Letters to the Book Supplement, January 2011
On Shalom Goldman's review of “The Jews of San Nicandro” in the December issue.
Praiseworthy, but not the first
In response to Shalom Goldman’s review of “The Jews of San Nicandro” (December Books)
Prof. Goldman, at the end of his article on John Davis’ book “The Jews of San Nicandro,” enthuses about the author’s having brought this great story to light.
But the story of San Nicandro’s Jews is not news. It was describes in book form in 1958, in the personal memoir of Pinchas (Phinn) Lapide, a former Israeli consul to Milan. The Italian edition (I have a copy) was titled “Mose’ in Puglia” (Longanesi & C., Milan), while the English edition was titled “The Prophet of San Nicandro.”
According to Lapide, the group immigrated to Israel and settled in Al-Ras al-Ahmar, a depopulated Arab village in the Galilee, later renamed Kerem Ben Zimra.
A happy surprise
It was a happy surprise to see a front-page review of a book about the Jews of San Nicandro. However, your reviewer praises John Davis for finally bringing “this great story to light.”
Many, many years ago, however, I read with great interest a book by Phinn Lapide called “The Prophet of San Nicandro.” (Alas, I later lost it.)