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Venice Jewish Poet Sarra Copia Sulam: A presentation by Kathleen Ann Gonzalez

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

As the Jewish population of Venice was newly segregated into the world’s first ghetto, poet Sarra Copia Sulam (1592–1641) created a literary salon in her ghetto home that brought together Jews and Christians for conversation and cultural exchange. Sulam knew Hebrew, Spanish, Latin, and Greek as well as her native Italian, and studied philosophy, music, and rabbinic literature. But her public, literary life exacted a price. She was denounced for heresy, pressured relentlessly to convert to Christianity, accused of plagiarism, questioned for her learning, and robbed of hundreds of ducats in gold and goods.

Following the Jewish Community Library’s recent exhibit, The Venice Ghetto at 500, writer and educator Kathleen Gonzalez will present the life of Sarra Copia Sulam in the context of seventeenth-century Venetian society, in which Jews were segregated, yet had cultural and commercial influence.

Kathleen Ann Gonzalez has written six books, including A Living Memory: Immortality for Sarra Copia Sulam and A Beautiful Woman in Venice, featuring biographies of important Venetian women. Her essays appear in anthologies and periodicals, and three of her books have been published in Italy. 

Co-presented by the Museo Italo Americano.