Food, Entertainment & Tours at ‘Balagan Café’

This summer, a cocktail hour or dinner and live music in outdoors with free admission returns to Florence. The Synagogue gardens will once more be transformed on Thursday nights during August into a Balagan Café—Hebrew for “merry chaos,” in the spirit of the temple’s foundation.  In the 19th century, an appointed commission chose one Jewish architect and two Catholic architects to build the splendid, Moorish-style synagogue, which was inaugurated in 1882.  Today, guided visits, talks and entertainment will be offered starting at 7 pm, continuing throughout the night.  Admission is free (except for food and guided visits) and people of all faiths are encouraged to attend.

Gates open at the garden on August 6 at 7 pm, with a series of events beginning with live music (7 and 9:30 pm, the latter featuring Enrico Fink and musicians from the Arezzo Multiethnic Orchestra); guide visits of the Synagogue, 8 pm, €5), a dinner of Hebrew specialties from different nations including couscous, hummus and eggplant Moroccan style at 8 pm, prepared by chefs Michele Hagen and Jean Michel Carasso (reservation necessary: book at  www.balgancafe.it), a talk illustrating the life and career of late Florence Jewish community leader Daniela Misul (8:30 pm).  (rosanna cirigliano)