Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beards and beardlessness in Italian Jewish history, Pt. II

See Part I.*

Here's a beautiful depiction of prayer for the sick, captioned by Psalm 34:23, and one imagines, of contemporary Italian Jews. This is from Imre Lev (Asti 1852, a compendium of prayers translated into Italian by Rabbi Marco Tedeschi (1817 - 1869), future Chief Rabbi of Trieste.

Note the facial hair on many of the men, even though Italian Jews had long been known for being clean-shaven (and obviously some did grow beards). I think in the mid-19th century beards had been making a fashionable comeback, and that is the likely explanation. c.f. the facial hair on Ohev Ger Luzzatto, a young man born in 1830, as compared to his father born in 1800. Ohev Ger (below) died in 1854, around this time. 

And here is Tedeschi himself, incidentally, also a student of Shadal. By the look of the man, this is presumably in the 1860s (and see here, for another portrait of him in canonicals):

See here for an earlier post about how the German fashion of growing facial hair was perceived in England in 1848.

* Hope it holds up!


  1. Yes, starting to sport beards in mid-19th century is an imitation of non-Jewish customs.

  2. Neat find.



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