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American Jewish Archives 1982 34 02 00

Volume XXXIV November, 1982 Number
American Jewish
A Journal Devoted to the Preservation and Study
of the American Jewish Experience
Jacob Rader Marcus, Ph.D., Editor
Abraham J. Peck, Ph.M,, Associate Editor
Published by The American Jewish Archives
on the Cincinnati Campus of the
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, President
American Jewish Archives is indexed in The
Index to Jewish Periodicals, Current Contents,
The American Historical Review, United States
Political Science Documents, and The Journal
of American History
Information for Contributors;
American Jewish Archives follows generally the
University of Chicago Press "Manual of Style"
(12th revised edition) and "Words into Type"
(3rd edition), but issues its own style sheet
which may be obtained by writing to:
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Patrons 1982:
The Neumann Memorial Publication Fund
The Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund
Published by The American Jewish Archives on
the Cincinnati campus o f the Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion
ISSN ooz-9ogX
a1982 b y the American Jewish Archives
Judith Laikin Elkin
Historiographical Problems in the Study of the Inquisition and the
Mexican Crypto-Jews in the Seventeenth Century
Stanley M. Hordes
Jose Diaz Pimienta: Rogue Priest
J. Hartog
Judios y gauchos: The Search for Identity in Argentine-Jewish
Stephen A. Sadow
The Jewish White Slave Trade in Latin American Writings
Nora Glickman
Eakly Zionist Activities Among Sephardim in Argentina
Victor Mirelman
Hombre de Paso: Just Passing Through
Isaac Goldemberg
Some Aspects of Intermarriage in the Jewish Community
of SHo Paulo, Brazil
Rosa R. Krausz
A Demographic Profile of Latin American Jewry
Judith Laikin Elkin
Book Reviews
Murphy, Bruce Allen. The BrandeislFrankfurter Connection:
The Secret Political Activities o f Two Supreme Court Justices
Reviewed by William Toll
Kalechofsky, Robert, and Kalechofsky, Roberta, Edited by. South African Voices
Reviewed by Anthony D. Holz
Plesur, Milton. lewish Life in Twentieth Century America: Challenge
and Accommodation
Reviewed by Samuel K. Joseph
Brief Notices
Index to Volume XXXIV
Exactly ten years ago, while a candidate for the Ph.D. at a Big Ten University, I met my newly assigned academic adviser and announced my
desire to write my thesis on the history of Latin American Jewry. Professor Smith looked quizzically at me and asked, "Why don't you
write a history of the Smith family?"
My adviser was not alone in this reaction. A senior Latin Americanist to whom I next turned confided that, in his forty-year career, he
had seen no scholarly work on the Jews of Latin America. Fortunately,
he had a large enough vision to grasp the importance of the topic, and
encouraged me to go ahead. Seeking to join two disparate fields of
knowledge, I next addressed several scholars engaged in Jewish studies. But none knew much about contemporary Latin America. This
ignorance seemed all the more odd since medieval Spain and the Inquisition-prelude to the history of contemporary Latin American
Jewish communities-have attracted continuing scholarly interest on
the part of Jews and non-Jews throughout the centuries.
How to explain why writers of Jewish history have overlooked the
Latin American branch of the diaspora? How to explain the complete
silence concerning Jews which characterizes Latin American studies?
These dual questions intrigued me then and intrigue me now. They
provided the impetus for my own career and contributed to the emergence of a new scholarly subject, Latin American Jewish studies, of
which this edition of American Jewish Archives is the latest manifestation.
Not surprisingly, Latin American Jewish studies is at this date ill-defined, still struggling for recognition within the older cognate fields of
Latin American studies and Jewish studies. It draws upon history, economics, sociology, anthropology, geography, languages, and literature. It embraces the twenty-one Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking
republics, with the necessary addition of Curaqao, the former Dutch
possession which was the cradle of the Sephardic community in the
New World. It concerns itself with Sephardim and Ashkenazim,
speakers of Ladino and Arabic, Yiddish, Rumanian, Polish, Russian,
German, French-in addition to the more traditional languages for the
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study of Latin America, Spanish and Portuguese. It encompasses a period of close to five hundred years, starting with Isabella of Spain's decree of 1501, in which she instructed the governor of Hispaniola to
prohibit Jews, Moors, heretics, New Christians, and persons
penanced by the Inquisition, as well as their children or grandchildren,
from settling in the Indies. The date most commonly assigned to the
beginning of the Jewish experience in Latin America is 1492, for one
or two conversos may have sailed with Columbus. But 1501 is a far
more significant date, for the queen's decree, unlike the identity and
purpose of those converso sailors, was clear and unambiguous. It established beyond doubt that the limits to the Jewish experience were
to be set by others-rulers and representatives of a dominant society
that was hostile to Jews. It immediately raises hydra-headed questions: To what extent was this hostility ameliorated by political independence? By the different historical paths the republics took when
they tore loose from Spain? By aggiorniamento within the Catholic
Church? It forces us to ask to what degree Jews continue to live in Latin America on sufferance, and to what extent they have become accepted as citizens-recognizing that the answers will vary for different
precincts of the continent. These are all questions to which Latin
American Jewish scholars in increasing numbers are turning their attention.
The extraordinary reach of Latin American Jewish studies, the wide
range of disciplines and languages with which scholars are working,
imparts excitement to the field. Some of this variety may be sampled in
the present issue of American Jewish Archives. Stanley M. Hordes addresses the problems of interpretation which study of the Inquisition
raises for historians, most of whom are partisans of one legend or another: the Black Legend (Spaniards most cruelly obliterated both dissent and dissenters) and the White Legend (Spaniards were no more
cruel than their contemporaries, but they were unlucky enough to
have their enemies write their history). Some Catholic historians have
viewed the Inquisition as the protector of society from immoral foreign elements and ideologies;Jewish historians have written as though
the Inquisition had no other function than to torment judaizers. Neither group has grasped the entire truth, Hordes argues, which will remain obscure so long as we cling to legends instead of studying
objective reality.
The bizarre adventures of one Jose Diaz Pimienta, Cuban-born
priest, convert to Judaism, and double apostate, are recounted with
scholarly vim and vigor by J. Hartog. Pimienta was very much a creature of his time: the seventeenth century was fraught with mythology
about the Jew, a creature whom many practicing Catholics had never
met in the flesh. In this case, it would seem that a private neurosis
blended with a social psychosis, meeting its apotheosis at an auto de fe'
in Seville.
The modern search for identity is pursued through an analysis of
Argentine Jewish literature by Stephen Sadow in his essay "Jud'ios y
gauchos" ("Jews and Cowboys"). The inner struggles of the fictional
characters will sound familiar to readers of Saul Bellow or Philip
Roth, but they are rendered more poignant by the feeling of marginality which Jews experience as they seek to find a permanent home in Argentina.
Nora Glickman looks to Latin American writings for a reflection of
Jewish life. Her subject, however, is the Jewish white slave trade
which, under the protection of the Argentine police, flourished at the
turn of the century. It is symptomatic of the status of Latin American
Jews that more attention has been focused on prostitutes than on any
other group of women.
Studies of the Sephardic communities in Latin America are scarce,
and so Victor Mirelman's monograph on early Zionist activities
among the Sephardim of Argentina is particularly welcome. Sephardim were slower than Ashkenazim to mobilize on behalf of a Jewish
homeland, a reluctance Mirelman ascribes to greater religiosity
among them and a fear that the needs of Sephardim in Eretz Israel
would be subordinated to those of the Ashkenazim. How prophetic
those fears were is left to the reader to judge.
A small but elegant study of intermarriage among Jews of S2io Paulo
authenticates trends and motivations which we have hitherto known
largely from anecdotal evidence. Rosa Krausz has constructed a scale
for correlating the degree of Jewish education with the probability of
intermarrying; replication of her study for other communities would
provide us with a better understanding than we have at present of the
forces urging toward intermarriage.
Even those with an interest in Latin American Jewish studies lack
sufficient knowledge of the demography of this subject: myths
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abound. Judith Laikin Elkin's essay on the demography of Latin
American Jewry brings together in one place the very disparate and
uneven data that have been gathered thus far, and points to gaps in our
knowledge. Significantly, Latin American Jewish communities are
dwindling in size, a phenomenon that may be attributed to a low birth
rate, intermarriage, and assimilation.
Your editor is particularly proud to be able to include in this issue
new poems by the Peruvian-born Jewish poet Isaac Goldemberg. As in
his novels, Goldemberg has an uncanny talent for evoking the evanescent nature of so much of the Jewish experience in Latin America. It is
an experience which can be nullified by a queen's decree, by a happy
intermarriage, or by the expulsion decree of a military junta.
Before inviting the reader to read on into the substance of this journal, I would like to announce that a Latin American Jewish Studies Association was recently formed. Our network includes 124 scholars
and resource persons living and working in fifteen countries around
the globe. Scholars are defined as teaching at academic institutions or
publishing on Latin American Jewish studies. Resource persons include diplomats, businessmen, film makers, physicians, and others
with hands-on knowledge of the Latin American Jewish scene.
LAJSA held a working conference in October 1982on the campus
of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, at which time we sought to develop some of the basic research
tools that are needed if scholarship is to advance. Next year, LAJSA
plans to co-sponsor with the University of New Mexico a conference
on major themes in the Latin American Jewish experience. Readers
who wish to join our network and receive the Newsletter advising
about these and other developments are invited to write to the editor
in care of the American Jewish Archives.
This introduction would not be complete without a word concerning the role which the American Jewish Archives has played in the development of Latin American Jewish studies. The American Jewish
Archives was one of the first institutions in the United States to recognize the importance of this field of study. It was while I was Senior Fellow at the Archives that I assembled the research materials and
scholars' directory which the Archives published under the title Latin
American Jewish Studies. The Archives continues to publish and distribute the LAJSA Newsletter. Opening the pages of its journal to us,
and offering to host our first conference, confirm its continuing interest and support. For this, our warmest thanks to Director Jacob R.
Marcus and Associate Director Abraham J. Peck.
Judith Laikin Elkin
Guest Editor
Historiographical Problems
in the Study of the Inquisition and
the Mexican Crypto-Jews in the
Seventeenth Century
Stanley M. Hordes
Within the scope of Mexican history, the subjects of the Inquisition
and of crypto-Jews have long been the focus of heated controversy and
misplaced value judgments.' The unfortunate result of this has been,
and still remains today, a lack of understanding of the Inquisition, particularly in its relation to the crypto-Jewishcommunity. The polemical
nature of the historiography reflects the same Black Legend versus
White Legend debate that has plagued colonial Latin American historiography continuously since the Spanish conquest. Because the theme
of inquisitorial persecution-i.e., the rigid enforcement of Catholic orthodoxy and exclusivity-strikes at the very nerve center of this debate
between assailants and defenders of the Spanish colonial system, historians of both schools have demonstrated a great deal of emotion and
self-righteousness in the pursuit of their respective causes.
Historiographically, two antagonistic schools have addressed this
issue. On one hand, scholars specializing in Jewish history have continued the tradition of their Protestant, North European predecessors
in their attack upon the Spanish Catholic Church in general, and upon
the Holy Office of the Inquisition in particular. Such writers have
tended to portray the activities of the Inquisition unfavorably, focusing attention upon atypical but spectacular behavior of that institution, and often imposing twentieth-century values regarding
toleration and justice backward in time to a less-enlightened, less-ecumenical age. Reacting strongly to the detractors of the Church, a far
different school of historians, composed chiefly of Latin Americans
and Spaniards closely associated with modern proclerical movements,
has stressed the positive role that the Church and the Inquisition
played in the development of Mexican colonial society. As will be
clearly demonstrated below, both schools of Inquisition history have
Historiographical Problems
been motivated to a large degree by twentieth-century concerns. Both
have attempted to manipulate and use the history of the Mexican Inquisition to build support for and justify present-day religious and political positions far removed from the Holy Office of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries.
The Historiography of the Black Legend:
Selective Perception
One of the largest problems encountered in the historiography of the
Inquisition and the crypto-Jews in Mexico is that of perspective. Since
a large share of the historical literature published on this topic during
the last one hundred years has been written by scholars specializing in
Jewish history, readers have to overcome the barrier of selective perception. Despite heavy evidence to the contrary, many authors convey
the impression that the Holy Office in Mexico concerned itself primarily with the persecution of judaizantes. This trend in modern historiography had its inception in the books and articles that appeared
around the turn of the twentieth century, many of which were
published in conjunction with the newly formed American Jewish Historical Society. The avowed purpose of the society was to bring to light
the contributions of Jews to the history of the New World. In the
I 89o's, when the society was founded, leaders of the scholarly Jewish
community in the United States felt compelled to pursue this course in
an effort to combat what they perceived as the dual evil of a growing
anti-Semitism and a tendency of Jews to abandon their heritage in favor of assimilation into the mainstream of American society.
During the course of the increasingly large waves of Jewish immigration, principally from Russia and Eastern Europe, there developed
a corresponding rise in the level of anti-Jewish sentiment among the
native American community. In an attempt to counter this growing
hostility, prominent members of the older, more established Jewish
community sought to improve the image of all American Jews by
portraying them in a favorable light. Hence, the American Jewish Historical Society was formed to highlight the positive historical role
played by Jews. The founders of the society hoped that their message
would be received by their coreligionists as well, convincing them that
they could be considered patriotic Americans without having to aban-
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don their ethnic heritage and their faith.' In fulfillment of this aim, the
works published under the auspices of the society sought to emphasize
the role of Jews in the conquest and colonization of Mexico and other
areas of Latin America, to the point of distorting their importance relative to other historical groups and forces. The anti-Spanish bias reflected in these works, in addition to advancing their parochial
perspectives, was consistent with most contemporary scholarly works
published in Europe and the United States concerning Spain and Latin
More recent historical scholarship in this genre has reflected similar
concerns. In the wake of the Nazi atrocities and the ever-increasing
tendency of second and third generations of American Jews toward assimilation, scholars of Jewish history have sought to place the experience of Mexican crypto-Jews in the context of a continuing chain of
anti-Semitic persecution at the hands of the dominant Christian society.3 In so doing, they hoped to instill a sense of ethnic consciousness
into those Jews who might otherwise have felt secure in their acceptance by the dominant culture. The message that these authors issued
was very clear, and perhaps is best exemplified by the admonitions of
Seymour B. Liebman:
It behooves Mexican Jewry to remember those who preceded them
to the shores of New Spain. When a prayer for any Jewish martyr or
group of martyrs is recited in Mexico, let not the contemporary
Mexican Jew forget Mexico's own who died for the sanctification
of the name of God as did all martyrs who preceded and followed.
Mexican colonial Jews forgot their past. They blotted it out of their
minds and hearts.. .and when Judaism ceased to have intrinsic value, it dissipated and ~ a n i s h e d . ~
The early issues of the annual Publications of the American Jewish
Historical Society, which appeared in the I 890's and the first decade
of the twentieth century, contained many articles highlighting the
martyrdom and persecution suffered by Jews in Latin America at the
hands of the Inquisition. Cyrus Adler, president of the society and one
of the major contributors to the Publications, edited several transcripts of Inquisition trials of crypto-Jews, in which he offered the impression that the Holy Office existed almost exclusively for the
purpose of persecuting Jews.' Another whose articles frequently ap-
Historiographical Problems
peared in the Publications was George Alexander Kohut, who similarly portrayed the inquisitors as individuals preoccupied solely with the
religious practices of marranos and of New Christiam6
Through the later years of the twentieth century other writers expanded on this theme. Cecil Roth, in A History of the Marranos, stated that the sole purpose for the establishment of the Holy Office in
New Spain in I 571 was to rid the viceroyalty of crypto-Jews. Roth neither discussed the motives for such a policy nor attempted to analyze
the early activities of the Mexican tribunal of the Inquisition in persecuting other religious heretics (despite his citation that only one New
Christian appeared in the first auto de fe' of 1574). As did other turnof-the-century authors, Roth accentuated the two short periods in
Mexican history ( I596-1 601 and I 642-1649) when the Inquisition
embarked upon campaigns against the crypto-Jewish community. In
so limiting his discussion of inquisitorial activity to those brief but
spectacular campaigns, he offered a distorted picture of the Holy Office, its character and function.'
The Argentine historian Boleslao Lewin has been one of the more
prolific scholars of this genre. His many books and articles on the Inquisition in Spanish America in general, and in Mexico in particular,
reflect the historiographical problem of selective perception taken to
extremes. Lewin's general works discuss the origins of the Holy Office
in Spain and Portugal and its development in the New World, but focus almost exclusively on inquisitorial persecution of crypto-Jews,
barely mentioning other breaches of Catholic orthodoxy. Despite the
impression conveyed by its subtitle, Lewin devoted a scant two and
one-half pages of his La inquisicibn en Hispanoamkica (judios, protestantes y patriotas) to an analysis of the relationships between the
Holy Office and Protestant heretics in Spanish America. Instead, he
preferred to concentrate on the "racism" of the institution and of the
society which it represented, its "fraudulent" methods, and its perses .his
~ books on the Inquisition in Mexico, Lecution of ~ r ~ p t o - J e wIn
win's preoccupation with the latter themes is even more pronounced.
He presents the trials of exemplary crypto-Jews from the 164o's, outlining their sufferings and tribulations, but does so completely in a historical vacuum, neglecting to provide any historical context, and
offering the impression that persecution of crypto-Jews was the sole
function of the Inquisition.'
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More recent scholarly inquiries by specialists in Jewish history into
the relationship between the Holy Office and Mexican crypto-Jews offer little improvement in overcoming the problem of perspective. Martin A. Cohen, author of The Martyr: The Story of a Secret Jew and the
Mexican Inquisition in the Sixteenth Century, concerning the activities of Luis de Carvajal, did not pass up the temptation to dwell on the
spectacular aspects of the crypto-Jewish experience in New Spain.
Billed as "a tale of adventure and heroism,"'" The Martyr portrays the
struggle of Carvajal and other Mexican crypto-Jews against the evervigilant Holy Office. Nowhere in his discussion of the relationship between the crypto-Jews and the Inquisition does Cohen cite the other
functions and concerns of the Inquisition. Even when discussing the
interloping exploits of the Englishman John Hawkins off the Gulf
coast of Mexico, Cohen fails to cite the arrest of several of Hawkins's
men by the Inquisition on the charge of pursuing the Lutheran
The many books and articles by Seymour B. Liebman on the subject
similarly reflect the problem of selective perception. Readers of Liebman's works are left with the impression that the Inquisition, as the instrument of the "totalitarian" Church," was instituted in New Spain
almost exclusively for the purpose of extirpating judaizantes from the
land. Liebman's recurring theme of inquisitorial persecution of crypto-Jews serves to obscure not only the concern of the Holy Office with
other heresies, but also its subtle uses of power for political and economic ends.
Among recent scholars of Jewish history, Salo W. Baron stands out
as somewhat more analytical and objective than his colleagues cited
above. To his credit Baron tends to de-emphasize the persecution of
judaizantes in favor of a more sophisticated evaluation of the cryptoJewish experience in New Spain. He properly places the crypto-Jews
within the context of the larger Mexican community, citing them as
only one of several minority groups in the viceroyalty and as an integral part of the ruling white minority. As such, he points out, they were
treated less harshly than in Europe. Moreover, Baron notes, many
Mexican crypto-Jews were successfully able to camouflage themselves
by assuming new identities, thus avoiding detection by both immigration and Inquisition officials.13
Unfortunately, Baron demonstrates a certain ambivalence by his
Historiographical Problems
judgment that there was a high percentage of judaizante cases during
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His contention that the Mexican Holy Office was overly intent upon prosecuting judaizantes is
weakened by his reliance on questionable statistics. He cites a small
sample of cases collected by David Fergusson around the turn of the
twentieth century, concluding that the crypto-Jews ranked second only to bigamists for the biggest share of inquisitorial attention.14
The Historiography of the Black Legend:
Together with the problem of selective perception, the historiography
of the Inquisition and crypto-Jews in New Spain has been plagued by
the inappropriate imposition of moral value judgments backward in
time. The stress placed on the persecution of crypto-Jews by certain
historians reflects an implicit and explicit application of twentiethcentury values to an institution and a society of an earlier age. Much of
the literature written over the past eighty years has been filled with
self-righteous outrage against the "moral depravity" of the Inquisition, and its "corrupt," "unjust" procedures, such as holding "unfair
trials" where "flimsy evidence" was admitted." If the Holy Office
were to be revived today, few would dispute these harsh words of condemnation. The imposition of such judgments backwards to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, runs counter to standards
of responsible historical scholarship.
Early on, Jewish historiography began to assume the same Black
Legend traits that characterized the works of nineteenth-century Protestant English and Dutch historians writing about Spain and Spanish
America.16 England, Holland, and the United States represented the
forces of toleration and rational, progressive development; Spain and
her colonies in the New World, those of backwardness, intolerance,
and stagnation. Oscar S. Strauss's comments in his presidential address to the American Jewish Historical Society in 1900well represent
the common outlook that scholars of Jewish history shared with historians of the Black Legend school:
The causes that contribute to the advance of liberty are only in part
such as germinate from within a nation; they are also such as are superinduced from without, the latter being often more active than
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the former. The Inquisition in Spain and Portugal worked moral
degradation and national ruin within those countries, yet the refugees it forced into exile contributed to the moral elevation and
material advancement of the nations among'whom they sought
Thus, Strauss implied that Holland and England advanced and Spain
declined because of the differences in their ideas and policies in regard
to religious toleration. Extending his views on Anglo-Saxon superiority to the American continent, Strauss credited the establishment of the
Monroe Doctrine by the United States with setting "the stamp of perpetual freedom upon the institutions of this hemisphere." If not for
North American influence, the "fires of the Inquisition" would have
been rekindled, and "medieval despotism" would have "crush[ed]
...every vestige of constitutional liberty.'"' In this spirit of chauvinism and growing ethnic consciousness discussed earlier, scholars of
Jewish history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries focused their attention upon the "trail of horror" left by the Mexican Inquisition, and the "depraving influence, both mental and moral,
which the Holy Office exercised" in seventeenth-century New Spain.19
The later years of the twentieth century witnessed a continuation of
this trend among scholars of imposing harsh moral judgments upon
the Mexican Inquisition. Cecil Roth indignantly criticized the Holy
Office for its failure to comply with modern standards of jurisprudence in the arrests and trials of judaizantes. He carefully outlined
each step of the inquisitorial proceso, noting how cruel or unfair the
process was to the individual on trial. Although he unfavorably contrasted the Holy Office's procedures with twentieth-century judicial
practices, he made no effort to compare them with those of contemporary judicial institutions, either in Spain or in other European nations.
If he had done so, he might well have found that they were no more
cruel or unfair than those of his native England in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries.'"
Arguing against the concept of historical relativism, Boleslao Lewin
forcefully defended his right as a historian to condemn both the Inquisition and Spanish colonial society as sinister. Lewin contended that
there exist "certain moral laws, valid in all ages and societies," to
which all societies are accountable. To avoid these moral judgments,
he claimed, would be not only "historically erroneous," but also "eth-
Historiographical Problems
ically equivocal." With this strong sense of absolute moral righteousness, Lewin consistently criticized the "racist" character of the
Spanish people, their preoccupation with purity of blood lines, and the
manifestation of this concern in the establishment of the Holy Office.
Curiously, Lewin condemned the Inquisition for its racist practices
while at the same time rejecting the relativist arguments of certain historians on the basis that they were propounded for the most part by
Catholic authors." Apparently Lewin was able to perceive the biases
of others more astutely than his own.
Recent historical scholarship has been no less judgmental in its
treatment of Spanish colonial society and the Inquisition in Mexico.
Characterizing the early years of the Spanish administration of New
Spain as brutal and revolting, Seymour B. Liebman has focused his
Black Legend-style attack upon the "anti-JewishMactions and the "religious prejudice" of the Holy Office." Liebman's discussion, like
Roth's, discreetly compares inquisitorial procedure to the judicial
practices of twentieth-century Western societies, thus showing it in an
unfavorable light. He points out, for instance, that "the prisoner could
not select his own attorney," and that the lawyers, in addition to being
selected by the inquisitors, "were barred from conferring privately
with their clients and were sworn to secrecy." In addition, "The right
of the accused to call witnesses was limited," and "the testimony of
even the vilest person was welcomed without discrimination."" All of
these methods offend, of course, the sensibilities of Liebman's modern
readers; however, seen in the context of contemporary seventeenthcentury practices, they were not extraordinarily harsh.
To reinforce his own judgments concerning the Inquisition's treatment of Mexican crypto-Jews, Liebman freely and uncritically cites
authors who are notorious for their historical biases against Spain and
the Holy Office. Without giving his readers the benefit of a historiographical explanation, Liebman quotes from such polemical works as
Antonio Puigblanch's The Inquisition Unmasked, George Ticknor's
History of Spanish Literature, and Eduardo Pallares's El procedimiento inquisitorial, as if the ideas of each of these authors were to be taken
at face value. We are told that "the intolerance of Christian Spaniards.. .had been bred on 'an exasperated feeling against the
Jews.. .which had shown itself.. .in plunder and murder of multitudes of that devoted race which, with the Moors, was hated by the
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mass of the Spanish people with a bitter hatred.' " Liebman points out
that "Eduardo Pallares wrote his book to gather 'irrefutable proof of
the injustices of inquisitorial proceedings (many of them infamous and
atrocious) in order to show that the Holy Office as an institution deserved the curses of all human lovers of true justice and the liberty
which God had granted to man.' " Without any further comment to
distinguish Pallares's views from his own, Liebman continues, "The
persecution and punishments of the Inquisition were so severe that officials and private persons close to the throne made vehement protest~."?~
Such harsh characterizations of the Holy Office by this school of Inquisition history were also expressed in nonverbal forms. Authors
such as Roth, Liebman, and Cohen complemented their texts with illustrations depicting grotesque torture scenes and burnings at the
stake. In certain cases these had been drawn by artists far removed
from their subjects. Based upon anti-Spanish prejudices, second-hand
accounts, and a good deal of imagination, they vividly portrayed inquisitorial victims being stretched, burned, choked, or otherwise
physically abused. Cecil Roth's A History of the Marranos, for example, contains several such illustrations by the French engraver Bernard
Picart (1673-173 8), who designed his plates in Amsterdam in the early decades of the eighteenth century. One of his engravings, entitled
"The Place of Torments and Manner of Giving the Torture," graphically depicts hooded ministers of the Holy Office inflicting various
means of torture on several victims simultaneously in a cavernous torture chamber, presided over by an inquisitor. Roth featured this illustration not only in the text of his book but also prominently on the
front cover. Nowhere, however, did he cite the origin of the work, the
perspective of its author, or the authenticity of the scenes described."
In a similar manner, Liebman and Cohen made use of illustrations
extracted from El Libro Rojo, Vicente Riva Palacio's nineteenth-century polemical work highlighting the atrocities performed by the
Spanish upon Indians, blacks, and Jews in the colonial period.'6 Scenes
of female prisoners being disrobed before the inquisitors, of victims
being subjected to torture with the soga and on the rack, and of burnings at the stake, created by P. Miranda, pepper Liebman's The Jews in
New Spain and Cohen's The Martyr." As in the case of Roth, neither
of the authors explains the biases inherent in either the illustrations or
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the sources in which they were found.
While the texts of Boleslao Lewin's works contain no such macabre
portrayals, the cover of his 2 Que' fue la inquisicibn? is an excellent pictorial representation of the author's unabashed historical biases and
moral judgments against the Inquisition. Depicted on the front cover
of this book, a hand grasps a yellow crucifix, fashioned in the shape of
a dagger, which is pointed at the figure of a bearded Jew (curiously attired in Russian garb).
The Historiography of the White Legend
Scholars of Jewish history are not the only ones to view the relationship between the crypto-Jews and the Mexican Inquisition in a narrow
perspective. The historiographical champions of the Holy Office, also
motivated by twentieth-century concerns, have used their writings to
create a favorable historical context for their cause. The decades following the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution of 191 I witnessed a
violent reaction on the part of the revolutionary government against
the once-powerful Catholic Church. Proclerical authors sought to
portray the colonial Church and the Inquisition as morally upright,
patriotic forces, essential for the protection and preservation of Mexican civilization. There soon appeared in Mexico several books defending the role played by the Church and the Inquisition in New Spain.
Very much in accordance with the White Legend tradition, these
works extolled the virtues of Spanish institutions in the New World,
emphasizing the vital function served by the Church as the guardian of
the faith and morality.
Padre Mariano Cuevas participated in the bitter Church-State
struggle of the 1920's. He was instrumental in establishing V.1.T.A.Mexico, the European organization in support of Catholic activities in
Mexico, and spoke out often in defense of the Church." Padre Cuevas
was also one of the more articulate spokesmen representing the historical advocates of the Inquisition. His five-volume Historia de la iglesia
en Mkxico, published in the ~ g z o ' swon
the acclaim of contemporary
Catholic leaders from all over the world." In sharp contrast to the authors described in the preceding sections, Cuevas saw the Inquisition
as fulfilling a positive function within Mexican society. In every society, including that of seventeenth-century New Spain, he held, there
American Jewish Archives
are "eternally damned elements, who conduct themselves not on the
basis of love or noble ideas, but only out of fear of iron and fire"; the
Holy Office provided this iron and fire, and used them to protect the
Having placed the Inquisition in this
moral fiber of Mexican ~ociety.~"
parochial context, Cuevas then proceeded to detail the activities of the
Inquisition in the seventeenth century, lamenting the paucity of cases
from I 604 to I 642 in view of the growth of the "accursed Jewish community." He praised the inquisitors of the 1640's for their vigilance in
the pursuit of the judaizantes. His approval of their actions reflected a
belief that dangers similar to those faced by the seventeenth-century
Church existed in every age, including his
This theme of the Inquisition as the protector of society from immoral and foreign elements and ideologies was echoed by other conservative Mexican authors in the middle decades of the twentieth
century. Both Rafael HernAndez Ortiz and Yolanda Marie1 de Ibaiiez
sought to justify the actions of the Holy Officein New Spain in terms
of the defense of a divinely ordained, immutable social hierarchy. The
Inquisition represented the forces of God over human weakness, a
cleansing agent to purge Mexican society of dangerous, revolutionary
elements which threatened the moral fabric." Implicit in this argument is the idea that the Inquisition represented a distinctly Mexican
phenomenon; the Holy Office served as a bulwark to defend New
Spain from dangerous outside influences, as well as a unifying force
engendering a national inner strength.j3
Toward a More Balanced Approach
That the historiography of the Inquisition and crypto-Jews in seventeenth-century New Spain has been dominated by polemical works
from either of two extremes should not obscure the fact that several
more solid works have been published that treat this subject in a reasonably objective manner. The classic works of Jost Toribio Medina34
and of Henry Charles Lea,3' while certainly not free of biases, represented the first comprehensive attempts to analyze the Mexican Inquisition in an institutional framework. Both authors sought to examine
the interaction between the Mexican tribunal and the royal bureaucracy in Spain, elaborating the struggles for power and the various economic and political motivations for inquisitorial activity. With
regard to the impact of this activity upon Mexican society as a whole,
Historiographical Problems
and upon the crypto-Jewish community in particular, neither Medina
nor Lea concerned himself with more than a superficial analysis. Neither of them appeared to have examined in any detail the procesos of
the judaizantes tried by the Mexican Holy Office in order to probe the
lives of the victims or the relationships between them and the Inquisition.
More recently, Richard E. Greenleaf has succeeded in demonstrating how the procesos of the Inquisition could be used to examine the
inner workings of society in sixteenth-century New Spain.36The Holy
Office, Greenleaf contends, was often used as a political tool by ecclesiastical and viceregal officials.
There exist a number of important works treating specific aspects of
the Mexican Holy Office in the mid-seventeenth century. Helen
Phipps's essay, "Notes on Medina Rico's 'Visita de Hacienda' to the
Inquisition of Me~ico,"~'
offers a great deal of valuable information
concerning inquisitorial corruption in the mid- boo's, and the attempts to reform the institution. The brevity of her work, however,
provokes new questions regarding the resulting effects of the visita upon inquisitorial behavior. Luis Gonzilez Obregon's Don Guillen de
Lampart concentrates on but one spectacular area of the Holy Office's
a c t i v i t i e ~ .While
~ ~ he shed some light on the conflict between the
Crown and the Inquisition, GonzPlez Obreg6n utilized only secondary sources and, like Phipps, confined himself to a narrow period of
time. Jonathan Israel's recent work, Race, Class and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Mexico,39on the other hand, encompasses the entire
century, and attempts to analyze the economic and social fabric of the
crypto-Jewish community and its relationship with the Inquisition.
While many of Israel's observations are sound and provocative, they
are based on only a superficial examination of the archival materials
pertaining to Mexican crypto-Jews.
Thus, based upon the evidence presented above, it may be concluded that the historiography of the Mexican Inquisition and the cryptoJews in seventeenth-century New Spain has been either shallowly
researched or written from an extremely narrow perspective. The historiographical trend toward preoccupation with the theme of inquisitorial persecution of crypto-Jews, furthermore, has served to obscure
other important areas of research in colonial Mexican history. The records maintained by the Holy Office reveal a tremendous amount of
information concerning not only the Inquisition itself but, more im-
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portantly, the crypto-Jewish community and Mexican society as a
whole. In addition to offering the opportunity to study the obvious
and spectacular phenomenon of persecution, they also provide windows into the lives of the Mexican converses, through which may be
viewed their contributions to the economy and society of New Spain,
and the relationships that they maintained with one another as well as
with n o n - c o n ~ e r s o sIt. ~is~only after inquisitorial persecution is placed
in its proper perspective that students of Mexican and crypto-Jewish
history can objectively examine the nature of converso life in New
Stanley M . Hordes is State Historian of the State of New Mexico.
I. Strictly speaking, the term crypto-Jew denotes a person who was born and baptized as a
Catholic Christian but secretly practiced Judaic rites and customs, while the terms converso and
New Christian should be applied only to Jews who actually converted to Catholicism, but for the
purposes of the discussion in this article, the latter two terms will be extended to include descendants of the original conversos who lived as crypto-Jews.
2. Anita Libman Lebeson, "The American Jewish Chronicle," in The Jews: Their History, ed.
Louis Finkelstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), pp. 50-504; Solomon Grayzel, A History
of Contemporary Jews (New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1960; Harper & Row, 1965), p.
57; idem, A History of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1947)~p. 700.
3. Cecil Roth, A History of the Marranos (Philadelphia and New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1932; Meridian Books, 1959), p. xiv; Boleslao Lewin, La inquisici6n en Hispanoambica
(judios, protestantes y patriotas) (Buenos Aires: Editorial Proyeccibn, 1962), p. 10.
4. Seymour B. Liebman, The Jews in New Spain: Faith, Flame and the Inquisition (Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 1970), pp. 12, 304.
5. See, for example, Cyrus Adler, "Trial of Jorge de Almeida by the Inquisition in Mexico,"
Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (hereafter cited as PAJHS) 4 (1896):
6. See, for example, George Kohut, "Jewish Heretics in the Philippines in the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Century," PAJHS 12 (1904): 149-156; idem, "Jewish Martyrs of the Inquisition in
South America," PAJHS 4 (1896): 101-187. In the latter article Kohut did cite the persecution of
Indians by the Holy Office.
7. Roth, History of the Marranos, pp. 276-283.
8. See, for example, Lewin, La inquisici6n en Hispanoambica; idem, El Santo Oficio en
Ambica (Buenos Aires: Sociedad Hebraica Argentina, 1950); and idem, ~ Q ufue
i la inquisition?
(Buenos Aires: Editorial Plus Ultra, 1973).
9. Lewin, La inquisicibn en Mixico; impresionantes relatos del siglo XVII (Puebla: Editorial
Jost M. Cajica, 1967); idem, La inquisici6n en Mixico; racismo inquisitiorial (Puebla: Editorial
Jose M. Cajica, 1971).
10. Martin A. Cohen, The Martyr: The Story of a Secret Jew and the Mexican Inquisition in
the Sixteenth Century (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973)~p. xi.
Historiographical Problems
Ibid., pp. 42-47.
Liebman, Jews in New Spain, p. 88.
I 3. Salo W . Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, vol. I 5, Late Middle Ages and
Expansion (1200-1650): Resettlement and Exploration, 2d ed. ( N e w York, London, and Philadelphia: Columbia University Press, 1973), pp. 271, 274.
14. Ibid., p. 278.
I 5. Liebman, Jews in New Spain, pp. 88, 101, 105; Roth, History of the Marranos, pp. 102,
16. See, for example, Martin A. S. Hume, Spain: Its Greatness and Decay, 1479-1788 (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1898); J. Lothrup Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic,
1555-1584, 3 vols. (London:Chapman & Hall, I 856);William Harris Rule, The History of the
Inquisition (London: Scribner, Wilford, 1874); Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Mexico, 6
vols. (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1883-88).
17. PAJHS 8 (1900): 1-2.
18. PAJHS 5 (1897):4.
19. Adler, "Trial o f Jorge de Almeida," pp. 29-30.
20. Roth, History of the Marranos, pp. 99-145.
21. Lewin, La inquisici6n en Mixico; impresionantes relatos del siglo XVII, pp. 8-9; idem, La
inquisici6n en Hispanoamirica, p. 10;idem, La inquisici6n en Mixico; racismo inquisitorial, pp.
22. Liebman, Jews in N e w Spain, p 46; idem, Jews and the Inquisition of Mexico: The Great
Auto de Fe of 1649 as Related by Mathias de Bocanegra (Lawrence, Kan.: Coronado Press,
1974), P. 5
23. Liebman, Jews in New Spain, p. 103.
24. Ibid., pp. 87, 89, 101-102, 104.
25. Roth, History of the Marranos, pp. 107, I 29-130, I 3 3; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters
and Engravers (London: G. Belland & Sons, 1904).
26. Mexico City, 1870.
27. For example, Liebman, Jews in New Spain, frontispiece, pp. 172, 199, 233; Cohen, The
Martyr, pp. 158, 248, 260.
28. David C. Bailey, jViua Cristo Rey! The Cristero Rebellion and the Church-State Conflict
in Mexico (Austin: University o f Texas Press, 1 9 7 4 ) pp.
~ 215-216, fn. 23.
29. Mariano Cuevas, S. J., Historia de la iglesia en Mixico, 5 vols. (Mexico City: Imprenta del
Asilo "Patricio Sanz," 1946), 3:6-9.
30. Ibid., 3:169.
31. Ibid., 3:180-188.
32: Rafael Hernindez Ortiz, La inquisicidn en Mixico (Mexico City: Imprenta "Acci6n,"
1944);Yolanda Marie1 de Ibaiiez, La inquisici6n en Mixico durante el siglo XVI (Mexico City:
Imprenta Barrie, 1946), pp. 158-159.
33. Marie1 de Ibaiiez, La inquisicibn en Mixico pp. 158-159; Alfonso Junco, Inquisici6n sobre la inquisici6n (Mexico City: Editorial Jus, 1949), p. 15;Julio Jimknez Rueda, Herejias y supersticiones en la Nueua EspaAa (Mexico City: Imprenta Universitaria, 1 9 4 5 ) p.
~ x.
34. Historia del Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisici6n en Mixico (Mexico City: Imprenta Elzeviriana, 1905).
35. The Inquisition in the Spanish Dependencies ( N e w York: Macmillan, 1908).
3 6. The Mexican Inquisition o f the Sixteenth Century (Albuquerque:University o f New Mexico Press, 1969); Zumarraga and the Mexican Inquisition, 1536-1543 (Washington: Academy
o f American Franciscan History, 1961).
American Jewish Archives
37. In Todd Memorial Volumes: Philological Studies, 2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1930), 2:79-89.
38. Don Guillen de Lampart, la inquisici6n y la independencia en el siglo XVII (Mexico City:
Viuda de Ch. Bouret, 1908).
39. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.
40. The author is currently engaged in a history of the crypto-Jewish community of New Spain
in the mid-seventeenth century.
Jose Diaz Pirnienta:
Rogue Priest
J . Hartog
Although the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century prescribed a selection process to weed out the unfit among those who wanted to take
priestly vows or enter monastic orders, it was a long time before the
rules were uniformly applied and executed throughout the Roman
Catholic Church, especially in outlying areas. Even today a strange
bird sometimes flies through the meshes of the net, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the lack of rapid communications made it difficult to conduct thorough background inquiries
about candidates and aspirants, such occurrences were more frequent.
One of the most peculiar cases involved JosC Diaz Pimienta, a Cuban
priest whose life story brings to mind the picaresque novels that were
so popular in Spanish literature in the same period, but in this instance
the picaresco ("rogue") was a real person, and his adventures, however incredible they may seem, were not a fiction writer's inventions but
true events amply documented by contemporary evidence.
JosC Diaz Pimienta was a scoundrel and con man of the first order,
and apparently emotionally disturbed as well, though it is clear that
few if any of his contemporaries saw through him. A Christian born
and baptized who served a novitiate as a monk and was fraudulently
ordained as a priest, Pimienta chalked up a record of offenses while a
clergyman that would have earned him pride of place on a Church
wanted list if such existed: theft, assault with a deadly weapon, forgery, piracy, extortion, sexual misconduct, not to mention a wide
range of disciplinary infractions and personal eccentricities. From the
standpoint of the Inquisition, whose interrogations of Pimienta provide our main source for the details of his checkered life, his worst offense was his conversion to Judaism. Though he later reverted to
Christianity and maintained that he had adopted Judaism against his
will or perhaps for pecuniary reasons, Pimienta seems to have wavered
between the two faiths for the rest of his life, identifying with one or
the other as his mood dictated, with no consideration for expediency
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or the commonsense dictates of the situation in which he found himself. During his short but lurid career, Pimienta's frequent flights from
the authorities and searches for new victims and money-making opportunities took him through much of the Caribbean region. He finally ended his days in Seville, Spain, where he was tried by the
Inquisition and burned in an auto da fe'.
Pimienta has been mentioned in several books and pamphlets, and
many years ago his early life was the subject of articles by Professor Richard Gottheil and by Elkan Nathan Adler.' In this paper, utilizing the
records of his interrogations before the Inquisition, I shall endeavor to
give the first full account of his life.'
A Born Catholic and a Converted Jew
Jose Diaz Pimienta was born in the village of San Juan de 10s Remedios, Cuba. There is some question about the date of his birth. In
1708, when he became a priest before he was old enough, he said that
he had been born in 1682, producing a forged baptismal certificate as
substantiation, but another certificate, on file in the archives in Seville,
states that he was baptized in 1688. In all probability this was the actual year of his birth, because his parents seem to have been pious, as is
implied by their desire that he enter the clergy, and thus it is unlikely
that they would have waited six years before having him baptized. In
any case, both of Pimienta's parents were Cristianos Viejos (Old
Christians), meaning that their Catholic roots anteceded the period of
forced conversions in the fifteenth century, and thus, despite Pimienta's later claim to this effect in Curaqao, there was no possibility of an
admixture of Jewish blood in his ancestry. According to the terminology in use in the Spanish New World colonies, Pimienta's father was a
Spaniard (i.e., born in Spain), and his mother was a Creole (i.e., born
in Cuba to white Spanish parents).
In 1697, at the age of nine, Pimienta was confirmed in Havana,
where his parents had sent him for his education. It was around this
time, when he tried to kill himself by taking poison, that his mental instability first became evident. After this unsuccessful suicide attempt,
Pimienta remained in Havana for two more years. Toward the end of
I 699 he was studying grammar and moral theology with the fathers of
a monastery in Puebla de 10s Angeles, Mexico, but in 1703 he trans-
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ferred to a convent of the Mercedarians, a monastic order that had
been founded in the thirteenth century for the purpose of ransoming
captives from the Moors and subsequently had begun to concentrate
its activities in the Caribbean and Latin America. On the Feast of Our
when he was eighteen, PiLady of Ransom in 1706 (September q),
mienta entered the order himself as a novice.
Barely two months later, however, Pimienta and two other monks
ran off. After hiding out in his parents' home for ten months, Pimienta
returned to the monastery and asked the superior for permission to
continue his studies at one of the order's other convents. When this request was denied, he ran away again, leading an itinerant existence
that took him to Caracas, Vera Cruz, and finally Puebla de 10s
Angeles, where he came up with the idea of becoming a priest. Since he
had not yet attained the canonical age of twenty-four required for admission to the priesthood, he forged the baptismal certificate mentioned earlier. This document enabled him to deceive the bishop, and
in 1708 he was ordained. He was assigned to a post in Vera Cruz, although whether as a parish priest or in some other capacity cannot be
determined, but about four months later the bishop discovered that he
had lied about his age and recalled him to Havana. There Pimienta
was forbidden to perform any priestly functions, but he remained a
priest since Catholic doctrine holds that priestly vows are an irrevocable sacrament.
After a few weeks of aimless wandering, Pimienta returned to the
Mercedarian monastery. Despite his record of escapes and his fraudulent ordination, the master of novices gave him another chance, but
soon afterwards Pimienta decamped again. He was caught and returned to the monastery but before long escaped again. This time he
was brought back in shackles. After two months fettered to the walls
of his cell, he was taken to another monastery in Arta, but permitted to
leave ten days later.
Pimienta's next stop was a French island which is named Prechiguan in the sources but can no longer be identified. Three months later
he turned up in Puerto del Principe, Cuba, where he presented a forged
document from his bishop authorizing him to proceed to New Spain.
While in Cuba he attempted to steal some mules from his parents'
home. When he was caught red-handed by one of their servants, Pimienta pulled a pistol and shot him, inflicting no less than seven
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wounds, and then hurriedly took his departure from Cuba to avoid arrest.
The ship Pimienta boarded was captured by English pirates, who
put him ashore near Icacos, not far from where he had started out. Embarking on another ship, he went to Trinidad, where a friend of his
was a priest. Through his friend he obtained permission to collect alms
and was appointed sub-parish priest in a hamlet named Pueblo, then
in Tarimtos, and finally in San Benito Atad-townships which can no
longer be identified. In San Benito Atad he had an affair with a woman
and then became embroiled with her lover, who threatened to kill him.
Pimienta managed to frighten the fellow off with his pistol but for
some reason was unable to do the same thing when he was accosted
and soundly beaten by a mulatto whom he had refused permission to
Sometime after these events Pimienta left Trinidad. In 1714 he
turned up in Rio de la Hacha on the Venezuelan coast, and there, so he
later told his Inquisition interrogators, he said Holy Mass for the last
time. Pimienta then made his way to Cartagena, but when he learned
that the Spanish Vicar General was coming for a visit, he realized that
the jig was up and began nosing about for a new refuge. He finally decided on the Dutch colony of Curacao, having heard, according to his
testimony before the Inquisition, that the Jews of that island had recently given 300 pesetas to a man who had converted to Judaism. The
man in question, Pimienta said, had been obliged to whip a crucifix
and deface the images of the saints. While Pimienta later insisted that
he himself would never have done any such thing, he explained that he
took the story as an indication that heretics and Jews were free to live
in Curacao and thus that it would be a safe haven for him. By and large
he was right; while the Calvinist Dutch in Curacao barely tolerated
Protestant heretics and sometimes persecuted them, they had a more
open-minded attitude toward Catholics and Jews, especially the latter,
and permitted them to reside in the colony so long as they kept a low
On February 6,1715, when he arrived in Curacao, Pimienta got in
touch with the Jewish community and quickly discovered that the story about the crucifix and the images was pure fantasy. Not only had
such a thing never happened, according to the Jew he consulted, but it
could not possibly happen, since the tale implied that the Jews had
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graven images in their possession, and this would have been a sin.
Reassured that he would not have to perform an act that he professed to find odious, at least so he said later on, Pimienta decided to
convert. Claiming that his parents were Marranos who had fled to the
New World to escape the Inquisition, losing all their property in the
process, he took lodgings with the godfather of the convert who had
been given the 300 pesetas. Although Pimienta replied that the Messiah had not yet come when he was asked his beliefs about Jesus, the
Curaqao Jews were astute enough not to take him at face value, especially when they discovered that he knew almost nothing about the
Bible-which is amazing in itself since he is supposed to have spent several years studying theology. Biding their time, they gave him some
books on Judaism and suggested that he begin studying.
Despite Pimienta's punctilious observance of the laws of ritual purity at mealtimes, the Curaqao Jews remained suspicious and tried to
persuade him to go to Amsterdam for his conversion, but he refused,
claiming that he would be unable to endure the cold climate in the
Netherlands. Meanwhile, virtually destitute since he had not been given the sum he anticipated, Pimienta wrote to his parents for money.
The suspicions of the Curaqao Jews were heightened when they intercepted the letter and discovered that his parents, supposedly divested
of their property by the Inquisition, were actually rather prosperous,
but Pimienta managed to talk his way out of this predicament, concluding his explanation with the words, "The Law of Moses stands
Since the story of Pimienta's life can only be reconstructed on the
basis of information derived from his interrogations before the Inquisition, we do not have all the details, and some of what we have may
not be reliable. Certainly, in view of his past history, we have no way
of knowing how he finally managed to convince the Jews of Curaqao
that he was sincere. According to his own account, which of course
may not be true, the decisive moment came when he tore his rosary
apart and shouted, "If this thing is from God, then let flowers sprout
from the beads." Whether or not this actually happened or had the effect he claimed, the Jews decided to accept him into their congregation, presumably MikvC Israel. On May z I, 17 I 5, he was circumcised
with all the appropriate ceremonies and adopted the Hebrew name
Abraham in place of JosC. He was given 94 pesetas-one wonders
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why-and a banquet was held in his honor. Soon afterward he married
a Jewish woman, but unfortunately the sources do not give her name.
In his "new life" Pimienta remained as restless as ever, and before
long he put out to sea again, sailing to Bahia Honda, where he somehow managed to accumulate 500 pesetas. His reason for making this
voyage is not stated in his testimony, but it must have involved buccaneering of some kind, for around this time, while engaged in what he
admitted was an act of piracy, he was struck with a cutlass and suffered a split nose, a wound that left him with a permanent scar. Life as
a pirate was not to Pimienta's taste, however, and the wound in his
nose actually set him to praying-not in the Jewish manner, as one
might expect, but by reciting the Litany of Our Lady, with the addition
of a Salve Regina for his safe return to Curasao.
If Pimienta's shipmates overheard his prayers, they said nothing
back in Curaqao. Meanwhile, the Jewish congregation appointed Pimienta as a teacher in its school. It may be assumed that a man charged
with the religious instruction of the young was expected to conduct
himself in an exemplary manner, but Pimienta later told the Inquisition that he had not observed the dietary laws except when Jews were
present. He also recounted what may have been an attempt to convert
him to Protestantism-a Lutheran acquaintance in Curaqao gave him a
copy of the New Testament and told him that as a born Catholic and a
converted Jew he would have been better off if he had never been born.
A Prisoner of the Inquisition
Not long after this Pimienta gave up his job as a teacher and left Curaqao. A few days out to sea his ship was captured by pirates. They put
him ashore in Jamaica, where a Jewish friend took him in. Pimienta
still had the Lutheran's New Testament, and while staying in his
friend's house he threw it into the fire. According to his own account,
he saw blood flowing from the burning pages. Whatever the true significance of this hallucination, Pimienta took it as a sign that he should
turn his back on Judaism. Soon afterward he visited the synagogue in
Jamaica, made contacts with Catholics, and baptized two Jewish children.
While still in Jamaica, Pimienta learned that someone was trying to
track him down. The information was so vague that Pimienta had no
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idea whether the person on his trail was an agent of the Jews or of the
Inquisition, but whatever the case, he decided to move on, departing
from Jamaica in the company of a Jew and fifteen Indians. The Jew
seems to have been his prisoner; Pimienta regularly beat him, and for
reasons that are no longer clear, forced him to eat pork and to recite
the name of the Holy Trinity. After a while, however, the Indians
turned against Pimienta, beating him half to death and fleeing. Left on
his own, he managed to reach a camp of some kind, where he was arrested and sent to Rio de la Hacha. For the next three weeks Pimienta
played the fool-a role that certainly gave him no trouble-praying first
in the Catholic manner and then in the Jewish, and boasting to his jailers that he would profess to be a Catholic when taken before the Inquisition but would then escape to Curaqao and resume his life as a Jew.
He offered to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for deliverance from
In due course Pimienta was handed over to the Inquisition in Cartagena. Brought before the tribunal, he pleaded guilty and begged for
mercy. After undergoing the public disgrace of marching in a procession of penitents while garbed in a sambenito (penitential garment), he
was sentenced, at an auto da fe' in the city's Dominican convent, to life
imprisonment in a Mercedarian monastery in Spain. Soon thereafter,
together with some other prisoners, he was embarked on the ship
Minora for the transatlantic voyage, but it was only thanks to his
guards that he ever got to Spain, because his fellow prisoners, driven to
distraction by his constant ranting and raving, tried to throw him
When the Minora docked in Cadiz, Pimienta was taken in custody
by the bishop and the city prefect, and the record of his trial was sent to
the archives in Seville. Contrary to the terms of his sentence in Cartagena, and despite his vehement protestations, he was fettered and sent
to a prison rather than a monastery. In prison, though, Pimienta was
really in his element, and before long he and another inmate managed
to break out. They left behind a note inviting anyone who was tired of
life to try and catch them.
After parting from his fellow escapee, Pimienta turned himself in at
a Mercedarian convent in Jerez. The monks extended him their full
hospitality; he was allowed to participate in the choir and to make
confession of sins every four days, but was not permitted to say Holy
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Mass because he could not show the necessary permit.
From the monastery Pimienta wrote to a wealthy resident of Jerez
and asked that he come see him. Since Pimienta later referred to this
man as a Jew, he was probably a New Christian, and in all likelihood
Pimienta saw him as a possible ally or patron, perhaps even imagining
that he was a secret judaizer. This would explain why he included
some Hebrew phrases remembered from his circumcision ceremony in
the letter, but despite, or perhaps because of, this gesture, the man
turned him down, replying that he did not understand Latin. Undaunted, Pimienta wrote to another Jerez "Jew," but this time he specified that the recipient should not ask for him at the monastery-instead he would be waiting somewhere in the street outside,
and could be identified by the scar on his nose and by a long green ribbon on his wrist. When this letter went unanswered, Pimienta wrote to
a third "Jew," promising to pay him 25 dubloons when they met, but
this letter too was ignored.
Since there are no secrets in a monastery, the superiors soon found
out about Pimienta's spate of letter writing and asked for an explanation. As always he had a ready answer. He wanted to get money from
the Jerez Jews, he said, so that he could go back to Curaqao and kill his
former Jewish associates there. He wanted revenge because they had
caused all his troubles by circumcising him against his will, even
though he had never wanted to become a Jew and had never converted
in his heart. His superiors were apparently duped by this tale, since
they dropped the matter and even began addressing him as Fray JosC.
Meanwhile, as if to underscore the veracity of his explanation, Pimienta wrote to the king and then to the duke of Veragues, asking for
money for the same purpose. These two letters, which were never answered, had hardly been sent when he sat down to write another missive, this time to the city prefect. In it he declared that he had never
intended to abandon Judaism and convert to Jesus and was now more
convinced than ever that the Law of Moses was true; in fact he was
ready to give up his life for it and felt certain that he would gain a thousand lives in the flames at the stake. Before the prefect could respond,
Pimienta slipped out of the monastery and made his way to Lisbon,
where he hoped to book passage on a ship to London, Amsterdam, or
Jamaica. When he proved unable to do so, he went to the Mercedarian
monastery in Seville and asked the superior to hand him over to the Inquisition.
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When Pimienta appeared before the tribunal in Seville, he was
charged with heresy, apostasy, and conversion to Judaism. The case
against him was overwhelming, but his defense attorney, evidently
one of those people who think it possible to find a silver lining in the
darkest cloud, tried to put a good face on the seemingly damning incidents just recounted. Maintaining that Pimienta's return to Catholicism was sincere, he described his plan to finance a vendetta against
the Curacao Jews with funds obtained from the Jerez Jews as commendable; pointed out that he could have waited in Lisbon for a ship
to Amsterdam or could have escaped to Cadiz or Gibraltar but instead
turned himself in voluntarily; and explained away the letter to the city
prefect as a naive attempt to ensure that he would not be sent back to
the monastery if captured after leaving there.
Not surprisingly, none of this impressed the judges, and they had Pimienta jailed. Visited in his cell by an official, Pimienta declared that
he was a Jew and intended to remain one. When the visitor reported
this conversation, Pimienta was brought before the tribunal again. He
repeated the statement, capping it with an apt quotation from St. Paul:
"Everyone who has himself circumcised is obliged to observe the entire law" (Galatians 5 :3 ) .
Pimienta's interrogation now focused on other aspects of Catholic
doctrine. Asked to state his views in regard to the Holy Trinity, he replied that he believed in one God, the creator of heaven and earth, in
accordance with Deuteronomy 3 2. Asked about the Blessed Virgin, he
quoted Isaiah, "Who will tell his birth?", and then said that in his
opinion the Virgin had never existed but that Jesus was a prophet
worth following. He added that when he recited psalms each day in his
cell, he omitted the Gloria Patri, the Catholic trinitarian doxology.
Warned by his attorney that he would be burned at the stake if he persisted in his obstinacy, Pimienta replied that he wanted nothing else,
since he was willing to die for the Law of Moses in order to obtain eternal life. Finally, when asked to sign the trial record, he refused, "because it is the Sabbath."
The tribunal found Pimienta guilty of heresy and conversion to Judaism, and sentenced him to be burned alive. He was given a threemonth respite to reconsider. During this period learned clerics visited
his cell every day to persuade him to recant, but when he remained adamant, the tribunal decided to proceed with the execution. On Monday, July 22,1720, Pimienta was notified that he would be burned the
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following Thursday in an auto da fe' to be held in the Plaza de San
Francisco. He seemed unmoved, but on Wednesday, July 24, he asked
for a confessor, made a full confession, revoked his errors, and asked
for a pardon. His excommunication was then lifted, and the next
morning, the day of his execution, he received Holy Communion.
The auto da fe' in which Pimienta and six other condemned persons
were burned was the first such event in many years, and crowds of sensation-seekers turned out for the occasion, jamming the temporary
galleries erected around the place of execution as Pimienta and the
others were escorted into the Plaza by a group of priests. Dressed in
priestly vestments, and holding a crucifix in his hand, Pimienta once
again revoked his errors and confessed that he had been redeemed by
the wounds of Jesus Christ. He then kneeled before Msgr. Jost de Esquibel, O.P., the bishop of Licopoli, who was presiding over the burnings in honor of the faith, and the bishop, moved to tears, removed his
clerical vestments.
This ceremony completed, Pimienta was handed over to the secular
arm with a request for merciful treatment in view of his repentance. In
response, Alonso de 10s Rios, the functionary of the secular arm, declared that he would be garrotted before the burning. At this point a
homily was read, but then, because it was midday and too hot to continue, the execution was postponed and Pimienta was taken back to
his cell. According to the execution report, he lunched with a good appetite.
Between five and six in the afternoon Pimienta was taken back to
the Plaza. While walking there he again displayed his repentance.
When the procession reached the Plaza, the priests embraced Pimienta, and he in turn, in a loud voice, asked to be forgiven for the bad example he had set and for the disrepute he had cast on his order and on
the priesthood. After a final confession of faith in Jesus Christ and one
last declaration that he believed in the teachings of Mother Church, Pimienta was garrotted. His corpse, with a paper crown on its head as a
symbol of disgrace, was tied to the stake and burned.
In the aftermath of his strange life, we are told that numerous Holy
Masses were ordered for the rest of his soul, and that days of fasting
were observed for the same purpose in many monasteries and nunneries.
J . Hartog, librarian emeritus of Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, is the au-
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I 63
thor of The Jews and St. Eustatius and History of St. Maarten and St.
Martin. Dr. Hartog now lives in Salzburg, Austria.
I especially want to express my indebtedness to Miss Kathleen Houghton of the British Library,
London; to the anonymous functionary of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and to
Miss Lori A. Feldman of the Library of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio; all of
whom did everything possible to provide me with source material and printed references.
I. R. Gottheil, "Fray Joseph Diaz Pimienta, alias Abraham Pimienta," Publications of the
American Jewish Historical Society 9 (1901); E. N. Adler, Auto de Fb and Jew (London, 1908),
pp. 172-180. The case is also mentioned in C. de Bethencourt, "Notes on the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in the U.S., Guiana, and the Dutch and British West Indies during the 17th and 18th
Centuries," Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society 29 (1925): 21-25, and is given a few words or paragraphs in several other works, although none of these provide any dates
not found in the works cited in this note or in note 2.
2. My primary source for the account in this article is Relacibn de el autodafee celebrado en el
real Conbento de Sun Pablo, Orden de Predicatores (Manuscript section, British Library [formerly British Museum], London, inv. 4071.1.4.9). See also J. Hartog, Cura~ao(Aruba, 1961),
Judios y gauchos:
The Search for Identity in
Argentine-Jewish Literature
Stephen A. Sadow
In spite of their relative prosperity and the freedom with which they
have practiced their religious and communal affairs, Argentine Jews
have often found themselves to be in an estranged or at least problematical relationship with their country. Argentina is a Roman Catholic-if anticlerical-country, with a strong consciousness of its
Hispanic origins.' Over the years there has been almost incessant antiSemitic activity. The attacks have sometimes been violent. In recent
years, Jewish intellectuals, businessmen, and students have been kidnapped and murdered. Jews have variously tried to ignore or oppose
these outrages. It is important to remember, however, that for the
most part, these anti-Semitic activities only indirectly affect the daily
lives of most Jews, causing apprehension but little more. Whether because they believe that Argentina is not basically an anti-Semitic country or because they employ an elaborate denial system, many
Argentine Jews downplay the importance of anti-Semitic incidents.
Nevertheless, they worry about them.
For many Jews, the question of national identity is a far more ticklish problem. In Argentina, the pressure for conformity and assimilation into the dominant culture is fierce. Argentineans tend to be
intensely nationalistic and proud of their traditions, many of which
have Christian underpinnings. Argentine Jews share in the nationalism, strongly identifying themselves with the nation. But often they
find this attachment to be in conflict with their sense of themselves as
Jews. Many experience an intolerable contradiction. Some make aliyah to Israel. Many more assimilate, ceasing to identify themselves as
Jews. Most remain troubled, but assume, with an optimism that is typically Argentinean, that, with time, things will improve.
Not surprisingly, the difficulty of living as both a Jew and an Argentinean has been a theme of consuming interest for Jewish writers in Argentina. Writing in Spanish, rather than the Yiddish of some of their
Search for Identity
contemporaries,' writers such as Alberto Gerchunoff, Max Dickmann, Manuel Kirshenbaum, Luisa Sopovich, Bernardo Kordbn, LAzaro Liacho, Eliahu Toker, Jose Isaacson, Gregorio Scheines, and
Bernardo Verbitsky see themselves as the product of Argentine reality.
Most, if not all, have produced "Argentine literature," that is, works
in which Jewish characters and themes do not occur. But these writers
and others like them have not assimilated. Many have also written on
Jewish themes for Jewish-sponsored journals such as Comentario and
Davar.' A significant number have chosen to produce fiction, poetry,
and drama in which they examine closely the position of the Jew in
Argentine society.
Saul Sosnowski has argued correctly that any discussion of Argentine-Jewish literature "has to be undertaken from a position that recognizes the two basic components of the authors: their Jewish
background and their Argentine ~itizenship."~
Sosnowski himself has
studied a number of Argentine-Jewish writers, including Gerchunoff,
GermAn Rozenmacher, and Gerardo Mario Goloboff, and has come
to bleak conclusions. His interpretation of Argentine-Jewish literature
is affected by his analysis of Argentine society. He criticizes optimistic
writers for being misguided and for having misinterpreted the position
of the Jews in Argentina. He favors those writers who are most critical
of Argentine-Jewish life. Sosnowski's stress on biographical and historical material leads to an overemphasis on the somber quality of the
literature. However, when extraliterary considerations are downplayed, a different view is possible. Argentine-Jewish literature is quite
varied in tone. Celebration and desperation coexist. There is warmhearted laughter as well as bitter recrimination. Argentine-Jewish
writers taken together present a tapestry of views about what it means
to be both Argentinean and Jewish.
Alberto Gerchunoff
Significantly, the first important novel written by a Jew in Argentina
was entitled Los gauchos judios [The Jewish gaucho^].^ Published in
1910as a celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Argentine independence, Los gauchos judios is a highly romanticized reconstruction
of life in the Jewish agricultural settlements in the pampas province of
Entre R i o ~ It. ~was the first novel of Alberto Gerchunoff, later to be-
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come editor of the influential daily La Nacion. Gerchunoff's father,
one of the earliest Russian-Jewish settlers in Entre Rios, had been murdered by an indigenous herdsman. Yet Gerchunoff, in what may have
been an exercise in wish fulfillment, created a series of nostalgic scenes
of rural Jewish life. In a collection of interrelated short stories rather
than a tightly constructed novel, Gerchunoff presents Jews encountering problems in adjusting to a new life-style and a sometimes antagonistic surrounding culture. But while the severity of these difficulties is
not minimized, the novel is suffused with optimism. These are only
temporary aberrations which the essentially benign Argentine culture
will soon remedy.'
Even the novel's style reflects a belief in the possibilities for synergistic interaction between the Hispanic-Argentine and Jewish cultures.
Gerchunoff's first language was Yiddish, but by the time he wrote this
book (in his early twenties), he had perfected a Spanish prose modeled
on that of Cervantes. Into his Cervantine rhythms, he infused Yiddish
expressions and Hebrew benedictions. The Agadah, the Talmud, Don
Quixote, and Cervantes' Exemplary Novels are all cited in the text.
Unlike writers for the Yiddish press, Gerchunoff intended his novel for
a Christian as well as a Jewish audience, and included explanatory
comments which would have been superfluous to his Jewish readers.
Also, there are frequent references to Christ and the Virgin Mary.
To the Jews of Los gauchos judios, refugees from the pogroms and
frigid winters of Russia, the Argentine countryside clearly represented
the promised land. They saw it as a new Zion, prophesied in their
prayers and far superior to contemporary Palestine, "con sus conventos, cruzes, y mezquitas" ["with its convents, crosses, and mosques"]
(p. 102). The land and sky of Argentina are revered as protective and
nurturing forces. The difficulties of farming are not cause for doubting
the wisdom of the enterprise: even a locust plague is not enough to
dampen the Jews' enthusiasm for long. Unlike many of their real-life
counterparts who left the land for the cities-some even returned to
Europe-Gerchunoff's Jews are convinced that Entre Rios is the best
place on earth. In one anecdote, newly arrived Jews say "Amen" every
time the word "Libertad" ["Liberty"] is repeated in the Argentine anthem.
Their fierce identification with the land led these Jews to be fascinated with its inhabitants: the small farmers, the shopkeepers, and, most
Search for Identity
important, the cattle herdsmen or gauchos. Often illiterate, practicing
a version of Catholicism riddled with superstition and anti-Semitism,
the gauchos loomed as romantic characters worthy of imitation by
Jews. They were physically strong, skillful, and possessed a straightforward sense of justice which was comprehensive if simplistic. Moreover, the Jews believed them to be representative of the dominant
Argentine culture.
Gerchunoff depicts threats to communal life caused by coexistence
with the native population. In one chapter, Ismael Rudman's daughter
runs away with Remigio, a non-Jew, causing grief and consternation
to her family. Rabbi Abrahan and Rabbi Zacarias discuss the "tragedy." They should have expected it, they say, for the girl lit a fire on the
Sabbath and ate nonkosher food. The two rabbis see Rudman7s
daughter as a portent of things to come. "<Ya habra gente en la sinagoga?" ["Will there still be people in the synagogue?"] they wonder
aloud (p. 27). Moises Hintler goes so far as to say that life was better in
Russia, because the youth there followed God's law. In Argentina, he
complains, they become gauchos.
How much could a Jew be like a gaucho (and hence an Argentinean)
without ceasing to be a Jew? Gerchunoff's tone is optimistic: an accommodation can no doubt be found.
The figure of Jacobo serves as an effective illustration of Gerchunoff's guarded optimism. Jacobo's characterization clearly is autobiographical in nature; Gerchunoff has used himself as the basis for
this youth. A teenager, Jacobo has adopted the gaucho style of dress
and is an adept rider, herdsman, and hunter. He is robust, self-confident, and free of any sense of inferiority. He would seem to be the prototype of a "new Argentine Jew." Jacobo is seen as a renegade by the
other Jews. He cleans his horse on the Sabbath, does not know how to
pray properly, and insists on speaking Spanish rather than Yiddish.
Even worse, he shouts "Ave Maria!" When Ismael Rudman's daughter runs off with Remigio, Jacobo defends them. His neighbor Dona
Raquel is shocked that Jacobo does not differentiate between Jew and
Christian. Jacobo has his admirers in the community, but to most his
behavior poses a threat.
Other accommodations between the Argentine and the Jewish cultures are more promising. Reb Favel Duglach, the local poet, and Dr.
Nahum Yarcho (a real person) meet the approval of the Jews, the local
I 68
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Christians, and the novel's narrator. Duglach was almost as wellversed in Argentine folklore as in Hebraic tradition. He admired the
gauchos, regarding them as similar to the ancient Hebrews. He retold
both Argentine and Jewish stories. "Soy un gaucho judio" ["I am a
Jewish gaucho"] he would repeat proudly (p. 82). Dr. Yarcho refuses a
lucrative practice in the city in order to treat country people, both Jewish and Christian. Though not very religious, he is praised by all as
"hundamente judio" and "un gran gaucho" ["deeply Jewish and a
great gaucho"] (p. 110). Duglach and Yarcho, rather than Jacobo his
alter ego, are Gerchunoff's model Jews. Through them he shows his
belief that a close affinity of spirit existed between the Jews and the native Argentineans. The implication is that this natural understanding
can be exploited for the benefit of both groups. Gerchunoff's portrayal is upbeat, confident, and hopeful.
Char Tiempo
Writing in 193 3, the playwright and poet CCsar Tiempo dramatized a
Jewish community in Buenos Aires that had been integrated into
Argentine society. Tiempo (born Israel Zeitlin) was prominent in Jewish affairs and the author of several volumes of devotional poetry." His
play El teatro soy yo [I am the theater] was written for a general rather
than a specifically Jewish audience.' What makes Tiempo's work significant is that he obviously felt secure enough in Argentina, in 1933,
to present Jews to the public in an unfavorable and even burlesque
manner. He creates a group of stock types. Jeremias Jobman (Tiempo
is not subtle in his choice of names), for example, is depicted as a
wealthy, ill-tempered miser. Myriam Sambation rose from a poor
country girl in one of the Jewish settlements to become a famous and
sought-after actress and playwright. Her plays, written on Jewish
themes, have won her acclaim from the general public, but she is selfindulgent and overly critical of others. Dr. Lindberg is a respected physician who spends his free time working for Jewish charities.
Salmonovich is an accountant. For the most part, the Jewish characters in this play have had great economic success. These upwardly mobile Jews support institutions such as the Jewish Agency and the
Sociedad Hebraica.
This is not to say that the situation is perfect. Intermarriage is
Search for Identity
viewed by the play's Jewish characters as an ever-present threat. Jobman's daughter runs off with Ferrantini, a non-Jew. In a play written
by Myriam, this act is repeated. There are occasional anti-Semitic remarks. Myriam decries the fact that a critic has written of the "Jewish
nature" of her work. Rather than taking the statement as praise, she
sees it as evidence of the writer's bias.
But in great measure, Tiempo's Jews are secure and successful-all
the more remarkable when one thinks of the plight of the European
Jews in 193 3. Anti-Semitism was to increase in Argentina as the army
and the Church tilted more toward the Axis, but there is no hint that
Tiempo foresaw this.
The theme of El teatro soy yo is intolerance. But interestingly, it centers on prejudice against blacks rather than Jews. Tiempo's choice of a
black playwright as a central figure in his drama is especially curious.
By 19 3 3, the black population of Buenos Aires was negligible.'" Unlike
Cuba, Ecuador, or even Uruguay, where stable black populations
have long existed, Argentina produced no significant corpus of black
literature, though a few poems do survive. When El teatro soy yo
opened, a white actor in blackface played the black role. Tiempo's
Gaspar Liberi6n is a symbol for the victim of prejudice rather than a
flesh-and-blood figure to whom the audience could relate.
Gaspar Liberi6n is a frustrated black playwright. Bias against
blacks has kept his plays from being produced. He complains that he
suffers daily humiliations because of his race. Gaspar asks Myriam
Sambati6n for assistance. Citing A].Jolson, he speaks to her of the affinities between blacks and Jews. Gaspar says that he has learned
many beautiful things from the Jews. In an extraordinary speech, he
declares, "Somos 10s judios modernos" ["We are the modern Jews"]
(p. 123). According to Gaspar, the blacks now suffer the humiliations
that in the past were reserved for the Jews. Their situation is worse,
however, because unlike the Jews, they cannot choose to assimilate
and lose themselves in the greater society. With Myriam's help, Gaspar's play is produced. It is an immediate success. But when the audience learns that the author is black, they boo and deride him in a most
insulting manner. Not able to bear this, Gaspar Liberi6n shoots himself. Tiempo chastises his audience, including the Jews in it, for their
prejudice. Implicitly, he warns all of them that as long as there is bias
against anyone, no one is safe. That the Jews have been generally ac-
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cepted into Argentine society is emphasized in this play. This is surely
hopeful. But through his use of a black stand-in, Tiempo warns
against complacency.
Marcos Soboleosky
Jewish writing continued unabated through the 1930's and during the
ten-year rule of Juan Domingo Peron (1945-1955). Many Jewish authors, such as the novelist Max Dickmann and the playwright Samuel
Eichelbaum, tended to favor general rather than specifically Jewish
themes. A Jewish-oriented work was Bernardo Verbitsky's Es dificil
empezar a uiuir [Beginning to live is difficult] (1941), which describes
the coming of age of one Pablo Levinson.
By the time Marcos Soboleosky's novel Enferm6 la uid [The vine
sickened] was published in 19 57, being a Jew in Argentina had taken
on new dimensions." Soboleosky's portrait is in sharp contrast to that
of his predecessors. Soboleosky's protagonist, Ezequiel Oleansky, is a
Jewish intellectual, author of a book on Kafka, who despairs, first, of
the difficulties of living as a Jew in a Christian society, and ultimately,
of the possibility of living as a Jew at all.
Oleansky has committed the act decried by Gerchunoff's and Tiempo's characters: he has married a non-Jewish woman. Except for an
epilogue, the novel is written in the form of a long letter from
Oleansky to his wife, Ana G6mez. In it, he tells the history of their
marriage and recalls his feelings, thoughts, and observations. The
novel is a confession and, to a lesser extent, an account of a spiritual
Oleansky admits that he married Ana less for love than in an attempt to avoid marrying a Jewish woman who would, as he puts it, asphyxiate his personality. The marriage causes repercussions in both
his family and hers. Her family view him as exotic, but attractive and
"digno de ser cristiano" ["worthy of being a Christian"] (p. 17). The
fact that he, the son of immigrants, speaks Spanish better than many
natives, impresses them greatly. Her aunts tolerate him but are deeply
disappointed when the couple marries in a civil ceremony. With resignation, his mother accepts her daughter-in-law, counting it a victory
that her son did not marry in church. Upon marrying, Ezequiel cuts his
ties with the Jewish community.
Search for Identity
Almost from the start, the marriage founders. Ana has no comprehension of Jewish values, customs, or traditions. Normal family
events cause crises for the couple. Instead of bringing them together,
having children accentuates their differences. Ana wants to name their
first child after her grandmother. Following Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, Ezequiel forbids their naming the child after a living relative. Ana
is confused and angered. They bring up the children without religious
training. But their children encounter the intensely Christian environment of their friends, who attend Mass, take communion, go to religious schools, and have religious images in their homes. Ezequiel does
not want to meet the parents of his children's friends for fear they are
anti-Semites. When Ana refuses to have her son circumcised, Ezequiel
is disturbed but does not insist. But when Ezequiel begins to read Dubnow's History of theJews, Ana feels estranged. She retaliates by bringing an image of the Virgin and Child into their home. Seeing her as
superficial, small-minded, and uncultured, Oleansky blames his wife
for the deterioration of his marriage.
The overriding effect upon Oleansky of marrying a Christian and
cutting his ties with his Jewish background is, ironically, that he is
constantly reminded of his Jewishness. He meditates on the communal, psychological, and spiritual aspects of his Jewishness. His conclusions disturb him greatly. At times he experiences self-hatred and
desperation. He believes that to be a Jew is to be different in many essential ways from all those who are not Jews. For in the Jew, there is a
sense of insecurity with respect to the world in which he lives but to
which he does not belong. Jews feel constantly observed but are also
continuous observers. Jewish happiness is always limited, Oleansky
concludes. A Jew cannot love a Christian the way he would another
Jew because the world impedes it.
Oleansky eventually decides that he desires the loss of his Jewishness. He argues that he would have more in common with another
Argentinean than with a Jew from another culture. Nationality is
more important to him than religion. Oleansky pleads that he wants to
live not as a Jew o r as a Christian but only as a citizen.
Spiritually also, Oleansky flees his Judaism. He finds the local synagogue to be devoid of spirituality. In a nearby church, he meets a priest
who becomes his teacher. Oleansky is attracted to the universalism of
Catholicism and believes that in each Jew lies a potential convert. But
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Oleansky finds he cannot achieve the faith in Christ necessary for conversion. He blames his Jewish upbringing and "Talmudic mentality"
for his inability to find spontaneous faith or tolerate Catholic symbolism. Oleansky finds himself in a predicament. He no longer wants to
follow the Jewish religion, but inner constraints keep him from becoming a Roman Catholic. He contemplates entering a Fransciscan
monastery. Instead, he commits suicide.
For Soboleosky's protagonist, being Jewish in Argentina (or perhaps anywhere) leads to an intolerable situation. He is constantly reminded of his Jewishness and troubled by Jewish history. He is
uncomfortable in both Jewish and Christian society. The novel is, of
course, the portrait of one man, who might be dismissed as neurotic. It
is impossible to know the extent to which Soboleosky intended him to
be symbolic. However, the mass of social detail presented suggests
that Soboleosky believed that many other Jews were facing similar
traumatic struggles.
Pedro Schvartzman
A little book entitled Cuentos criollos con judios [Creole stories with
Jews], published by Pedro Schvartzman in 1967, contrasts with Soboleosky's rather dismal portrayal." Totally ignoring the virulent antiSemitism that plagued Argentina in the early 1960's' Schvartzman's
work is unabashedly pro-Argentina. Like Gerchunoff's, Schvartzman's narrative is, in part, autobiographical. In a set of interrelated
short stories, he revives the nostalgic tone of Los gauchos judios, even
mimicking its title. The stories are made up of scenes of life in the agricultural communities of Entre Rios province. Several stories present,
in a romanticized fashion, warm relations between the Jews and their
non-~ewishneighbors. The few instances of anti-Semitism are considered to be the acts of hooligans and the relics of an earlier time. Schvartzman's descriptions border on the incredible. Gauchos eat matzah
and other Jewish foods; they praise the Jews' intelligence. A local
Catholic butcher sells only kosher meat; a nonkosher butcher goes out
of business. For their part, the Jewish immigrants adapt rapidly to the
cuisine and customs of the country. They are delighted by the abundance of food. "La Argentina es un presente de Dios" ["Argentina is a
gift of God"] says one (p. 11).
Search for Identity
As portrayed in these stories, the acculturation of the Jews was not
without cost. The earliest immigrants tried to keep the Sabbath, but
local customs made this difficult. Many Jews protested that they were
not even religious. Eventually, the practice was forgotten. By the
1930's Jewish education in the communities was on the decline, poorly funded, and staffed by poorly trained teachers. Schvartzman's narrator recalls that for the children, Yiddish, Hebrew, and most
religious practices seemed anachronistic leftovers from prehistoric
In spite of these negative aspects, Schvartzman stresses the ease of
acculturation and, in particular, the welcome the Jews received from
Argentinean Christians. The latter theme is exemplified in a story entitled "Hermandad" [Brotherhood]. Fleeing Hitler, Jews come to Entre
Rios. After facing the Nazi terror, the children find it difficult to believe that they are accepted. Years later, one immigrant, now adult, becomes a taxi driver. One night his fare is Carpincho, the local drunk.
Intoxicated, Carpincho shouts that the Jew is not his friend. Suddenly
reexperiencing feelings of his youth, the taxi driver is terrified. Continuing, Carpincho insists that they are not friends but brothers.
In Schvartzman's work, the future of the Jews in Argentina seems
assured. What is remarkable about Cuentos criollos con judrbs is that
it was written during the early days of the political crisis which continues to the present day. The government was headed by General Ongania, who, if not an overt anti-Semite, was an archconservative and
identifiably a member of the military oligarchy. But Schvartzman's
portrait is unequivocally positive. It strongly implies that one can be
comfortable being both Jewish and Argentinean.
Bernardo Verbitsky
In Etiquetas a 10s hombres [Labels for men], written by Bernardo Verbitsky in 1972, the issue is reopened and its treatment is far more complex." Cherniacoff, the protagonist of this long novel, is an intellectual
who is confronting the issue of whether a person can remain committed to Judaism while being a politically active citizen of a Third World
nation. Like Oleansky, Cherniacoff probes every aspect of his problem. Like Oleansky too, he is married to a Catholic woman, in this
case a psychoanalyst. But unlike Soboleosky's protagonist, Cher-
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niacoff never rejects his Jewish heritage. Like Verbitsky himself, who
was, for many years, the editor of Davar, a Jewish-sponsored journal,
Cherniacoff is a writer and journalist. Like many Jews in Argentina,
he is highly educated and well-versed in political theory. When the
novel begins, Cherniacoff at middle age is facing a crisis of personal
and political identity. A lifelong socialist, he supports anti-imperialist
causes. Concurrently, he has been an ardent Zionist. The rejection of
Israel by the left in the early 1960's forces him to choose between the
left and Israel, a choice which he believes to be absurd and unnecessary. Believing anti-Zionist rhetoric to be thinly veiled anti-Semitism,
he cannot opt for that. At the same time, he cannot bring himself to
leave the left. Moreover, as a member of the "Committee for Friendship with the Arabs in the Middle East," he has alienated himself from
many Jews.
Cherniacoff commences what becomes a multination search for his
identity. First, he reviews the facets of Jewish identity that he finds in
Argentina. His friend Altman takes courage in the idea of a Jewish national identity. Dr. Wolf sees himself as the persecuted Jew. Dr. Isaac
Faerman believes that Judaism impedes the process of communist revolution; he sees himself as an Argentine communist, totally divorced
from the Jewish tradition. Cherniacoff's prospective son-in-law, Daniel Bronstein, on the other hand, has decided to emigrate to Israel.
Cherniacoff is not satisfied with the answers he receives in Argentina. None of the solutions seems adequate. When he is offered the opportunity to visit Israel as part of a delegation of Argentine-Jewish
intellectuals, he readily accepts the invitation, setting out to examine
Israel first-hand. The novel includes many pages which could have appeared in a travel magazine. In his letters home, Cherniacoff describes
the Israeli countryside as well as his impressions of Jerusalem and Tel
Aviv. These passages are significant because Israel is rarely treated in
Latin American fiction even by Jewish writers.14 Verbitsky treats his
readers to a novelistic version of the Israel that they had read about in
the Jewish press and that, by 1972, many had visited.
In Israel, Cherniacoff meets former Argentineans who have become
Israeli citizens. While eager for news of Argentina, these olim vigorously defend their decision to leave that country. Cherniacoff is surprised by the wide variety of political views he encounters in Israel. He
visits Mea Shearim and stays for a time at a kibbutz. Constantly, he
Search for Identity
questions his Jewish identity. "<Qut tip0 de judio soy que ni conozco
a1 Antiguo Testamento?" ["What kind of Jew am I who does not
know the Old Testament?"], he asks himself. "Un judio ignorante"
["An ignorant Jew"], he replies (p. 149). He is so moved by his experiences on a kibbutz that he considers staying there, but decides that he
could never adjust to kibbutz life. The example of the Hasidim interests him too, but, as an atheist, Cherniacoff cannot accept their definition of Judaism. After endless discussions with Israelis and a great deal
of soul-searching, Cherniacoff leaves Israel.
After short visits to Paris, where he finds the left-wing students solidly supporting El Fatah, and Moscow, where he visits with a well-off
and seemingly contented Jewish engineer, Cherniacoff returns to
Buenos Aires. The voyage has not served to simplify the situation for
him. His quandary remains. He has found that he cannot be only a Jew
or only an Argentine leftist. Cherniacoff views his Jewishness as part
of his total identity. "No quiero ghettos, y menos en mi mismo" ["I
don't want ghettos, especially not in myself"] he claims (p. 456).
Deeply troubled, Cherniacoff cannot find a solution adequate to his
Faced with the same dilemma, Daniel Bronstein, a student engaged
to Cherniacoff's daughter, makes a crucial decision. After years of being active in left-wing politics and Zionist groups, Daniel decides to
emigrate to Israel. Before he leaves, political turmoil, the so-called
Cordobazo, breaks out and the Ongania regime is overthrown. Seeing
a policeman beating a young protester, Daniel denounces the officer.
Arrested and released, Daniel is expelled from the Zionist organization, since its leaders believe that his actions may cause the government to repress their group. By acting in accordance with his political
views and his sense of morality, Daniel has done something that many
Jews regard as contrary to their interests. He can no longer tolerate
this contradiction. Though still feeling himself to be an Argentinean,
Daniel comes to think that only in Israel can he pursue his political
goals without compromising his Judaism. Loving Argentina, Daniel
can no longer live there.
As the novel ends, Cherniacoff is still struggling with the ambiguities of his life. Unlike Daniel, he will remain an Argentine Jew.
Most Argentine Jews would not be surprised by his decision. The
number of Jews who emigrate from Argentina has remained small. In
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1969, the noted poet and writer Liizaro Liacho wrote, "Soy un patriota argentino y un defensor del judaismo" ["I am an Argentine patriot and a defender of Judaism"] ." Many Argentine Jews still see this
combination of roles to be desirable and possible.
As we have seen, this belief is not new. A strong pro-Argentina sentiment permeates much of Argentine-Jewish literature. Gerchunoff's
immigrants see Argentina as the new Zion. In Tiempo's play, difficulties for the Jews seem to be over. For Schvartzman's characters, Jews
and Christians are not merely friends, they are brothers. Soboleosky's
Oleansky does find life impossible, but his problems are caused more
by Jewish self-hatred than by pressure from the greater society. Verbitsky's Cherniacoff and Daniel Bronstein are troubled precisely because they love Argentina as much as they do. Only with great regret
does Daniel leave.
In recent years, Jews from other parts of the world have urged Argentina's Jews to flee. Pointing to the many beatings and kidnappings
of Jews, some observers have likened the situation under the present
government to that in Nazi Germany. Yet, despite these warnings, the
Jewish community of Argentina persists, stubbornly insisting that it is
somehow possible to be both Argentinean and Jewish. Gerchunoff's
ideal of the gaucho judio, intensely Jewish and profoundly Argentinean, is still valued by many. Whether this is a realistic aspiration or a
naive self-delusion is a question sure to be examined by ArgentineJewish writers of the future.
Stephen A. Sadow is assistant professor of Spanish at Northeastern
University in Boston, where he teaches Spanish language and literature.
I. For background about Jews in Argentina, see, especially, Robert Weisbrot, The Jews of Argentina (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1979), and Judith Laikin Elkin, Jews of the
Latin American Republics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980).
t. Yiddish literature flourished in Argentina. Starting in 1898, the Yiddish press published the
works of hundreds of writers. Among the most famous are Marcos Alperson, A. Brodski, I. Helfman, B. Bendersky, Moisis Granitstein, Josi Rabinovich, and Berl Brinberg. Many of these writers maintained correspondences with other yiddish writers in the United States and Europe. The
works of some were published in American Yiddish dailies. The subjects of these writings tended
to be taken from memories of Jewish life in Europe. Translations into English appear to be nonexistent. Eduardo Weinfeld has collected Spanish translations of some works of these Yiddish
writers. See Eduardo Weinfeld, Tesoros del Judaismo: Amkica Latina (Mexico City: Editorial
Search for Identity
Encyclopedia Judaica Castellana, 1959).
3. Comentario was published by the Instituto Judio Argentino de Cultura e Informaci6n (Jewish-Argentine Institute of Culture and Information) between 1953 and 1971. Davar was
published by the Sociedad Hebraica Argentina (Argentine Hebraic Society) between 1949 and
1970 and again between 1974 and 1976.
4. Saul Sosnowski, "Contemporary Jewish-Argentine Writers: Tradition and Politics," Latin
American Literary Review 6 (1978): 1-14.
5. Alberto Gerchunoff, Los gauchos judios (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos
Aires, 1964).
6. Extensive immigration from Russia began after the Kishinev pogrom of 1903. Through the
efforts of one man, the Austrian-born British-Jewish philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch,
thousands of Russian and Ukrainian Jews were resettled on the farimland of the Argentine pampas. Hirsch subscribed to the contemporary theory that Jews could live properly only if they
owned and worked the land. He concluded that large-scale migration of Jews to Palestine was
too dangerous and too impractical. Therefore, Argentina with its immense prairies and liberal
immigration policies was his choice. With Hirsch's support, fifteen agricultural communities,
with names like Moisesville and Rosh Pina, were established in the provinces north and west of
Buenos Aires. At their peak, these towns were home for thirty thousand people who were involved in raising cattle, wheat, and flax.
7. In comments directed to his reader, Gerchunoff laments the anti-Semitism he has encountered. He says that he wants to believe that it is passing and that by the time of the second centenary, admittedly one hundred years away, it will have disappeared. He advises patience.
Gerchunoff, p. 81.
8. See especially CCsar Tiempo, Sabation argentino (Buenos Aires: Amigos del Libro Rioplatense, 1933).
9. Cesar Tiempo, El teatro soy yo (Buenos Aires: n.p., 1933).
10. Brought in as slaves, blacks were present in large numbers during the colonial period.
Through the middle of the nineteenth century, they played a significant role in the national life.
The black population then radically declined. It was estimated at five thousand in 1895. By 1933
blacks had almost completely disappeared. Lack of immigration, pulmonary diseases, extensive
miscegenation, and emigration are cited as the causes of this change.
11. Marcos Soboleosky, Enfermo la vid (Buenos Aires: Ediciones La Reja, 1957).
I 2. Pablo Schvartzrnan, Cuentos criollos con judios (BuenosAires: Instituto de 10s Amigos del
Libro Argentino, 1967).
13. Bernardo Verbitsky, Etiquetas a 10s hombres (Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1972).
14. Samuel Pecar has written several stories that treat Israel indirectly. In "Hijos ingratos" a
father laments the fact that his son has made aliyah, leaving him to suffer old age alone. In
"Nietos" three Argentine grandmothers discuss the Israeli grandchildren they have never seen. In
"Treinta y tres metros" Argentine parents strain to hear a short-wave broadcast from their children's kibbutz. In "Una pregunta," Pecar comes closest to Verbitsky's treatment of the theme. In
this story, Dr. Shapiro emigrates to Israel and Saul Cohen is forced to think seriously, for the first
time, about Judaism, Argentina, and Zionism. Samuel Pecar, Los rebeldes y 10s perplejos
(Buenos Aires: Periplo, 1959).
15. Lizaro Liacho, Sobre el filo de la vida [At the edge of life] (Buenos Aires: Candalabro,
1969), p. 17. Liacho's comment comes in the introduction to this collection of short stories on
Jewish themes.
The Jewish White Slave Trade
in Latin An~ericanWritings
Nora Glickman
Polaca ("Pole") was the generic name applied to all Jewish prostitutes
in Argentina, whether they came from Poland, Russia, or Rumania.
when the country
Between the 1880's and the early I ~ ~ o 'asperiod
was undergoing vast waves of predominantly male immigration, the
Jewish white slave trade was of great social significance in Argentina.
While brothels were licensed, violations of the law were widely tolerated by corrupt officials in the police customs office. As Robert
Weisbrot reports, "The lax atmosphere in which this trade flourished
was most visible in the theatres, where hundreds of prostitutes nightly
patrolled the balconies in search of customers."' In consequence of all
these factors, white slave traders found Argentina to be quite congenial for their operations.
Despite all the publicity that the phenomenon of Jewish white slavery in Argentina has received, it is still not fully understood. Prostitutes were extremely reluctant to testify, for fear of reprisals from their
slavers. The traffickers, for their part, did all in their power to keep
their activities secret; and the laws protecting minors against the trade
were seldom enforced. Statistical data on Jewish prostitution in Argentina are scant and unreliable.'
Since the white slave trade is, by its nature, clandestine, most authors who have written on the subject knew it only by hearsay or were
able to gather just enough information to mention it in their stories
without shedding any real light on the phenomenon. Some authors
who claimed to be writing serious studies of white slavery actually relied mainly on their imagination, but even impressionistic accounts of
this kind can sometimes enlighten us about the nature of historical
events in ways that history cannot accomplish. Other authors, however, were more concerned with first-hand documentary evidence. Such
is the case with Albert Londres and Julio Alsogaray.
White Slavery Writings
Albert Londres
Le Chemin de Buenos Aires (1928), by the French journalist Albert
Londres, falls between the categories of documentary reporting and
the novel.3Londres purports to be writing a factual account, but he appears to have filled some gaps in the narrative creatively. Hence one
must exercise skepticism about his work.
Traveling as an investigator for the League of Nations, Londres followed the voyage of women who were destined for prostitution from
their places of origin in Europe (Paris, Marseille, Warsaw), across the
ocean to Buenos Aires. His account is valuable because he describes
both the women "who do not die by it," and the men "who live by it"
-the traffickers, or "caftens," who represent themselves officially as
fur merchants; "Well," Londres remarks, "human skins are pelts too,
I suppose!"' Most strikingly, Londres reports on the business terminology used by the secret gangs that recruited these women in Europe.
The slavers' organization was known as "the centre"; the women
were called "remounts" (a term meaning "fresh horses" and normally
used for animals); underage girls were known as "lightweights,"
while those arriving in Buenos Aires without papers were known as
"false weights."
Londres drowned while traveling in a French ship "that burnt in the
Atlantic, as it was bringing a human shipment of 300 women destined
to practice prostitution in this part of South America."' In the prologue to the Spanish translation of the book, the critic AndrCs
Chinarro suggests that the fire was of suspicious origin.
Londres is moralistic about this "old problem," which, in his view,
began with hunger and poverty in Europe. In exposing these conditions, he goes down "into the pits where society deposits what it fears
or rejects; to look at what the world refuses to see; to pass my own
Londres does not have
judgment on what the world has ~ondemned."~
much faith in repressive measures, such as official decrees and bans
against the white slave traffic, for "they simply serve to absolve from
responsibility the officials who are supposed to contend with it."'
Despite Londres' claim to inform the reader and to document with
impartiality important details of this traffic, his portrayal of the Jewish pimp is a caricature:
Those dark Levites, their filthy skins making the strangest effect of
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light and shade, their unwashed locks corkscrewing down their left
cheeks, their flat round caps topping them like a saucepan lid.. ..I
shuddered: I felt as though I had fallen into a nest in which great
mysterious dark birds were spreading their wings to bar my retreat.
Londres focuses chiefly on the non-Jewish francesas, or French
prostitutes, who were the most highly valued group of prostitutes. But
he also devotes significant sections to the polacas, the Jewish prostitutes, and the criollas, the native Argentinians. On the popular scale of
values, French women are the "aristocracy"; then come the polacas,
and finally the lowest social group, the "serfs" or criollas. What the
customers did with them seemed to follow a pattern: "Throw over the
Creola, sharpen their claws on the Polack, and try for the Franch~cha."~
Londres aims to destroy the sentimentality usually associated with
prostitution. He sees the tragedy of this profession, and he claims that
the responsibility falls on everyone involved: "Until recently it was
maintained that these women were exceptional cases. Scenes from a
romance; the romance of a girl betrayed; an excellent story to make
mothers weep: but merely a story; the girl who is unwilling knows
where to apply [emphasis added]."'" Londres is probably referring
here to women's-assistance institutions such as Ezrat Nashim, based
in London, which helped prostitutes who showed interest in rehabilitating themselves.
One factor which cannot be left out of account was the climate of
hostility to the slavers and their women in the Jewish community of
Buenos Aires. Despite the pressure the slavers exerted and their economic influence, Jewish institutions rejected them as tmeyim, or "impure ones," and thus they were forced to create their own guild, the
Zewi Migdal." Those whose families insisted on burying them in the
Jewish cemetery were placed alongside the suicides and the beggars, in
a corner facing the wall. The ostracism of the Jewish community made
it harder for Zewi Migdal leaders to conceal themselves when they
were under investigation.
Julio Alsogaray
The Jewish communal institutions by themselves could not have
eliminated the white slave trade, but in 1930 a major campaign
White Slavery Writings
I 8I
against the slavers was mounted by Julio Alsogaray, deputy commissioner of police in Buenos Aires. Alsogaray's efforts had a great impact
in terminating the trade. He then wrote a detailed report, Trilogia de la
trata de blancas [White slave trade trilogy] (193 I),in which he defined
his struggle as that of "a Lilliputian against Hercules."" As a result of
the police crackdown, several hundred members of the Zewi Migdal
were arrested and convicted, and severe sentences were imposed by
the presiding judge, Manuel Rodriguez Ocampo. The testimony of a
victimized woman, Rachel Lieberman, was instrumental in Alsogaray's success. The Jewish community as a whole was legally exonerated of blame.
Another factor of major significance was the 1930 coup d'itat,
which brought to power a more conservative government, led by General Jose F. Uriburu, which restricted immigration and raised barriers
against the naturalization of foreigners already living in Argentina.
Uriburu drastically restricted the slavers' operations between Europe
and America, forcing most of them out of Argentina."
This period was characterized by a general xenophobia directed
against minority groups already living in Argentina. Even before
I 8 80, when the physical presence of the Jew was almost nonexistent in
Argentina, certain authors expressed exaggerated fears of the dangerous influence of Jews in their country. Anti-immigration conservative
writers linked the white slave trade with the corruption and debasement of Argentinian morality; they vented their anger, not only
against the slavers, but against all Jewish immigrants. Some of their
works give a distorted picture of the Jew because of racial prejudice
and the prevailing Christian myths based on Judas and the Wandering
Jew. The stereotypes of wealthy bankers were influenced by anti-Semitic European writings, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
and Edouard Drumont's La France]uive.14As the critic Gladys Onega
points out in her book La inmigraci6n en la literatura Argentina:
1800-1910, "xenophobia has served in our country.. .as a pretext
for the defense of the most conservative and antisocial values and interest~."'~
Julia'n Martel and Manuel Ga'lvez
Juan Maria Miro ( I8 67-1 89 6), known by his pseudonym Juli5n Martel, published in the major conservative newspaper La Nacidn (August
19, 1891) a fictional account which he labeled a "social study" and
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which later became the first chapter of his novel La Bolsa [The stock
exchange], now a classic of Argentinian literature. La Bolsa introduced an anti-Semitic theme which has influenced nationalistic authors up to the present day.
In Martel's view, the Jews embodied the faults and vices of all foreigners. They controlled the world of financial speculation. They were
the "extortionists," the "vampires of modern society," who struck
easy deals and reaped exorbitant profits, and who promoted corruption among "naive public officials." The "diabolical" characters
were, consequently, also responsible for the slave trade. Martel's Jewish figure, Filiberto Meckser, is an odious stereotype, both in his repulsive appearance and in his sinister character: " ...dirty teeth, pale
complexion, small eyes, lined with red filaments that denounced the
descendants of Zebulun's tribe, a hooked nose as in Ephron's tribe,
dressed with the vulgar ostentation of a Jew who could never acquire
the noble distinction that characterizes Aryan men."16 Posing as a jewelry dealer, Meckser manages "to cover up his infamous traffic and to
give an appearance of respectability to his continual trips abroad.""
The real purpose of these trips, the reader knows, is to procure prostitutes. Without mentioning its name, Martel refers to the Zewi Migdal,
presided over by Meckser, as a "club of human flesh traffickers, located next to the police station, which the police had never dared disturb.'"" Martel's anti-Semitism, uninfluenced by contact with
flesh-and-blood Jews, ignored the campaign launched by the Jewish
community in Buenos Aires to wipe out the Zewi Migdal.
Other Argentinian authors, although as conservative as Martel, did
not share his opinion of Jews. The most important of these was Manuel Ghlvez (1882-1962)~ who, despite his reservations about Jewish
immigrants, praised Jewish efforts to eradicate the bad elements from
their midst by denying them entry into their synagogues and burial in
their cemeteries.19 In his novel Nacha Regules (1922)~which depicts
the miserable state of prostitutes in Buenos Aires, Ghlvez's sympathies
are obviously with the "polacas ...who were sold in public auction,
who were brutalized and deeply hurt."""
Samuel Eichelbaum and David Viiias
Ten or twelve years later, a more romantic view of the polaca emerged
in the writings of liberal, socially conscious authors who showed the
W h i t e Slavery Writings
prostitute as a victim. These include Samuel Eichelbaum and David
Viiias, whose sympathy for the polacas and sensitivity to antiSemitism were probably associated with their own Jewish origins.
Samuel Eichelbaum7sdrama Nadie la conocio nunca [No one ever
knew her] (194 5 ) is, in a way, a criticism of the cultural attitudes of the
privileged class." It portrays the anguished life of Ivonne, a polaca
crushed by society, a true victim of social circumstance, and an outcast. Ivonne hides her real identity behind a French name, which serves
partly to improve her professional status as a prostitute and partly to
protect her from persecution. The joviality of the first act of the play
turns serious when Ivonne hears a group of young Argentinian aristocrats-her clients and her lover, Ricardito-boast of having shaved the
beard of a Jewish immigrant, publicly degrading him.
In her own living room Ivonne witnesses a playful reenactment of
the shaving, performed by the perpetrators. Responding to this racial
insult, she strikes one of the offenders, thus demonstrating that she
still retains some feeling for her origins. The realization that they had
done this for amusement shocks Ivonne into recovering her Jewish
identity. It also brings back memories of her father, murdered during
the Tragic Week of 1919, when a pogrom broke out in the streets of
Buenos Aires. Recalling similar pogroms in Russia, which had caused
her to emigrate to Argentina, Ivonne expresses her remorse in a confession of her errors: "I am glad.. .that my father did not live to see me
leading this life of debauchery. I thank my stars that I never had to face
him looking like this. Even worse, today I feel the emptiness of my
whole life, like a terrible revelation."" As a redeemed heroine, Ivonne
sees herself as a representative of all Jewish women. She feels compelled to behave with dignity "because now, in each one of us, in our
words and our deeds, the Uewish] race prevail^."'^ Her curse is that
despite her understanding, she is too weak to change and will remain a
David Viiias (b. 1929), like Eichelbaum, links violence with casual
amusement. In his novel En la Semana Tragica [During the Tragic
Week] (1974), he exposes the thoughtless brutality of the guardias
blancas (white guards), who went on a rampage of murder and destruction against the Jewish community in 1919.'~Violence that week
was an entertainment for well-to-do youth, who alternated between
whoring with polacas or francesas and beating up defenseless Jews.
American Jewish Archives
In a later novel, Los dueiios de la tierra [The owners of the land]
(1974)," Vifias's protagonist, Vicente, remembers that he and his fellow law students used to leave the courthouse and amuse themselves
"with the polacas or with the Jewesses, who after all were the same
thing."z6 When he compares the different sorts of whores he has encountered, Vicente finally decides that, contrary to public opinion,
"one Jewess is worth four Frenchwomen anytime."" Significantly,
both Vifias and Eichelbaum create male protagonists who, despite
their expressed hatred for Jews, eventually fall in love with and marry
Jewish women; yet this resolves none of their internal tensions.
Mario Szichman and Moacyr Scliar
During the 1970's literary accounts of Jewish prostitution became
more realistic, their scope more ambitious, and their characters more
three-dimensional. Cases in point are the Argentinian novelist Mario
Szichman and the Brazilian Moacyr Scliar. Szichman writes in a bitter,
sarcastic vein. His autobiographical novels, linked to his Jewish heritage, are cynical, less conciliatory than those of earlier authors. Dora,
a continuing character in several of Szichman's novels, is a hardened,
resourceful, unscrupulous woman who becomes a prostitute in
Buenos Aires to save herself from starvation: "I discovered that the
world belonged to men, and since I could not conquer it with my head,
I used my tujes [back~ide]."'~
In her Yiddishized Spanish, Dora does not make any distinction between obscenity and refinement, as long as she gets what she wants.
She has no qualms about openly acknowledging the link between
crime and prostitution: "There was a certain polaca who whistled at
the client, and lured him into the passage.. ..there they would take
away his ring, his watch, his wallet."z9 Dora cynically models herself
on the melodramatic heroines of tangos and milongas, as she retells
the story of her life: "I don't go rolling around from here to there as I
used to. There is luxury in my room. I spend as much as I wish. And no
one reminds me that once upon a time I was the mud of the delta,
the easy ride who was mocked on nights of carousing and of
Dora's determination to succeed as a madam is based on her conclusion that prostitutes who are uncooperative and unenthusiastic about
White Slavery Writings
their work can never get ahead. "I knew what was in store for
me.. .and wasn't going to let myself fall just like that.. be a curveh [prostitute] was just a step in the business, to become what I am today."jl Since she must be a prostitute, Dora is determined to be a good
one. Her cynicism dominates her conversations with her clients, as she
portrays herself as a victim of corrupt social institutions while at the
same time she is performing her job. Dora claims that prostitution "is
a monstrous slavery, tolerated by society, regulated by the state and
protected by the police." When one of her clients warns, "They will infect you with horrible illnesses, you will fall ever lower.. .that is what
awaits you if you don't change your life-style," Dora replies, "Si,
si.. .I want to be different. And you will help me; you who are so
good. How do you prefer, up or down?j2
Dora fully agrees with Ema, her friend and model of a madam, that
"we Yidn are not like goyim; there is always the moral issue." The
"moral issue" is not so much moral as it is a desire to maintain ethnicity-to maintain Jewishness in a Catholic world. But as a madam, Dora
does not pretend to be naive or even cynical any longer. She judges
harshly the institutions that publicly absolve from responsibility those
girls who consider themselves victims of society.
"They always talk of the losers," Dora thought, "but they forget the
others. Just because we are just a few, maybe? But can all be generals in a battle?. ..I'd wish just one of them [women]would come to
me and tell me she was forced to do it. Just one. They beg us to give
them work. Sometimes they have to be kicked out. And what's
worse, they always come back. They are all stupid and greedy. And
they wear everything they own. They don't even have five tzent.
One has to teach them how to walk, how to behave. How many
come out of it married: Liars, selfish, unkempt. One has to watch
them with everything. Or they get fat, or ill, or careless.""
Although Dora pretends to be indifferent to the rejection of the polacas in the Yiddish theatre, and to their segregation in the Jewish cemetery, she takes comfort in the fact that they are still part of the Jewish
Moacyr Scliar's novel 0 ciclo das hguas [The cycle of waters]
(1976), like the rest of the literature reviewed here, makes use of the
historical data on the subject of prostitution in Argentina as a point of
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Scliar sets his novel in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where the
white slave trade withdrew after being driven out of Buenos Aires. In
0 ciclo das riguas Scliar presents nostalgic reminiscences of the shtetl
existence: the dire poverty of Polish families, and the naivetC of parents who entrusted daughters to unscrupulous men, believing the
claims to pious orthodoxy and the false promises of marriage made by
the caftens and their agents. Esther Markowitz starts as an innocent
child in Poland. After her arranged marriage to a Jew who turns out to
be a pimp, Esther is introduced to the brothel life in Paris, where all her
contacts and clients speak Yiddish, as well as French and Polish. She is
first humiliated and then seduced by the wealth and the easy life that
surround her. Scliar seems to follow Albert Londres' description in the
unfolding of events, turning his euphemistic terminology into dramatic action: " A husband dies, his widow is doing well, he assigns her to
one of his trusted lieutenant^."'^ In this novel, when Mendele dies, his
"widow" Esther is assigned to "Luis el malo," or Leiser, the Latin
American chief of the Zewi Migdal organization.
The title of the novel, which may be translated as "The Cycle of Waters," symbolizes the rebirth of Esther in her illegitimate son, Marcos.
This parallel between the chemical composition of the waters and the
human reproductive cycle runs through the novel, for it is through
Marcos that Esther regains her respectability. She sends her son away
from her "house" in order to have him brought up as a proper Jewish
boy, has him circumcised, and sees that he attains Bar Mitzvah. It is
through Marcos that Esther expiates her guilt for having been a prostitute and for having failed her father, a mohel (ritual circumciser)in Poland. Throughout her life, Esther learns to cope with the unjust,
painful realities of the world. Whether she is portrayed as the victimized woman struggling for independence and respectability, as the attractive "Queen Esther of America," or as the Frenchified Madame
Marc (nCe Markowitz), Scliar's heroine never completely loses her
dignity. She emerges from her painful trials as a proud, sensitive,
The fetid waters drunk by the children of Santa Lucia, a slum in
Porto Alegre, become a revealing metaphor for Scliar. Despite the danger of contamination, despite the infected environment, the children
of Santa Lucia grow up healthy. Marcos becomes a professor of biology. Studying in his laboratory, he views the polluted waters through a
White Slavery Writings
microscope, discovering each impurity and reporting it to his students.
Marcos himself, born of a woman infected with syphilis, escapes unscathed and free of disease.
Esther's illegitimate son stands as a spokesman for middle-class values and human rights. He is deeply concerned about the corruption of
Brazilian politicians who neglect the poor, about the stagnant university system which does not educate, and about land speculators who
trample on the weak and disenfranchised. These social ills, in Marcos's opinion, are far worse than prostitution.
It is worth noting that with the exception of the journalistic reports
presented by Albert Londres and Julio Alsogaray, none of the writers
mentioned in this study had first-hand experience with the white slave
trade. Their tales about prostitution reflect their personal ideological
convictions. The various approaches to the portrayal of the polaca
show the different perspectives that each author chose.
The figure of the polaca, used as a means of illuminating social conditions in Europe, also appears in the writings of several European
Jewish authors: Isaac B. Singer, Sholem Asch, and Sholem Aleichem."
In Old World settings these authors use the polaca to illustrate the traditional dilemmas and paradoxes of shtetl life, but they romanticize
the prostitute when they project her into the New World. Sholem Asch's prostitutes, for example, imagine being married to black princes
in Argentina. Singer's characters, on the other hand, fantasize that
these women will pay for their sins with venereal disease.
It is in Latin American writings that one finds the most convincing
and complete portraits of the polaca in all phases of her career-from
naive immigrant to successful society madam. A composite picture of
the Jewish prostitute emerges from these literary portray,als. The literature shows that there was triumph as well as suffering, resilience as
well as despair, among the polacas.
Nora Glickman teaches Spanish language and literature at Queens
College of the City University of New York.
I8 8
American Jewish Archives
I. Robert Weisbrot, The Jews of Argentina (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1979),
P. 59.
2. Ernesto Pareja, La prostitucidn en Buenos Aires; factores antropoldgicos y sociales; su prevencidn y represidn; policia de costumbres (Buenos Aires: Editorial Tor, 1937); Adolfo Bbtiz, La
ribera y 10s prostibulos en Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Aga Taura, 1961); Ernesto
Bott, "Las condiciones de la lucha contra la trata de blancas en Buenos Aires," Oceana 9, z
(1916); Luis Saslavsky, Psicoanalisis de una prostituta (Buenos Aires: Falbo, 1966).
3. Translated by Eric Sutton as The Road to Buenos Aires (London: Constable, 1928).
4. Ibid., p. 170.
5. Albert Londres, El camino de Buenos Aires (BuenosAires: Ediciones AgaTaura, 19z7), p. 7
(no translator's name given).
6. Ibid., p. 244.
7. Ibid., p. 24.7.
8. Ibid., p. 166.
9. Ibid., p. 241.
10. Ibid., p. 247.
I I. Zewi Migdal, an organization composed of Jewish immigrants from Poland, was held responsible for the white slave trade. It was first called "Warsaw" but later took the name of its
12. Julio Alsogaray, Trilogia de la trata de blancas (Buenos Aires: n.p., 1933).
13. Weisbrot, Jews of Argentina, p. 63.
14. Edouard Drumont, La France Juive (Paris: Margon & Flammarion, 1885).
I 5. Gladys Onega, La inmigracidn en la literatura Argentina: 1800-1910 (Santa Fe, 1965), p.
16. Juliin Martel [pseud. of Juan Maria Mir61, La bolsa (Buenos Aires: Editorial Huemul,
17. Ibid., p. 53.
18. Ibid.
19. Manuel Gblvez, Amigos y maestros de mi juventud (BuenosAires: Editora Kraft, 1944), p.
20. Manuel Gblvez, Nacha Regules (Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de Amtrica Latina, 1968), p.
28. The title of the book is the name of the protagonist.
21. Samuel Eichelbaum, Nadie la conoci6 nunca (Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Carro de Tespis,
22. Ibid., p. 56.
23. Ibid.
24. David Vifias, En la Semana Tragica (Buenos Aires: Jose Alvares, 1966).
25. David Vifias, Los duefios de la tierra (Buenos Aires: Editorial Libreria Lorraine, 1974).
26. Ibid., p. 69.
27. Ibid.
28. Mario Szichman, Los judios del Mar Dulce (BuenosAires: Galeria Sintesis 2000, 1971), p.
29. Mario Szichman, La verdadera crdnica falsa (Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de AmCrica
Latina, 1972), p. 26.
White Slavery Writings
30. Szichman, Los judios del Mar Dulce, p. 136.
3I.Mario Szichman, A las 20:2j nuestra sefioraen86 en la inmortalidad (Hanover, N.H. Ediciones del Norte, 1981),p. 120.
32. Szichman, Los judios del Mar Dulce, p. 135.
33. Szichman, A las 20:25 la setiora entr6 en la inmortalidad, p. 33.
34. Ibid.
35. Moacyr Scliar, 0 ciclo das dguas (Porto Alegre: Editora Globo, 1978).
36. Londres, El camino de Buenos Aires, p. 169.
37. Isaac B. Singer, Passions (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Books, I~SI),
p. 14;Sholern Asch,
Motke the Thief (New York: Putnarn, 1935);Sholem Aleichem, "The Man from Buenos Aires,"
in Teuye's Daughters (New York: Crown, 1958).
Early Zionist Activities Among
Sephardim in Argentina
Victor A. Mirelman
The beginnings of organized Zionism in Argentina followed closely
upon the arrival of news about the First Zionist Congress in Basel. On
August 12, I 897, a few Jews in Buenos Aires gathered to found a Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) group. During the following two decades
several small Zionist societies functioned in Buenos Aires, in the cities
of the interior, and in the agricultural colonies of the Jewish Colonization Association. Though the Zionist movement in the country remained limited during those first twenty years, it served as the basis
for more extensive activities in the decades to come. A Labor Zionist
(Poale Zion) Society was established in the capital as early as 1906. Finally, in 19 I 3, after a hard-fought battle between two rival Zionist
groups in Buenos Aires for recognition by the Zionist headquarters in
Europe, the Federaci6n Sionista Argentina (FSA) was founded.'
A period of fundamental Zionist growth in Argentina was inaugurated in 19 I 7. In March of that year Dr. Baer Epstein, a Zionist
envoy, arrived from the United States, and he spent two years organizing Zionist work in the country. The Balfour Declaration of November 1917, moreover, bolstered the hopes of Zionist leaders, brought
many more Jews into the various Zionist societies, and gave new impetus to the practical work. In addition, the formation of a Jewish Legion
to fight on the side of the British in Palestine during World War I
generated further enthusiasm, which was fed by the numerous public
ceremonies in Buenos Aires to bid farewell to the fifty volunteers who
left for the battlefront.
During the next thirteen years, up to 1930, the various Zionist circles operating in Argentina began to have a degree of influence on
some of the country's Jews. By 1930, although many sectors of Argentinian Jewry remained apathetic to the Zionist idea, the movement
had successfully recruited important members of the Sephardic communities and of the West European Congregaci6n Israelita as well as a
Early Zionist Activities
number of Jews who were prominent in Argentinian political and cultural life.
The main role was played by the Federaci6n Sionista Argentina,
which represented the World Zionist Organization. The Federaci6n
was responsible for campaigns on behalf of the Jewish National Fund
and Keren Hayesod, as well as for promoting an educational program
to instill Zionist values among Jews. The Labor Zionist parties became increasingly prominent during this period. Zeire Zion and Hitachdut started the Hechalutz movement, which promoted the migration of some groups of young idealists to Palestine. Poale Zion was
weakened after its division in 1922, but by 1930 the right wing of the
party was gathering strength. Upon the unification of Poale Zion and
Zeire Zion in 193 2, they initiated a period of intense activity in Argentina.
The Sephardic Response to Zionism
Even after the Balfour Declaration and through the ~gzo's,Zionist activities in Argentina were concentrated among the country's Ashkenazim. Some of the immigrants from Eastern Europe had come in touch
with Hovevei Zion groups in their towns and cities of origin, and others had developed a warmth toward Jewish national aspirations
through the various organs of propaganda, especially the Yiddish
press, and through the many Zionist political and cultural associations. The Sephardic groups in Argentina, on the other hand, remained at best lukewarm to Zionist aspirations for many years after
the Balfour Declaration. The present paper, which supplements my
work on Zionist activities in Argentina from the Balfour Declaration
to 1930, deals with the reactions the Jewish national revival aroused
among the country's different Sephardic groups.'
Dr. MoisCs Cadoche, a lawyer and president of the Zionist society
Bene Kedem of Argentina, declared in an interview in London, in
March 1928, that "Zionist activity among the Sephardim of my country" dated back only to the end of 1926, "the first time that a delegate
came to bring the Zionist message to the Sephardim of South America
in a language they could understand.'' According to Cadoche, the
main reason that the newly founded Bene Kedem did not join the Federacicjn Sionista Argentina was because "we do not understand each
other. We do not understand Yiddish, and their [Ashkenazic]Hebrew
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pronunciation is strange to us. We respect the work they are doing, but
in order to arouse our own people, we must speak to them in a way
they ~nderstand."~
Though differences with Ashkenazim were a natural barrier for Sephardim, there were internal factors within the
Sephardic communities that prompted their reticence vis-a-vis Zionist
work. We shall touch upon these factors later on in this paper.
Cadoche was referring to Dr. Ariel Bension7stour of Latin America
during the latter part of 1926 and the beginning of 1927. Bension7s
visit was the answer of the World Zionist Organization to the need to
involve the growing Sephardic communities around the world in
Zionist endeavors. Bension was mainly concerned with Argentina,
where a considerable Sephardic population had settled. Before his visit
several Sephardic groups in Buenos Aires had initiated Zionist activities, but little had been accomplished.
The first Sephardim to settle in Argentina came from North Africa,
especially Morocco. By 1880 several Moroccan Jews were living in
Buenos Aires, and more arrived later. By the turn of the century a few
. ~ not
of them had achieved financial stability and even ~ e a l t hThus,
surprisingly, the emerging Zionist leadership tried to involve them in
national work. At the initiative of "Liga Dr. Herzl," an early Zionist
society, founded in Buenos Aires in 1899, an Argentine Zionist Congress was convened. Meeting in Buenos Aires, on April 16-18, 1904,
and attended by delegates from Jewish societies in the capital, as well
as from the cities in the interior and the Jewish agricultural settlements, the Congress sought means of bolstering the propagation of
Zionist ideals among the Jewish population of the country. Two of the
sponsoring societies belonged to the Moroccan community: Congregaci6n Israelita Latina, the oldest Sephardic synagogue in Argentina,
founded in 1891, and Hebra Gemilut Hassadim, a burial and charitable society.' In practical terms the role of the Moroccan Jews at the
Congress was minor when compared to that of the Ashkenazic Jews.
Nonetheless, some of the Moroccans were appointed to positions of
leadership, doubtless with the intent of ensuring their support for
Zionist ideals. Thus Isaac BenzaquCn was appointed vice-president of
the Congress, and Abraham Benchetrit was a member of the committee.6
As a result of the Congress, a Federaci6n Sionista Argentina (not to
be confused with the Federation of the same name founded in 1913)
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came into being. Two prominent leaders of Congregaci6n Israelita
Latina, Mair Cohen, its president, and Yona Migueres, a past secretary, were elected vice-president and secretary, respectively, of the
Federaci6n Sionista Argentina.' Moreover, in line with a recommendation by the Argentine Zionist Congress, a biweekly Zionist magazine in Spanish was created in order to reach those Jews who did not
understand Yiddish, especially the Sephardim. Isaac Bentata, an active
leader of the Moroccan Jews, helped in the editing of El Sionista during its early stages.8
Two years later, in 1906, Adolfo Crenovich of the Federaci6n
Sionista Argentina reiterated in a letter to the Zionist Action Committee in Cologne, Germany, that the two Moroccan synagogues in
Buenos Aires, Congregacion Israelita Latina and Ez Hayim, continued
. ~March 1907, in a long report to Coto sympathize with Z i ~ n i s mIn
logne describing the overall Jewish situation in Argentina, the country's Zionist leaders mentioned the formation of two small Zionist
groups by Moroccan Jews in the interior, one in Villa Mercedes, Province of San Luis, and the other in Margarita, Province of Santa Fe.
However, toward the end of the report, the correspondents asserted
that among the Spanish (i.e., Moroccan) Jews, "some are religious fanatics, who see in Zionism a blasphemy of the Messianic idea."'" This
last statement clearly reflects the existence among Moroccan Jews of a
strong religious undercurrent militating against the adoption of a positive political posture with regard to Jewish national goals. This attitude would appear even more strongly among the Ladino-speaking
Jews from the Balkans and the Arabic-speaking Jews from Syria (both
Aleppo and Damascus) who settled in Argentina in much larger numbers than their Moroccan brethren around the turn of the century and
The impact of the Balfour Declaration, however, was reflected positively at the Congregacion Israelita Latina. A few days before the celebration of the first anniversary of the Declaration, the congregational
board resolved "to adhere to the celebrations programmed for next
November 2 [I 9 I 81, by buying a box for the performance that FSA is
sponsoring at the Opera Theater; participating in the public manifestation on Nov. 3 ;celebrating a special ceremony during the morning
services of Saturday, Nov. 2; sending circular letters to all members to
adhere to the celebrations by closing their businesses and displaying
American Jewish Archives
flags in front of their houses.""
The Moroccan community, however, remained cool to the Jewish
national aspirations. Some sparks of activity were evinced during
Herzl's lifetime but subsided shortly after his death. Again, at the moment of Jewish pride and renewed hopes in Zion as a consequence of
the Balfour Declaration, support was given to the efforts of the Federaci6n Sionista Argentina, but when the enthusiasm gave way to
more realistic analyses in the political sphere, support of the national
cause also decreased. During the Keren Hayesod campaign of 1924,
the FSA sent a long letter to Congregaci6n Israelita Latina asking for a
contribution, but the congregation's board answered "that this society is strictly religious, and they are not authorized [to approve expenditures] to this end.""
Some initiatives also took place among Ladino- and Arabic-speaking Jews before 1926. Jews from Turkey and the island of Rhodes
founded Bene Sion in 1914 for Zionist work. After the Balfour Declaration its membership increased somewhat, but shortly afterwards it
was discontinued." Another group of Arabic-speaking Sephardic
Jews, originally from Eretz Israel and Syria, founded Geulat Sion in
19 I 6, and participated in the popular demonstration of 1917 together
with the rest of the Zionists. It was probably members of this group
who published A1 Gala, a short-lived fortnightly periodical printed in
Arabic. The issue of A1 Gala for December 28, 1917, was entirely devoted to developments in Palestine and in the Zionist world, including
several articles on Palestine and the Jews, and others on General Allenby, Theodor Herzl, agriculture among the Jews, and even the pogroms
of I 88 I in Russia.14Geulat Sion sent three of its most prominent members to the Fifth Land Conference of Argentine Zionists in 1919. Hacham Shaul Setton Dabbah, serving the Jewish community of
Aleppine origin, was invited to the conference as a special guest, but
due to the fact that the majority of the speakers insisted on expressing
their views in Yiddish, the Sephardic participants left the gathering.15
In I 921, due principally to the language problem, both Spanish- and
Arabic-speaking Sephardim decided to establish a Zionist Federation
independent of the FSA.16The formation of the Centro Sionista Sefaradi did not take place until 1925, however. It initiated some small-scale
activities in the capital and some of the cities of the interior, and during
Bension's visit served as an instrumentality for his educational pro-
Early Zionist Activities
gram and for his efforts to organize a network of Sephardic Zionist
clusters." Nonetheless, throughout the 1920's the great majority of
the country's Sephardim remained far removed from the Zionist ideal.
Efforts to Win Sephardic Support
Argentina's Zionist leaders, aware of the need to enlist more of the
Sephardim in Zionist activities, repeatedly tried to broaden the FSA's
sphere of influence. The Sephardic question came up again and again
at Land Conferences and during special campaigns, and in most instances the delegates adopted resolutions encouraging a more positive
approach to the Sephardim.18 As early as 1921 the FSA asked the
World Zionist Organization in London to send a Sephardic delegate
The Sephardim,
to work with the Argentine Sephardic comm~nities.'~
it was felt, would more readily listen to the Zionist message from one
of their own, basically because of their localism and parochialism, but
also because in the eyes of many Sephardim Zionism was a secular ideology, opposed to the traditional Messianic conception. Moreover,
since the Sephardim mistrusted the world Zionist leadership, which in
effect was East European, they needed assurance that the movement
would benefit Sephardim in the Land of Israel and also in their communities of origin. These assurances, quite naturally, would be better
conveyed by delegates who shared their roots, concerns, culture, and
While Argentina's very vibrant and popular Yiddish press, with its
numerous daily, weekly, and monthly publications, was out of bounds
to those who did not understand the language of Eastern European
Jewry, the country's Spanish-Jewish press, and its Hebrew press as
well, attempted to attract the Sephardim to Zionist causes. The diversity of the Jewish population of Buenos Aires was an issue strongly
touched upon by the editors of the three Hebrew periodicals published
in the rgzo's, who considered that the promotion of Hebrew language
and culture would unify the different Jewish groups. The Sephardic element was a recurring theme in editorials, and various articles kept
readers informed about developments in the capital's Sephardic communities. The abyss separating the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim
was to be overcome by means of a culture common to all Jews, i.e., a
Hebrew culture.
American Jewish Archives
The Sephardic community here in the capital, which is very important both in quantity and quality, is far away, as is known, from our
community, the Ashkenazic community. The Sephardic Jews have
no contacts, dealings, or relations with us Ashkenazim, in the way,
for example, that the Italians here-Neapolitans and Sicilians and
the like-have. All this has been caused by the language, their language of exile being different from our language of exile.. ..The
language of exile has made of us two different races; but the language of revival will unite us.. ..Habima Haivrit, born in the language of revival, is devoted both to them and to us. . ..We shall both
be girded with all of our united strengths in order to labor for the revival of the people, the labor of rebuilding our destroyed homeland,
of rebuilding the House of Israel, both there, in the land of our future, and here, in the lands of our wanderings.'"
The Hebrew language would also encourage Zionist work among the
Sephardim, who were often estranged from such activities by the insistence of most Ashkenazim that meetings and campaigns be conducted
in Yiddish.
Despite the high hopes voiced by the editors, the Hebrew cultural
movement did not attain much importance among Jews in Argentina
during the 1920's. The forces sponsoring Hebrew linguistic and cultural activities, even if enthusiastic, were very small. Moreover, since
the vast majority of Sephardim, and most Ashkenazim as well, did not
know Hebrew and were not involved in circles that promoted it, the
desire to use Hebrew as a means of uniting the two communities never
had much of a likelihood of success. Whether Ashkenazic or Sephard i ~ the
, various immigrant groups and their children preferred their
accustomed languages of discourse--Yiddish among the East Europeans, Arabic among the Syrians, and Spanish among the Turks and Moroccans.
Attempts to approach the Sephardim through the Spanish-language
press were equally unsuccessful. Prior to 1930, only one of the country's Spanish-Jewish periodicals was under Sephardic control. Founded in March 19 17 by Samuel de A. Levy and Jacob Levy, Israel began
as a monthly, subsequently became a weekly, and for six months in
1920 appeared five times a week. Israel did not have a definite organic
structure. It printed articles and notes about Sephardic Jews, concentrating on the Moroccan Jewish community of Buenos Aires. Corre-
Early Zionist Activities
spondents in the interior of Argentina and in neighboring countries
contributed additional information about local Sephardim. However,
the publishers of Israel were Zionist enthusiasts, and they endorsed
the activities and goals of the Zionist groups functioning in Argentina.
The pro-Zionist leanings of Israel were quite atypical of Sephardim in
Buenos Aires until 1930, when a new Sephardic journal, La Luz, was
initiated, raising the level of Sephardic journalism in Buenos Aires."
Although many of the Sephardic immigrants to Argentina knew
Spanish, the country's Spanish-Jewish press, by and large, did not try
to attract Sephardic readers." In the years before 1930, nine
"Ashkenazic" periodicals were issued in Argentina (one is still in existence, another barely made it in 1930, and seven closed before then).
Of these, only t h r e e t h o s e with a Zionist orientation-attempted to
broaden their scope by including items of Sephardic interest. El Sionista, with which the Jewish press in Spanish made its debut in Argentina
on June I 5,1904, was devoted to Zionist issues. It was also concerned
with the Moroccan Jewish community of Buenos Aires, many of
whose members were active Zionists during the early years of the century."' El Macabeo, which appeared for a short time in 1920, and El
Semanario Hebreo, a weekly, which appeared irregularly for nearly a
decade starting in 1923, were also Zionist oriented. The latter, especially, reported on developments in the Sephardic communities and on
At times, El Semanario Hebreo
Zionist activities among Se~hardim."~
wrote strong editorials criticizing the Sephardim for not contributing
to the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland and for remaining separate
from the mainstream of the Jewish c~mmunity."~
Ariel Bension and the Order Bene Kedem
In 1924, claiming they had the support of such Zionist leaders as
Chaim Weizmann, Nahum Sokolow, Menahem Ussishkin, and Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky, Sephardic leaders in Europe and the Middle
East founded the World Union of Sephardic Jews (WUSJ). At the time,
nearly a third of the Jews in Palestine were Sephardim, and the founders of the WUSJ claimed that they were not receiving the guidance and
help that was given to Ashkenazic Jews from Russia and Poland on
their arrival in Palestine. In light of this, the WUSJ intended to advise
potential Sephardic emigrants from the Middle East, North Africa,
American Jewish Archives
and the Balkans, before their departure from their communities of origin, in order to facilitate their settlement in Israel, and it also launched
a campaign against the Keren Hayesod for failing to keep its promises
to Sephardic olim and for pursuing policies that favored the Ashkena~im.'~
As was mentioned earlier, the World Zionist Organization, toward
the end of 1926, sent Dr. Ariel Bension to visit the Sephardic communities of Latin America. When he arrived in Mendoza after having
visited the Jewish community in Chile, he learned that the WUSJ had
begun propagandizing against the Keren Hayesod in Buenos Aires.
The Sephardim whom Bension met in Buenos Aires told him that they
would only contribute to Zionist causes if the money went to WUSJ
for the Sephardim in Jerusalem. Jacobo Karmona, president of the
Centro Sionista ~efaracli,further argued that unless all the money collected in Bension's campaign was sent to the WUSJ, they would not officially recognize his delegation. Moreover, despite Bension's
objections, the Sephardim insisted on complete autonomy, including
the authority to deal directly with London, since they felt it was impossible for them to work with the FSA."
Although the WUSJ tried to prevent him from founding a Sephardic
branch of the World Zionist Organization, Bension was able to
achieve some temporary successes. On October 23, 1926, after a
month-long mobilization of Sephardic Zionists led by Bension, the
Order Bene Kedem was founded at a large public gathering in Buenos
Aires, in the presence of Dr. Isaac Nissensohn, president of the FSA.
Bene Kedem was established as an independent organization and had
no formal ties to the FSA. Its first president was Jacobo Benarroch, an
honored member of Congregaci6n Israelita Latina. Branches of Bene
Kedem were immediately started, under the auspices and activation of
Bension, in Rosirio, Cordoba, Rio Cuarto, Tucumin, Mendoza, and
Santa Fe. Contacts were made with the Sephardic communities in
Montevideo, Uruguay, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
In addition to the external factors impeding his work in Buenos Aires, Bension also had to deal with a Sephardic community that was divided along origin lines. The city's Sephardic Jewry actually consisted
of four distinct communities: Jews from Morocco, Ladino-speaking
Jews from Turkey, Salonika, and Rhodes, and the two Arabic-speaking Jewish groups from Aleppo and Damascus. At the time there was
little contact among these groups. The Moroccan Jews constituted the
Early Zionist Activities
smallest group, about 200 families, but also the richest. The Turkish
community was larger, but much poorer. The Aleppine Jews, except
for a few individuals, were also poor, while the Damascenes constituted the largest Sephardic community, with a few rich men. Bension's
contacts with Sephardic organizations and individuals led him to conclude that most of the Sephardim in Buenos Aires were extremely indifferent to Zionism. The older elements of the Moroccan community
were "extremist believers in the Messiah on a white horse. ..while the
young are completely assimilated." MoisCs Schoua, the president of
the Damascene community, gave Bension a bad reception, insulting
his whole committee with the allegation "that all the Zionist leaders
and delegates were working on a commission basis," and refused to
make a contribution. Hacham Shaul Setton Dabbah, the rabbi of the
Aleppine community and chief representative of Agudat Israel among
the Sephardim in Argentina, was anti-Zionist on religious grounds
and in his sermons urged his congregants not to contribute to Keren
Hayesod. Hacham Setton's negative attitude to Eretz Israel is reflected
in some of his responsa. His views with respect to education at the
Aleppine Talmud Torah confirm his anti-Zionist position, for he obstinately refused to permit the teaching of Hebrew as a language. Bension contacted Setton, and after a long debate the latter promised that
he would no longer actively interfere in the former's efforts, but he
would not help in any way.19
To compound Bension's problems, the poor results obtained by the
Keren Hayesod campaign among Ashkenazic Jews did not help to inspire a sense of Zionist idealism among the Sephardim. In addition, as
has already been mentioned, Yiddish, the language spoken by most of
the Ashkenazic Zionist officials in Buenos Aires, was incomprehensible to the Sephardim. Finally, while the Sephardic Jews had come to
Argentina from regions near Palestine, the leadership of the World
Zionist Organization was almost entirely Ashkenazic, and most of the
olim settling in Palestine were from Eastern Europe, and these facts
contributed to a feeling that Zionism was mainly an Ashkenazic enterprise.
The Decline of Bene Kedem
Bension's labors opened the door to national work for the Sephardim
in Argentina, but even if there were cordial relations between Bene Kedem and the FSA, the former being in direct connection with London,
American Jewish Archives
a major collaboration between Sephardim and Ashkenazim was not
effected via Zionism. Meanwhile, the WUSJ sent Shabbetai Djaen,
rabbi in Monastir and one of the founders of WUSJ, as its delegate to
South and North America. He arrived in Buenos Aires in April 1927,
just before Passover, and during his stay in Argentina visited Roshrio,
Mendoza, and other centers with Sephardic population^.^^ Djaen soon
aroused the suspicions of Argentina's Zionist leaders, including the
leaders of Bene Kedem. Dr. MoisCs Cadoche, at the time secretary of
Bene Kedem, mentioned on several occasions that Djaen was playing a
double role. On the one hand he spoke highly of Zionism as an ideal,
and on the other, he spoke against the Zionist Organization and its
personnel, demanding that the Sephardim send their contributions only to the WUSJ.3'
In 1928, Cadoche became the president of Bene Kedem, and in the
aforementioned interview in London with Zionist leaders he asserted
that "the WUSJ.. .in spite of its pretended Zionist tendencies, only
created obstacles for us, and made our Zionist work much more difficult.. .trying to convince us to change our allegian~e."~'In a campaign to discredit the Zionist Organization in the eyes of Sephardic
communities all over the world, the WUSJ published some of its attacks in an independent Sephardic publication which had a large following among Sephardim all over South and Central America and in
Morocco. These articles argued that the Zionist Organization did not
help the Sephardim in Palestine and did not appoint Sephardim to
posts in its bureaucratic hierarchy. The WUSJ would do a better job."
At the end of 1928, after a visit to the United States, Djaen returned
to Argentina. With the help of some leaders of the Moroccan Jews
(Congregaci6n Israelita Latina) and the Jews from Turkey (Comunidad Israelita Sefaradi), he formed a Consistorio Rabinico to deal with
rabbinical questions among Sephardic Jews. He also became Gran Rabin0 of the Moroccan and Turkish Jews. Meanwhile, Akiva Ettinger,
the Argentine delegate of the Keren Hayesod, proposed to the central
officein Jerusalem that Djaen be asked to spend four months working
among the Sephardim as part of the annual fund-raising campaign.
The first 3,000 pounds he collected would go to the Keren Hayesod;
30 percent of anything over that amount would be given to the WUSJ.
The central office approved, and for some time Djaen handled this
work, though without great success. The Keren Hayesod approached
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20 I
Djaen again on the eve of the enlargement of the Jewish Agency, this
time asking him to permit the inclusion of his name, along with the
names of Chief Rabbis and teachers in all the countries where the organization was active, on a circular sponsoring Keren Hayesod7swork
as provider for the Jewish Agency. Despite the recognition of his
standing that these invitations reflected, Djaen was already complaining about his personal situation in Buenos Aires. In June 1930, the
Consistorio Rabinico was permanently closed, having accomplished
little, and soon after Djaen left the country for Europe.34
Bene Kedem initiated its Zionist activities with energy and enthusiasm, but as often happens, once its founder-in this case Ariel Bension-left, and contacts with him became more diluted, the
organization languished. Bene Kedem published a booklet containing
a "Call to Sephardim" by Bension and salutations by Weizmann, Sokolow, Sir Alfred Mond, president of Keren Hayesod in England, and
Isaac Nissensohn, from the FSA. The goals of Zionism and the functions of each of its institutions and funds were explained in this publication, emphasizing the partjcular interests of the Sephardim." The
organization was chiefly involved in financial affairs, promoting a
shekel campaign. During its first two and a half years of activities, until May 1929, Bene Kedem did poorly even in the distribution of shekalim. Ettinger in 1928, and Pazi, as Keren Hayesod delegate in 1929,
believed there was no hope of effective action among Sephardim. Pazi
wrote, just before the Jerusalem riots of 1929, that Djaen could help
with the shekel campaign, although he was convinced that "for Keren
Hayesod it is impossible to do anything among Se~hardim."'~
The 19 29 Emergency Campaign
Bension's efforts, and the continuation of his work by the leaders of
Bene Kedem, finally had positive results in the aftermath of the antiJewish riots that swept Palestine in 1929. Argentine Jewry, seriously
concerned about the safety of the Palestinian Jewish community, immediately proclaimed an Emergency Campaign at a meeting attended
by Jews from all sectors, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Zionists and
non-Zionists. The grandiose goal of raising ~,ooo,ooopesos by September 30,1929, was not achieved. However, although the harvest in
the Jewish agricultural colonies had been poor and the country was
American Jewish Archives
experiencing a monetary crisis, Argentina's Jews contributed 3 I 3,000
pesos to the Emergency Fund. More than ~ o , o o opesos were collected
by and among Sephardim. In Buenos Aires alone, where a total of
194,399.69 pesos was raised, fully 35,661 pesos were contributed by
Sephardim. These figures make it evident that Bension and Bene Kedem had succeeded in influencing wider circles of the various Sephardic communitie~.~'
The localism of the Sephardim, however, remained strong. The
Emergency Campaign was intended to aid Palestinian Jewry, but the
Aleppine community in Buenos Aires, for example, decided to allocate
only half of the money it raised to Zionists in Palestine and to divide
the other half among institutions in Aleppo, Sephardim in Palestine,
and the Ahavat Zedek society, which helped Aleppine widows, orphans, and poor people in Buenos Aires. Thus only half of the proceeds were turned over to the Federaci6n Sionista Argentina.38
The leadership of the FSA enthusiastically welcomed the participation of the Sephardim in this campaign. Dr. Isaac Nissensohn, its president, wrote to Chaim Weizmann in London that "the Sephardim,
who had hardly contributed to the upbuilding of Palestine, are now
contributing to the Emergency Fund with a liberal hand."" Bension
had brought the Zionist message to the Sephardim in Argentina in a
language they understood. As a result, they were now somewhat more
conscious of the Zionist program and recognized the importance of
working for and contributing to its fulfillment. They had also begun to
realize that the Sephardim already in Palestine and potential Sephardic
immigrants were benefiting from the building of the Jewish national
The 193 0's and Afterward
Despite these accomplishments, however, Zionism made little
progress among the Sephardim of Argentina in the years that followed. Although some of the Sephardic leaders had begun warming
up to the Zionist program and had worked together with Ashkenazim
in an effort to propagate the Zionist idea among the country's Jews,
the Sephardic rank and file continued to distrust the Ashkenazic leadership. Strongly linked to their communities of origin and imbued
with intense localist feelings, Argentina's Sephardim required much
more in the way of explanation and reassurance if they were to over-
Early Zionist Activities
come their suspicions and doubts. In the I ~ ~ o ' however,
both the
Zionists and world Jewry as a whole were preoccupied with other issues that took precedence over the work of reassuring the Sephardim.
Thus the necessary effort was not forthcoming, and the attempt to win
over the Sephardim was dropped before it ever attained substantial results. In part because of this unfortunate inconsistency in the approach
to Argentina's Sephardim, a segment of the community was permanently alienated from Zionism.
As the account in this paper indicates, the Zionist movement failed
to win the cooperation of the Sephardim during its early decades, both
locally in Argentina and at the international level. In later years, especially after the creation of the State of Israel, and once its most urgent
challenges-including the absorption of large numbers of refugees in a
very short period of time-were met, the rift between these two major
segments of Jewry would again be evident. Even today it continues to
be a concern shared by Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Israel and the
Victor Mirelman is rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Israel in Millbourne, New Jersey. He has published previous articles on
Jewish immigration to Argentina.
I. Silvia Schenkolewski, "Di Zionistishe Bavegung in Argentine fun I 897-1917" [The Zionist
movement in Argentina during 1897-19171, Pinkas fun der Kehila (Buenos Aires), 1969, pp.
2. Victor A. Mirelman, "Zionist Activities in Argentina from the Balfour Declaration to
1930,'' in Studies in the History of Zionism, ed. Yehuda Bauer, Moshe Davis, and Israel Kolatt
(Jerusalem, 1976), pp. 188-223 (Hebrew).
3. Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem (hereafter cited as CZA), zq 3579111 (1928); also in
New Judea, 4, no. 11 (April 27, 1928).
4. O n the migration of Sephardic Jews from North Africa and the Ottoman Empire to Argentina, see Victor A. Mirelman, "The Jews in Argentina (189-1930): Assimilation and Particularism" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1973), pp. 33-43.
5 . CZA Z1 (405), # I 4 (1904).
6. CZA Z I (405), Enrique Rubinsky and Esteban Crenovich to Vienna, May 5,1904. Benzaquen was vice-president of Congregaci6n Israelita Latina (CIL) in 1903, cf. Minutes of ibid., September 20, 1903; Benchetritwas vice-president in 1899, secretary in 1905, and later on president
of CIL, cf. Minutes, passim.
7. El Sionista (Buenos Aires), I, no. 12 (December I , 1904): 6.
8. CZA Z.B. Koln B.Ig 123, fasc. 3, "Report on the History of Zionism in Argentina," by J. L.
Liachovitzky, A. Crenovich, G. Dabin, and G. Zeitlin, March 14, 1907, 22 pp.
American Jewish Archives
9. CZA Z.B. Koln B.1g 123, fasc. I.
10. See note 8.
11. CIL, Minutes, October 30, 1918.
12. Ibid., August 3, 1924.
13. La Luz 12, no. 8 (April 17,1942): 184-186, in a report on the antecedents of the Centro
Sionista Sefaradi presented by Maurice Alacid to the First Sephardic Convention.
14. A1 Gala (Arabic; Hagolah in Hebrew), I, nos. 13-14 (December 28, 1917).
IS. Habima Haivrit I, no. 6 (Elul-Tishre 1921): I I f. The three delegates from GeulatSion to
the Zionist Congress in Argentina were Josi Cassuto, Yedidiah Abulafia, and Jacobo Setton. Cf.
Habima Haivrit 5 (1925): 37.
16. Habima Haivrit I, no. 6 (1921): 11 f.
17. Cf. note 13.
18. The Third Zionist Conference in Argentina tried to encourage Sephardim (cf. Schenkolewski, "Di Zionistishe Bevegung in Argentine," p. I IS), as did the Twelfth Conference (cf. Semanario Hebreo, May 23, 1930, p. 3).
19. Cf. the suggestion of Moises Senderey in Habima Haivrit I, no. 7 (December 1921): 11.
20. HabimaHaivrit I, no. I (Nisan 1921): 2; reproduced in I. L. Gorelik, Be'eretz Nod [In the
land of Nod] (Buenos Aires, 1943), p. 135. Cf. also Atideinu, no. I Uanuary 1926): I f.
21. Israel (Mundo Hebraico Argentino) had correspondents in eleven provinces.
22. Arabic-speaking Jews put out, in 1917, the fortnightly A1 Gala, of which only one number
was available. Cf. above, note 14.
23. El Sionista was directed by J. S. Liachovitzky. Only forty-seven numbers of this fortnightly
were published.
24. Especially at the end of 1926, and during 19zg-1930, Semanario Hebreo published news
and articles about Sephardim in Buenos Aires, coinciding with visits of Sephardic personalities or
emissaries from Zionist centers in Jerusalem.
25. Cf. "El Silencio de 10s Sefaradim," Semanario Hebreo, August 23, 1924, p. I.
26. Cf. the summary of Report o f the World Union of Sephardic Jews for the period Iyar
5684-Elul 5686 (approx. April 1924September 1926) at CZA Zq 35791.
27. Cf. CZA Zq 2412, letters from Bension to the Zionist Organization (London), dated Mendoza, September 22,1926, and Buenos Aires, September 29,1926; also s z 519,
~ Bension to Dr.
Leo Hermann (Keren Hayesod, Jerusalem), November 9, 1926.
28. CZA Zq 35791, FSA to Keren Hayesod Uersualem), December 12, 1926.
29. The quotations are from the letters mentioned in notes 27 and 28. Hacham Shaul Setton's
participation in Agudat Israel is asserted in the letter cited in note 28, and in CZA KHq 4531,
notes on Akiva Ettinger's conversation with Shmuel Pazi and Schwam, Jerusalem, January 21,
1929. The Argentine branch of Agudat Israel was founded in 1920, and Hacham Setton joined in
some capacity. Cf. Habima Haivrit I, no. 6 (1921): 14. In his collection of Responsa, Dibber
Shaul Uerusalem, 1928), Hacham Setton deals with the question whether in Argentina, which
has opposite seasons to Eretz Israel, Jews should include the petition for rain and wind in their
prayers-which is done during the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere-according to the
climate of Israel, or during the actual winter in Argentina. His answer was that Jews should follow the seasons of their place of dwelling, which is the custom of the Aleppine community in
Buenos Aires, contrary to the practice accepted in all other synagogues in the country. For Hacham Setton's position on the program of studies at the Talmud Torah, see Yesod Hadath, Minutes, February 22, 1928; also Yesod Hadath, Minutes o f General Assemblies, March 25, 1928,
and March 10, 1929.
30. CZA Zq 35791, Zionist Organization (Jerusalem) to all Zionist Federations and Organizations in the Diaspora, December 7, 1926.
Early Zionist Activities
3 I. CZA Zq 35791, Bension to Zionist Organization, September 21,1927, quotes Cadoche's
32. Cf. above, note 3.
33. Among the goals of WUSJ, according to lsrael magazine, February 3,1928, were the following: "To coordinate, to strengthen, and to unite our forces In the Diaspora, in order to
present a single front in Palestine, capable of representing before the proper authorities, our
claims and the vindication of our brothers. Besides, we feel the urgent necessity to propagate
amongst the Sephardim of the whole world the Zionist ideal, and influence them to take part in
the common task."
34. Cf. CZA KHq 4531, Ettinger (BuenosAires) to Keren Hayesod (Jerusalem),September 27,
1928, and Jerusalem's answer. In his conversation with Pazi (CZA, same file),January 21,1929,
Ettinger confirmed that Djaen worked for Keren Hayesod and WUSJ, though he had put some
pressure on Cadoche and other activists of Bene Kedem against contributing to Keren Hayesod.
35. Cf. Los Sefaradirn y el Sionisrno (Buenos Aires, 1926).
36. See Ettinger's conversation with Pazi, CZA KHq 4531, January 21, 1929; Pazi's letter to
Zionist Organization (London), May IS, 1929, CZA Zq 3659; and interview with Cadoche,
note 3 above.
37. Cf. Report of Activities presented to the 12th Land Conference (FSA),May 1930 (Yiddish), p. 9. Also CZA KHq 4541, Nissensohn (FSA) to Weizmann (London), September 23,
1929; and Pazi to Keren Hayesod (Jerusalem), September 17, 1929.
38. Cf. Hesed She1 Emeth Sefaradit, Minutes, September 4, 1929; Yesod Hadath, Minutes,
September 4, 1929, and November 5, 1929.
39. Cf. Nissensohn to Weizmann, quoted above, note 37. See also Allgemeine Tetigkeit
Baricht, October 1928-May 1930, 8 pp. (Yiddish), at CZA KHq 4561.
40. Cf. Los Sefaradirn y el Sionismo, pp. 66-71.
Hombre de Paso:
Just Passing Through
Isaac Goldemberg
The Peruvian Jewish author and poet Isaac Goldemberg aroused considerable attention with the publication several years ago of his first
novel, The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner, which provided
English readers with a glimpse into the life of the Jewish community of
Peru. Now, with his new collection of poems, Just Passing Through
(Hanover, N.H.: Ediciones del Norte, 198I), Goldemberg attempts to
bridge two cultures-Jewish and Inca-that are so distinct that possibly
only the sensibilities of a poet could establish a connection between
The abundance of wine the ritual of those gentle grapes
on my father's joyous table
humble is the yeast for the unleavened bread
the bruised loneliness of the table and its edges
the scattered history of my forefathers
in the scarcity of wine
in the zigzag
of their peddling legs
wheeling and dealing from the patched up Ukrainian landscape
to the mummified bone of a Peruvian graveyard
My grandfather is still the same old urn digger
on his way back from plundering graves
from the world above
from the world below
Ay ayayai the turning of his poncho into the wind
Ay ayayai the broken echoes of his quena*
My father's history walks down the dirt roads
of my country
* Quena: a reed flute made by the Incas.
Just Passing Through
his exile spirals all the way around my tent
Ay ayayai the high noons of his shadow
Ay ayayai in his shofar the echo of a quena
To you father I give all the silence of my kaddish
the proud majesty of a wheat stalk that will never be
unleavened bread in your hand
the northern seas that fling you door to door
from the world above
from the world below
To you I give all the hinges of my wrapped up bone that you
count and recount from inside the hidden spaces of my urn
Ay ayayai the twisted silence of your Yiddish words
Ay ayayai the broken echo my words in Quechua
History taught me some years ago
that Wiracocha*
sent Manko Capact
to build an empire on top of a mountain
History later taught me
that Jehovah created man
in the image and likeness of Wiracocha
who then created Manko Chpac
in Jehovah's image and likeness
The Jews in Hell
As the story goes,
the Jews bought for themselves
a private spot in hell.
* Wiracocha: the principal Inca god.
t Manko Capac: the first Inca.
American Jewish Archives
In the first circle,
Karl Marx sits on a wooden bench
using his hand as a fan.
The prophet Jeremiah
fights off the heat by singing psalms.
In the second circle,
Solomon carefully studies
the stones from his Temple.
On some yellowing rolls of paper,
Moses draws hieroglyphics.
Christ dreams of Pontius Pilate
in the third circle.
Freud's clinical eye
follows every move he makes.
In the fourth circle,
Spinoza edits
a history of the Marranos.
In the fifth circle,
Jacob wrestles with a devil.
Cain and Abel
treat each other like brothers.
In the sixth circle,
Noah rides drunk on a zebra.
Einstein searches for atoms
in the space between rocks.
In the final circle,
Kafka tilts his telescope
and bursts out laughing.
Just Passing Through
It's just that sometimes our body
is born so suddenly
then lags behind
as if adrift
Just Passing Through
It shares other births
leaving proof
that it was made
in solidarity
Our body comes from having sunk
its sad eyes
and picking up layer after layer
in its rush
to dig up full days
It's just that our body knows nothing about
till it goes out and risks
its life
One Day
One day
a man wakes up seized
by an unbearable fear
he feels like a monster
eating itself up from inside
a little at a time
He shouts he struggles .
curses himself outloud
Reaching out he touches his childhood
floats toward his memories
turns around
comes face to face with himself
tired of knowing
he'll always be
both man and monster
taking up too many spaces
He falls asleep he backs off from his teeth
his nails
he speaks again
changes his name
hides his past
American Jewish Archives
sheds his skin considers
then rejects suicide
chases the monster off
and calms down
until one day
when he least expects it
he wakes up
Just Passing Through
It's obvious no one knows who has died
They're already rushing to seal up
doors and windows
as if no one still lived in this house
I keep getting lost in its corners
holding up walls forced down by their weight
I greet the furniture and its sorrow
the one smell coming from the kitchen
I pause now and take stock
of my years
Here with all the uncertainty
of a stranger
I seek refuge in this house
A Peddler's Memories
What if I were to see her passing this peddler's corner
with her basket of bread
her skin dark as a Besarabian wheatfield without
so much as a smile on her lips
never stopping on this peddler's corner
to argue over my prices
And if I were to see her in my dreams draped with beads
a tender concubine against the somber walls
of my palace
radiant as the tall Judean wheat
And if I were t o see her every morning from this corner
Just Passing Through
passing always with a large basket under her arm
her heels softly tapping the delicate notes of a Peruvian waltz
to the beat of all my offers shaking the sidewalks
with her peasant hips
without ever glancing at the weight of my goods
and what if I were to see her pass this peddler's corner
slowly draining and embezzling the rest of my days
I tell myself over and over
that those were different times
And there where I dreamed of
living on a ship
that never set to sea
the summer grew even drier
and the world filled up
with men pulled by the tide
The Duties of a Prophet
Nothing special would mark my life if it weren't
for the fact that I died January 2 1944 in Dachau
The balance is made up by the traits
of a thousand year old tradition:
(used to always keeping an eye open)
having too much of a weak spirit
and full of excuses taken
in steady doses
Forced into living by the Commandant's mercy
playing the role of court jester
or obedient page
in the General's entourage
(a role I took on orders from an Absent God)
I was his witness: I improvised a two-faced image
of judge and victim
American Jewish Archives
That's how my history can be summed up
except for a few rather apocryphal events
the fruits of either old age
or dreams
Caretaker of the cemetery for victims
men with no future look for rest in my house
where it's my duty to seal hollow doors and windows
Elegy for Hershel Gosovsky
They must have seen him with neckties under his arms
every winter in the city
they must have asked him what's it worth
how much
for this summer tie
on those passing days
And Gosovsky walking all his life from Jiron de la
Union to Colmena Avenue
must have let them go at wholesale prices
or let them
fly from the city rooftops
at bargain rates
he would've used them on credit to keep warm
every winter
setting up stands full of sunlight on all
the quiet corners of Lima
All his life blue-eyed Gosovsky would've
dragged his feet
to the whorehouse on Jiron Huatica
lit up back alleys and shabby rooms with his
milky circumcised erection
crawled on his knees to the Banco Popular
reached up to the teller's window Peruvian coins
encrusted on his hands
his body searching for a place to sleep
each night
every morning he would've used his key
to open all the hotels in Lima
Just Passing Through
until they saw him die face down
with his feet
his hands
his whole body
Just Passing Through
Here's where my life begins
shoulder to shoulder
against fate
and those days rushing by in fear
It all hangs on luck:
you lose the fear of death
because there are days in a man's life
that escape it
But it's hard not to give up
when we trip over our feet
at each turn
and we fall down out of reach
with our ankles
split wide open
and then they lay us down on a gravestone
and tell us:
Sleep calmly
the tide doesn't rise this high
It's hopeless: I'm about to unmask myself
but my words stop me
at the tip of my tongue
It's hopeless: here's where my life begins
and I'm just passing through
Then I set out on my journey through history
and now I remember that heroes-I mean those
who thought about life as they were dyingflashed their ghostly claws
American Jewish Archives
And it so happened that in the end
I couldn't forget Mariategui's seven poems
that even though my head had been cut off
I still kept in my pocket
(the left pocket)
two cents worth of patriotism
Then I took the road that neither began
nor ended in Jerusalem or Cuzco
finally I discovered that confuciusjesuschristkarlmarx
were scheming to put out a new edition of the bible
and that the earth's navel
could be found inside a barren woman
Solomon ordered that the son of my conscience be cut in half
and that the head be handed over to the Western mother
and an ass with two legs to the Eastern mother
and that's how a lie the size of a nose
began growing on our culture
A parched, dying voice revealed to me that
civilization began when Cain committed his crime
who cared if Wiracocha was born in a Bethlehem manger
or if Jesus was Lake Titicaca's son
we didn't need sperm tests
but tests of conscience
in the end I, the offspring of Abraham's rape of Mama Ocllo
paternal step-brother of David the Hebrew Pachaciitec
spun my roots in the Span-Jewish wool of Tahuantinsuyo
Poets: don't waste your words
today the word is no longer the prophet's sword
and reason, in this age, further removed than ever
from the mystery that the universe weaves around us
is only reflected in the stubborn silence of our dead
It's necessary, however, if you are looking for pseudonyms
to understand that it makes no difference to be called a lion
a horse or a cat
Just Passing Through
21 5
that heroes' names already smell like parchments
and that's why it's better to be called ram than Abraham
lamb instead of Jesus or llama instead of Manko.
Just Passing Through
At the end of the day
we all compare dusk
to death.
If a man goes
to meet death,
we let him
keep his shadow,
we follow him
as an eye follows a ship.
If the light rips
the seams of our body,
we abandon him for a second:
if we think we're ready
to join him on his journey,
we slowly tie
our shoes,
repeat our goodbyes,
and assure him that we've never
seen him
go by naked
flashing like metal:
we go our separate ways
facing this day already controlled
by habit.
Isaac Goldemberg is the Peruvian-born author of The Fragmented
Life of Don Jacobo Lerner. He is now teaching at New York University and is at work on a new novel, La conversi6n.
Some Aspects of
Intermarriage in the Jewish Community
of SHo Paulo, Brazil
Rosa R. Krausz
Intermarriage has been part of the Jewish experience throughout history and in fact is a common phenomenon whenever a minority lives
in constant contact with a majority group in an open society. Studies
of intermarriage usually focus on tendencies related to demographic
data, such as age, sex, education, nationality, and religion, and rarely
explore how factors like identity, prejudice, values, commitment, and
alienation influence the patterns of intermarriage. In contrast, the research project described in this paper was specifically designed to determine the extent t o which the educational process and individual
experiences, values, and concepts affect the rate of intermarriage. It also sought to determine the consequences of intermarriage for the survival of Jewish communities in the diaspora.
Research Methodology
Intermarriage defined. Intermarriage is the formal union through
marriage of an individual who was born Jewish with one who was not
born Jewish and was not raised as such. Based on this broad definition, it is possible to distinguish three categories of intermarriage: ( I )
Jewish conversionary intermarriage, in which the non-Jewish partner
converts to Judaism; (2) Christian conversionary intermarriage, in
which the Jewish partner abandons Judaism through formal conversion; and ( 3 ) mixed marriage, in which neither partner converts.'
The respondents. Originally the research project was designed to
reach forty randomly selected Jewish-born partners in each of the
three intermarriage categories. A fourth group, consisting of endoga-
Aspects of Intermarriage
mous Jewish couples, was added as a control to determine whether the
members of the various intermarriage categories differed in any significant way from a similarly selected group of persons who had chosen
Jewish marriage partners. Unfortunately, it proved difficult to find
and interview Jews who had converted to Christianity (category 2
above). Of the ten converts identified in the S2o Paulo Jewish community, six refused to be interviewed. Although the data for the remaining four are presented, the number of respondents was too small to
permit comparative analysis. Because of the difficulty in finding converts, the research universe of the study was reduced from 160 respondents to 124.
Research procedure. The data presented in this study were collected
through a questionnaire and an interview with specific items for each
category of intermarriage. Both the questionnaire and the interview
were answered by the Jewish partner in each of the intermarriage categories.
Characteristics of the Population
Age and sex. The age and sex characteristics of the respondents are
shown in Table I. The group that participated in the study was made
up of men and women between the ages of twenty-one and seventyfour. Twenty-nine of the respondents (8 percent), the largest single
group, were from the thirty to thirty-nine age bracket, and seven ( 3
percent), the smallest group, were from the sixty to seventy-four
bracket. In the intermarriage categories, most of the respondents were
between twenty and thirty-nine years old (60.6 percent), while in the
endogamous category the highest concentration was found in the forty to fifty-nine age bracket (55.0 percent). The majority of the respondents in the intermarriage categories were male (66.5 percent). In
the endogamous category the distribution was more balanced: 55.0
percent male and 45.0 percent female.
Place of birth. Table LA shows that the respondents were predominantly first-generation Brazilians born in SPo Paulo City. Of the sixtyeight first-generation Brazilians, the majority (66.2 percent) were
intermarried. This proportion grew even higher among the thirtythree second-generation Brazilians (84.9 percent). The lowest incidence of intermarriage was found among the foreign-born (47.9
percent). Thus the population studied showed a clear tendency to in-
American Jewish Archives
termarriage as we pass from immigrants to second-generation Brazilians (see Table 2B).
Education. The educational characteristics of the respondents are
shown in Table 3A. Most of them had a university education, although fewer females than males had attained this level of education
(61.7 percent and 79.2 percent respectively). The second-generation
Brazilians included the highest proportion of university graduates
(87.9 percent) as compared to the first-generation Brazilians and the
foreign-born (75.5 percent and 43.4 percent respectively). The data in
Table 3B make it evident that the Jewish conversionary group had the
greatest number of respondents with a university education, and that
the endogamous group registered the lowest.
The Jewish partner. Table 4 shows the sex of the Jewish partners in
the various groups. There was a clear predominance of male Jewish
partners in the Jewish conversionary category. This can be explained
by two facts: ( I ) conversion to Judaism is easier for women than for
men, and (2) in a male-oriented society like Brazil, women tend to submit more easily than men to their spouses' way of life. The sexual distribution of the Jewish partners was more balanced in the mixed and
endogamous categories.
Identification with Judaism
Identification with Judaism is a multifarious and complex process.
Herman says that "Jewish identity deals with: (a)The nature of the individual's relationship to the Jewish group as a membership group;
and (b) The individual's perception of the attributes of the Jewish
group, his feelings about them, and the extent to which its norms are
adopted by him as a source of reference."'
For the purposes of the research described in this paper, we considered Jewish identification as the outcome of the educational process to
which the individual was submitted, also including the individual's
personal experiences and the values cherished and transmitted by his
family. In order to measure the respondents' degree of identification
with Judaism, we used the following indicators: attendance at a Jewish school; membership in Jewish youth groups; observance of Jewish
traditional holidays in the parental home; Bar or Bat Mitzvah; observance of Kashrut in the parental home.
Aspects of Intermarriage
Table I : Sex and Age of Respondents
Grand Total
124 100.0%
Table 2A: Place of Birth of Respondents
Place of Birth
Brazil (1st generation)
Brazil (2nd generation)
45 66.2%
28 84.9%
11 47.9%
23 33.8%
5 15.1%
I+ (2.1%
68 100.0%
33 100.0%
2 % 100.0%
Table 2B: Place of Birth and Intermarriage Category
Place of Birth
Brazil (1st generation)
Brazil (2nd generation)
r o 100.0%
Table 3A: Education and Place of Birth
1st Generation
Educational Level
Grammar school
High School
2nd Generation
Table 3B: Education and Marriage Category
Grammar School
High School
40 100.0%
Educational Level
3 75.0%
40 100.0%
American Jewish Archives
Jewish school attendance. As shown in Table 5, approximately onethird (37.4 percent) of the respondents attended Jewish day schools.
Of the thirty-six respondents who went to Jewish grammar schools
(four years), 36. I percent married Jewish partners, 33.3 percent married gentiles who converted to Judaism, and 30.6 percent married
nonconverted gentiles. Of the eleven respondents who attended Jewish day schools for a period of eight or more years, 54.5 percent married Jewish partners, 36.4 percent married gentiles who converted to
Judaism, and 9. I percent married nonconverted gentiles. Thus, in the
population studied, attending a Jewish day school diminished the rate
of intermarriage and increased the rate of endogamous marriage only
when a Jewish school was attended beyond the grammar-school level.
Jewish youth groups. Table 6 shows the pattern of participation in
Jewish youth groups. The majority of the respondents had belonged to
groups of this kind. Although the length of their participation does not
seem to be relevant, the very fact of participation shows a slight influence on marriage behavior. Of the seventy individuals who were involved in Jewish youth-group activities in some way, 40 percent
married Jewish spouses, 3 I .4 percent married gentiles who converted
to Judaism, and 25.7 percent married nonconverted gentiles. In contrast, of the fifty respondents who did not participate in Jewish youth
activities, 36 percent married gentiles who converted to Judaism, another 36 percent had nonconverted gentile spouses, and only 24 percent married Jews.
Jewish observances in the parental home. As shown in Table 7, the
holiday most frequently observed by the parents of the respondents
was Yom Kippur, followed by Pesach (Passover)and Rosh Hashana.
All of the respondents in the endogamous group reported that their
parents had observed Yom Kippur, as did 75 percent of the respondents in the intermarriage categories. A similar pattern was found for
Passover and Rosh Hashana. Although Sabbath observance was not
as widespread, the pattern of observance showed the same ordering of
frequency among the groups: 50 percent of the parents in the endogamous category, 27.5 percent of the parents in the Jewish conversionary category, and only 15 percent of the parents in the
mixed-marriage category. Thus it appears that there is a connection
between a high degree of Jewish holiday observance and a tendency
toward endogamous marriage.
Aspects of Intermarriage
Table 4 : Sex of Jewish Partner
Sex of Jewish Partner
Marriage Cateaorv
Jewish Conversionary
Christian Conversionary
I 25.0%
21 52.5%
18 45.0%
77 62.1%
40 100.0%
4 100.0%
40 100.0%
40 100.0%
Table 5: Level of Jewish Schooling
Jewish School
Grammar school
High school
16 34.1%
36 100.0%
19 40.4%
Table 6: Participation in Jewish Youth Groups
Level of
Didn't Participate
No answer
22 31.4%
18 36.0%
2 2.9%
2 4.0%
18 25.7%
18 36.0%
4 100.0%
28 40.0%
12 24.0%
70 100.0%
50 100.0%
4 100.0%
Table 7 : Jewish Holiday Observance in Parental Home
Holiday Observance
Rosh Hashana
Yom Kippur
30 75.0%
30 75.0%
30 75.0%
11 27.5%
8 20.0%
z 50.0%
2 50.0%
3 75.0%
I 25.0%
40 100.0%
38 95.0%
40 100.0%
I 7 42.5%
Table 8: Bar Mitzvah
Had Bar Mitzvah
3 100.0%
American Jewish Archives
Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The BarJBat Mitzvah is an important event in
the strengthening of Jewish identity. It is a milestone of a youth's experience as well as a solemn entrance into the adult life of the Jewish
community. As the data in Table 8 show, 84.4 percent of the male respondents had been Bar Mitzvah, while only 4.2 percent of the female
respondents had experienced a Bat Mitzvah ceremony. The highest incidence of Bar Mitzvah was found in the endogamous category (90.9
percent), followed by the Jewish conversionary group (84.8percent).
It should be noted that all the male respondents in the Christian conversionary category had been Bar Mitzvah.
Kashrut observance. Parental observance of the dietary laws is tabulated in Table 9.Few of the respondents had parents who observed
the dietary laws. The highest percentage was found in the endogamous
group (42.5percent), followed by the mixed-marriage category (7.5
Jewish Education Influence Degree (JEID). The global analysis of
the five factors described above and selected as relevant to the development of an identification bond with Judaism was made through a
compound index called the Jewish Education Influence Degree (see
Appendix A). The analysis of these related factors sheds some light on
the rather complex process of Jewish identification. Table 10shows
that the majority of the respondents in the endogamous category (52.5
percent) had a JEID of 3 or more. The percentage of respondents with
3 or more on the JEID decreased in the Jewish conversionary group
(27.5percent) and more so in the mixed-marriage category (12.5percent). While the number of respondents in the Christian conversionary
group was too small to permit comparisons, it is worth noting that all
of them had a JEID of less than 3. The data assembled in the study indicate that there is a clear association between a high JEID and endogamous marriage, and also that a lower JEID indicates a higher
probability of an intermarriage that will draw the Jewish spouse away
from Judaism.
Participation in Jewish Community Life
The maintenance of an organized Jewish communal life is essential for
the survival of Judaism in the diaspora. Two indicators were selected
for assessing the participation of respondents in the life of the S5o
Aspects of intermarriage
Paulo Jewish community: ( I ) affiliation with Jewish communal organizations, and ( 2 ) enrollment of their children in Jewish schools.
Affiliation with Jewish communal organizations. As the data in Table I IA demonstrate, the number of affiliated respondents was relatively high. Organizational affiliation was 87.5 percent in the
endogamous group, 80 percent in the Jewish conversionary group,
and 60 percent among mixed-marriage respondents. The data in Table IIB reveal that there was a close relationship between organizational affiliation and a high JEID.
Enrollment of children in Jewish schools. As was also true of the degree of communal affiliation, both marriage category and JEID clearly
influence the continuity or discontinuity of the process of commitment
to Judaism. The data in Table I 2 show that the highest incidence of enrollment in Jewish day schools was found among the children of endogamous couples, and the highest incidence of enrollment in secular
schools was seen among the offspring of mixed marriages. Although
some of the mixed-marriage respondents were ambivalent about providing their children with a Jewish education, only one couple, from
the Christian conversionary group, decided to raise their children as
The Concept of "Jew"
How one answers the question "Who is a Jew?" has a considerable
amount of relevance in regard to the subject of intermarriage, since it
determines one's approach to Judaism, to the Jewish community, to
the larger society, and, perhaps most important, toward oneself. The
answers the respondents provided to this question revealed that they
entertained a wide range of views on what being a Jew means. In the
endogamous category, the main points underlined under the heading
Jew were "tradition" and "religion." The respondents from the Jewish conversionary group emphasized "tradition," "education," and
"feelings." The mixed-marriage respondents mentioned "tradition"
and "education" but also referred to other frames of reference, such as
"race," "descent," "culture," "people," and "specific values." While
respondents from the endogamous group limited their choices to just a
few concept options, there was a progressive increase in the number of
options selected by the respondents in the other categories, perhaps as
a means of preventing cognitive dissonance. This is an extremely im-
American Jewish Archives
portant point that warrants further exploration in an in-depth research study.
Parental attitude toward intermarriage. Social scientists have generally recognized that the family group influences the child's view of the
world and of himself. The family exerts strong pressures on its children to shape their behavior to fit into the patterns sanctioned by the
group. By asking the respondents to provide information about
whether and to what extent their parents regarded endogamous marriage as a traditional Jewish value to be maintained and encouraged,
we were able to form some insights into the degree of influence that
parental values have on the younger generation in an open society like
that of Brazil.
The attitudes toward intermarriage expressed by the parents of the
respondents, as reported by the respondents, are shown in Table 13.
The parents of the respondents in the endogamous group were the
ones who most strongly maintained the value of endogamous marriage. Among the respondents in this group, 75 percent reported that
their parents had strongly opposed intermarriage-the highest incidence of parents taking this stance-and in addition 17.5 percent reported that their parents had expressed some disapproval of
intermarriage. In the Jewish conversionary group, the proportion of
parents strongly opposed to intermarriage dropped to 45 percent, but
another 27.5 percent had a somewhat unfavorable attitude toward intermarriage. In the mixed-marriage group, only 25 percent of the respondents reported that their parents had strong feelings against
intermarriage, but another 27.5 percent reported that their parents
were somewhat unfavorable toward it. These data lead to the conclusion that there is a correspondence between parental views on intermarriage and the likelihood that offspring will marry a non-Jewish
Favorable and unfavorable aspects of intermarriage. Our analysis
of perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of intermarriage
among the various categories of respondents provided an overview of
their marital expectations. As Table 14shows, the majority of the endogamous category (57.5percent) stated that "there are no favorable
aspects" to intermarriage, but at least 25 percent mentioned favorable
Aspects of lntermarriage
Table 9: Kashrut Observance in Parental Home
Kashrut Obsetved
4 100.0%
10: Jewish
40 100.0%
40 100.0%
Education Influence Degree
4 100.0%
40 IOO.O%
40 100.0%
124 100.0%
Table I I A : Affiliation with Jewish Communal Organizations
Table I I B: Jewish Communal Affiliation and JEID
Not Affiliated
91 73.4%
33 26.6%
Jewish Conversionary
Christian Conversionary
School Enrollment of Respondents' Children
Marriage Category
No Children
53 100.0%
American Jewish Archives
Table 13: Attitude o f Respondents' Parents Toward Intermarriage
Parental Attitude
Freedom of choice
No comment
Duty to maintain
Intermarriage is
40 100.0%
Table I 4: Perceptions of Favorable Aspects of Intermarriage
40 100.0%
124 100.0%
Doesn't know
A marriage like
any other
A new experience
Spreads out Judaism
Adjusts to larger
Brings the couple
Table I S : Perceptions o f Unfavorable Aspects o f Intermarriage
Problems of family
Problems of
couple's integration
Loss of tradition
Family pressure
Different outlooks
Loss of community
40 100.0%
124 loo.o%
Aspects of Intermarriage
points. In the Jewish conversionary group, 32.5 percent denied that intermarriage had any positive aspects, while 40 percent indicated favorable points. It is especially noteworthy that while the majority of
the mixed-marriage group (55 percent) mentioned favorable aspects
of intermarriage, 27.5 percent said "there are none." On the other
hand, as shown in Table IS,that intermarriage has unfavorable aspects was denied by 7.5 percent of the endogamous respondents, by 35
percent of the Jewish conversionary group, and by 45 percent of the
mixed-marriage respondents. Even in the Christian conversionary
group, 50 percent of the respondents mentioned unfavorable aspects.
Overall, while the endogamous and Jewish conversionary groups included a higher percentage of respondents emphasizing the negative
aspects of intermarriage, the respondents in the other two groups gave
the same weight to negative and positive aspects.
The non-Jewish partner's option. An area of interest in the study of
intermarriage is the question of why some gentiles who marry Jews
convert to Judaism while others maintain their original religious affiliation. In order to elicit information on this subject, it was necessary to
formulate somewhat different questions for each of the three groups,
depending on how they were constituted.
The respondents in the Jewish conversionary group were asked to
explain why their spouses had converted. The answers are shown in
Table I 6: 25 percent had converted of their own volition, I 5 percent
to facilitate family integration, 12.5 percent for the sake of the children, 20 percent because they were asked to by the Jewish spouse or
his family, and 10percent because they were of part-Jewish descent.
The respondents in the mixed-marriage category were asked why
their spouses had not converted. The answers are shown in Table I 7:
32.5 percent of the respondents said that they and their spouses had
never even discussed the issue; another 32.5 percent declared that they
did not identify with Judaism, and 22.5 percent reported that neither
partner had desired conversion.
The respondents in the endogamous category were asked why Jews
marry gentiles. Their answers are shown in Table 18.Almost onethird said that "it just happens" and 22.6 percent attributed such marriages to "love," while only I 3.2 percent mentioned "erroneous
education." These answers revealed that the endogamous respondents
held a rather open and romantic view of intermarriage and regarded
American Jewish Archives
Jewish tradition and the survival of Judaism as of secondary importance when compared to the right to choose a marriage partner freely
and without barriers. In other words, commitment to the values of an
open society seemed to be stronger than the roots linking even the endogamous respondents to traditional Jewish values.
Table 16: Why Non-Jewish Partner Converted to Judaism
(Jewish Conversionary Category Only)
Reasons for Conversion
Personal choice
Partner's parents asked
To bring family together
Children's education
Partner asked
Of Jewish ancestry
To have religious marriage
Table 17: Why Non-Jewish Partner Did Not Convert
(Mixed-Marriage Category Only)
Reasons for Nonconversion
Issue never discussed
Couple did not wish conversion
Both partners agnostic
Never though of religious marriage
Don't believe in Judaism
Against couple's principles
5 .o
Table 18: Perceptions of Why Jews Intermarry
(Endogamous Category Only)
Reasons for Intermarriage
Lack of identification with Judaism
Erroneous education
It just happens
Don't have money for dowry
*Multiple choice.
Aspects of Intermarriage
The data assembled in the study described in the preceding pages support the following conclusions:
I. Among Brazilian Jews, the frequency of intermarriage tends to be
higher among native-born university graduates.
2. There is a demonstrable relationship between the Jewish Education Influence Degree and marital pattern; the higher the JEID, the
greater the observed tendency toward endogamous marriage; the lower the JEID, the greater the observed tendency toward mixed marriage.
3. On the basis of the factors comprising the JEID, growing up in a
home where Jewish traditions are observed is one of the most positive
influences on. the process of Jewish identification-leading to endogamous marriage or Jewish conversionary marriage.
4. The higher the JEID of the Jewish partner, the more likely that the
couple, whatever the marriage category, will raise their children as
5. Affiliation with Jewish communal organizations was relatively
high in the endogamous category but tended to decrease somewhat in
the Jewish conversionary category and still more in the mixed-marriage category.
6 . Respondents from the different marriage categories tended to define the concept of "Jew" in different ways. The definitions given by
members of the endogamous group were the narrowest, those given by
the Jewish conversionary respondents were somwhat broader, and
those given by the mixed-marriage respondents were the broadest of
7. Respondents whose parents had strong views against intermarriage were less likely to intermarry.
8. Respondents from the endogamous and Jewish conversionary
categories were more likely to underline the unfavorable aspects of intermarriage than were those from the mixed-marriage category.
Rosa R. Krausz was formerly Research Coordinator and Professor of
Jewish Sociology at the Center for Jewish Studies of the University of
S2o Paulo.
American Jewish Archives
Appendix A: Jewish Education Influence Degree
The index is based o n the quantification of the following items:
Jewish grammar school attendance:
Yes I
No 0
Jewish youth-group membership:
Less than one year
O n e to two years
Three o r more years I
3. Barmat Mitzvah:
4. Jewish holiday observances in parental home (Shabbat, Yom Kippur, Rosh
Hashana, Passover, Hanuka):
O n e festival
T w o to three 0.5
Four o r more I
5 . Kashrut observance in parental home:
Partially I
The Jewish Education Influence Degree results from adding together the weights assigned each
item, with a range of o to 6.
The research project described in this article was conducted on a grant from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
I . The intermarriage categories outlined here are broadly the same as those used by E. Mayer
and C. Sheingold, Intermarriage and thelewish Future (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1979).
2. Simon N. Herman, ]ewish Identity (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1977). p. 39.
A Demographic Profile of
Latin American Jewry
Judith Laikin Elkin
A problem for anyone laboring in the field of Latin American Jewish
studies is that no one knows just how many Latin American Jews there
are, or how to count them. Official data are scarce, the attitudes of the
various Jewish communities toward the taking of a census have been
defensive, and even the question of who is a Jew is controversial. No
official census of the Jews of Latin America has ever been conducted,
nor is one likely to be.
U. 0. Schmelz and Sergio Della Pergola, the leading demographers
at work on this subject, provide some estimates of the size of Jewish
populations in South and Central America in the 1982 edition of the
American Jewish Year Book (see Table I). Although some of the figures are estimates only, they are the most reliable data available.
The dimensions of the Latin American Jewish population are considerably less ample than believed by those who embrace the most generous definition of Jewish identity. In recent years, the best-received
estimates were from 800,ooo to 825,000 for Latin America as a
whole, some 500,ooo to 5 50,000 of these in Argentina alone. But Schmelz and Della Pergola calculate that there may actually be as few as
493,250 Jews in all of South and Central America today, 249,000 of
them in Argentina. To understand why the claimed figures had to be
scaled down, it is necessary to understand how they were arrived at. In
the process, we will learn something about the dimensions and characteristics of this population, and also about the psychology of the communal agencies which were responsible for the earlier, inflated,
Estimating the Size of Jewish Populations
Special problems beset the field of Jewish demography generally;
some others bedevil Latin American Jewish demography specifically.
Fundamental to any enumeration of Jews is the determination of
who is a Jew. According to Jewish religious law (halakhah),a Jew is a
American Jewish Archives
person who was born of a Jewish mother and has not accepted conversion to another religion; or who has been converted to Judaism according to halakhic procedures. In practice, some persons in marginal
categories regard themselves as Jews while others do not: for example,
persons born of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers. Also, there is
the question of those who qualify under halakhic definition but
choose to dissociate themselves from Jewish life. Are such individuals
to be counted as Jews? Because of the existence of "marginal" Jews,
the practice has arisen of adding to Jewish census data an estimate of
the number of such persons, thus occasionally producing an error
equal to the difference between the figure thus obtained and the figure
that existed before any correction was attempted. Reliance on estimates is, however, a necessity for all Jewish populations outside the
State of Israel.
In countries that have separated church and state, the collection of
information regarding religious preference is regarded as invidious,
since the registration of individuals as Jews has been used as the basis
for discriminating against them.' Many Jews living in Latin America
entered their present countries of residence on baptismal certificates,
and would be unwilling to compromise their status for the sake of a
census. Such life experiences combine with more remote memories of
the Spanish Inquisition to limit the willingness of Latin American Jews
to check the category israelita on a census.
In recent years, five Latin American nations have included a question on religion in their national censuses. Most of these produced
puzzling results. The Chilean census of 1960 showed I 1,700 Jews in
the country, or about one-third the number actually affiliated with
Jewish institutions at that date. Conversely, the Mexican census of the
same year showed 100,750 Jews, an impossible 470 percent increase
over the 1950 census.' Despite the theoretical possibility of deriving
information on Jewish communities from national censuses, these
must be handled with extreme care.
Until recently, most of our knowledge has come from studies prepared by Jewish community-service organizations. From 1966 to
1975, the series Comunidades Judias was compiled biannually by
community leaders and social-welfare professionals in each republic,
and edited by staff of the ComitCJudia LatinoamCricana. This came to
an end due to the harassment and eventural flight of the staff.
A Demographic Profile
Table I: Estimated Jewish Population
Distribution in the Americas, 19 80
~ ~ 0 , 5 8 4 , 0 0 0 5,690,000
Total Northern America
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Netherlands Antilles
Total Central ~ r n e r i c a ~
25 ,000
26,3 60,000
Total Southern ~ m e r i c a ~
Jews per
A 1971
B 1970--71
B 1970
0. I
B 1960
B 1960
B I977
a. Total of countries reported in detail
b. A-reliable, B-less accurate, C-partial or old data, D-conjectural.
Source: American Jewish Year Book, 1982, p. 284.
Community records, however, are never complete. There is no centralized recordkeeping for births, marriages, or deaths among Jews.
Thus, Jews who are not organized do not get counted. Gaps in data are
difficult to fill because of uncertain political conditions that make field
work impracticable. In practice, some efforts to fill in lacunae in Jew-
American Jewish Archives
ish census data, if not objectively verifiable, are logically persuasive.
Furthermore, much Jewish history has been written without the assistance of official information-gathering agencies. It would be self-defeating to assert that, where there is no certainty, there can be no
knowledge. Much can be learned from the sources that are available,
and even more from integrating information derived from them all.
In attempting to construct a demographic portrait of Latin American Jewry, the most weight will be given to three studies that encompass the bulk of the populations and were carried out by qualified
researchers. The demographic dimensions of the Jewish community of
Argentina were defined through computer analysis of the national
census of 1960.~S5o Paulo's Jewish population was surveyed in 1969
under the direction of a soci~logist.~
In Mexico, a non-computer analysis of the census of 1950 was conducted by a Jewish demographer.'
It is not necessary to impose on the data-derived from widely different sources by way of a wide variety of techniques-an artificial gleichshaltung that in the nature of things would only intensify inaccuracies.
The data as found present a startlingly clear pattern. When this pattern in turn is compared with the demography of the matrix populations, the distinctive profiles of Jewish and non-Jewish populations
appear in sharp relief.
Characteristics of
Latin American Jewish Populations
The 1936 municipal census of Buenos Aires identified 120,195 Jews,
comprising 5 percent of the population of the city. This figure was credited by Ira Rosenswaike, the researcher who analyzed the census for
its Jewish c ~ m p o n e n tHe
. ~ further enlarged this figure by a factor of
from 8 to 12 percent to include persons who were ethnic Jews but who
had declared themselves to be without religion. The Jewish population
of the country as a whole he assessed at 230,955.
In an effort to arrive at a rate of natural increase, Rosenswaike utilized data derived from national and municipal censuses, as well as the
records of Jewish institutions, particularly the Jewish Colonization
Association, which had conducted its own census in 1909. From these,
Rosenswaike inferred three decreasing rates of natural increase during
the twentieth century. The I .S percent rate of natural increase compu-
A Demographic Profile
23 5
ted by Simon Weill, director of JCA, was accepted for the early years
of the century. "However, after World War I the Jewish rate of natural
growth throughout the western world suffered a sharp decline. Everywhere the birth rate reached unprecedented lows, while the mortality
rate generally fell but slightly."' Seeking to confirm or refute the existence of this worldwide trend among Argentine Jews, the demographer
turned to the Buenos Aires municipal census of 1936. In that year, native-born israelitas of less than fifteen years of age accounted for 23.5
percent of the israelita population; by comparison, 21.8 percent of the
total population were under fifteen. Assuming a lower rate of infant
mortality among Jews, Rosenswaike inferred that the Jewish and nonJewish birth rates in the city were about the same. That figure stood at
19.3 per 1,000 for the general population in 1931-35, and it was accepted for the Jewish population as well. The Jewish death rate was ascertained from the number of burials in Jewish cemeteries: 9 per 1,000
population in 1934. Taken together, the figures indicated a rate of natural increase of 10 per 1,000 per year.'
Despite this evidence of a low birth rate, Argentine Jews as well as
outside observers did not believe the official census returns that
~ compared
showed fewer israelitas in 1947 than in 193 5 ; ~ 4 9 30
25 3,242. Reasoning that Jewish and non-Jewish demographic trends
must be similar, they assumed that the figures were in error. Estimates
of the number of Jews continued their steady upward trend. In 1947,
the American Jewish Year Book suggested 3 50,ooo; thirteen years later, the same publication increased this to 400,000, although the preliminary census returns for 1960 recorded just 275,913 israelitas over
age five. In 1962, the American Jewish Year Book estimate jumped another ~ O , O O O ,and in 1968 yet another ~ O , O O O ,with ComunidadesJudias adding still another 50,000 for good measure in 1970, for a total
of 5 50,ooo Jews in Argentina. But a 25 percent increase in population
over a period of ten years implies a growth rate of 2. I percent annually
(or even greater, considering additional factors such as emigration and
outmarriage). So high a rate of natural increase is not characteristic of
any developed area of the world, nor does it exist in Argentina, nor is it
characteristic of Jews worldwide. The rate of natural increase among
the Jews of Canada (a population very similar in its origins to that of
the fragArgentina) is considerably less than I p e r ~ e n tFurthermore,
mentary evidence that could be assembled pointed to a declining birth
23 6
American Jewish Archives
When the Argentine census of 1960 became available in full, it recorded 291,877 Jews. This number represented about three-fourths
the number believed by the Jewish establishment to be living in the
country. The discrepancy was accounted for by the fact that the census
had been taken on the eve of Yom Kippur: after sundown, observant
Jews were not at home but at the synagogue. In addition, some 5 percent of the population, almost one million people, declared themselves
to be "without confession." As a result of the omission of both religious and marginal Jews, it appeared that the size of the Jewish population had been seriously underestimated by the government.
This anomaly was taken up by Schmelz and Della Pergola, who analyzed the computer tape for "Jewish" and "without confession" responses. In a persuasive analysis, they determined that the published
census total might be supplemented by 6 percent to take in the proportion of respondents living in Buenos Aires (the area where most Argentine Jews are concentrated) who were born Jewish and answered "no
religion" or "without confession" to the question on religion. Having
considered the data on these nonrespondents, the authors adopted a
in Argentina in 1960, the bulk of these
corrected total of 3 ~ o , o o Jews
in Buenos Aires. The new total was the most significant datum to
emerge since the establishment of Jewish settlement in Argentina,
since it meant that one-quarter of the presumed 1960 population did
not exist, that presumed rates of natural increase were inoperative,
and that 1970 estimates of half a million were even more off the mark.
Furthermore, it called into question accepted population figures for
Jews in other parts of Latin America. These had been rising pari passu
with population estimates for Argentina, and now had to be scaled
down in similar fashion. For the area exclusive of Argentina, the
American Jewish Year Book estimated 237,850 in 1948; 302,250 in
1960; and 3 24,000 in 1970. These totals included large rounded sums
for cities such as Santiago, BogotP, Mexico City, Montevideo, and
Caracas, despite the fact that in a large metropolis it is very nearly impossible to sift out Jewish individuals without an official census. Taking into account recent findings for Argentina, it had to be assumed
that rates of growth for other Latin American Jewish communities
were overly generous. Quite probably, there were no more than
240,ooo Jews living in Latin America exclusive of Argentina, or about
the same number as in 1948.
23 7
A Demographic Profile
Birth rate. Information on the demographic characteristics of Latin
American Jewry displays an internal consistency that confirms the existence of a group that is quite distinct from the majority members of
the matrix populations. The gravest difference appears in the contrasting birth rates. For whatever country we examine, the Jewish birth
rate is just half that of the matrix population. In 1965, the crude birth
rate for Argentina as a whole was 22 per 1,000; during the same period, the Argentine Jewish birth rate was 10.5 per 1,000 (see Table 2).1°
The number of Argentine Jews in each age cohort born since 1953
shows steady attrition. In 1960, there were 4,434 children aged eight,
but only 3,662 aged four and 3,022 aged one. In the group below age
four, there were to be found only three-quarters of the number of children aged five to nine. The proportion of children dwindled faster
than the number of Jewish women of childbearing age, because of a
continuous drop in completed fertility, and also because of a continuous rise in the frequency of mixed marriages, in the majority of which
the children are not reared as Jews. The completed fertility rate of
Argentine Jewish women in 1960 yielded a ratio of 947 daughters per
1,000 mothers, more than 5 percent short of the number required for
replacement of the parent generation.
The Siio Paulo Jewish community was surveyed during the fivemonth period January-May 1969. The precise number of births, extrapolated over a one-year period, yielded a birth rate of 2.4 percent
per year. This rate obtained during a period when the Brazilian population as a whole was experiencing a birth rate of 4.4 percent per year.
Table 2: Estimates of Vital Rate Among Argentinelews
(Yearly Averages per 1,000 population, 1946-1980)
Birth Rate
Death Rate
Source: Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia she1 hayehudim, p. 164.
American Jewish Archives
Ninety-five percent of Jewish families have fewer members than the
average Brazilian family. Moreover, there is a secular trend toward
fewer children in Brazilian Jewish families. In an earlier study carried
out in 1965, Henrique Rattner found that Jewish university students
in Sgo Paulo belonged to families with an average of 2.7 children, but
that their parents' families had averaged 5 children per family. The
Brazilian Jewish birth rate is declining during a period when the country as a whole is experiencing accelerating population growth.
Working with the Mexican national census of 1950, Tovye Meisel
found that the Jewish community experienced a birth rate of 23 per
1,000, contrasted with 46 per 1,000 among the population at large.
Again, though the figures are higher, the Jewish birth rate shows up as
one-half the prevailing rate.
Low fertility rates characterize all Jewish populations of the diaspora except those in Asia and North Africa. Worldwide, the birth rate,
and consequently the rate of natural increase, is lower among Jews
than among the general populations of their respective countries. Accordingly, and considering that the Jewries of all the Latin American
republics proceeded from the same immigrant streams, it is reasonable
to infer similar low rates for Jewish populations in those parts of Latin
America for which there are no data. The inference is backed up by
scattered available data on Jewish age structure in Brazil, Chile, and
several small Central American communities.
This phenomenon reflects modernized attitudes toward the family,
the status of women, and child-rearing practices. In modern times,
Jews preceded the populations among whom they lived "firstly, in reducing mortality, and subsequently in lowering fertility.""
Evidently, emigration does not change the patterns of Jewish fertility. The United States trial census of 1957 showed that, for Jewish
women still of childbearing age, fertility was 20 percent below that of
the rest of the urban population, z j percent below that of the entire
white population, and almost 30 percent below that of the total United States population. Evidence from community surveys taken since
that date indicates that the birth rate continues to fall. Jews imported
low birth rates into their present countries of residence, and the Latin
American experience has not converted them to high levels of fertility.
Death rate. A complete record of deaths among Ashkenazic Jews of
Buenos Aires exists for the years 1953-63. It shows continuous in-
A Demographic Profile
23 9
crease, being 40 percent greater at the end of that period than at the beginning. In 1963, there were three and a half times more burials than
marriages within the Ashkenazic community of Buenos Aires. This
partially reflects increasing resort to marriage by civil contract. Nevertheless, a decline in the number of persons who identify as Jewish is
The major cause of the rising death rate is the aging of the population. In 1963, the single year for which records are available for all
Jews in Buenos Aires, 2,43 8 Jewish deaths were recorded. Subtracting
3 5 stillbirths, Schmelz and Della Pergola compute a rate of 10 deaths
per 1,000 Jews of Greater Buenos Aires. The death rate for the general
population of the city that year was lower, standing at 8 per 1,000.
The composition of the two mortality rates was different. Infant
mortality (death in the first year of life) was 9.3 per 1,000 among Jews,
compared with 40 per 1,000 among the general population of Greater
Buenos Aires in I 9 61 and 57 per I ,000 among the general population
of Argentina in 1967." The Jewish death rate continues low until age
sixty, when mortality starts running higher than among the general
population. Compounding the trend, the death rate among Jews was
rising at a time when the Argentine death rate was declining.
By the 1960's, the Jewish mortality rate surpassed that of the general population, due to aging. It also surpassed the Jewish birth rate.
There is now a negative balance of deaths over births within the Jewish
community, with an estimated I 5 deaths to I I births per 1,000 population per year.
The mortality rate among Siio Paulo Jews is 1.6 percent per year; the
rate among the Brazilian population as a whole is I. I percent per year.
The national figure includes a high rate of infant mortality. In fact, the
hazards of infancy in Brazil are so great that expectation of life at birth
was calculated at forty-three years in 1950.'~The rate of infant mortality among Brazilian Jews is almost nil, and the majority of deaths occur after age sixty.
Meisel found the Mexican Jewish mortality rate to be 9 per 1,000 as
compared to I 5.S per 1,000 among the general population. Both
groups were growing in I 9 50; Jews at the rate of I .4percent per year,
the majority population at 2.9 percent per year." Over the next fifteen
years, Mexican mortality dropped sharply as measures of public hygiene took hold. Mortality dropped by a third while the birth rate de-
American Jewish Archives
creased only slightly, resulting in one of the highest rates of natural increase in the world. Among infants, the most vulnerable sector of the
population, mortality continued high, with 61 infant deaths per 1,000
live births. However, there was no infant death among the approximately 20,000 Ashkenazim of Mexico City during several years of the
Infant mortality is at a very high level throughout Latin America.
Considering only Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil, the location of a majority of Latin American Jews, the rate of infant mortality for the first
two countries is 60 and 61, respectively. Brazil does not supply data on
infant mortality to the United Nations; for the state of Guanabara
alone (site of the former capital city of Rio de Janeiro), the rate of infant mortality in 1959 was 94.4 per 1,000 live births, and in 1960,700
per 1,000. In these countries, as we have seen, the rate of infant deaths
within the Jewish communities tends toward nil.
Here again, a global demographic pattern is working itself out. Infant mortality among Jews worldwide is extremely low, and it appears
that Latin American Jews follow the pattern of other Jews, rather than
the national pattern characteristic of their matrix populations. There
have been systematic and far-reaching changes in health care universally. These are now penetrating Latin America, as the declines in the
death rate show. The speed of the process differs, but because Jews in
Latin America are in a more advanced time frame than their matrix
populations, their infant mortality rate is considerably lower.
Infant mortality rates are a commonly accepted index of modernization. The capacity to save infants from death caused by endemic disease is dependent upon relatively low levels of technology and a
modest expenditure of funds. The inability or disinterest of governments in providing elementary hygienic services is a salient characteristic of underdeveloped countries. The contrast between the high rates
of infant mortality throughout Latin America and the low rate within
the region's Jewish communities throws into relief the modernized
character of Jewish life as contrasted with the traditional pattern of
human wastage that continues to prevail in Latin American society at
Longevity. The anticipated life-span of Jews and non-Jews in the
city of Buenos Aires is almost the same, being 68.9 and 73.9 for Jewish
males and females respectively, and 67.9 and 74.2 for non-Jewish
A Demographic Profile
males and females. Uruguay and Venezuela fall into the same longlived category as Argentina. Outside the modernized sectors of the
continent, life expectancy drops sharply for the majority populations
but remains high for Jews. For example, in 1968, 40 percent of Sio
Paulo Jews were over age forty, 14 percent over age sixty. In the same
year, only 25 percent of the general population of Sio Paulo were past
forty, and just 6 percent were past sixty." Jews achieved their pattern
of longevity independent of their immediate environment. Among the
general population of the city, those over forty gained 5.5 percentage
points between 19 50 and 1968, reflecting improved health conditions; but the Jewish age distribution showed no material change over
this eighteen-year period.
Within the Guatemalan community in 1965, some 130 individuals,
or 10 percent of the Jewish population, were aged sixty and over.
Comparable data do not exist for the Guatemalan population as a
whole; but expectation of life at birth for the Guatemalan population
was 49.5 in 1950, and had not changed significantly in 1973.It is thus
most unlikely that 10percent of Guatemaltecos live to age sixty-five.16
Since many of the health practices that eliminate infant mortality also work to prolong the life-span, it is not arbitrary to conclude that life
expectancy among Jews in areas for which no data exist approximates
the modernized model of Buenos Aires more closely than it does the
traditional rate still prevalent in most of Latin America.
Low fertility, low infant mortality, and extended life expectancy
among the Jewish populations contrast with high fertility, high infant
mortality, and low life expectancy among the non-Jewish populations
(with the exception of Argentina). The result is a higher median age for
Jewish than for non-Jewish populations (see Table 3).
A longer life-span, in addition to being its own reward, enables individuals to develop their skills to the utmost. The blighting of promising careers through early death is far less frequent among Jews than in
the general population. Furthermore, survival into the sixties ensures
that most parents are able to nurture their children to maturity. The
phenomenon of parentless children is comparatively rare.
Family size. Small families are typical of Jewish populations. In
countries that maintain traditionally high birth and death rates, the
Jewish family stands out in sharp relief as having passed through a demographic transition: there are fewer wasted pregnancies, fewer chil-
American Jewish Archives
dren per family, and more of these children reach maturity. In Latin
American nations that have passed as an entity through the demographic transition from traditional to modern patterns of family life,
Jewish populations are less clearly differentiated-except in the matter
of infant mortality.
The average family size of members of the Asociaci6n Mutual
Israelita Argentina, the principal Ashkenazic organization of that
country, diminished from 4.53 to 4.14 between 1920 and 1930. By
that date, Jewish families were smaller in Argentina than in Central
Europe. By 1960, Jewish families were smaller than non-Jewish families in Buenos Aires, with an average 2.2 children being born to Jewish
married women, as compared with 2.7 for non-Jewish women.'' Jewish households averaged a fraction under four persons each. The
downward trend shows up clearly in Quilmes (a district of Gran
Buenos Aires) in a 1963 survey which found an average 3.45 persons
in Ashkenazic families.
Sephardic families tend to be somewhat larger (see Table 4). Modernization was a distinctively European phenomenon. Jews originating in Arabic or Balkan lands did not participate in it as directly as did
Jews of Central, Western, or even Eastern Europe. There is thus a consistent difference in family size between Ashkenazic and Sephardic
families in all communities for which we have data. Greater traditionalism in Sephardic life results in higher fertility rates and larger
The less-developed countries, as is well known, are presently experi-
Table 3 : Median Age o f Population
Area and Date
Argentina, 1960'
S l o Paulo, 1 9 6 9 ~
Quilmes, 1963'
Guatemala, 1 9 6 5 ~
26-3 5
- -
-- - -
a. Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia she1 hayehudim, p. 66.
b. Rattner, Tradiciio e mundan~a,p. 23.
c. AMIA, Censo de la Comunidad Judia de Quilmes, p. 19.
d. Jacob Shatzky, "Guatemala," p. 302.
e. Not available. But with 46 percent under age IS, the median age could not lie in the
26-35 group.
A Demographic Profile
24 3
encing a population explosion. Forty-three percent of the population
of Brazil, for example, is below the age of fifteen. The corresponding
figure for Siio Paulo City is 3 6 percent for the general population; but
it is just 21.3 percent for the Jewish population.18 Urban families
whether Jewish or non-Jewish tend to be smaller than rural families.
But Jewish families are smaller than the Siio Paulo norm, and as a
practical matter, since almost all Brazilian Jewish families are urban,
Jewish families in Brazil are distinctly smaller than non-Jewish families.
There are age-distribution charts for two other communities: that
of Guatemala and that of Argentina. The Guatemalan Jewish community consisted of 1,030 persons in 1965. In that year, 26 percent of the
Jewish population was under age fifteen." In the Guatemalan population as a whole, 46 percent of the population was below that age.
Twenty percent of Argentine Jews are under age fifteen, compared
with 30 percent among the general population of the country.'" An attempt to draw a Jewish "age pyramid" results in a boxlike graph, with
each five-year cohort below age sixty containing an almost equal number of persons. Only two categories differ. The group that was aged
fifty to fifty-four in 1960 contains larger numbers, men predominating, and reflects the migratory wave that peaked in the years just preceding World War I. The base of the "pyramid" narrows drastically,
reflecting the declining birth rate and the assimilation of infants into
Table 4 : Family Size in Selected Cities
City and Date
Cbrdoba, 1969'
Quilmes, 1 ~ 6 ~
Tucumin, 1962'
Valparaiso, 1 ~ 6 0 ~
Mexico City, 1950'
Number of Family Members
a. Joseph Hodara, "Hayehudim ba-Cordoba," Dispersion and Unity 2 (June1960): 34-51.
b. AMIA, Censo de la Comunidad Judia de Quilmes, pp. 3 4 - 3 5 .
c. AMIA, Primer Censo de la Poblaci6n Judt'a de la Provincia de Tucumrin, p. 3 5 .
d. Benny Bachrach, "Ha-yishuv hayehudi ba-Valparaiso, Chile," Dispersion and Unity 2 Uune
1960): 40-47.
e. Meisel, "Yidn in Medsike," p. 406.
American Jewish Archives
the general population via the intermarriage of their parents.
Part of the gestalt of underdevelopment is a high dependency ratio.
Families must provide for large numbers of children, many of whom
do not survive to become themselves contributors to the family welfare. Jewish families, with their reduced number of children, do not
suffer this handicap, but neither do they have the population reservoir
out of which future growth might occur.
Rate of natural increase. The Siio Paulo Jewish population exhibits
a rate of natural increase of 0.8 percent annually, based upon birth
and death rates alone." If one were to take into account emigration
and outmarriage, for which no statistics exist, it is probable that the
community would be found actually to be decreasing in numbers.
Rattner believes that the demographic pattern revealed by his study is
applicable to the rest of Brazil. Considering the present high rate of
population growth of the country, Jews-who already comprise fewer
than I percent of the population -will be even more negligible statistically in the future, if present trends continue.
Other communities likewise report insufficient numbers of births to
compensate for deaths. Paraguay, for example, declined from 1,500 to
1,000 Jews in recent years." The Bolivian community is in process of
decay. In Mexico, where the Jewish community doggedly refuses to
permit a census, the population estimate of 3 5,000 offered by Comunidades Judias in 1972 could not be sustained by the estimated rate of
natural increase of 1.5 percent. Even if the Mexican community actually numbers 3 5,000 today, as Table I suggests, it still constitutes a less
significant proportion of the Mexican population than it did a generation ago, considering the rapid growth in the general population.
Migration. The Jewish communities of Latin America have not
added to their numbers through immigration since the dispersal of
Hungarian and Egyptian refugees in 1957. It is estimated that no more
than 350 Jews were admitted to Argentina in any one year between
1953 and 1960. Since that time, probably more Jews have left than entered the country. The brutal civil war of the seventies resulted in the
death or disappearance of an unknown number of Jews, followed by
the departure from the country of many others in search of physical security.
In times of political and economic stress; Jews like other nationals
tend to leave their homelands. Chile is believed to have lost 6,000 Jews
A Demographic Profile
24 5
during the Allende years; the entire Jewish community of Nicaragua
abandoned the country on the fall of the dictator Somoza, and most
Jews have now left El Salvador as well. Uruguay, which reported
55,000 Jews in 1970, claimed only 48,000 two years later, and Schmelz and Della Pergola conjecture that there may now be only 40,000.
Even in quieter times, Jewish youth tend to abandon the smaller
communities in quest of an education-if not in the capital city of their
own country, then in the universities of the United States, France, and
Israel. With a numerically small community to start with, departure of
the college-bound reduces the number of potential mates so drastically
that parents are encouraged to send abroad other children, particularly girls, whom they would otherwise have kept at home, but whom
they wish to see marry endogamously. While some of these students
remain in Latin America, many who are sent to the United States or Israel apparently depart with their parents' blessing to emigrate permanently if possible. The result is to impoverish Latin American Jewish
community life and challenge its ability to survive intellectually.
Intermarriage. It is not possible to know with precision just how
many Jews marry non-Jewish mates in a given year; nor could one deduce from such a figure whether or not the individual continued to regard himself as a Jew, and whether or not his children would be raised
as Jews. Observation, confirmed by some studies, leads one to believe
that substantial numbers of Jews do intermarry, that more men than
women marry out of the Jewish faith, and that most children of mixed
marriages are not raised as Jews. Several calculations enable us to advance beyond such observations in order to estimate the extent of assimilation among Argentine Jews.
First, the Argentine census of 1960 showed that more Jews married
that year than could be accounted for in the records of the Jewish community. Approximately 25 percent of the Jews (male and female) who
married in 1960 were married in non-Jewish rites (whether the partner
was Jewish or not). Augmenting the figures by 6 percent for marginal
Jews and subtracting non-Jewish-rite marriages in which both partners may in fact have been Jews, we are left with an estimated rate of
30 percent for outmarriage."
Second, clues derived from gaps in the statistics confirm the observation that more men than women drop their affiliation with the Jewish community. For example, in the age group fifteen to forty-four,
24 6
American Jewish Archives
there were 930 men for every 1,000 women, according to the 1960
census. The inference is that more young and middle-aged males than
females declined to identify themselves as Jews.
Third, a distinction must be made between the completed fertility
rate of Jewish women (i.e., including all their children) and the rate of
Jewish births (i.e., including only births of infants who are considered
Jewish and thus increase the Jewish population). Using the first calculation, based on the number of live births reported by Jewish mothers,
the current generation of Jewish women is not replacing itself. Schmelz and Della Pergola projected the 1960 birth rate onto the known
number of Jewish women aged fifteen to forty-nine in 1960, and
found a shortfall not of the anticipated 5 percent, but of 29 percent:
16,300 infants aged four or less in place of the expected 21,700. The
difference represents infants born to Jewish mothers who had intermarried.24
The high and rising rate of intermarriage among Argentine Jews has
been noted ever since Jews first settled in that country. Its extent has
never before been charted. Its ultimate impact, unless the trend is reversed, will be the assimilation of Argentine Jews into the general population. Consistent with their hopes for Jewish survival, the tendency
of Jewish organizations has been to deplore the trend to assimilation
while continuing to count the offspring of mixed marriages as Jews.
Recent research, however, forces the observer to face facts squarely.
The Argentine Jewish community is steadily dwindling in size and
faces a real question of viability, not because of government repression, but because of popular acceptance of intermarriages in which
one partner is a Jew.
Summing Up
Jewish demography is of an entirely different nature than the demography of the matrix populations among whom Jews live. The matrix
peoples have high rates of natural increase (Argentina the exception),
preponderantly young populations, and a high growth potential capable of being unleashed by minimal expenditures on public hygiene. But
Jews passed through the period of population expansion owing to
health care during the nineteenth century. They have already responded to the enhanced life chances of infants by limiting the number
A Demographic Profile
born. Thus, there is no scope for a Jewish "population explosion"
based on better health care. The only source of population growth
among Jews would be an increase in the birth rate; and such a trend
was not observed in any country studied. To the contrary, Jewish populations are aging, and their mortality at present tends to run higher
than their birth rate. Intermarriage, while it contributes to the genetic
pool of the general population, subtracts from the specifically Jewish
component of that population. Emigration is also taking its toll. In
light of these facts, the probable fate of Latin American Jewry, already
an insignificant numerical minority, is to become still less significant
numerically in the future.
This phenomenon was hidden from view for many years by a welter
of assumptions, all of which proved to be wrong: that Jews were reproducing at the same rate as non-Jewish latinos, that Jews who left
the fold would return, that the children of mixed marriages would be
raised as Jews. As a result, Jewish communal leaders continued to
count as Jews thousands of individuals who had ceased to consider
themselves as such and who were not raising their children to be Jews.
The reason why this was done is unclear; perhaps wishful thinking
played a part. The result was to obscure the dimensions of the communities, a situation that is just beginning to right itself as more and
more scholars enter the field of Latin American Jewish studies.
Judith Laikin Elkin is the author of Jews of the Latin American Republics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980) and
Latin American Jewish Studies (Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1980)~and convenor of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association.
I. The United States Current Population Survey of 1957 posed a religious question in a trial
run for the 1960 census. The results were suppressed at the instance of Jewish organizations that
regarded the collection of separate official statistics on religion as a breach of the First Amendment. The figures were released ten years later as a result of passage of the Freedom of Information Act and have been a fertile source of information.
2. U. 0. Schmelz, Jewish Population Studies, 1961-68 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, and London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1970), p. 104.
3. U. 0. Schmelz and Sergio Della Pergola, Hademografia shel hayehudim be-Argentina ubeartzot aherot shel America halatinit (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1974).
American Jewish Archives
4. Henrique Rattner, Tradiqao e mudanqa: A comunidade judaica em Sdo Paulo (SHo Paulo:
Atica, 1970).
5. Tovye Meisel, "Yidn in Meksike," Algemeine Entsiclopedia 5 (New York: Dubnow Fund,
6. Ira Rosenswaike, "The Jewish Population of Argentina," Jewish Social Studies 22 (October
1960): 195-214.
7. Ibid., p. 201.
8. Ibid., p. t o t . At that date, the League of Nations Statistical Yearbook gave the Argentine
birth rate as 29.7, the death rate as I 2.8, and the rate of natural increase as 16.9 forthe country as
a whole.
9. Schmelz, Jewish Population Studies, p. 38.
10. Throughout the remainder of this article, national demographic data are drawn from
Charles L. Taylor and Michael C. Hudson, World Handbook of Political and Social indicators
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972).
11. Schmelz, Jewish Population Studies, p. 14.
12.Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia shel hayehudim, p. 54.
13. Eduard E. Arriaga, New Life Tables for Latin American Populations in the Nineteenth
and Twentieth Centuries (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1968) pp. 1-4.
14. Meisel, "Yidn in Meksike," p. 407.
IS. Rattner, Tradiqao e mundan~a,pp. 23-24.
16. Jacob Shatzky, "Guatemala," Jewish Journal ofSociology 7 (December 1965): 302-303.
17. Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia shel hayehudim, p. 45.
18. Rattner, Tradi~aoe mundanqa, pp. 24 and 178.
19. Shatzky, "Guatemala," p. 302.
to. Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia shel hayehudim, p. 65.
21. Rattner, Tradiciio e mudanqa, p. 33.
22. Comiti Judio Americano, Comunidades judt'as de Latinoamkrica (BuenosAires: Editorial
Candelabra, 1971-72), p. 193.
23. Schmelz and Della Pergola, Hademografia shel hayehudim, p. 59.
24. Ibid., pp. 46-47.
Book Reviews
Murphy, Bruce Allen. The BrandeislFrankfurter Connection: The
Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1982. X, 473 pp. $18.95
Bruce A. Murphy, a political scientist concerned primarily with the
ethics of judicial behavior, has combined two tasks in The Brandeisl
Frankfurter Connection. First, he has presented an exhaustive story of
a political relationship shaped by the personalities of two dynamic,
brilliant men. Second, he has tried to define a code of judicial ethics
against which to measure such relationships. Utilizing over sixty letter
collections, dozens of interviews and oral histories, Murphy explains
how Louis D. Brandeis as associate justice of the Supreme Court established a network of people in and out of government, with Felix
Frankfurter, law professor at Harvard, at its apex, to influence public
policy. Frankfurter, a generation younger than his juridical mentor,
followed him on the court, and was able to continue many of the practices through World War 11. Though hardly illegal, the nonjudicial
practices of the two men, according to Murphy, compromised the
standards of impartiality that one should expect from a justice. Had
their behavior become known, he continues, it might well have led the
public to lose faith in the court's nonpartisan aura upon which respect
for its decisions allegedly rests. Murphy's descriptive task has been
achieved far more satisfactorily than his normative one. Both could
have been improved by more careful attention to the major reason that
a book about judicial politics should be reviewed in this journal, the
fact that both men were secular Jews whose social loyalties often affected their professional behavior.
Many of Murphy's "revelations" about a fund established by Brandeis in 19 16 to supplement Frankfurter's lobbying and research by his
students at the Harvard Law School, and the role of both men while on
the court in influencing the executive branch, have been documented
or suspected by other scholars. Brandeis quietly subsidized Zianist efforts and other "political" activities, and H. N. Hirsch, The Enigma of
Felix Frankfurter (1981)~pp. 44, 85, mentioned the fund for Frank-
American Jewish Archives
furter but drew no ethical conclusions. Indeed, Murphy's redundant
references to "previously unpublished lettersv-the material with
which historians deal routinely-verges on the comic. Nevertheless, he
describes meticulously the emergence of a crucial phenomenon in
twentieth-century American politics, the relationship between agents
of government, university expertise, and organs of public opinion.
Brandeis often suggested research projects to Frankfurter, whose students-with Brandeis7sfinancial aid-completed the work. Frankfurter
then publicized the findings in unsigned editorials in the New Republic, of which he was a trustee. Just as the Department of Agriculture
subsidized experiments through the extension service, Brandeis privately subsidized research into social needs at a time when the Republican administration and private foundations ignored problems like
unemployment and securities regulation. Frankfurter's even more extensive work on these topics during the New Deal, again with Brandeis's financial support, reflected the expectation that after decades of
frustration, public support for social reform would succeed because of
expert legal draftsmanship. Murphy clearly explains how the "infrastructure" between government, university, and public opinion grew
even before Frankfurter's "Happy Hot Dogs" populated New Deal
Murphy, however, emphasizes how such material illustrates a number of ethical questions about judicial behavior. He notes that sophisticated electronic technology would make the concealment of
relations such as those between Brandeis and Frankfurter almost impossible today, and he expresses the public distrust of government because of Watergate. Respect for government can be recreated, at least
in part, he feels, by holding justices to a narrow ethical code. He argues rather conventionally that because members of the federal judiciary hold appointment for life, they must eschew dalliance with the
legislative and executive branches. He defends this view with three related arguments. First, because the powers of government are constitutionally distinct, justices cannot impartially determine the
constitutionality of legislation which they have helped, even indirectly, to draft. Second, to defend the integrity of the judicial review process, the court as a collectivity must be seen as distinct from any
particular administration. Third, the individual justices must retain
the image of independence to sustain public acceptance of the impartiality of specific decisions.
Book Reviews
But how can Murphy define appropriate political behavior for the
nine persons in America who do not merely decide cases, but who engage in the highly partisan act of determining the meaning of law? Persons are appointed to the court not because they are in some abstract
sense "the best," but because a president has decided that an individual, often not even a judge, best represents what the country-or his constituency-needs at a particular moment. And persons of the eminence
and self-confidence customarily exhibited by justices will hardly
transform their personalities and loyalties in middle age. Precisely the
brilliant jurists like Hugo Black, William 0. Douglas, Brandeis, and
Frankfurter have generated respect for the court-whatever their political visibility-because of their philosophically consistent and forthright interpretation of law. Indeed, public respect for the court,
assuming the personal honesty of the justices, depends most on the
consistency, clarity, and perhaps the unanimity of the decisions. The
activities of individual justices in promoting or influencing legislation
or foreign policy do less harm to the integrity of a decision than the image of a court persistently wracked by 5 to 4 decisions. As Bob
Woodward and Scott Armstrong illustrated in The Brethren: Inside
the Supreme Court (1979), justices lobby one another intensively and
change their minds on the meaning of a law throughout the process of
preparing decisions. The indirect influence even by a Brandeis on the
drafting of legislation cannot in the end determine how a court will decide. And justices who feel too personally involved, as Brandeis occasionally did, can remove themselves from deliberation.
There appear to be two exceptions to Murphy's insistence that justices insulate themselves from the legislative process: ( I ) during wars,
when the nation needs the best expertise it can muster, and (2) where
ethnic ties demand nonpartisan participation in voluntary associations. Here again, though, contradictions appear. While critical of
Brandeis and Frankfurter for aiding Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt
respectively to edge the country toward belligerency (presumably a
partisan act), he faults neither for providing advice to the government
during the world wars. This isolationist moralism suggests that the nation must forgo some expertise until it faces catastrophe, certainly a
dubious proposition. An ethics more attuned to the development of
complex personalities serving in fundamentally political positions
would serve the court and the public more effectively than what
Murphy has offered.
American Jewish Archives
Finally, while reiterating the Zionist activities of Brandeis and
Frankfurter, and criticizing their influence on foreign policy, Murphy
makes little of their conception of ethnic identification and its bearing
on their patterns of social affiliation and judicial philosophy. Yet these
were the two most conspicuous Jewish public figures in American history. Allon Gal, Brandeis of Boston (1980),and Hirsch, Enigma of
Frankfurter, have both penetrated the characters of their subjects by
noting how anti-Semitism and social ostracism led each to Zionism
and a sense of where social cohesiveness lay in culturally plural America. The Brandeis-Frankfurter mentor-apprentice relationship grew
from professional interests, but was cemented by ethnic ties and sustained by a circle of intellectually and politically prominent Jews. Such
intense loyalties were then refracted through the judicial branch as
part of America's pluralistic politics. Indeed, Frankfurter and probably Brandeis believed that individual liberties were less important than
judicial support for a democratic legislative process which alone could
guarantee the protection of minorities. It was a social perception of
legislation which most minorities have come to understand.
-William Toll
William Toll is the author of The Resurgence of Race and The Making
of an Ethnic Middle Class: Portland Jewry over Four Generations.
Book Reviews
25 3
Kalechofsky, Robert, and Kalechofsky, Roberta, Edited by. South
African Jewish Voices. Marblehead, Mass.: Micah Publications,
1982. iv, 269 pp. $8.50
In discussing South Africa one should note that phrases such as "the
inalienable rights of citizens," "social justice for all," and "human
equality" are experienced as foreign, about as alien there as frogs' legs
and squid. In large measure this is because, perhaps more than any
other "Western" country, South Africa is built upon the old imperial
principle of "divide and rule."
Every society has its own peculiar array of horrors which it seeks to
hide from public consciousness. However, the abhorrent aspects of
daily nondramatic life in the land of apartheid are worthy of special attention.
Growing up in and emigrating from South Africa and settling in the
United States, I have found few written sources which capture its
unique reality. Writers tend either to avoid dealing with unpleasant aspects of life in that beautiful land or else to use the tired images of political rhetoric to rehash several by now well-publicized South African
realities: banning and house-arrest, pass-books and legalized racial
South African Jewish Voices, an anthology of writings by Jews from
or living in South Africa, edited by Robert and Roberta Kalechofsky,
is a notable exception, for in it are pages that vividly bring home not
only the loveliness of the country, but also the often frightening incomprehensibility and grotesqueness in the lives of its people.
As in any anthology the level of contributions varies. The poetry is
little more than second-rate Rod McKuen embroidered with fairly
standard Jewish or sometimes African themes. Similarly, also, much
of the narrowly "Jewish" fiction or prose is eminently forgettable.
However, there are selections whose images and phrases make aspects
of South African life as clear as a nightmare.
For instance, in "Light Dark," Rose Moss begins by describing the
duck that a family once had for Sunday dinner, when the narrator was
a child. She tells how she saw the raw duck lying in its white enamel
American Jewish Archives
dish-"Ants were coming out of the hole where the neck had been
chopped off. The whole cavity was creepy with them coming in and
out in a ribbon like a spill of black, glittering blood.. .[pouring] down
into the basin like a pool" (pp. 107-108).
Later that day this duck was served to family and guests as the main
course of an elegant dinner. The little girl was not allowed to speak of
what she had seen; no one wanted to make a fuss: "So it became hidden, in the place we hide things we were taught as children not to talk
about" (p. 108).
In a few short paragraphs Moss then dusts off and exhibits a few
characteristically South African horror scenes: "respect for authority,
school spirit, neatness and ladylike manners" (p. I O ~ ) ,domestic servants without legal rights, undernourished black children begging for
pennies, white ladies who raise prize flowers and worry about the
cracks in their swimming pools while deliberately ignoring children
who die or go blind, deaf, or mad.
In another story, "Invisible Worm," Lionel Abrahams writes how
his hero reacted to unpleasant facts: "He contained the shock. But as
one contains an internal haemorrhage" (p. 247). The title of this story
is taken from William Blake's "The Sick Rose," a poem that speaks
about the invisible worm whose "dark, secret love / Does thy life destroy."
This is a recurrent theme of this anthology: It is the dark, hidden
facts that destroy. Dan Jacobson, in "Beggar My Neighbour," writes
of a white boy who learns of his love for two black children, whom he
has mistreated, only after he becomes ill, after any possibility of relationship with them is over.
In her story "The Stench," Jillian Becker writes about blacks who in
order to protect one another keep a secret from white officialdom by
deliberately boiling a horse, thus forcing the whites, "the enemy," to
flee the "spreading, rising, inescapable stench" (p. 46).
It is in selections such as those here referred to that South African
Jewish Voices is the most powerful. These are, of course, general statements and images, Jewish perhaps only in their indignation, or in their
ability to see what relative outsiders cannot but see, while those of the
establishment remain content.
In a country where divisions are emphasized and prized, the Jew's
sense of a separate identity receives a measure of societal support. But
Book Reviews
25 5
as official separation of groupings militates against the quality of individual Jews, though white and visibly affluent, they can never be fully
part of the South African establishment. They have remained and are
likely to remain relative outsiders.
The theme of catastrophe that may change the situation for Jews
and South Africans is explored in selections such as Barney Simon's
"Our War," but no one even hints that short of the catastrophic, not
much is likely to change for blacks, whites and, among the latter, Jews.
For the foreseeable future there is likely to be a visible Jewish community in South Africa, most of whom will be simply a separately identifiable part of the society; some of whom will be critical of the world they
can never fully join; others will leave, settling in liberal, Englishspeaking democracies such as the United States and Britain, or in Israel.
Irrespective of legislative changes, economic development, or conceptual reevaluation of the relative status of the different groupings,
the stressing of divisions remains as a constant of the society and in the
psyche of its inhabitants. It is this fundamental commitment of the society to separations that lends a static quality to the whole society, as
Shirley Eskapa writes and repeats in ' ' m i t e and Injured": "In ten
years nothing had changed" (p. 7, I I). A person committed to social
justice is no more than a "pathetic little liberal. All emotion" (p. IS).
Eskapa writes about the world of London and the United States,
"that other world where no one could penetrate my moral claim on
me, and where, because I had the inalienable right to be foreign, 1 belonged" (p. 18).
From the perspective of one who left South Africa, I would add that
for those who accept the inalienable rights of individuals and the primary moral claim that one has over oneself, South Africa, the lovely
and once beloved country of my childhood, appears fundamentally
and unalterably foreign.
-Anthony D. Holz
Anthony D. Holz is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Tikvah in Columbus, Ohio. A native of South Africa, he served as rabbi of a congregation in Pretoria, that nation's capital, from 1972 to 1977.
American Jewish Archives
Plesur, Milton. Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America: Challenge and Accommodation, Chicago Ill.: Nelson-Hall, Inc., 1982.
23 5 pages, $19.95 cloth, $9.95 paperback.
As the twentieth century rapidly reaches its end, scholars are beginning to take a long hard look at the experience of Jews in America during the past century. The study of this period will most certainly
include an analysis of the "facts" of American Jewish history and the
reciprocal influence of Jews on the development of American life and
the effect of this country's majority culture on its Jewish population.
Milton Plesur, author of a new volume entitled Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America, has recognized the need for the latter. He writes
that "challenge and accommodation are the twin themes of Jewish life
in this country: the challenge of protecting traditional values while accommodating the exigencies of life in the new world.'' Dr. Plesur's
book is one of the first attempts to explain this phenomenon of twentieth-century American Jewish life to the high school or beginning college student. From a conceptual standpoint, Plesur's text is a
pioneering effort, yet from an educational viewpoint, the book falls
When a secondary school teacher/college professor makes a decision to adopt a textbook for a course, the book must be carefully analyzed, accurately and in detail. The resulting analysis provides the
basis for making sound judgments about the text's quality and appropriateness for a particular instructional situation. With a book such as
Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America, one needs to be aware of
three general educational areas: the physical properties of the book,
the content area of the book, and the instructional properties of the
Knowledge about the physical properties of a textbook is obviously
an important factor in its curriculum adoption. No one would wish to
purchase a text where quality was in doubt. From the aspect of aesthetic appeal, Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America is unusually
plain. The typeface is uninteresting and on the large side, which suggests an appeal to a more immature reader. The pages are filled with
Book Reviews
long, unbroken paragraphs of the facts-and-figures variety. Particularly disappointing is the section of photographs. Few in number, the
photographs are mostly of individuals, and the majority of these are
from the entertainment industry. This kind of textbook should be enhanced with more visuals of Jewish life in America from the teeming
Lower East Side to youngsters celebrating the Shabbat at a presentday Jewish summer camp.
A key dimension of a textbook as part of a curriculum is the content: the facts, concepts, generalizations, skills, and attitudes to be
conveyed. The introduction to lewish Life in Twentieth Century
America is quite helpful, as it includes a brief but adequate overview of
the sequence and scope of the text. Dr. Plesur also explicitly states the
theme of the book, which is "how the American-Jewish profile
emerged." Yet one would hope that a book for high school or early
college years would treat the readerllearner with more intellectual respect. This text is strictly a "knowing and recalling" book. Plesur
could have given us an upper-level book which used, for example, the
inquiry approach-where students are encouraged to use the content
as a springboard for making their own discoveries about twentiethcentury Jewish life in America.
Finally, one must analyze the instructional properties of the book.
This is a difficult task, for it requires a judgment about comprehensibility, motivational techniques, and other aspects of instructional
properties that affect learning. It is in this overall area that Dr. Plesur's
volume is most deficient as a textbook.
Assessment devices, measures of student learning outcomes, are
quite important in a curriculum. To measure a student's progress
while the student is learning the curriculum content or when the student has reached the final level of learning is imperative to an instructional design. If Dr. Plesur had included such a device, the
administrator, teacher, and student would have a clear idea of what
the author hoped would be the learning outcome for the individual
utilizing this textbook.
The motivational properties of Jewish Life in Twentieth Century
America, those elements particularly designed to attract and maintain
the learner's attention, are weak. The book contains few surprises,
questions, or techniques that would excite and arouse the student's interest. It would have been useful if this text were an aid for guiding stu-
American Jewish Archives
dents through situations encountered in the "real" world. Instead, the
student is presented with a myriad of facts about Jewish life in this century in encyclopedic or reference-book fashion.
Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America does include two very
strong sections. There is no doubt that the annotated bibliography will
be invaluable to the teacher or student. This section is overflowing
with hints and clues to further a more in-depth study covering a tremendous number of areas related to modern Jewish life in America.
The usefulness of a name index and subject index is also noteworthy. This is especially so, given the general reference nature of this
Milton Plesur has done a great service to the field of Judaic studies
by writing one of the first high school or college textbooks on an aspect of the American Jewish experience. Yet the book cries out for accompanying materials, the most important of which would be a
teacher's guide containing such necessary sections as suggested questions, activities for the class or individual student, and even appropriate films, tapes, and records that would enliven and expand the scope
of this textbook. Without these, the student who reads this text will
have many facts at his disposal but little idea of their contemporary
relevance or their historical meaning.
-Samuel K. Joseph
Samuel K. Joseph is Assistant Professor of Religious Education at the
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati,
Ohio. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on Jewish education.
Brief Notices
Best, Gary Dean. To Free a People: AmericanJewish Leaders and the Jewish Problem in Eastern
Europe, 1890-1914. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 198 2. xi, 240 pp. $27.50
Ever since Senator J. William Fulbright "exposed" the American Jewish lobby as "the most
powerful and efficient foreign policy lobby in American politics," it has been the source of
concern and controversy for a good part of non-Jewish America. The media have hyperbolized its importance and influence, at the same time conveniently forgetting to point out that
America is a nation of political lobbies and lobbyists.
While many American Jews first knew of the existence of such a group of Jewish interests
only during the recent AWACS discussions, Jewish lobbying efforts to influence American
foreign policy were in no sense a sudden creation of the Arkansas senator.
Indeed, the very existence of a Jewish lobby can be traced back to 1840, when the tiny
American Jewish community of the time, in its first-ever act as a self-consciousethnic entity,
asked of the American government that it intercede on behalf of Syrian Jews caught up in the
midst of a blood-libel accusation. A number of other individual causes cklkbres during the
years following the "Damascus Affair" brought out the American Jewish community in protest.
But it was not until the beginning of a sustained and vicious series of oppressive acts against
Jews by the governments of Russia and Rumania in the 1880's that Jewish leaders in America
pushed the State Department to respond to their persecutions. Led by such distinguished
American Jews as Jacob Schiff, Simon Wolf, and Oscar S. Straus, together with other important members of the Jewish community, American Jewry sought to induce the government to
protest to the East European authorities. Gary Best's volume on the early history of the American Jewish lobby is also the story of the changes affecting United States foreign policy at a
time when international human rights became an important concern of the American national interest.
Dinnerstein, Leonard. America and the Survivors of the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982. xiv, 409 pp. $19.95
Leonard Dinnerstein's fine book is a shocking account of a veritable Dark Age in the history of America's humanitarian efforts on behalf of the displaced and stateless of our world.
The author paints a vivid portrait of a callous American military forcing Jewish concentration-camp survivors to live and eat with their former captors, DPs from the Baltic nations
who volunteered their services to the Nazi regime. Dinnerstein also describes the personal attitudes of certain American military officers towards Jewish displaced persons, attitudes
which ranged from contempt to hatred, to the feelings expressed by General George Patton,
who viewed the unfortunate victims of Hitler's "final solution" as less than human, as "animals."
But Dinnerstein is not finished. He then chronicles the history of efforts by American organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, to allow the thousands of Jewish refugees stranded in
Germany, the nation that set out to destroy them, to find a new beginning in the United States
of America. Again, one is shocked by the anti-Jewish atmosphere of the period, by the determined efforts of certain groups in America to keep out the Jewish DPs. One is also shocked by
the role of certain national political leaders in supporting the aims of these groups by setting
out to pass what were in effect anti-Jewish immigration laws.
American Jewish Archives
One is indeed disturbed by all of this but not surprised. For the years between 1919 and the
early 1950's stand out as perhaps the most vicious period in the still unwritten history of
American anti-Semitism. And so to the names of such well-known Jew-haters as Henry Ford,
Father Coughlin, and Breckinridge Long, we are now able to add those of Senators Pat McCarran and William Chapman Revercomb and that of Richard Arens.
Finally, one can assume that Dinnerstein's rather limited view of official American military
and political anti-Semitism reveals only the tip of a very large and very ugly iceberg.
Eisenberg, Azriel, Edited by. Eyewitnesses to AmericanJewish History, Part Four: The American
Jew 1915-1969. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1982. xiv, 206 pp.
This is the fourth volume of one of the outstanding documentary series on American Jewish
history available to younger religious and secondary school students. In this particular volume, Dr. Eisenberg presents the actual writings of those American Jews active in helping to
form a united community no longer divided between East European and German identities.
Karp, Abraham J. T o Give Life: The UJA in the Shaping ofthe American Jewish Community.
New York: Schocken Books, 1981. xii, 205 pp. $12.95.
The United Jewish Appeal was formed in 1939 through the mutual efforts of the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Palestine Appeal. Since that time it has raised billions for
philanthropic purposes, with much of its funding directed to Israel. Professor Karp's admirable, if somewhat brief, account of the internal history of the shaping of the UJA's philosophy
and organizational structure as well as the conflicts which are a part of any successful venture
is highlighted by his contention that the UJA has brought a sense of unity to American Jewish
philanthropic efforts.
Moore, Deborah Dash. B'naiB'rith and the Challenge ofEthnic Leadership. Albany, N.Y.: State
University of New York Press, 1981. x, 288 pp. $18.95
An organizational history, especially when it has the rather suspicious term "commissioned" attached to it, is immediately a cause for prejudgmental skepticism on the part of the
trained historian. Fortunately for B'nai B'rith, the organization which is the subject of Deborah Dash Moore's history, the author of this commissioned history is beyond any suspicion. Moore, the author of an excellent book on second-generation New York Jews, has
written an organizational history which should serve as a paradigm for future histories of
American Jewish groups.
Moore's volume is solid history in the finest sense. Although she has written the story of
this important American Jewish organization founded in 1843 from the viewpoint of its distinguished leadership, Moore has not excluded the rank and file. Indeed, the most controversial aspect of her book is the use of the phrase "secular synagogue" to demonstrate the earliest
function of B'nai B'rith as an option to the inchoate and unformed religious community of the
time. Is B'nai B'rith to be recognized as the forerunner of America's "civil Judaism" and the
first effective organization to seek a merger of the Jewish and American identities? Moore's
analysis of B'nai B'rith's recipe for longevity and success-an ability to remain relevant in the
face of changing community needs-is an accurate and perceptive one. No doubt B'nai B'rith
has invoked some part of its "recipe for success" in commissioning a first-rate historian to
write its history.
Plaut, W. Gunther. Unfinished Business: An Autobiography. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys,
Publishers, 1981. x, 374 pp. $19.95
Brief Notices
Rabbi Plaut's autobiography might well be subtitled "From Berlin to Cincinnati to St. Paul
to Toronto." These cities have been the major stopping points in a rabbinic career that has
spanned four decades. Plaut was one of the group of Jewish students who were literally rescued from the hands of the Nazis by the well-known efforts of the Hebrew Union College in
Cincinnati to bring them to America from the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. His achievements in Germany, America, and Canada have been enormous: a
doctorate in law from Berlin University; over a dozen scholarly books on subjects ranging
from commentaries on the Torah to American Jewish history to the history of Reform Judaism; the presidency of the Canadian Jewish Congress; and, finally, a role as a major spokesperson for American and Candian Jewries. W. Gunther Plaut's autobiography is really the
history of the Jewish experience in the twentieth century.
Schultz, Joseph P., Edited by. Mid-America's Promise: A Profile of Kansas City Jewry. Kansas
City, Mo.: Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City and American Jewish Historical Society, 1982. xvii, 405 pp. $25.00
The Kansas City Jewish community has counted among its members a number of nationally prominent figures. Names such as Jacob Billikopf, Rabbi Simon Glazer, and President Harry Truman's business partner and confidant, Eddie Jacobson, are but a few of the
well-known. This multi-author approach toward writing the history of that community is a
most promising one. Indeed, it is, on the micro-historical level, exactly the kind of approach
needed to do justice to the history of the national American Jewish experience. Unfortunately, the essays contributed to this volume are of a highly uneven quality, and this detracts
greatly from an otherwise innovative approach to the writing of community history.
Singerman, Robert, Compiled by. Anti-Semitic Propaganda: An Annotated Bibliography and
Research Guide. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1982. xxxvii, 448 pp. $60.00
Robert Singerman has further solidified his reputation as a major Judaica bibliographer. In
this important and highly useful annotated bibliography, consisting of nearly 2,000 items on
modern anti-Semitism, he has provided researchers with the most thorough and comprehensive reference guide available in the English-speaking world on the development of modern
anti-Semitism. The volume is enhanced by a most perceptive essay entitled "Index of Hatred
1871-1981," written by Colin Holmes, a leading authority on the history of British antiSemitism.
Slavin, Stephen L., and Pradt, Mary A. The Einstein Syndrome: Corporate Anti-Semitism in
America Today. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982. 187 pp. $ Z O . ~ Q ;
$9.50 (pb)
The authors argue that corporate anti-Semitism exists in America today, a thesis that is not
new. Yet, while the board room is recognized as the last bastion of formal American antiSemitism, most of the national Jewish defense organizations have assured the American Jewish community that such anti-Jewish discrimination is on the decline. Slavin and Pradt do not
agree. They find the following chain of events very much in operation today: (I) few major
corporations recruit at colleges with large Jewish enrollments; (2) most major corporations
hire relatively few Jews, given the availability of Jewish college graduates; (3) virtually all of
the Jews hired are placed in "Jewish jobs," especially in jobs where abstract and scientific
thinking are necessary. This sequence of events represents the "Einstein Syndrome" and the
shape of American corporate anti-Semitism.
American Jewish Archives
Spanjaard, Barry. Don't Fence Me In! An American Teenager in the Holocaust. Saugus, Calif.: B
& B Publishing (POB 165, 91350). viii, 206 pp. $9.00
Barry Spanjaard was two years old when his parents left Manhattan and America, the city
and country of his birth, to return to their native Holland. The Spanjaard family, as Dutch
Jews, were caught up in the Nazi efforts to exterminate European Jewry. Barry Spanjaard's
book recounts his life in Amsterdam under Nazi rule, his family's subsequent removal to the
Westerbork "transit" camp, and, finally, to the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration
camp. Despite young Spanjaard's American citizenship, the family endured intense suffering,
and only in January of 1945 did Barry Spanjaard's citizenship status allow his family to be released from Bergen-Belsen. He finally found his way back to America, but not before he had
lost his father and most of his humanity.
New Poster
The American Jewish Archives announces the addition of a new poster
to its multicolor series on the American Jewish experience.
The subject of the poster is the tenth anniversary of the ordination
of women into the American rabbinate, an event which symbolized a
revolution in American Jewish religious life and a turning point in
American Reform Judaism.
The poster is available without charge for display by all organizations interested in American Jewish history. Requests from these
groups must be made on official stationery bearing the organization's
name and address. Individuals may request the poster at the cost of
$4.00 each.
Inquiries concerning the entire poster series should be addressed to
Ms. Wanda Reis, American Jewish Archives, 3 IOI Clifton Avenue,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220.
Abolitionism, 123
Abrahams, Lionel, 25 5
Academy of Adult Education (Brooklyn,
N.Y.), 48
Addams, Jane, 67
Addler, Cyrus, 140
Adler, Elkan Nathan, I 54
Adler, Felix, 56, 67, 82
Agadah, 166
Ager, Milton, 28
Agricultural colonies, Jewish
Argentina, 165, 166, 172, 190, 192, t o r ,
U.S., 43, 116-118
Agriculture Dept., U.S., 25 I
Agudat Israel (Argentina), 199
Ahavath Chesed (N.Y.C.), 81
Ahavat Zedek (Buenos Aires), t o r
"Ain't We Got Fun" (Kahn), 12
Alabama Child Labor Committee, 64
Alabama Children's Aid Society, 67
Alabama Conference of Social Work, 53, 68
Alabama Dept. of Child Welfare, 67
Alabama Sociological Congress, 53, 67, 68
Alcoholism, 10
Aleppine Jews, 193, 194, 198, 199, 202
Alexander's Ragtime Band (film), 21
A1 Gala (Buenos Aires), 194
Aliyah, 174-175, 203
"Allah's Holiday" (Friml), 14
"All Alone" (Berlin), 23
Allen, Fred, 25
Allenby, Edmund, 194
Allende, Salvador, 245
Alsogary, Julio, 178, 181, 187
Altmann, Alexander, I 32
Alvares, Jean-Baptiste, 93
"America, 1 Love You" (Leslie & Gottler),
America and the Survivors of the Holocaust
(Dinnerstein), reviewed, 260
American, Sadie, 80
American Christian Fund for Jewish Relief,
American Committee on the Rights of
Religious Minorities, 41
American Council for Judaism, I 30
American Good-Will Union, 45
American Hebrew, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48
American Israelite, 77
Americanization and patriotism, 5 , l o , 14,
32, 43, 75, 103, 104, 123-124. (See
also Assimilation and Acculturation
American Jewish Committee, 40
American Jewish Historical Society, 139,
American Jewish history, I 19-1 21, I Z Z
communal histories, need for, 262
k texts, 256-259, 261
curricula l
in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 119
periodization, 119. See also names of
periods in Universal Jewish
American Jewish Yearbook, 231, 235, 236
American Pro-Falasha Committee, 126
American Protective Association, 40
American Red Cross, Birmingham chap., 66
American Revolution, 99
American Zion Commonwealth, 128
Amsterdam, 146, 157, 263
Anchors Aweigh (Cahn), 31
Andrews Sisters, 3 I
Angress, Werner, I 22
Annie Get Your Gun (Berlin), 24
Anti-Catholicism, 38, 40, 41, 138, 144, 147
Anti-Defamation League, 127
Anti-Semitic Propaganda: An Annotated
Bibliography and Research Guide
(Singerman), reviewed, 262
Anti-Semitism, 5, 6, 18, 46, 59, 61, 83,
111, 116, 128, 130, 139, 140, 174,
181, 253, 261, 262
in Argentina, 164, 167, 169, 172, 176,
179-180,181,182, 183,184
Anti-trust laws, U.S., I I O
Anti-Tuberculosis Society (Birmingham), 65
"Anything Goes" (Porter), I 8
Apartheid, 254
American Jeu~ishArchives
Apollo Theatre (N.Y.C), 31
Apostasy, 171-172,216,217,218,227
"April in Paris" (Harburg), 22,26
"April Showers" (song), 11
Arabic-speaking Jews, 194,196,198,242
Arens, Richard, 261
Agricultural colonies, Jewish, 165,166,
172,190,192,201, 234
Anti-Semitism in, 164,167,169,172,
Ashkenazim in, 135,191,195,196,199,
201, 202,242
Demographic patterns, Jewish, 234,236,
also Buenos Aires
Emigration, Jewish, 174,175,176
Immigration, Jewish, 166,178,181,182,
Intermarriage patterns, 168-179,170,
Prostitutes, Jewish, I35, 178-184
Sephardim in, 135,190-203 passim
Social and ~ o l i t i c a atmosphere,
Zionism in, 135,174,175,190-203
Argentine Zionist Congress, 192,193
Arlen, Harold, 7,22, 24,30, 32
Armstrong, Scott, 252
Asch, Sholem, 187
in Argentina, 135,191,195,196,199,
201, 202, 242
in Palestine, 197,198,199
Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina, 242
Assimilation and acculturation
Argentina, 164,167,168,170,173,176
Peru, 206
U.S., 55, 75,80,140, I77 See
alsoAmericanization and patriotism
Associated Charities (Birmingham), 65
Astaire, Adele, 10
Astaire, Fred, 10,21
As Thousands Cheer (Berlin h Hart), 23
Athens, Ga., 126
At Home in America: Second Generation
New York Jews (Moore), reviewed,
Atkinson, Brooks, 30
Atlanta, Ga., 128,131
Atonement, Day of. See Yom Kippur
"At the Old Maids' Ball" (song), 14
"At the Ragtime Ball" (song), 14
"At the Yiddishe Society Ball" (song), 14,
"Au Revoir But Not Goodbye, Soldier
Boy," (Brown h Von Tilzer), I 5
Austro-Hungarian Empire, 83,I 23
Autos de fi,141,154,159,162.(See also
"Autumn in New York" (Duke), 26
Avignon, France, 92
AWACS, 260
Baerwald, Edward, 13I
Bahai, 40
Bahia Honda, 158
Baker, Newton D., 43,47,I07
Balfour Declaration, 191,193,194
Balkan Jews, 193,242
Baltimore, Md., 89
Band Wagon, The (Schwartz), 25
Barmat Mitzvah, 31,186,218,222
Barsky, Sonia, I 31
"Barney Google" (Rose 6 Conrad), 17
Barnwell, Middleton S.,59,62-63
Baron, Salo W., 142
Baruch, Bernard M., 106-115
Baruch, Simon, II 3
Basel, Switzerland, 190
Baumgard, Seraphina, 13I
Bayes, Norah, 5
Bayonne, France, 92
Beck, Martin, 6
Becker, Jillian, 255
Beckwith (Ala. Episcopal bishop), 63
Beecher, Henry Ward, 107
"Beggar My Neighbour" (Jacobson), 255
"Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" (Secunda 8:
Jacobs), 3I
"Belle of New York, The" (Kerker), 13
Bellow, Saul, 135
"Be My Love" (Cahn), 32
Benarroch, Jacobo, 198
Benchetrit, Abraham, I92
Bender, Rose I. (Mrs. Oscar G.), 127
Bene Kedem (Argentina), 191, 198, 199,
200, 201
Bene Sion (Buenos Aires), 194
Bension, Ariel, 192, 194, 198
Benzaquin, Isaac, 192
Bergen-Belsen (concentration camp), 263
Berkeley, Busby, 30
Berlin, Irving, 5, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 23,
24, 26, 309 32
Berlin, University of, 262
Berlin College for Music, 26
Berlin Reform Congregation, 75, 76
Bernheim, Isaac W., 84
Besant, Annie Wood, 40
Best, Gary Dean, 260
Best and the Brightest, The (Halberstam),
"Best Things in Life Are Free, The" (De
Sylva, Brown W: Henderson), 23
Beth-El (N.Y.C), 78
Beth Elohim (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 48, 49
Beth Elohim (Charleston), 126
Bible, scientific criticism of, 3 8, 56-57
Billikopf, Jacob, 127, 262
Bintel Brief, A (Metzker), reviewed, 123
Birmingham, Ala., 53, 57-58, 63, 68
Birmingham, Stephen, I 32
Birmingham Community Chest, 53
Birth of a Nation (film), 20
Birth rate, Jewish, 235, 237-238, 241, 244,
Bimarkch, Otto Von, 123
Black, Hugo, 252
Black, William, 25 5
Blackbirds of 1928 (revue), 23, 24
Blacks, 6, 7, 23, 31, 64, 65, 69-70
in Haiti, 89, 93, 94
in Latin America, 169
Black Thursday (1929), 27, 28
Blitzstein, Marc, 29
Blood, William W., 79
Blood-libel, 42, 46, 83
Bloomer Girl (Arlen), 22
Blynd, Fanny M., 66
B'nai B'rith, 40, 124, 127, 261
B'nai B'rith and the Challenge of Ethnic
Leadership (Moore), reviewed, 261
"Body and Soul" (Dietz), 26
Bogota, Colombia, 23 6
Bolivia, 244
Bolsa, La (Martel), 182
"Bom Bombay" (song), 14
Bondi, August M., 123
Book of Prayers, A (Levy), 83
Bordeaux, France, 92
Boulanger, Nadia, 29
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 127, 250-253
BrandeislFrankfurter Connection: The
Secret Political Activities of Two
Supreme Court Justices, The
(Murphy), reviewed, 250253
Brandeis of Boston (Gal), 253
Brandes, Joseph, I 16
Brazil, 198, 238, 240
Brecht, Bertold, 27
Breslau Rabbinical Conference, 75, 76
Brest, Alexander, I 3 I
Brethren, The (Woodward W: Armstrong),
Bretton Woods Agreement, I I 2
Brice, Fanny, 7, 8, 9
Brickner, Samuel, 80
Broadway Melody, The (Freed), 21
Broadway musicals. See Musical theatre;
Brooklyn Institute for the Arts, 29
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
(Harburg), 22, 28
rot her hood Day, 49
Brotherhood Week, 49
Brown, John, 123
Brown, Lew, IS, 23, 26
Brown, Rose L., I 3 I
Bruno, Frank J., 68
Buchenwald (concentration camp), I 3 I
Buenos Aires, Argentina, 168, 169
Jewish population of, 234, 7-35>236, 238,
239, 240, 241, 242
~rostitutionin, 178-184 passim
Sephardim in, 192, 193, 194, 195, 198
Zionist activities in, 190-202 passim
Burlesque, 7, 8, 22
"Buy a Liberty Bond for the Baby" (Von
Tilzer), 16
Byrnes, James F., 108
Cabin in the Sky (film, Harburg),
American Jewish Archives
"Cabin in the Sky" (song, Duke), 26
Cadiz, Spain, 159
Cadman, Samuel, 40
Cadman, S. Parkes, 45
Cadoche, MoisCs, 191, zoo
Caesar, Irving, 15, 26, 30
Cahan, Abraham, 123, 124
"California-Here I Come" Uolson), I I
Calvert Association, 4 I
Calvinists, 156
Canadian Jewish Congress, 262
Canadian Jewish Mosaic, The (Weinfield,
Shaffir, & Cotler), reviewed, 125
Canadian Jewry, 124, 125, 130, 235
Cantor, Eddie, 7, 9, 12
Cantors, cantorial music, 5, 11, zo
Cap Frangais Haiti, 92
Caracas, Venezuela, 23 6
Cardozo family, 132
Carigal, Haim Isaac, 98, 99
Cartagena, Colombia, I 56, I 59
Carvajal, Luis De, 142
Casman, Nellie, 3 I
Castle, Irene, 14
Castle, Vernon, 14
Cemeteries, 126, 127, 180, 185
Central American Jewry, 238. See also
names of countries.
Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, 129
Central Conference of American Rabbis, 40,
439 45,489 532 64, 79-80
Centro Sionista Sefaradi (Argentina), 194,
Cervantes, Miguel De, 166
Chaplaincy, military, 43, 49
Chaplin, Saul, 3 I
Charleston, S.C., 89, 126
"Cheek to Cheek" (Berlin), 21
Chemin de Buenos Aires, Le (Londres),
179-1 80
Chicago, 12
Chicago Columbian Exposition, 8, 39-40
Chicago Musical College, 8
Chicago Sinai Congregation, 78, 82, 83, 84,
I 26
Child-labor laws, 64, 67
Chilean Jewry, 198, 232, 238, 244
Chinarro, Andres, 179
Chofez Chayyim, I O I
Christian and Jew (Landman), 46, 48
Christian unity. See Ecumenism
Churchill, Winston, I 12
Church Peace Union, 40
Cincinnati, 42
Circuit Riding Rabbi project, 130
Circumcision, 157, 186
City College and the Jewish Poor (Gorelick), reviewed, 122-123
City College of New York (CCNY), 22,
109, 122-123
Civilian Relief Committee (Birmingham), 66
"Civil Judaism," 261
Civil marriage, 239
Civil War, 124
Claiborne, Ark., 126
Claridge Hotel (N.Y.C), 18
Clarkson, Grosvenor, 108
Clinchy, Everett R., 49
Cohan, George M., 18
Cohen, Benjamin V., 127
Cohen, Mair, 193
Cohen, Martin A., 142, 146
Cohen, Moses M., 13 I
Cold War, 110, 112
Coleman, Cy, 24
Collin, Margaret H., 13 I
Colonial period, 89-94, 98-100
Colorado, I 3 I
Columbia University, 25, 29, 122
Columbus, Christopher, 134
Comentario (Buenos Aires), I 65
Comitk Judia Latinoamtrica, 23 2
Commerce Dept., U.S., 114
Commonweal, 4 I
Communidades Judias, 232, 235, 244
Communidad Israelita Sefaradi (Buenos Aires), zoo
Community Chest (Birmingham), 63, 66
Comparative religion, 3 8
Conboy, Martin, 45
Congregaci6n Israelita Latina (Buenos Air4 , 190, 192, 193, 198, zoo
Congregation Bene Israel (Cincinnati), 126
Congregation Bene Yeshurun (Cincinnati),
Congregation Beth Jacob (Albany, N.Y.),
Congregation B'nai Israel (Davenport,
Iowa), 126
Congregation Children of Israel (Athens,
Ga.), 126
Congregation Montefiore (Las Vegas, Nev.),
Congress, U.S., House Resolution, 22, 43
Conrad, Gus, 17
Conservative Judaism, 104, 105
Consistorio Rabinico (Buenos Aires), zoo,
Constitution, U.S., 37
Conversion to Judaism, I 53, I 57, I 58-159,
160, 216, 227, 232
Conversos, 93, I 34
defined, I Son1
Conway, John S., 122
Coots, J. Fred, 24
Cbrdoba, Argentina, 198
Cordobazo, 175
Cotler, I., 125
Coughlin, Charles E., 261
Cowen, Philip, 43
Cowett, Mark, 52-74
Cradle Will Rock, The (Blitzstein), 29-30
Creizenach, Michael, 75, 76
Crkmieux, S. D., 117
Crenovich, Adolfo, 193
Criollas, I 80
Cristiano Viejo, I 54
Crohn, family, 13 I
Cromie, Robert, I 32
Crypto-Jews, 138, 140, 141, 142, 143
defined, I Son1
Cuba, 154, 155, 169
Cuentos criollos con judios (Schvartzman),
Cuevas, Mariano, 147-148
Cuff, Robert D., 109
Cultural pluralism, 39
Cura~ao,92, 154, 155, 156, 157, 159, 160,
Curtis Institute of America (Philadelphia),
Dabbah, Shaul Setton, 194, 199
Damascene Jews, 193
198, 199
Damascus Affair, 260
"Dancing in the Dark" (Schwartz & Dietz),
25, 26
Darwin, Charles, 56
Davar (Buenos Aires), 165, 174
Davenport, Iowa, 126
Davidson, Gabriel, I 16
Davis, George Ade, 8
Dawes Plan, 112
Death rate, Jewish, 235, 238-240, 244, 247
Decca Records, 3 I
Deism, 36, 37
Della Pergola, Sergio, 231, 236, 239, 245,
24 6
De Los Rios, Alonso, 162
Del Rio, Dolores, zo
Democratic Party, 28, 106, 108, 112
"Demographic Profile of Latin American
Jewry, A" (Elkin), 23 1-249
Demography, Jewish
Latin America, 136, 231-247 See also
names of countries
U.S., 122, I23
Depression ( I ~ ~ o ' s22,
) , 27-28, 29-30, 66
Dessau, Germany, 26
Destry Rides Again (Rome), 29
De Sylva, Buddy, 23
Deuteronomy, Book of, 161
Deutscher, Isaac, 123
Dickmann, Max, 165, 170
Die Fledermaus (Strauss), 26
Dietary laws, 157, 158, 159, 172, 218, 222
Dietz, David and Rosalie, I 28
Dietz, Howard, 21, 25-26, 30
"Diga, Diga Doo" (Fields & McHugh), 23
"Dinah" (Lewis & Young), 16
Dinnerstein, Leonard, 260
Displaced persons, 260
Dixon, Mort, 28
Djaen, Shabbetai, zoo-tor
"Doin' the New Low Down" (Fields &
McHugh), 23
Dominican Order, I 59
Donaldson, Walter, I z
Don Guillen de Lampart (Gonzilez Obregbn), 149
Don Quixote (Cervantes), 166
Don't Fence Me In! An American Teenager
in the Holocaust (Spanjaard), re-
American Jewish Archives
viewed, 263
"Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" (De
Sylva, Brown & Henderson), 23
Douglas, William O.,252
Dowling, Victor J., 45
"Dream of Temple" (Newfield), 59
Drumont, Edouard, 181
Dubin, Al, I8
Dubnow, S., 171
Duchess of Chicago, The (Kalman), 13
Duenlos de la tierra, Los (Viiias), 184
Duffy, Francis P., 45
Duke, Vernon, 26,30
Dukelsky, Vladimir, 26
Dulles, John Foster, 108
Eagle, Morris N., 122
"Early Zionist Activities among Sephardim
in Argentina" (Mirelman), 19-205
Easter, 45,46
"Easter Parade, The" (Berlin), 21, 23
East European Jews, 103,104,122,123.
See also Ashkenazim; Lithuanian
Jews; Russian Jews
Ecuador, 169
Ecumenism, 36,40,41,55
Edmonds, Henry M., 53,59,62,67,68
Edwards, Gus, 9,21,25
Edwards, Leo, 9
Eichelbaum, Samuel, 170,183,184
Einhorn, Davis, 79,83,84
Eichhorn, David Max, 128
Einstein Syndrome: Corporate AntiSemitism in America Today, The
(Slavin & Pradt), reviewed, 262
Eisenberg, Azriel, 261
Eisenhower, Dwight, 32
El Fatah, 175
Elkin, Judith Laikin, 136,137,231-249
El Libro Rojo (Palacio), 146
El procedimento inquisitorial (Pallares), 145
El Salvador, 245
El Semanario Hebreo (Buenos Aires), 197
El Sionista (Buenos Aires), 193,197
El Teatro Soy Yo (Tiempo), 168-170
Ely, Richard T., 59,60, 61
Emancipation, Jewish, 37,75,76
Emigration, Jewish
from Latin America, 175,244-245, 247
from South Africa, 256
Encyclopaedia Judaica, 49,I19
Enfermo la wid (Soboleosky), 17-172
Englander, Isaac, 128
Enigma of Felix Frankfurter, The (Hirsch),
En la Semana Trrigica (Viiias), 183
Entertainment industry. See Movie industry;
Music industry
Entre Rios, Argentina, 165,166,172,173
Episcopal Church of the Advent (Birmingham), 59,62
Epstein, Baer, 190
Epstein, Harold, 108
Es dificil empezar a uiuir (Verbitsky), 170
Eskapa, Shirley, 256
Esquibel, Jose De, 162
"Essence of Judaism" (TV program), 128
Ester, James, 94
Eternal Road, The (Werfel), 27
Ethical Culture, 38,56,82
Etiquetas a 10s hombres (Verbitsky),
Eufaula, Ala., 126
Ettinger, Akiva, zoo,ror
Evolution, 56,57,61
Exemplary Novels (Cervantes), 166
Exeter Academy, 21
Eyewitness to American Jewish History,
Part Four: The American Jew
1915-1969 (Eisenberg), reviewed,
Ez Hayim (Buenos Aires), 193
Ezrat Nashim (London), 180
Face the Music (Berlin), 30
Fairbanks, Douglas, 23
Fair Deal, I14
Fall of a Nation, The (film), zo
Family size, Jewish, 238,241242
Fanny (Rome), 29
Faunce, W. H. P., 45
Federaci6n Sionista Argentina, 190,191,
19% I939 194,198,199,2 0 1 9 202
Federal Council of Churches in Christ in
America, 38,40,45,65
Goodwill Committee, 40, 41,42,45
Federal Theatre (WPA), 29
Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations (Cincinnati), 127
Federation of Zionists, 80
Feinberg, Abraham J., 128
Feingold, Henry L., 122
Feist, Leo, 16-17
Feldman, Abraham J., 128
Fergusson, David, 143
Feuchtwanger, Marta, I3 I
Field, Carter, 108
Fields, Dorothy, 23-24, 7.8
Fields, Herbert, 23,25
Fields, Joseph, 23
Fields, Lew, 23.See also Weber and Fields
Fields, W. C., 9
Fifth Land 'Conference of Argentine
Zionists, 194
"Fine Romance, A" (Fields), 24
Finian's Rainbow (show), 22
First Zionist Conference, 190
"Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" (Lewis &
Young), 16
Flahooley (Harburg), zz
"Foggy Day in London Town, A"
(Gershwin Bros.), 21
Folies-Bergdre, 9
Ford, Henry, 43,261
"For Me and My Gal" (Leslie & Goetz), 16
"Forty Miles from Schenectady to Troy"
(Kerker), 13
"4md Street" (Warren & Dubin), 18
"Fostering True Religious Unity" (papal encyclical), 41 .
Fox, William, 6
Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner, The
(Goldemberg), 206
France juive, La (Drumont), I8I
Francescas, I80
Francis Ferdinand, I4
Frank, Leo M., 128
Frankfurter, Felix, 25-253 passim
Frankfurter Journal, 75
Freed, Arthur, 21
Free Religious Association, 56
Free Synagogue (N.Y.C.), 45,125
Frey, William, I 17
Friedlander, Henry, I22
Friedman, Charles, 28
Friends Clambake and Springtime Frolic
(Cincinnati), I32
Friml, Rudolf, 9,14
Fulbright, J. William 260
Fundamentalism, Protestant, 53,54,58,64
Gal, Allon, 253
Galatians, Epistle to the, 161
Galbraith, John Kenneth, 107
Galician Jews, 3 I
Gallagher and Shean, 7
Galvez, Manuel, 182
Gandhi, Mohandas, 23
Garrick Gaieties of 1925 (revue), 25
Gartner, Lloyd P.,I19-121
Gauchos, 167,168,172
gauchos judios, Los (Gerchunoff), 165-168,
Gay, John, 26-27
Geiger, Abraham, 82
George White Scandals (revue), 22,23
Georgia, 124
Gerchunoff, Alberto, 165-168,176
German Jews, in U.S., 11-12, 13, 26,44,
55, 106,123, 261
Germany, 75-76,111, 176,262
Gershwin, George, 5,7,15, 17,21,22,23,
Gershwin, Ira, 21,26,27,3 0
Gervasi, Frank, I 32
Geulat Zion (Buenos Aires), 194
Gilbert, L. Wolfe, 20
Gilbert and Sullivan, I3
Gittler, Joseph B., 122
Gladden, Washington, 59,60,61
Glazer, Nathan, 5 5
Glazer, Simon, 262
Glickman, Nora, 13 5, 178-189
Gloria Patri, 161
"God Bless America" (Berlin), 3 2
"God's Country" (Arlen & Harburg), 3 2
Goetz, E. Ray, I6
Goldberg, David J., I 3 0
Gold Diggers of 1936 (revue), 22
Goldemberg, Isaac, I36,206-215
Goldenson, Samuel H., 128
Goldstein, Sidney, I22
Goldwyn, Samuel, 6
American Jewish Archives
Goloboff, Gerardo Mario, 165
Gonzllez Obreg6n, Luis, 149
Goode, Alexander D., 128
Good Friday, 130
Gorelick, Sherry, 122
Gottheil, Richard, I 54
Gottler, Archie, 14
Gottschalk, Alfred, 128, 13 2
Graham, Otis L., I 14
Grand'Anse, Haiti, 89
"Grandmothers, Mothers, and Daughters;
an Oral History Study . . . "
(Krause), 132
Grand Street Follies (revue), 24
Gratz, Rebecca, I 32
Great Britain, I I I, I 12
Great Depression, 22, 27-18, 29-30, 66
Great Society, I 14
Greenleaf, Richard E., 149
Griffith, Barbara, 46
Griffith, D. W., 20
Guanabara, Brazil, 240
Guardias blancas, I 83
Guatemala, 241, 243
Gurock, Jeffrey S., 105
Habima Haivrit (Buenos Aires), 196
Hadassah, 127
Hahn, Aaron, 81
Hahn, Harold D., 128
Haiti, 89-94
Haitian Revolution, 89
Halberstam, David, I 14
Hale, Edward Everett, 60
Hammerstein, Oscar, 11, 5, 7, 25, 26
Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre (N. Y. C.),
"Happy Days Are Here Again" (Yellen &
Ager), 28
Harburg, E. Y. "Yip", 22, 26, 28, 30, 32
Harding, Warren G., 17, 112
Harrigan and Hart, 7
Harris, Charles K., 15
Harris, Sam H., 23
Harrison, Byron "Pat," 108
Hart, Lorenz, 5, 21, 25, 26, 28, 30
Hart, Moss, 23
Hartford, Conn., I 28
Hartog, J., 135, 153-163
Haward University, 122, 250
Hasidism, 175
Haskalah, 43, 48
Havana, Cuba, 154, 155
Hawkins, John, 142
Hayes, Carlton, 47
Hayishuu Hayehudi Beartstot Habrit Mereishito ad Yamainu (Gartner), reviewed, I 19-121
"Heat Wave" (Berlin), 23
Hebra Gemilut Hassadim (Buenos Aires),
Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (Atlanta),
Hebrew Free School (San Francisco), 127
Hebrew language, 160, 173, 195-196
Hebrew Press, Argentina, 195
Hebrew Relief Association (Cincinnati), 126
Hebrew Sunday School (Philadelphia), 132
Hebrew Union College, 42, 53, 70, 78
Holocaust rescue work, 262
Year-in-Israel program, 128
Hechalutz (Argentina), 191
Held, Anna, 9
"Hello Central, Give Me Heaven" (Harris),
"Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land"
(Lewis, Young & Jerome), I 5
"Hello Hawaii, How Are You" (Schwartz
& Kalmar), 14
Henderson, Ray, 23
Herberg, Will, 3 5
Herbert, Victor, 20
Herford, Germany, 13
Herman, Simon N., 21 8
"Hermandad" (Schvartzman), 173
Herring, John, 41
Herscher, Uri, I I 6
Herzl, Theodor, 194
Hess, Cliff, 16
Heyman, Joseph K., 131
Heyman family, 131
High Button Shoes (Cahn), 3 I
Hilberg, Paul, I z t
Hillel Foundation, 129
Hirsch, Emil G., 77, 78, 82, 83, 84
Hirsch, H. N., 250, 253
Hirsch, Louis A., 9, 10
Hirsch, Maurice De, I 16
Hirsch, Samuel, 76
Hispaniola, 89
Historia de la Iglesia en Mixico (Cuevas),
"Historiographical Problems in the Study of
the Inquisition and the Mexican Crypto-Jews in the Seventeenth Century"
(Hordes), 138-1 52
History of the Jews (Dubnow), 171
"History of the Jews, The" (Newfield), 54
History of the Marranos, A (Roth), 141,
History of Spanish Literature (Ticknor),
Hitachdut (Argentina), 191
Hitler, Adolf, 49, 173
"Hit Parade" (radio program), 30
Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin), 262
Holdheim, Samuel, 75, 76
Holidays, 218, 220. See also holidays,
names of
Holland, 143, 263
Holman, Libby 25
Holmes, Colin, 262
Holocaust, 35, 111, 120, 125, 130, 131,
140, 173, 203, 211, 260, 262, 263
Holocaust: Ideology, Bureaucracy, and
Genocide, The (Friedlander &
Milton), reviewed, 122
Holtzmann, Fanny E., 128
Holz, Anthony D., 256
Homonna, Hungary, 53
Honeymoon Express, The (Schwartz), 11
Hooray for What! (show), 32
Hoover, Herbert, 108, 110, 114
Hordes, Stanley, M., 134, 138-152
Houseman, John, 29
Hovevei Zion, 190, 191
"How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" (Harburg), 22
"How Can You Tell an American" (Weill),
"How'd You Like to Be My Daddy" (Lewis, Young, & Snyder), 15
Howe, Irving, 6
"How You Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the
Farm" (Lewis & Young), 16
Hugo, Victor, 50
Humanism, secular, 36
Hungarian Jews, 13, 53
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" (Fields & McHugh), 23, 24
"Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider" (song), 11
"1 Did Not Raise My Boy to Be a Coward"
(song), IS
"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier"
(song), I S
"I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier, 1'11
Send My Daughter to Be a Nurse"
(song), IS
"I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five
and Ten Cent Store" (Dixon, Rose,
& Warren), 17, 27-28
"1 Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan"
(Schwartz), 25
"I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise"
(Gershwin), 23
"I'll Lend You Everything I've Got Except
My Wife (And I'll Make You a
Present of Her)" (Von Tilzer), 13-14
"Images of Man-Ancient and Modern"
(Gottschalk), 128
"I May Be Gone for a Long Time" (Brown
& Von Tilzer), 15
"I'm Gonna Pin My Medal on the Girl I
Left Behind" (Berlin), 16
"I'm in the Mood for Love" (Fields), 24
Immigrants to Freedom (Brandes), 116
Immigration, Jewish
to Israel. See Aliyah
to Latin American, 232, 238, 244
Argentina, 166, 178, 181, 182, 191,
192, I94
Brazil, 217
Mexico, 13 2
to U.S., 5, 83, 84, 122, 123-124, 131,
139, 254, 263. See also German
Jews; Eastern European Jews; Russian Jews
Immigration laws, U.S., 260
"I'm Sitting on Top of the World" (Lewis
& Young), 1 6
"I'm the Loneliest Gal in Town" (Von
Tilzer & Brown), 23
American Jewish Archives
Inca culture, 206
Independent Presbyterian Church (Birmingham), 59, 62
Independent Scottsboro Committee, 70
"In Dixie Land, I Take My Stand: A Study
of Small-City Jewry in Five Southeastern States" (Goldberg), 130
inmigracibn en la literatura Argentina, La
(Onega), 181
inquisicidn en Hispanoamdrica (judios, protestantes y patriotas), La (Lewin),
Inquisition, I 34 I 3 8-1 50 passim, I 53, I 59
and Protestant heretics, 141, 142
punishments and penalties, 146, 159,
trial procedures, 144, 145, 161
Inquisition Unmasked, The Puigblanch),
"Is It True What They Say About Dixie"
(Caesar), 30
Isolationism, 252
Israel (Buenos Aires), 196-197
Israel, Jonathan, 149
Israel, State of, 49, 120, 174, 175, 203,
256, 261
Isserles, Moses, 101
"It Had to Be You" (Kahn), 12
"It's Delightful to Be Married" (Held), 9
"It's Only a Paper Moon" (Rose), 17
"I've Got Five Dollars" (Rodgers & Hart),
"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"
(Berlin), 21
"I Won't Dance" (Kern), 30
Inside U.S.A. (Schwartz), 25
Institute for the Improved Instruction of
Deaf-Mutes (N.Y.C.), 129
Institutional Synagogue (N.Y.C.), 104
Integration, 65
Interdenominational Open and Established
Church League, 40
Interfaith Conference on Federation, 40
Interfaith movement, 35, 39, 39, 40, 41, 44,
49-50,719 79, 80
in Birmingham, 53, 68
Intermarriage, 8, 111, 128, 135, 167, 171,
216, 245, 247
in Argentina, 168-169, 170, 173, 184,
237, 245,246
racial, 93
in SHo Paulo, 217-229 passim
International Ladies Garment Workers
Union, 28
International Monetary Fund, I I 2
Interwar period, 5, 17, 68, 103
"Invisible Worm" (Abraham), 25 5
"I Only Have Eyes for You" (Warren &
Dubin), 18
Isaac M. Wise Temple (Cincinnati), 126
Isaacson, Jose, 165
Isabella I, 134
Isaiah, 57, 59, 125
"I Should Care" (Cahn), 31
Jabotinsky, Vladimir (Ze'ev), 197
Jackson, Louis, 80
Jacobs, Al, 3 2
Jacobs, Joe, 31
Jacobson, Dan, 25 5
Jacobson, Eddie, 262
Jamaica, West Indies, 126, I 58
James, Marquis, 108
Jazz, 13
Jazz Singer, The (film), t o
Jefferson County (Ala.) Anti-Tuberculosis
Society, 5 3, 65
Jefferson Cou~ity(Ala.) Red Cross, 65
Jemison, Rober, 63
Jkrkmie, Haiti, 89, 92
Jerez, Spain, 159, 160, 161
Jerusalem riots (1929), 201
Jesus, 37, 59, 60, 61, 62, 161, 166
Jewish Agency, 168, 201
Jewish Agricultural Utopias in America
(Herscher), reviewed, I 16-1 18
Jewish Colonization Association, 190, 234,
23 5
Jewish Daily Forward, 123
Jewish education
in colonial C u r a ~ a o ,I 58
and intermarriage, 220, zzz
Jewish Education Influence Degree, 222
Jewish Encyclopedia, 49
Jewish Endeavor Society, 104
Jewish identity, 160, 164-165, 17-176
passim, 185, 218, 223-224, 231-232. See
also Self-hatred, Jewish
Jewish Institute of Religion, 45
Jewish Legion, 190
Jewish Life in the United States (Gittler), reviewed, I 22
Jewish Life in Twentieth Century America:
Challenge and Accommodation (Plesur), reviewed, 257-259
Jewish lobby, 260
Jewish National Fund, 191
Jewish Population of Rochester, New York
(Monroe County), The, reviewed,
Jewish South (newspaper), 124
Jewish Theological Seminary, 104
Jewish Tidings (Rochester), 80, 81
"Jewish White Slave Trade in Latin American Writings, The" (Glickman),
Jewish youth groups, 120
Jews: An Account of Their Experience in
Canada (Paris), reviewed, I 24
Jews in New Spain, The (Liebman), 146
"Jews in the Grand'Anse Colony of SaintDomingue" (Loker), 89-97
Johnny Johnson (Weill), 27
Joint Commission on Good-Will, 45
Joint Distribution Committee, 261
Jolson,Al, ~ , I I 16,
, 17,20,169
Jolson, Harry, 5
Jones, Jenkin Lloyd, 62
"Joseph, Joseph" (Casman & Steinberg), 31
Journey, The (Litvin), reviewed, 123
Juarez, Mexcio, I 32
Judah Touro Cemetery Association (Cincinnati), 127
~ u d i o ys Gauchos: The Search for Identity
in Argentine-Jewish Literature" (Sadow), 164-177
Just Passing Through (Goldemberg), 206
Juvenile courts, 67
Kafka, Franz, 170
Kahan, Arcadius, 122
Kahan, Norman, 128
Kahn, Donald, 12
Kahn, Gus, 12, 21
Kahn, Roger, 132
Kalechofsky, Robert and Roberta, 254-256
Kallen, Horace, 39, 125
Kalman, Emmerich, 13
Kalmar, Bert, 14
Kansas, 13 I
Kant, Immanuel, 36, 3 8
Kanter, Kenneth Aaron, 3-34
Kantor, Raymond, 13 I
Kaplan, Harry, I 29
K ~ P PJack,
Karmona, Jacobao, 198
Karo, Joseph, 101
Karp, Abraham J., 261
Katz, David, I 3 I
Kelley, Florence, 67
Kelman, Yitzchak, 129
Kelman, Zvi Yehuda, 129
Kenesseth Israel (Philadelphia), 37, 42, 79,
81, 83
Kennedy, John F., 28, 113
Kent, Frank A., 107
Keren Hayesod, 191, 194, 198, 199, zoo,
20 I
Kerker, Gustave, 13
Kern, Jerome, 5, 7, 9,
11, 17, 21,
24, 26,
Keynes, John Maynard, 109
Kiev Conservatory of Music, 26
Kilby, Thomas E., 69
"Kingdom of God" ideal, 54, 57, 58, 60,
Kirshenbaum, Manuel, 165
Klausner, Samuel Z., 122
Klein, Abraham Moses, I 29
Knickerbocker Holiday (Weill), 27
Knights of Columbus, 41
Koblenz, Germany, 12
Kohler, Kaufmann, 42, 77, 78, 79, 129
Kohut, George Alexander, 141
Kol Nidrei, 20
Konin Young Men's Benevolent Association
(N.Y.C.), 127
Kordon, Bernardo, 165
Krause, Corinne Azen, I 3 2
Krauskopf, Joseph, 37, 42, 77, 79, 83, 84
Krausz, Rosa R., 13 5, 216-230
Kraut, Benny, I Z I
American Jewish Archives
Krock, Arthur, 107
Ku Klux Klan, 38,41,43,68,69
Kupishok: The Memory Stronger (Mayersohn), I3 I
Kurlander Young Men's Mutual Aid Society
(N.Y.C.), 127
"La Belle Paree" (song), II
La Bolsa (Martel), 182
Labor unions, 28,69,70
Labor Zionists, 190, I91
Ladd, Everett Carll, Jr., 122
Ladino-speaking Jews, 193,194,196,198
La France Juive (Drumont), 181
La Luz (Buenos Aires), 197
La Monte, Ed, 63
La Naci6n (Buenos Aires), 166,18I
Landman, Isaac, 3 5-42
Landman, Louis Hyamson, 42,44
Landsberg, Max, 80
Lane, Burton, 24
Lange family, 92
Langer, Laurence, r 22
Las Vegas, N. Mex., 126
Lathrop, Julia, 68
Latin American Jewish studies, 133-134
Latin American Jewish Studies Association,
"Law and Ethics: A Case History" (Rostow), 132
Lazaron, Morris, 49
Lea, Henry Charles, 148,149
League of Nations, I12,I13,179
Le Chemin de Buenos Aires (Londres),
Lehman, Irving, 45
Leonard, Eddie, 11
Leslie, Edgar, 14,16
"Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain"
(Cahni, 32
"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"
(Gershwin bros.), 21
Levin, Mayer, 132
Levinson, Abraham and Ida, 129
Levitansky, Schlaime Itzhock, 132
Lew Dockstader Minstrels, II, I5
Lewin, Boleslao, 141,144,145,147
Lewis, Sam, 15, 16
Levy, Jack, 6
Levy, Jacob, 196
Levy, J. Leonard, 83,84
Levy, Lou, 3 I
Levy, Samuel De A., 196
Liacho, Lazaro, 165,176
Liberalism, 123
Libro Rojo, El (Palacia), 146
Lieberman, Rachel, I81
Liebman, Seymour B., 140,142,145,146
Life Begins at 8:40 (Harburg), 22
Life-expectancy, Jewish, 24-241, 247
"Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" (De Sylva,
Brown, & Henderson), 23
Liga, Dr. Herzl, 192
"Light Dark" (Moss), 25 5
Lindsay, Ben, 68
Lisbon, Portugal, 160
Lithuanian Jews, 6,10, II, I3 I
Littel, Franklin H., 122
Little Shows (revues), 25
Liturgy, Jewish, 81,83,84,127,128
Litvin, Marvin, 123
Lobbying, political, 260
Loewe, Marcus, 6
Loker, Zvi, 89-97
Lomazer Young Men's Benevolent Association (N.Y.C.), 127
Londres, Albert, 178,179-180,187
Long, Breckinridge, 261
Look to the Lillies (Cahn), 3I
Lopez, Aaron, 99
Los duetios de la tierra (Vifias), 184
Los gauchos judios (Gerchunoff), 165-168,
"Louisiana Hayride" (Dietz), 26
Louisville, Ky., I3, 84
University of, 127
"Lovely to Look At" (Kern), 30
"Love Me or Leave Me" (Kahn), 12
"Love Walked Right In" (Gershwin bros.),
Lower East Side (N.Y.C.), 17,104,122,
130, 257
Lubell, Samuel, 107, 108
Lueger, Karl, 83
Lutheranism, I 5 8
Luz, La (Buenos Aires), 197
Luzzatto, Moses Hayyim, 42
Lyma, Louis David, 92
Lyma Fr?res, 92
Macabeo, El (Buenos Aires), 197
Mc Carren, Pat, 261
Mc Cullers, Ed, I 3I
Mc Hugh, Jimmy, 23, 24, 28
"Mack the Knife" (Weill), 27
Mc Kuen, Rod, 254
Macon, Ga., 126
Magnes, Judah Leon, I 29
Making of the Reparation and Economic
Sections of the Treaty, The (Baruch),
Malachi, 36
"Manhattan" (Rodgers & Hart), 25
Margarita, Argentina, 193
Mariel De Ibafiez, Yolande, 148
Marks, Daisy (Mrs. Cedric H.), 131
Marranos, 141, 146, 157 See also CryptoJews; New Christians
Marseille, France, 179
Marshall, George D., 107
Marshall Plan, I 12
Martel, Julian, 18 1-182
Martyr: The Story of a Secret Jew and the
Mexican Inquisition in the Sixteenth
Century, The (Cohen), 142, 146
Marx, David, 76
Marx Brothers, 7, 21
Massena, N.Y., 42, 46, 47
Mayer, Louis B., 6
Mayersohn, Stanley, 13I
"Me and My Shadow" (Rose), 17
Mea Shearim (Jerusalem), 174
Medina, Jose Toribio, 148, 149
Meisel, Tovye, 238, 239
Melting-pot ideology, 39, 125
Mendes, Henry Pereira, 129
Mendss-France family, 92
Mendoza, Argentina, 198, zoo
Mercedarian Order, 155, 159, 160
Merchants, 92-93
Messer, Sam, 129
in Reform thought, 83, 85
among Sephardim, 193, 195, 199
Messing, Aaron J., 127
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20, 21
Metzker, Isaac, 123
Mexican Revolution ( I ~ I I )147
colonial period, 138, 14-1 50, 155
Jewish demographic patterns, 232, 234,
238,239, 240,244
modern period, 147-148
Mexico City, 236, 240
Meyer, Eugene, 114
Meyer, George, 17
Micah, 125
Mid-America's Promise: A Profile of Kansas
City (Schultz),reviewed, 262
Migueres, Yona, 193
Mikvt Israel (Curaqao), 157
Mills Publishing Co., 24
Milton, Sybil, 1 2 2
Milwaukee, Wis., I 3I
Minora (ship), 159
Minsky, Louis, 49
Miranda, P., 146
Miranda family, 92
Mirelman, Victor, 13 5, 190-205
Mir6, Juan Maria, 18 I
"Mr. Gallagher-Mr. Shean" (song), 9
Mitchell, Allan, I 22
Molina, Isaac Israel, 94
Monastic orders, 153, 154, 155, 159, 160
Monastir, Yugoslavia, 200
Mond, Alfred, 201
Monroe Doctrine, 144
Montevideo, Uruguay, 198 236
Montreal, Canada, 124
Moore, Deborah Dash, 103-105, 261
Moors, 134,145
Morais, Sabato, 13 2
Morgan, J. P., & CO., 109
Morgan, Roberta, 66
Morgenthau, Henry, 45, 11I
Moroccan Jews, 192, 193, 194, 196, 198,
Moron, Simon Isaac Henriquez, 92
Mortalium animos (papal encyclical), 41
Moses, 57, 59
American J e!wish Archives
Moss, Rose, 25 5
"Mountain Greenery" (Rodgers & Hart),
Movie industry, 6, 18, 20, 21, 22
Munger, Theodore, 61
Murphy, Bruce Allen, 25-253
Murphy, Edgar Gardner, 64, 68
Murphy, Samuel D., 67
Musical theatre, 13, 22, 26. See also names
of shows, composers, and lyricists
Music BOXRevue, 23
Music industry, 3, 4, 5, 6-7, 30
"My Blue Heaven" (Berlin), 9
"My Buddy" (Kahn & Donaldson), 12
"My Mammy" (Lewis, Young, & Jolson),
Nacha Regules (Gdlvez), 182
Nacion, La (Buenos Aires), 166, 181
Nadie la conocid. nunca (Eichelbaum), I 83
Names, assimilative changes of, 5, 10, 26,
National Catholic Welfare Conference, 41
National Child Labor Committee, 64, 67
National Conference of Christians and
Jews, 35,40, 42, 43, 47-48, 49
Birmingham chapter, 53, 68
Holocaust symposia, 122
National Council of Jewish Women, 80,
National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods,
Nazism, 27, 40, 49, 111, 122, 140, 169,
173, 176, 260, 262, 263
Neo-Orthodoxy, 37
Neufeld, Lena (Klein), 53
Neufeld, Seymon Shabsi, 53
Neutrality Acts (U.S.), I I I
New Amsterdam, 27
New Christians, 134, 160
defined, I Son1
Newcomb, George B., 109
New Deal, 108, 114, 251
Newfield, Morris, 52-71, 129
New Frontier, I 14
New Jersey, 116, I 17
New Odessa, Oreg., 117
Newport, R.I., 98, 99
Republic, 25 I
School for Social Research, 29
Spain. See Mexico, colonial period
York City, 5, 103-105, 261. See also
Lower East Side
New York "Kehillah," 129
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 82.
See also Ethical Culture
New York University, 25
Nicaragua, 245
Nightclubs, 6
"Night Is Filled with Music, The" (Berlin),
Nissensohn, Isaac, 198, 201, 202
Norfolk, Va., 89
North Carolina Association of Jewish
Women and Jewish Men, 130
"Notes on Medina Rico's 'Visita de Hacienda' to the Inquisition of Mexico"
(Phipps), 149
"Nothing Could Be Finer Than to Be in
Carolina in the Morning" (Kahn &
Donaldson), 12
Numbers, Book of, 78
Numerus clausus, I z z
Obregon, Luis Gonzalez, 149
Ocampo, Manuel Rodriguez, 181
Occupations and trades, 5, 22, 24, 25, 26,
0 ciclo das dguas (Scliar), 185-187
Odessa, Russia, 23
Offenbach, Jacques, 13
"Oh, How That German Could Love"
(Berlin), I 5
Oheb Shalom (Baltimore), 82
"Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" (Berlin), 16
Ohio State University, 129
Oikoumenikos, 36
Olath Tamid (Einhorn), 83
"Old Devil Moon" (Harburg), 22
Olitzky, Kerry M., 75-88
Onega, Gladys, I 8 I
Ongania, Juan Carlos, 173, 175
"On the Sunny Side of the Street" (Fields
and McHugh), 24, 28
Operettas, 13, 26
Oral history, 132
Order of St. Gregory the Great, 45
Orpheum theatre circuit, 6
Orthodox Jewish Orphan Home (Cincinnati), I 27
Orthodox Judaism, 37, 55, 104-105
Ortiz, Rafael Hernbndez, 148
"Our Hats Off to You, Mr. President"
(song), IS
Our Jewish Farmers and the Story of the
Jewish Agricultural Society (Davidson), 116
Our Lady of Ransom, 155
"Our Love Is Here t o Staym(Gershwin
bros.), 21
"Our Way" (Simon), 256
Over the Top (revue), 10
Pacifism, 15
Palestine, Jewish resettlement of, 43, 44, 54,
190, 197-198, 199, 201. See also
Aliyah; Israel, State of; Zionism
Pallares, Eduardo, 145, 146
Palmer, Mrs. Potter, 9
"Papa, Won't You Dance with Me" (Cahn),
Paraguay, 244
Paris, Erna, 124
Paris, France, 179
Parisian Love (Kalman), 13
Parisian Model, The (Held), 9
Paris Peace Conference, 43, 48, 106, 108,
"Parliament of Religions and What Next?,
The" (Jones), 62
Partnerships, 93
Passing Show (revue), 10
Passover, 45, 46, 220
Patriotic songs, 32
Patriotism. See Americanization and patriotism
Patton, George, 260
Paul, St., 37, 161
Payne, David S., 13 I
Pazi, Shmuel, 201
Pearlson, Jordon, I 3o
Peck, Abraham J., 132
Peddlers, 6, 10
"Peg 0' My Heart" (song), 9
Pennsylvania, University of, 29
Permanent Commission on Better Understanding Between Christians and
Jews in America, 42, 45-46, 47
Perbn, Juan Domingo, 170
Per6, 206
Pesach Sheni, 78
Petit family, 9 2
Philadelphia, 94, I 17
Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, 29
Philanthropy, 32, 65, 111, 198, 200,
201-202, 261
Philips, John Herbert, 65
Phipps, Helen, 149
Picart, Bernard, 146
Pimienta, Jose Diaz, 135, 153-163
Pins and Needles (Rome & Friedman), 28,
Pirates, I 5 6, r 5 8
Pittman, Key, 108
Pittsburgh Platform, 38-39, 42, 54
Pittsburgh Rabbinical Conference, 79
Pius XI, 41
Planters, 9 2
Plaut, W. Gunther, 261, 262
Plesur, Milton, 257-259
Poale Zion, 190, 191
Pogroms, 44, 166, 183
Polaca, 178, 180, 187
Poland, 116, 179, 186
Polish Jews, in U.S., 9, 31, 110, I32
"Political Philosophy of Moses Mendelsohn,
The" (Altmann), 132
Porter, Cole, 18, 30
Porto Alegre, Brazil, 186
Portuguese Jews, 92-93
Pradt, Mary A., 262
Preaching and Sermons. See Sermons and
Prechiguan, I 5 5
Preparedness, military, I 10, r I I
Presbytery of North Alabama, 62
President's Commission on the Holocaust,
"Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody, A" (Berlin),
American lewish Archives
Priests, 153,155,171-172
procedimento inquisitorial, El (Pallares),
Prophetic ethics, 61
Prostitution, 135, 178-187 passim
Protagonist, The (Weill), 26
Protestant-Catholic-Jew (Herberg), 35
Protestantism, 40, 53, 54, 58,64,143
in colonial Curagao, I56, 158
and Inquisition, 141,142
Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 181
Prussia, I1-1 II
Psalms, Book of, I6I
Pskoff, Russia, 26
Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, 14-141
Puebla de 10s Angeles, Mexico, 154,155
Puerto de Principe, Cuba, I55
Puigblanch, Antonio, 145
2Que'fue la inquisicibn? (Lewin), 147
Quid Pro Quo Club (Birmingham), 64
Quilmes, Argentina, 242
Quotas in higher education, 122
Raba, roo, IOI
"Rabbi Morris Newfield and the Social
Gospel" (Cowett), 51-74
Rabbis, 52,98, 132,167.See also names of
Race, Class and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Mexico (Israel), 149
Radio, 30
Ragtime, 13
Rainbow Division Veterans' Association, 45
"Ramona" (Gilbert), 20
Raphaelson, Samson, 20
Rattner, Henrique, 238
Rauschenbusch, Walter, 59,60, 61
Ravel, Maurice, 21
Reconstruction Finance Cop., 108
Reconstruction period, 106
Red Cross Family Service Agency (Birmingham), 63
Reflections of Southern Jewry: The Letters
of Charles Wessolowsky (Schmier),
124-125 reviewed
Reform Judaism, 37,38-39,42,55,75,83,
and Christianity, 37, 5 5
German (Classical), 75,76,82,83,84,
and interfaith movement, 38,39
"Kingdom of God" idea, 54,57,58,60,
"mission" doctrine, 38,39, 54,55,56
and social gospel, 52,70
Sunday-Sabbath movement, 75-88
and Zionism, 42,43,125,128
See also Central Conference of American
Rabbis; Hebrew Union College
"Reform Movement Faces Israel, The"
(Gottschalk), 128
Relativism, historical, 144
Religious Education Association, 40
Religious News Service, 49
Remick and Co., 18
Reparation Commission, I12
Report of the Services of the Twenty-Fifth
Anniversary of the Introduction of
Sunday Services in Chicago Sinai
Congregation, 82
Republican Party, 251
Responsa, 10-102
Revercomb, William Chapman, 261
Revolution of 1848,123
Revues, 8,22,23,24,25, 28,29
Rhodian Jews, 194,198
Richman, Julia, 130
Richmond, Ind., 126
Rio Cuarto, Argentina, 198
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 198,240
Rio de la Hacha, Venezuela, I56,I 59
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,
The (Weill), 26
Riva Palacio, Vicente, 146
Roberts, Priscilla M., II5
Robin, Leo, 21
Robinson, Joseph T.,108
Rochester, N.Y., 80, 123
"Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" (Lewis &Young), 11,16
Rockdale Temple (Cincinnati), 126
Rockefeller, John D., Sr., 23
Rodef Shalom (Pittsburgh), 83,84
Rodgers, Richard, 5, 7, 17, 21, 25, 26, 28,
Roman Catholicism, 18, 41, 45, 47, 53, 68,
93, 130, 138, 153, 161, 164, 167.
See also Anti-Catholicism; Inquisition; Monastic orders; Priests
Romberg, Sigmund, 10, 13, 17, 21, 24
Rome, Harold, 28-29
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 23, 28, 108, 252
Roosevelt, Theodore, 67
Rosario, Argentina, 198, zoo
Rose, Billy, 5, 16, 17, 28
Rosenau, William, 77, 82, 130
Rosenfeld, Monroe, 3, 4
Rosenwaike, Ira, 234, 235
Rosenthal, Trudie (Mrs. Karl), 130
Rosh Hashana, 128, n o
Ross, John E., 49
Rostow, Eugene V., 13 2
Rotem, Mordechai, I 32
Roth, Cecil, 141, 144, 146
Roth, Philip, 13 5
Rozenrnacher, Germin, 165
Rubber Survey Committee, U.S., 106
Ruby, Harry, 9
Russia, 5, 111, 112, 116, 131, 167, 175,
Russian Jews
in Argentina, 166, I 67
in U.S., 5, 23, 26, 42, 44, 104, 123
Russian Revolution, I 7, 26, I 3 I
Sabbath, 75, 76, 77-78, 84, 85, 161, 173
"Sadie Salome" (Berlin), 7
Sadow, Stephen A., 135, 164-177
Saint-Domingue, Haiti, 89-94
St. Gregory the Great, Order of, 45
St. Louis Jewish Voice, 81
St. Louis Woman (musical), 22
Salonikan Jews, 198
Sambenito, 159
Sandow The Great, 8-9
Sands, Eugene L., 53, 68
San Francisco, I 3 I
San Juan de 10s Remedios, Cuba, I 54
Santa Fe, Argentina, 198
Santiago, Chile, 236
Sio Paulo, Brazil, 135, 216-229 passim,
234, 237, 238, 239, 241, 243
"Say It With Music" (Berlin), 23
Scheines, Gregorio, 165
Schiff, Jacob, 260
Schmelz, U. O., 231, 236, 239, 245, 246
Schmier, Louis, I 24
Schoenberg, Arnold, 29
School Days (revue), 25
Schools, public, 22, 25, 27, 64, 65, 67, 130
Schoua, Moisis, 199
Schultz, Joseph P., 262
Schvartzman, Pedro, 172-173, 176
Schwartz, Arthur, 24-25> 26
Schwartz, Jean, 9, 10, 11, 14
Schwartz, Jordan A., 106-1 I 5
Scliar, Moacyr, 184, 185-187
Scott, Edward W., 130
Scottsboro Boys, 70
Second Congregations Church (Newport,
R.I.), 98
Second Vatican Council, 4 I
"Secular Synagogue," 261
Secunda, Sholom, 3 I
Seesaw (Fields), 24
Sefer Moreshes Avos: The Heritage of Our
Fathers (Kelman & Kelman), 129
Seixas, Moses, 99
Self-hatred, Jewish, 18, 171, 176
Selznick Bros., 6
Semanario Hebreo, El (Buenos Aires), 197
Sephardim, 92, 129, 135, 19-205 passim,
242. See also names of communities
and groups
"September Song" (Weill), 27
Sermons and preaching
in English, 8 I
in German, 79, 81
Feinberg, 128
Feldman, 128
Goldenson, I 28
Goode, 128
Hahn, 128
Kaplan, 129
Kohler, 79, I 29
Krauskopf, 79
Landau, 44-45
Landman, 44-45
American Jewish Archives
Levy, 84
Marx, 76
Newfield, 54-55, 59,I29
Pereira, 129
Rosenau, 130
Wessolowsky, 132
"Seven Poems" (Klein), I zg
Seville, Spain, 154,159,160
Shaare Emeth (St. Louis), 81
Shabbat Sheni, 78
Shaffir, William, 125
Shankman, Arnold, I18
Shavuoth, 55
Shean, Al, 7
"Sheik of Araby, The" (Snyder & Rose), 16
Shervient, Lithuania, 10
Sholem Aleichem, I 87
Shpall, Leo, I 16,I 17
Shubert, J. J. ("JAKE"), 6,10
Shubert, Lee, 6,10
Shubert, Sam, 6,10
Shubert Alley, 10
Shubert Brothers, 6,9-10, 22
Shubert Ziegfeld Follies, 10
Shulman & Goldbert Public Theatre
(N.Y.C.), 13
"Siam" (song), 14
Sicily Island, LA., I 17
"Sick Rose, The" (Blake), 255
Silver, Louis, 21
Simon, Barney, 256
Simonhoff, Harry, 130
Sinbad (revue), I 5
Singer, Isaac B., 187
Singerman, Robert, 262
"Singing in the Rain" (Freed), 21
Siofok, Hungary, 13
Sionista, El (Buenos Aires), 193,197
Slaves and slave-owning, 92,93
Slavin, Stephen L., 262
Smith, Kate, 3 z
Snyder, Ted, 16
Soboleosky, Marcos, 17-172, 176
Social gospel movement, 38,52,53,57,
59-63,7 0 , 71
Socialism, 26,29,123,174,175
Social justice, 125
Sociedad Hebraica (Argentina), 168
Soga, 146
Sokolow, Nahum, 197,201
Solomon, Hannah, 80
"Some Aspects of Intermarriage in the Jewish Community of Sgo Paulo, Brazil"
(Krausz), 216-230
"Somebody Loves Me" (Gershwin), 23
"Something to Remember You By"
(Schwartz), 25
Somoza, Anastasio, 245
Sonneschein, Solomon, H., 81
"Soon" (Gershwin), 30
Sopovich, Luisa, 165
Sosnowski, Saul, 165
South Africa, 254-256
South African Jewish Voices (Kalechofsky
& Kalechofsky), reviewed, 254-256
South Carolina, 106
Southern Jewish Historical Society, I24
South Highlands Presbyterian Church (Birmingham), 62
Spanjaard, Barry, 263
Speculator: Bernard M . Baruch in Washington, The (Schwartz), reviewed,
Srednicke, Lithuania, 11
Stars in Your Eyes (Schwartz), 25
Steinberg, Samuel, 3I
Steinhardt, Laurence A., 130
"Stench, The" (Becker), 25 5
Stiles, Ezra, 98,99
Stock market, 106, 114
Strike Up the Band (Gershwin bros.), 30
Straus, Oscar, 47,143-144,260
Straus, Roger W., 47
Strong, Josiah, 59
Sudilkow, Russia, 42
Sullivan, Mark L., 107
"Sunday-Sabbath Movement in American
Reform Judaism: Strategy o r Evolution?, The" (Olitzky), 75-88
"Supper Time" (Berlin), 23
Supreme Court, U.S., 250, 251-252
Sussman, Lance J., 35-5 I , 126
"Swanee" (Gershwin & Caesar), 11,IS, 26
Swope, Herbert Bayard, 107
Synagogue building, used as church, 99-102
Synagogue-center, 105
Syrian Jews, 193, 194, 196, 198, 199, 202
Systematischer Katechismus des israelischer
Religion (Hirsch), 76
Szemanski, David, 6, 10
Szichman, Mario, 184-185
"Taking a Chance on Love" (song), 26
Talmud, 100, 122, 166
Tax, Sol, 122
teatro soy yo, El (Tiempo), 168-170
Tel Aviv University, I 19
"Telephone Girl, The" (Kerker), 13
Temple Anshe Amunim (Pittsfield, Mass.),
Temple Berith Kodesh (Rochester, N.Y.), 80
Temple Beth Boruk (Richmond, Ind.), 126
Temple B'nai Jehudah (Kansas City, Miss.),
Temple Emanuel (Davenport, Iowa), 126
Temple Emanuel (St. Louis), 84
Temple Emanu-El (Birmingham, Ala.), 52,
539 541 70
Temple Emanu-El (N.Y.C.), 125
Temple Israel (Far Rockaway, N.Y.), 43, 44
Temple Israel (St. Louis), 81
Terre Haute, Ind., 127
Thalberg, Irving, 20
"That Old Gang of Mine" (Rose), 17
Theater, musical, Jews in, 9
Theatre Guild, 25
Theosophy, 40
"They Can't Take That Away from Me"
(Gershwin Bros.), 21
"They Were All Out of Step Except Jim"
(Berlin), 16
"This Is My Country" (Jacobs), 32
Three Cheers for the Boys (Cahn), 31
"Three Coins in the Fountain" (Cahn), 32
Threepenny Opera, The (Brecht and Weill),
Ticknor, George, 145
Tiempo, Cbsar, 168-170, 176
Tifereth Israel (Cleveland), 81
Tin Pan Alley, 3, 4, 10, 18
Toast o f New Orleans (Cahn), 3 I
To Free a People: American Jewish Leaders
and the Jewish Problem in Eastern
Europe (Best), reviewed, 260
28 I
To Give Life: The UJA in the Shaping o f
the American Jewish Community
(Karp), reviewed, 261
Toker, Eliahu, 165
Toll, William, 253
Tombstones, 126
"Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye" (Kahn),
11, I 2
"Torat Emet" (Messing), 127
Toronto, 124
Tragic Week, 183
Treasury Dept., U.S., 106, 114
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A (Schwartz), 25
Trent, Council of, I 53
Trilogia de la trata de blancas (Alsogaray),
Trinidad, I 56
Truman, Harry S., 28, 262
Tucker, Gordon, 13 2
Tucker, Sophie, 5, 7
Tucumin, Argentina, 198
Turkish Jews, 194, 196, 198, zoo
Ullman, Samuel, 64, 65
"Under the American Flag" (Von Tilzer), 14
Unfinished Business (Plaut), reviewed,
Unitarians, 56, 60, 62
United Jewish Appeal, 261
United Mine Workers, 69
United Nations, 106, 240
United Palestine Appeal, 261
United States trial census, (1957), 238
Universalism, 36, 123
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, 48-49
Upper West Side (N.Y.C.), 103
Uriburu, Jose F., 181
Urofsky, Melvin I., 125
Uruguay, 169, 198, 241, 245
Ussishkin, Menahem, 197
Valentino, Rudolph, 16
Van and Schenck, I 5
Vaudeville, 5, 6
Venezuela, 241
Vera Cruz, Mex., 132, 155
Veragues, duke of, 160
American Jewish Archives
Verbitsky, Bernardo, 165,170,173-176
Vetereans' Bureau (Birmingham), 66
Victoria Theatre (N.Y.C.), 11
Vienna, 83
Villa Mercedes, Argentina, 193
Viias, David, I 83-1 84
Virgin Mary, 161,166
V.1.T.A.-Mexico, 147
Voice That Spoke for Justice: The Life and
Times of Stephen S. Wise, A
(Urofsky), reviewed, 125
Violets of Montmart, The (Kalman), 13
Virgin Mary, 161,166
V.1.T.A.-Mexico, 147
Vivekananda, Swami, 40
Wallace, Henry A., 107
Warburg, Felix M., 1 3 0
War Industries Board, U.S., 15,17,106,
108,109, I I O
Waring, Fred, 3 2
Warner Brothers, 6, 18
Warren, Harry, 18, 28
Warsaw, Poland, 179
Washington, George, 37
Washington Disarmament Treaties, I I z
Washington Post, 114
Watergate, 25 I
"Way You Look Tonight, The" (Fields), 24
Webb, Clifton, 25
Weber and Fields, 7, 23
Weddings, 14
Weill, Kurt, 2627, 28, zg
Weill, Simon, 23 5
Weinfeld, Morton, I 25
Weisbrot, Robert, 178
Weitz, Martin M., 1 3 0
Weizmann, Chaim, 129,130,197, 201,202
Welch, Samuel, 65
Welles, Orson, 29
Wedel, Franz, 27
Wessolowsky, Charles, I 24, I 32
Westerbork (concentration camp), 263
"What Christians Ought to Know About
Judaism" (Landman), 44-45
"What'll I Do" (Bedin), 23
"When Alexander Takes His Ragtime Band
to France" (Hess & Leslie), 16
White, George, 22
"White and Injured" (Eskapa), 256
"White Christmas" (Berlin), 21
Whiteman, Paul, zo
White slave trade. See Prostitution
"Who is a Jew?" See Jewish identity
Whoopee (show), 12
"Who's Sorry Now?" (Snyder), 16
Wilder, Alex, 8
Wiley, Louis, 80
Williamson, Adam, 94
Wills, 93, 126
Wilson, Joan Hoff, 1 1 2
Wilson, Woodrow, 15,106, 109,112,113,
Wintergarden Theatre (N.Y.C.), 1 1
Wirth, Louis, 104
Wise, Isaac M., 42, 53, 54, 70,77, 78, 79,
Wise, Stephen S., 45, 125
Wish You Were Here (show), 29
Wissenschaft des Judentums, I 3 z
Witmark, M., & Sons, 3
Wizard of Oz, The (Harburg), zz
Wolf, Simon, 260
Women, ordination of, 132
Woodward, Bob, 252
Woolcott, Alexander, 7
World Bank, I I z
World Parliament of Religions, 40
World's Day of Rest League, 80
World Union of Sephardic Jews, 197, 198,
World War I, 10,14,15,16,30, 32, 41,
43, 69, 106,107, 1x0,111,190,252
World War 11, 32, 49, 106,108, 110,111,
112,115,250, z ~ t 260,
World Zionist Organization, 128,190,191,
192, 195, 198, 199,200
Wynn, Ed, 9, 10
Yale University, 28, 98
Yarcho, Nahum, 167
Yellen, Jack, 17,28
"Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" (song), 12
Yeshiva College (N.Y.C.), 105
Yiddish language, 117,123,167,173, 184,
influence on popular music, 5, 7 , 3 I
Yiddish press, 123, 166, 191, 195
Yiddish theatre, 31, 185
Yip Yip Yaphank (Berlin), 16, 32
Yoelson, Moses, 11
Yom Hashoah, 128
Yom Kippur, 20, 46, 128, z z o , 236
"You and the Night and the Music"
(Schwam), 25
"You Are My Lucky Star" (Freed), Z I
Young, Joe, 15-16
Young Israel Synagogue (N.Y.C.), 104
Young Plan, I I z
"You're the Cream in My Coffee" (De
Sylva, Brown, & Henderson), 23
"You Were Meant for Me" (Freed), 21
Zeire Zion (Argentina), 191
" 'Zeit Ist's': Thoughts on German Histori-
cism, the Wissenschaft des Judentums
and the State of American Jewish
History" (Peck), 13 2
Zewi Migdal (Buenos Aires), 180, 181, 182,
Ziegfeld, Florenz, 8-9, z z
Ziegfeld Follies, 8, 9 , 10, 22
Zielonka, Martin, I 3 z
Zionism, 111, 120, 125, 127, 129, 253
in Argentina, 135, 174, 175, 190-203
Reform opposition to, 42, 43, 44, 54, 125,
Sephardic opposition to, 191, 193, 195,
198-199, zoo, zoz-203
See also Aliyah; Israel, State of; World
Zionist Organization
Zionist Action Committee (Cologne), 193
Zionist Congress, First, 190
Zukor, Adolph, 6