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‘Belonging to Many Homes’: Argentine Sephardi Youth in Buenos Aires and Israel, 1956–76

  • Adriana M. Brodsky
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)

Abstract

In 1956, a small number of young Argentine Sephardi men and women decided to ‘take over’ a building that belonged to Or Torah — the Congregation of Damascene origin in Barracas, a neighborhood in the south of Buenos Aires. One Saturday evening, they walked with enough supplies to last them a few days into a house used by older members to play dominos and cards. While one group remained in the building, a delegation walked around the neighborhood, including the coffee houses (the famous Bar de los Turcos among them) where many of the congregation’s leaders sat discussing the events of the week, and distributed printed flyers with the words: ‘We have taken over the club’. After spending the night in the building, and following a violent altercation with members of the communal leadership featuring flying chairs and the singing of the Hatikva (the Israeli national anthem), the youth group was granted permission to use the space for its own activities. ‘We introduced Israel, Israeli dance, culture, and much more [to the young members of Or Torah]’, said one of the rebels. ‘In fact’, another member recalls, ‘we succeeded — through the activities we devised — in bringing back to Judaism a large number of people who had stopped attending the synagogue services all together’.1

Keywords

Jewish Community Jewish Identity Youth Group Jewish History Jewish Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 6.
    For a good summary of the discussion regarding the reconfiguration of Jewish diaspora, see R. Kobrin (2010) Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), pp. 10–11.Google Scholar
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    Anecdotal evidence suggests that this process was at play. Roniger and Babis suggest something similar in L. Roniger and D. Babis (2008) ‘Latin American Israelis: The Collective Identity of an Invisible Community’ in E. Ben-Rafael, J. B. Liwerant, Y. Gorny and R. Rein (eds) Identities in an Era of Globalization and Multiculturalism: Latin America in the Jewish World (Leiden: Brill), p. 300.Google Scholar
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    See Goren for a description of how the kibbutz and the pioneer became the central ideals of Zionism among American Jews. A. A. Goren (1999) The Politics and Public Culture of American Jews (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), chapter 8. There were, however, other Sephardi youth groups which did not insist on aliyah and on the pioneer experience. They still considered themselves Zionist (as they raised money to send to Israel and believed in the right of theGoogle Scholar
  12. 25.
    The Third Seder was an event performed by Argentine (Askenazi) Zionist groups, like the Juventud Mordejai Anilevich. See D. B. Israel (1978) De América Latina a Israel, Al Kibutz: 32 Anos De Aliá Jalutziana De Los Miembros De La Família Del Hashomer Hatzair a Su Federación Kibutziana Del Kibutz Artzi (Israel: Israel Departamento Latinoamericano de la Organizatión Juvenil Sionista Mundial Hashomer Hatzair), p. 77.Google Scholar
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    The interest in folklore was evident not only in Argentina, of course. In Latin America, its study and dissemination was closely linked to the project of mesti-zaje and, consequently, to a reimagining of national identity. See O. Chamosa (2010) The Argentine Folklore Movement: Sugar Elites, Criollo Workers, and the Politics of Cultural Nationalism, 1900–1955 (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press).Google Scholar
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    See F. Goldberg and I. Rozen (eds) (1998) Los Latinoamericanos En Israel: Antologia De Una Aliá (Buenos Aires: Contexto), p. 63.Google Scholar

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© Adriana M. Brodsky 2015

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  • Adriana M. Brodsky

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