For Kol Nidrei services, we went to the Great Synagogue of Rome. To enter, we went through 3 layers of questioning our background and motives. In 1982, there was an attack on the shul, so now they are very strict about entry.
The magnificent building was finished in 1904. There are hand painted Mediterranean designs covering all the walls and ceilings. The Rabbis/Cantors were wearing papal looking white hats and walked in a pack of three. The way the service was conducted and the tefillah had clear influences from the Vatican.
We went back for Neillah services where hundreds of families were hovered under Tallitot listening to the Rabbi’s blessing for the upcoming year. One woman grabbed Rona and included her with her daughters and granddaughters. They exchanged kisses with both of us after the prayer. It was a very touching moment!