The first Jews in South America came with Columbus whose voyage set out on August 3 (also Rachel's birthday) 1492 - the day on which "the
Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon decreed
that the Jews of Spain either had to convert to Catholicism, depart from the country, or face death for defiance of the Monarch". Seven Jews sailed with Columbus, and one is credited with the first sighting of land in the New World. (See Wikipedia.)
But most came in various waves of immigration after the mid-19th century. There have also been outfluxes, notably in the years of the military regime and after the 2001 economic crisis.
To read more on the history of Jewish Buenos Aires and Argentina, see:
- The Jewish Agency
- The Jewish Virtual Library
- Genealogical information (JewishGen), and the Argentine section of international cemetary project
- The Jewish Diaspora in Latin America (book review)
- The Jewish Gauchos: Comments on making of a film
- Haruth: "Jewish Argentina"
- Horowitz: "The Jewish Community of Buenos Aires" (written 1960s)
- The Barg Family's "History of Argentinean Jewry"
- Guy: "Sex and Danger in Buenos Aires" (Discusses events of the 1890s, Online book 1991) and, on the same topic, "Tango and Jewish White Slavery in Argentina" (Powerpoint)
- NY Daily News: "Buenos Aires Pogrom" (Commentary on the 1919 event in Once, and the film, 2008 by Szwarcbart)
- IPSNews: "Argentina’s Jewish ‘Desaparecidos’"
- Weisenthal Centre launches "last chance" project in South America (2007) (and here)
- Ilene Goldman, "To Be(come) Jewish and Argentine: Cinematic Views of a Changing Nation" (crtique of a film)
- Agosin: "Memory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America" (Online book: see cuisine and humour)
- Wertheimer: "The Modern Jewish Experience" (Online book, 1993)
- "Argentina - Land of Learning and Loss" - Comment after the 2001 Crisis (this is a .doc file) from Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2002
- A more personal view of Jewish Argentina after the 2001 crisis, by Monica Zalcman and Joanne Lebovits-Brodkin
- "Our Cousins to the South" (2002) on a visit to Argentina, speaks of Rabino Sergio Bergman (currently at Templo Libertad).
- "Born in Buenos Aires" (movie, 2003)
- "First Jewish Mayor for Buenos Aires" (2006) - NOTE Telerman lost the 2008 election to Macri.
And for Uruguay:
For various on-line personal perspectives of more current life in Jewish Buenos Aires:
- FONZ has an unhappy experience with security at several Jewish events (2004) NOTE: Yes, it is essential to bring your passport to Jewish places /events, and if you have a letter of introduction from your Rabbi, all the better (but not essential).
- Jeff Barry visits a Remembrance ceremony in Pasteur in "The AMIA bombing - 11 years later" (2005)
- Lee Wunsch also visits the AMIA (2005)
- Hendler film (2006) "Lost Embrace" made in Once in "Woody Allen-esque" style (Review)
- Central Synagogue NY - 17 comments from their visit (2006?)
- David Shneer visits Communidad Bet El in Belgrano for Kabbala Shabbat (2007, he also has 4 other pages on BsAs)
- Deb Miller's quirky view of Once (not our experience at all)
- Robert and Carol Norman offer a more serious view of their 2007 visit
- Daniel Fink does some gallivanting, and
- Paul Rockower loves the elegance of it all, and visits Bet Hillel
- Florence Arbiser attends Passover fest in Palermo (2007)
- Clarin writes up "Música y tradición judía en Palermo" (An Urban Rosh Hashana with photo, in Spanish, 2007)
- Nathan Englander on "This Country of Mothers" (2007, 5 pages)
- Daniel Loiederman on "A Yiddish celebration with Buenos Aires style" (2007)
- Don and Linda Freedman (2008) wax lyrical about the Palacio del Aguas (3 blocks from Casa Jasmin) and visit Templo Libertad (8 blocks). Lots more too.
Jewish websites with useful information for visitors: