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Are you allowed to sell December-themed holiday items that do not contain any explicit Xmas mention or imagery?

What about items that do contain the words 'merry xmas' or imagery? (A cross or image of him I would imagine not allowed. Correct?)

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Actually, Jews in Rome have been selling crucifixes for centuries with rabbinical permission. In 2005 and 2006 there were a number of articles which included interviews with the chief rabbi of Rome involving this issue.

Rome incurs the wrath of Jewish rosary bead sellers

Hundreds of Jewish rosary bead sellers who were given their licences to sell Catholic souvenirs in Rome by the Vatican two centuries ago, are rising up in revolt over new restrictions on their trade.

The street vendors, who offer images of Christ and saints, as well as Roman souvenirs, are furious at being banned from selling near the Colosseum after the city decided to clear out hawkers.

“The Jewish rosary bead sellers are a Roman tradition which risks being destroyed,” said Fabio Perugia, a spokesman for Rome’s Jewish community.

“Marino had promised the chief rabbi he would not do this,” Mr Perugia said.

This summer, the rabbi joined vendors in a noisy protest outside the town hall, and Marino vowed to reverse his decision, but with the mayor resigning this week, the vendors now face continued uncertainty.

Vendors in saint peter's square perdominantly of jewish faith

Hawking rosaries and papal gadgets is a Jewish business in Rome and around the Vatican.

Thirty-nine-year-old Di Porto grew up in Rome’s largest Jewish neighborhood, still referred to as “Il Ghetto” because the area once housed the Roman Jewish Ghetto.

Following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, Di Porto began selling religious souvenirs in front of St. Peter’s Basilica at the age of 19. He is a sturdy man whose lined and deeply tanned face shows the signs of all the hours he has spent outdoors carrying his tray of keepsakes, working seven days a week, all year round, he says.

Just down the street, Agesilao Di Veroli, 44, has also been selling rosaries and papal key chains alongside plastic models of the colosseum at his souvenir stall for the last 20 years. Like Di Porto, Di Veroli also learned the trade from his grandfather. As a young boy he couldn’t wait until he was old enough to manage his own bancarella, his own stand, he says.

Di Veroli is one of approximately 105 vendors, all of whom are licensed to sell souvenirs at stands in front of Rome’s most important monuments - and all of whom, except for one, are Jewish.

Other ambulant vendors, like Di Porto, carry trays of trinkets but are not licensed to set up stalls. All of these vendors, too, except for one, are Jewish. Like other Italian Jews, some of the vendors are observant, though many are not. Most passersby and many Italians would never know that Di Veroli is Jewish.

At the end of World War II, several Jewish families managed to get their licenses back. No new permits have been given out since the war because there is no more public space available to be licensed. So today, the vendors remain Roman Jews and the profession continues to be passed on within the family, with young men usually learning the business from their fathers, as they have done for centuries.

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    What exactly is the source for this Rabbinical permission? Who are these Rabbis? Can you provide some more information? – Mark A. Nov 1 '16 at 3:13
  • @MarkA. A few years ago I saw articles that went into more detail, but I could not find them this time. This reminds me of a joke about two of these sellers (sometimes told about two beggars) outside a church. One was Jewish and one was an obvious Catholic (dress etc). Some would deliberately give to the non-Jew to "stick it" to the Jew. Someone approached the Jew and suggested he find a spot where the Catholic would not take away his "business". He responded, "Who are you to tell the Cohen brothers how to do business". – sabbahillel Nov 1 '16 at 13:14

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