History of the Jews in Argentina

History of the Jews in Argentina

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Argentine Jews

caption = Notable Argentine Jews:
Miguel Najdorf·Lalo Schifrin·Jorge Guinzburg
poptime =Approximately 185,000-250,000 Argentine Jews
popplace = Predominantly in Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Province, Cordoba Province, Santa Fe Province, and Entre Rios Province.
langs = Predominantly Spanish. Minority speak Yiddish
rels = Judaism

The history of the Jews of Argentina harks back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition when Jews fleeing persecution settled in what is now Argentina.cite web|title=The Virtual Jewish History Tour - Argentina|last=Weiner|first=Rebecca|url=http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Argentina.html|accessdate=2008-01-09] Many of the Portuguese traders in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata were Jews, but an organized Jewish community developed only after Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1810. At that time, Jews from France and other parts of Western Europe began to settle in Argentina. cite web|title=Americas - Argentina; History|publisher=American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee|url=http://www.jdc.org/p_amer_arg_history.html|accessdate=2008-01-09]

Agricultural settlement

The number of Jews immigrating to Argentina increased in the late 19th century due to the efforts of the French Jewish philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch. After the death of his son and heir, de Hirsch devoted himself to Jewish philanthropy and alleviating Jewish suffering in Eastern Europe. He came up with a plan to bring Jews to Argentina as autonomous agricultural settlers. "Argentina and the Jews: A History of Jewish Immigration" Haim Avni, University of Alabama Press, 1991 ISBN 0-8173-0554-8] This plan meshed with Argentina's campaign to attract immigrants. The 1853 constitution guaranteed religious freedom, and the country had vast, unpopulated land reserves. Under President Domingo F. Sarmiento, a policy of mass immigration was introduced that coincided with the violent pogroms in Russia in 1881.

"Congregación Israelita de Buenos Aires"

The Buenos Aires Jewish community was established in 1862, and held its first traditional Jewish wedding in 1868. The first synagogue was inaugurated in 1875. [Argentina & Jews reveals little-known history, "Miami Herald," Mario Diament, 1991] The Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe who settled in Argentina became known as "rusos" ("Russians") by the local population. Some settled in the major cities, but many acquired land through the Jewish Colonization Association and established small agricultural colonies ("comunas") in the interior of the country, especially in the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos.Argentina 1516-1987 by David Rock - Chapter V]

Between 1906 and 1912, Jewish immigration increased at a rate of about 13,000 immigrants per year, with most from Eastern Europe but others from Morocco or the Ottoman Empire. By 1920, approximately 150,000 Jews were living in Argentina.

Jews in Argentina came to play an important role in Argentine society, but anti-Semitism reared its head from time to time. In January 1919 in Buenos Aires, pogroms fomented by the police as a response to a general strike targeted the Jews and destroyed their property. In the strike's aftermath civilian vigilante gangs (the Argentine Patriotic League) went after " agitators" ("agitadores"), claiming scores of victims, mostly Russian Jews who were falsely accused of masterminding a Communist conspiracy. In 1939 half the owners and workers of small manufacturing plants were foreigners, many of them newly arrived Jewish refugees from Central Europe. [Argentina 1516-1987 by David Rock - Chapter VI]

Holocaust and anti-Semitism

Argentina kept its doors open to Jewish immigration until 1938. After that, new regulations were imposed by the government and the flow was severely curtailed at the very moment when the Jews sought a safe haven from the Nazis. [Argentina & Jews reveals little-known history, "Miami Herald" Mario Diament, 1991]

In the 1950s and 60s, the Tacuara Nationalist Movement, a fascist organization with political ties, began a series of anti-Semitic campaigns with street fights and vandalism of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries.es icon [http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-51068-2005-05-15.html Tacuara salió a la calle] , "Página/12", May 15, 2005]


In the 1990s, the Jewish community was the target of two major terrorist attacks, both of which remain unsolved: the Israeli Embassy was bombed in March 1992, killing 32 people, and in July 1994 the Jewish community center (AMIA) in Buenos Aires was bombed as well, killing 85 people and wounding over 200. During the economic crisis of 1999–2002, approximately 4400 Argentine Jews made "aliyah" to Israel. [ [http://www.ujc.org/page.html?ArticleID=32088 Argentina Status Report on Aliyah ] ]


Today, approximately 185,000-250,000 Jews live in Argentina, [http://www.jpppi.org.il/JPPPI/SendFile.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&GID=489 The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute; Annual Assessment, 2007 ] ] [ [http://www.ujc.org/section.html?id=29 United Jewish Communities; Global Jewish Populations] ] down from 310,000 in the early 1960s,. Most of Argentina's Jews live in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Rosario.http://www.jdc.org/p_amer_arg_pop.html] Argentina's Jewish population is the largest Jewish community in Latin America, the third-largest in the Americas (after that of the United States and Canada), and the sixth-largest in the world. (See Jewish population) The Jewish population is 80% Ashkenazi.cite web|title=World Jewish Population|last=LeElef|first=Ner|url=http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/world-jewish-population.htm#_ftnref1|accessdate=2008-01-09] By law, the Jews are allowed two days of vacation on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the first two and last two days of Passover. [ [http://www.edicionnacional.com/edicion/2006/4/24/articulo/25573 Fiestas judías no laborables - Edición Nacional ] ]


See also

*"Next Year in Argentina" - a documentary about Jews in Argentina
*Jewish gauchos
*History of the Jews in Latin America
*Immigration to Argentina
*Andinia Plan
*Moisés Ville
*Colonia Lapin
*Colegio Tarbut
*Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina
*List of Argentine Jews

External links

* [http://www.jafi.org.il/education/identity/2-4argentina.html Jewish Agency for Israel: Argentina]
* [http://www.seminariorabinico.org.ar Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (In Spanish, English Abstract)]

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