Venice Jewish community president abruptly resigns

ROME (JTA) – Riccardo Calimani shocked the Venice Jewish community when he abruptly announced his resignation as community president during Rosh Hashanah services.

It was revealed this week that he quit because police had discovered more than 130 pounds of expired frozen meat in the kitchen of the community’s old age home.


Calimani, an author and historian who had been elected president four months ago, announced his resignation on the evening of Sept. 4, during services at the centuries-old Spanish synagogue in the historic Venice Ghetto.

Calimani, whose best-known book is a history of the Venice Ghetto, did not give a reason for his decision to quit. But local news reports over the weekend said that during an inspection of the old age home before the holiday, Carabinieri Police found and confiscated 110 boxes of meat that had been improperly frozen and whose expiration date had passed.

Local reports said that the meat had been in the freezer since well before Calimani took office, but legal responsibility for the offense rested with him as Jewish community president, since the old age home is run by the Jewish community.

A Jewish community source in Venice said members of the 400-member community were “rightly outraged” to have learned about the affair through newspaper reports and not Jewish community channels.