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Shalom, Buenos Aires: A Jewish Culture Guide

On the other side of the world from Israel, and south of the equator, is one of the most populated, active, and conscious communities outside the Jewish state.

By: Anthony Marcusa
Published: June 11th, 2013 in Culture » Society » News
Buenos Aires, Argentina

And we’re off, to anywhere and everywhere, as we say ‘Shalom’ every week to different global travel destination. World cities, provincial towns, and even the most unassuming of suburbs are infused with Jewish history and culture, some of which is waiting to be discovered.

For the pious follower, the curious traveler, or the intrepid adventurer, we’ll unearth the best of what to do and where to go. Be it an emerging subculture, a historical landmark, or simply a triumph of art in any form, Jewish experiences are found around the world; and likely as well in your backyard.

It may be in the destination, the journey, or the company, but there is much to uncover and celebrate near and far, so hurry up and get going.

Shalom, Buenos Aires


On the other side of the world from Israel, and south of the equator, is one of the most populated, active, and conscious communities outside the Jewish state. Jewish settlers dating back to the 16th century, a present-day galvanized community of over 200,000, an art deco shopping mall, and even a kosher McDonald’s, all in part make Buenos Aires an influential Jewish city and major tourist destination on the world stage.

While the Jewish community was established around 1860 in the Argentine capital, with the first official traditional Jewish wedding held years later in 1868, the inaugural setters arrived centuries earlier following the expulsion of Jews from Spain. Fleeing persecution in the European country, many Jews fled across the Atlantic Ocean, and while some took to North America and Latin America, others went further south.

While Argentina was a Spanish colony, with Spain instituting the Inquisition against any non-Catholic residents, those who left for the South American country settled into Argentine society, keeping their Judaism a secret. It is known that Jews lived in Buenos Aires during the Spanish colonial period up through the early 19th century, but traces of Jews living openly is not found.


Templo Libertad, Buenos Aires

The Argentine War of Independence from 1810-1818 marked a major change in Jewish history. With the colony’s victory, and subsequent abolition of the Inquisition, Jews lived openly in the country while others from around the world flocked to the newly independent state. Jews sought to escape political turmoil in Europe in the mid 19th century, especially from France, while decades later it would be the Jews from Russia that came in waves to South America.

Only 100 years after its independence, Argentina boasted a Jewish population of around 150,000, with a majority living in Buenos Aires.

Related articles: Shalom, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jewish, Judaism, Travel, Tourism, Culture, Vacation, Spanish, Kosher, McDonald’s
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