Thurs 8:00am until 8:00pm Fri: 8:00am until 1 hour before Shabbat (opens an hour after Shabbat goes out during July & August)
Directions to the Jewish Ghetto
From Venice S. Lucia train station:
Facing the canal, with your back to the station, turn left. You will immediately see the large "Ferrovia Bridge" on your right. Do not cross this bridge. Walk past this bridge and continue along Lista Di Spagna (five minutes) until you reach the first bridge ("Guglie Bridge"). Cross the bridge, and immediately turn left, and walk along the canal (one minute). You'll find GAM-GAM on your right, at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto. Or, take vaporetto #42 or 52. (GAM-GAM can be seen from the top of Guglie Bridge)
Chabad Houses in Italy
Rabbi Gershon M. Garelik
Rabbi Avraham Hazan
Rabbi Moshe Shaikevitz
Rabbi Ariel Haddad
Tel. 040 37 09 66
Maps and Travel Info
Getting to the Ghetto
From Venice S. Lucia train station:
Facing the canal, with your back to the station, turn left. You will immediately see the large "Ferrovia Bridge" on your right. Do not cross this bridge. Walk past this bridge and continue along Lista Di Spagna (five minutes) until you reach the first bridge ("Guglie Bridge"). Cross the bridge, and immediately turn left, and walk along the canal (one minute). You'll find GAM-GAM on your right, at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto. Or, take vaporetto #42 or 52. (GAM-GAM can be seen from the top of Guglie Bridge).
Arriving from the Airport
1. Autobus - around 1.50euro and 25 minutes - bus right outside terminal takes you to the Venice parking lot called Piazzale Roma. From there, you can take a city boat (vaporetto) or private boat taxi to your hotel
2. Taxi Car - around 40euro and 20 minutes - pick up right outside terminal and takes you to Piazzale Roma.
From there, you can take a city boat (vaporetto) or private boat taxi to your hotel
3. Private Taxi Boat, around 90-100euro and 15/20 minutes - one must walk 6 or 7 minutes to boat dock. (The walkway is paved and sun-protected). Taxi Boat takes you directly to your hotel
Google Map of the Ghetto
Museum and Tours
The Jewish Ghetto is the centerpiece of the story of the Jews in Venice. The Ghetto's Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum) offers a tour which explain the history of the Jews of Venice, and the synagogues in which they prayed. The tour also takes you inside a few of the 5 Synagogues which you are otherwise unable to enter.
The tour in English begins half past the hour, and lasts approximately forty minutes. It is the only way (outside of services) to visit the synagogues. They also offer tours in Italian and in French.
Jewish Ghetto Tours unofficial timetable:
June to August
Sunday-Thursday 10:30am until 7:30pm every hour on the half
Friday 10:30am until an hour before Shabbos
Rest of the year
Monday-Friday 10:30am until 3:30pm every hour on the half
Sunday 10:30am until 4:30pm every hour on the half
The Jewish cemetery at the Lido di Venezia (located about 30 minutes away from the Ghetto by boat) has the reserve of a fenced woods and, at the same time, the enduring quality typical of an archaeological outcropping.
It is a characteristic common to other Jewish cemeteries in Italy and in Europe, where the alternation of care and abandonment over the span of many centuries, reflects the historical record – bad and good – of their communities.
The gravestones emerge from a sea of overgrown grass, inclined or flat, or leaning against the brick wall, in the shadow of trees that have grown wild: some have grown so as to embrace the edge of a stone or to have split it. We find not only the funereal cypresses, but plants of many species, casually or intentionally left as a sign of life (Bet ha-chayim, “house of the living” is, in Judaism, the euphemism which designates the cemetery).
The light of the lagoon filters through the leaves. Traces of an order – a garden, efforts of an earlier age – are now confused by the wild vegetation and the half-submerged tombs recall a return to the earth, leaving on the surface a residue of white stone – a silent disorder – or, on the contrary, a re-emergence of memory.
The cemetery grounds have their origins in a vineyard adjacent to the Benedictine monastery of San Nicolo di Mira. It was given to the Jews in perpetuity for the purpose of burial in 1386, in a period when the relationship between the Jews and the Serenissima was becoming more organic and formalized . (In fact, one year earlier, 1385, the candotta de banco (banking license) was granted to certain Jewish families in Mestre.)
When, during the course of the 1800s, a new cemetery was opened in an adjacent area, and the Lido was urbanized, the excavations revealed many graves long hidden from sight. The tombstones are reunited in a small site in the old cemetery, once again enclosed. Many stones have lost their original place and the many Jewish “nations,” once distinct, now find themselves strewn together in the entrance area (originally reserved for the Sephardim) facing towards Venice.
On that shore landed the funeral gondolas of the Hevrat Ghemilut Hassadim, the Jewish burial society. Leaving from the ghetto, the cortege of boats traversed the lagoon, taking a route which avoided passages and bridges from which someone could have thrown objects and trash in mockery of the Jews.
Interested in Moving to Venice?
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Come find out why the magical city on water is one of the world's best cities to live in.
Great career opportunities (even in English or Hebrew) and comfortable apartments are available. Let Chabad of Venice help you make a dream come true!
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History and Culture
The Jewish Ghetto
The Jewish Ghetto, the world's oldest, remains intact and is still marked by dark porticoes, peeling paint, laundry hung out to dry, and windows placed so close above one another that you're back aches just thinking about the low ceiling.
Until the 14th century, Jews were allowed to come to Venice for money-lending activities, but were not allowed permanent residents permits. The first Jews were allowed to settle in Venice only in 1385, when the city was involved in a war against neighbouring Chioggia and needed loans from the Jewish money-lenders.
But racism persisted, and in 1516 Venice's ruling council confined all the Jews in a smallen getti, or foundries. The gates were locked at night, and restrictions were placed on Jewish economic activities. Jews were only allowed to operate pawn shops and lend money, trade in textiles, and practice medicine.
They were allowed to area not far from today's train station, where there had be leave the Ghetto during the day, but were marked as Jews: Men wore a yellow circle stitched on the left shoulder of their cloaks or jackets, while women wore a yellow scarf. Later on, the men's circle became a yellow beret and still later a red one.
The first Jews to settle in the Ghetto were the central European Ashkenazim. They built two Synagogues. the Scola Grande Tedesca in 1528-29 and the Scola Canton in 1531-32. They are on the top floors of adjacent buildings, above the Jewish museum and from the outside, are not easily distinguishable from the apartments around them.
Space was limited, and according to Jewish law it is forbidden to have any thing between the Synagogue and the sky - hence their strange attic location. The canton Synagogue was probably added to house the large number of Jews already in the Ghetto.
Next came the Levantine Jews, who practiced the Sepharadic rite. When they got their own neighbourhood, an extension of the Venetian Ghetto granted in 1541, they were wealthy enough to build a Synagogue on the ground, rather than in cramped top floor apartments. The rich red and gold interior of the Levantine Synagogue is particularly beautiful. If you're their in the summer and get to see it. note the intricately carved wooden bimah , or pulpit, and the carved wooden decorations on the ceiling.
Mixed in with the poorer Ashkenazim were Italian Jews who had migrated north to Venice from central and southern Italy. In 1575, they built their own Synagogue on top of some apartments in the same square as the German shul. The Scola Italiana has a cupola, barely visible from the square outside, and a portico with columns marking it's entrance. Inside, there's another exquisitely carved wooden ark of the covenant, housing the Torah.
Levatines and Ashkenazim, Italian and Spanish Jews all lived together in the Ghetto through hard times - including the plague of 1630 - and better times, until Napoleon threw open the gates in 1797 and recognized equal rights to the Jews of Venice. At its height, around 1650, the Ghetto housed about 4,000 people in a space roughly equivalent to 2-1/2 city blocks. Before World War II there were still about 1,300 Jews in the Ghetto, but 289 were deported by the Nazis and only seven returned.
From which the word "Ghetto" derived, the Jewish ghetto of Venice is the world’s oldest. Until 1385, when the first Jews began to settle in Venice , Jews were only allowed to come to Venice for money-lending purposes. But, in 1385, when the city was involved in a war with nearby Chioggia , they needed loans from Jewish money-lenders to finance their campaign and so they allowed Jews to move into the city.
Although, the Jews never were allowed to properly assimilate into the city’s population, and in 1516, the ruling council of Venice confined all Jews to a small area of the city. Where, at night, all routes leading in an out of the Ghetto were guarded and sealed by locked gates. The Jews had limitations set on their economic activities in Venice . They were only allowed to have pawn shops, trade textiles and practice medicine.
Whenever Jews left the Ghetto area, the men had to wear a yellow circle stitched on the left shoulder, while the women wore a yellow scarf. The first Jews to settle in the ghetto of Venice were central European Ashkenazim, who constructed two synagogues: in 1528, the Scola Grande Tedesca, and later in 1532, the Scola Canton. They are still intact, and occupy the rooms above and adjacent to the Jewish museum.
In an area where space was limited, the Jews had no other choice but to build their synagogues in the attic stories of buildings as Jewish law forbids that anything should come between the synagogue and the sky.
The next group of Jews to arrive in Venice were the Levantine, who got their neighbourhood granted to them in 1541, as part of an expansion of the Jewish ghetto. This area today, is known as the “new ghetto.” The Levantine Jews were fortunate enough to build their synagogue on the ground, and the elegant red and gold interior of the Levantine synagogue is particularly special.
Mixed in with the Levantine and Ashkenazim Jews, were Italian Jews who migrated north to Venice from the central and southern parts of the peninsula.
In 1575, the Italians built their own synagogue, the Scola Italiana, which was built on of apartments. The structure features a cupola which is barely visible from the square below. The Spanish synagogue, also built in the 16th century, offers services on Shabbat and holidays. Around 1650, the Ghettos population reached a peak of 4,000 inhabitants. A feat hard to believe as you wander around today, an area no bigger than two and a half city blocks. Before the second world war, there were still 1300 Jews living in the Ghetto. Of the 289 were deported by the Nazi's, only seven returned.
Today, along with neighboring Mestre on the mainland, Venice boasts a population of 500 Jews. Even though the ghetto continues to be the center of community activities for the Jewish community, very few Jews continue to live in the ghetto.
With the opening of Chabad of Venice's Rabbinical Yeshiva twelve years ago, an active daily Jewish life is once again visible in this historic area, offering three prayer services every day. At almost any given time of day, a Jewish tourist can proudly see young, vibrant yeshiva students in the ghetto, helping visitors and neighbors alike. The daily Venetian newspaper stated that “Chabad of Venice is the thriving source of Judaism in Venice today.”
Chabad of Venice
Chabad of Venice
Venice is a city replete with Jewish history, including the first printing of holy books, such as two of Judaism’s most important, the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah and the Shulchan Aruch. For two decades, Chabad of Venice has been serving tourists from all over the world, as well as our local community. We hope you enjoy reading about our activities, which are certain to inspire. From what the past 20 years has already brought to the city, you can trust that Chabad of Venice will continue to deliver the best of Jewish education, art and culture.
In addition to the Chabad House, which serves as a welcoming center to the Jewish Ghetto, other staples of Jewish life are making an active daily Jewish lifestyle possible, such as kosher food and special event catering from GAM-GAM Kosher Restaurant, world-renowned Shabbat and Holiday Hospitality programs, a rabbinical yeshiva with a synagogue which offers tourists and Venetians morning, afternoon and evening services every day and soon, the completion of a state-of-the-art mikva.
GAM-GAM and the Chabad House promote culture in a number of ways, including hosting art exhibitions featuring Venetian and other Jewish artists. Chabad of Venice seeks to empower and inspire young people through education and training, and creating career opportunities for them, helping them every step of the way to achieve their potential. We just celebrated the sixth year since the establishment of the first children’s Jewish Day School here in Venice in over 50 years, and are seeing tremendous growth as new young families are making Venice their home. The children’s Education Center currently serves ages 6 months through third grade. We are looking forward to adding a new grade each year, watching the school grow as the children grow. Israel's visiting top educators and principals hailed the education center for its excellence in applications of technology in the classroom and its unique, flagship curriculum.
The Rabbinical Yeshiva is also playing a major role in reviving the oldest Jewish Ghetto in the world. 300,000 Jewish tourists visit Venice yearly, the majority of whom experience Judaism through one of our outreach programs, and for a few, this is their first Jewish experience. The yeshiva recently hosted a “Hakhel” 10-year Reunion of its first year graduates, celebrating increased Torah learning in Venice and the more than 80 yeshiva graduates who are now serving as Rabbi's in communities all over the world, including: Australia, California, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Belgium, France, New York, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. The yeshiva is making positive changes in people’s lives all over the globe.
If you want to see results, if you want to see impact, please make the investment in Chabad of Venice today enabling us to continue our dedicated mission of growth of Jewish education, art and culture in this historical gem of a city.
Please use the “Donate” tab in the lower right corner of this site or mail your donations to:
Rabbinical Academy of Venice
(Your donations are our Only source of support & are tax-deductible in the USA).