Publications and Research

Document Type

Book Chapter or Section

Publication Date



In 1712,a casino was established in the Jewish neighborhood of the Mediterranean port of Livorno. This venue, which stayed open until 1720, appears unique, as no similar Jewish institutions have been described in comparable communities. This explores the significance of the casino for the relationship of Livornese Jewry with Tuscan culture and the state by investigating internal documents from the Livornese Jewish community (nazione ebrea) in light of analogous Tuscan institutions. By considering an episode in the relatively little studied history of early modern Jewish leisure, we gain insight into values and aspirations of members of one of the principal Sephardic communities of the western Mediterranean, with broader implications for eighteenth-century Jewish historiography. My discussion builds on an academic tradition greatly indebted to Jane Gerber, a pioneering advocate for the scholarly study of Sephardic history, whom I am also fortunate to know as a supportive colleague and generous mentor at our shared institutional home at the City University of New York.


This chapter was originally published in From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The Sephardic Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times, edited by Federica Francesconi, Stanley Mirvis, and Brian Smollett.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.