PARMA, city in N. Italy, capital of the province and former duchy of the same name. Jews are mentioned in Parma around the middle of the 14th century when the town was ruled by the Visconti dukes of Mantua. When the black death was raging in 1348, the Jews were accused of poisoning wells and fountains, and some were put to death. Under the Visconti, Jewish moneylenders were able to carry on business in Parma. In 1440 Elias, physician and lecturer at the medical school of Pavia, was appointed physician to the duke of Parma; among other physicians who practiced there were Giacobb, who may be identical with Giacobbe who treated Duke Erede I of Este in 1467, and Abraham, son of Moses of Prato (1480). Under the rule of the Sforza, about the middle of the 15th century, the Jews enjoyed the protection of the dukes against oppression by the municipal authorities. The Franciscan Bernardino da feltre instigated the expulsion of some Jewish women who had given dancing lessons to aristocratic women in Parma. In 1488 Bernardino succeeded in having a Christian loan-bank (Monte di Pietà ) established there; the Jewish loan-bankers began to leave the town, taking refuge in Piacenza and the smaller centers of the duchy. Following the bull "cum nimis absurdum" issued by pope paul IV in July 1555, Jews were no longer permitted to carry on their moneylending activities or to reside in Parma. Under Paul's successor, Pius IV, the   Jews were permitted in 1562 to open loan-banks in 16 smaller centers in the duchy of Parma and Piacenza (at Colorno, Roccabianca, Soragna, Borgo San Donnino (now Fidenza), Busseto, San Secondo Parmense, and Sissa). The concession, valid for a duration of 12 years, was later renewed for eight centers only; these included the first five mentioned above. Renewals were granted every 12 years, the last dating from 1669. The loan-banks were a necessity for the predominantly agricultural population. The Jews were accorded political equality on July 12, 1803 by the French commissaire Moreau de Saint-Méry, but this was rescinded in 1816 by the archduchess Marie Louise. Jews were now beginning to resettle in Parma itself. Publication of a Rivista Israelitica was begun in Parma in 1845, but lasted only for three years. Emancipation followed the inclusion of Parma in the Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1866 the renewed community of Parma drew up its constitution and arranged for the building of a synagogue. Rabbis of Parma include Donato Camerini (1866–1921), editor of a prayer book according to the Italian rite (Parma, 1912). The community numbered 510 in 1840, and 684 in 1881, declining to 415 in 1911. (Alfredo Mordechai Rabello) In 1931 there were 232 Jews in the community of Parma. During the Holocaust at least 12 were sent to extermination camps. After the war the community had a membership of 86, which declined to 60 by 1969. (Sergio Della Pergola) -Palatina Library The Palatina Library in Parma contains one of the richest collections of Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula in the world, among them many valuable illuminated manuscripts. Included in the collection are early Bible codices, and it is especially rich in liturgical manuscripts. Important manuscripts of Midrashim and rabbinical works include the commentaries of Menahem b. solomon meiri . In 1816 Marie-Louise, Napoleon's wife, bought the G.B. de' rossi collection of more than 1,500 manuscripts. In 1846 the library acquired over 100 Hebrew manuscripts from the collection of M.B. Foa of Reggio Emilia. The codices are amply described by G.B. de' Rossi in his Manuscripti codices Hebraici bibliothecae (3 vols., 1803); the 55 manuscripts later acquired by de' Rossi were described by M. Steinschneider in: HB, 6–7 (1863–64); 12 (1872); 14 (1874) and by P. Perreau (Catologo dei Codici ebraici de… non descritti dal de' Rossi, 1880). G. Tamani described the library's illuminated manuscripts (in: La Bibliofilia, 70 (1968), 39–139). (Alfredo Mordechai Rabello) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; V. Rovè, L'Educatore Israelita, 18 (1870); A. Orvieto, in: Il Vessillo Israelitico, 43 (1895), 323–7, 357–60; E. Loevinson, in: RMI, 7 (1932), 350–8; G. Bachi, ibid., 12 (1938), 204–5; 28 (1962), 37 (statistics); P. Colbi, ibid., 29 (1963), 438–45; E. Urbach, in: MGWJ, 80 (1936), 275–81; M.A. Szulwas, Ḥayyei ha-Yehudim be-Italyah… (1955), index. PALATINA LIBRARY: Zunz, Gesch, 240; G. Gabrieli, Manoscritti… (1930); idem, in: RMI, 7 (1932–33), 167–75; E. Loevinson, ibid., 477–92; U. Cassuto, I Manoscritti Palatini ebraici della Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana… (1935); G. Tamani, Studii nell Oriente e le Bibbie (1967), 201–26.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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