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January 08, 1988 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Glott snow

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50

FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 1988

I THE DIASPORA 1

GOING TO THE AIRPORT?
BUSINESS OR VACATION

Italian Jews Update
Their Place In Society

R

yearly budget for Jewish com-
Union of
munal life hope this will en-
Italian Jewish Corn-
tice recalcitrants to pay up.
munities has updated
The union's traditional
its relationship with the
method of taxation is,
Italian government, more
however, a sore issue for many
clearly defining the roles of
Italian Jews.
religion and state, and has
According to the 1930 law,
altered its own internal
community membership of all
structure.
Jews was compulsory, as was
One hundred delegates
their taxation. Community
representing the 40,000
tax offices had the right to re-
Italian Jews ratified during a
quire members to hand in
special congress the "Intesa,"
copies of their national
the agreement with the
income-tax declarations, and
government, and hammered
to investigate members if
out the communal "Statute."
their declarations were "in-
If approved as expected by
congruent", in which case the
the Italian parliament, the
"contributing capacity" of
two measures would together
replace a 1930 law signed by - members could be "ascertain-
- ed by member's lifestyle."
Jewish representatives and
the then-premiere of Italy,
Taxes were imposed on a
Benito Mussolini.
progressive scale based on
"While we need an internal
this assumed income, but
statute," said Enrico
members could protest. If
Modigliani, president of the
they lost, however, govern-
special congress, "the Intesa
ment officials could be called
was necessary principally
on (and at times were) to hock
because there is a church-
furniture or other valuables.
state concordat.
Only three years ago, a Li-
According to Italy's post-
byan Jewish immigrant,
war constitution, all religions
Nahum Msir, sued the Rome
enjoy "equal freedom before
Jewish community and got
the law," but separate articles
the Italian Supreme Court to
pertain to Catholicism and to
cancel the article stating "all
"other religions."
Jews who reside in the ter-
The Catholic church is
ritory of a community belong
represented by the Vatican —
to it by law:'
a foreign state — and
Although the new statute is
therefore by a binational con-
modeled on the 1930 law,
cordat. Other religions are ex-
some basic ideological
pected to organize their own
modifications have been in-
communities and regulate
corporated. Members are now
their relations with the state
invited to estimate their own
through separate Intesa.
taxes on voluntary declara-
Some of the most signifi-
tions, and the reference to
cant of the Intesa's 34 articles
their "lifestyle" has been
relate to the application of
cancelled. Councils no longer
constitutional guarantees for
may hock individuals fur-
religious liberty: the right to
niture, although they may
observe the Sabbath and
still demand copies of tax
other holidays; the right to of-
returns or other information
fer rabbinical assistance to
if they find the community
Jews in hospitals, old-age
members' statements "in-
homes, prisons and the army;
congruent."
acceptance by the state of
The final version of the new
marriages performed by rab-
Statute represents a corn-
bis according to Jewish tradi-
promise.
tion; allowing students to
A pre-congress clash bet-
skip courses in Catholicism
ween the Italian rabbinate
offered in Italian schools,
and self-defined lay Jews on
which "should take place in
the "regular religious con-
hours that will not have
duct" required for election
discriminatory effects"; and
had threatened to split the
to allow communities to
congress.
reserve the right to respond to
The final result is a highly
requests for teachers in
increased rabbinic represen-
Judaism for the public
tation in the decision-making
schools, also after hours.
and judiciary functions of
Another article deemed im-
community councils. And
portant by community
council makers should be
leaders allows Jewish com-
"vouchers for the continuity
munity taxes to be deducted
of Jewish life and pledge that
up to ten percent from tax-
during their terms in office
able income in federal taxes,
they will comport themselves
but not to exceed 7.5 million
in a manner not in contrast
lire (about $6,100).
with Jewish law and tradi-
Those who work in the of-
tion."
fices that try to balance the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

ome — The

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