“My name is Micaela Pavoncello, thank you for contacting Jewish Roma Walking tours.” That was the first line of the response we got about joining Micaela on one of her Jewish-themed tours in Rome. While not inexpensive, her tour of the Jewish Ghetto was definitely the highlight of our stay in Rome.
Micaela is a dynamic and attractive woman whose heritage as a Roman Jew goes back two thousand years on her father’s side! In the second century BCE, the Maccabee family led a successful revolt against the Seleucid Greeks, who were defiling the Holy Temple and demanding that Jews worship King Antiochus IV Epiphanes as a god. During the war against the Seleucid empire, which lasted more than 25 years and included hundreds of battles, the brothers allied themselves with various regional powers whom they thought would help them in their audacious war. In 161 BCE, Jews arrived in Rome from Jerusalem as envoys of Judah Maccabee to elicit Rome’s cooperation and aid.