When Abe was 7, his family left Romania for Milan, Italy, and lived there for five years, while he attended the Hebrew day school Alessandro da Fano
. In 1951, the family left Europe aboard the USS General Steward and landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1922, a new movement, Ha 'Tikvah, was established in Gorizia and three years later in Modena, as a result of the work of the teacher Angelo Da Fano of Gorizia.
Da Fano introduced the notion of creating a rebellion against the assimilation of the parents' generation by winning back their children to a Jewish way of life.
The community allocated a small plot of land to Da Fano, who encouraged the children to cultivate a kitchen garden.
In 1930, a new generation of children was studying the elements of Jewish life, including the commandments, under the supervision of Da Fano's followers, in a friendly and pleasant environment.
(10) Leo Levi, (1913-1982) studied under the direction of Da Fano in Gorizia, where he married and had children.
Besides adding to our picture of the philologist and antiquarian, he illuminates several of Alberti's artistic achievements, including his contributions to vanishing-point perspective, symbolic emblems, and camera obscura experiments (the endpapers of the volume include miniatures by Giovanni Bettini da Fano
that exemplify such optical studies).
Such was the tenor of the Italian rabbis who met at Ferrara in 1554 and again in 1555, as well as at Corfu in 1652; and in the edict of Judah Mintz about clandestine marriage.(79) Almost matter-of-factly, the authoritative sixteenth-century Shulhan `arukh (code of Jewish law) confirmed that engagement gifts may be returned if the groom dies, or if he or she decide not to marry ("hazar bo hu', 'o 'afilu hazrah bah hi'").(80) Moreover, to justify a specific instance of just such a change of heart, despite the father's strenuous objections, the influential Rabbi Menahem Azariah da Fano cited Rav's dictum verbatim.(81)
Yet just about this time Menahem Azariah da Fano was writing that "even a grown daughter [bogeret] [might] refuse [me'un] her father's initiative,"(98) and under these circumstances the issue of Speranza's age might have been raised only for the sake of parrying Isaac Zamat's prominence.
For in resting their arguments--their monologues, as it were--on specific halakhic issues, both Isaac Zamat and Speranza's mother Rosa must have been coached--"taught" (melumedet), as Menahem Azariah da Fano put it--by a lawyer.(101) And the lawyer most active among Roman Jews during these years, especially in pre-nuptial suits, was none other than Judah teen Aron's brother Rabbi Abramo Scazzocchio.
In the heightened sixteenth-century Jewish awareness of the need to secure the bride's consent, authorities like Menahem Azariah da Fano were seeking by way of me'un to provide an acceptable justification for terminating soured engagements, much in the same way married women might initiate a suit for divorce by saying they spurned their husbands (ma'us).