The Exclamation Point

For Tom at seventy in Zion Sergio Sierra was born in Rome in the winter of 1923. When he was twenty-six years old he received rabbinical ordination, after which he assumed a rabbinical post in Bologna, where he assisted in the reconstruction of the shattered Jewish community. The embers of history’s wildfires had not yet cooled. The great synagogue in Bologna, built by a well-known local architect in a sensitively adapted Art Nouveau style, had been destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943, and it was not until a decade later, and under Sierra’s supervision, that its restoration would be complete. Sierra served in Bologna until 1959, when he left to take up a prominent pulpit in Turin, and to direct its rabbinical college. His talents were not only clerical. The community rabbi also published erudite papers in scholarly journals on modern and medieval themes in Jewish literature. He produced

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