Sephardi, Jewish, Argentine

Sephardi, Jewish, Argentine

Community and National Identity, 1880-1960
Adriana M. Brodsky
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 10/31/2016
Format: Hardback 10 b&w illus., 9 maps, 14 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-02271-4
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At the turn of the 20th century, Jews from North Africa and the Middle East were called Turcos ("Turks"), and they were seen as distinct from Ashkenazim, not even identified as Jews. Adriana M. Brodsky follows the history of Sephardim as they arrived in Argentina, created immigrant organizations, founded synagogues and cemeteries, and built strong ties with coreligionists around the country. She theorizes that fragmentation based on areas of origin gave way to the gradual construction of a single Sephardi identity, predicated both on Zionist identification (with the State of Israel) and "national" feelings (for Argentina), and that Sephardi Jews assumed leadership roles in national Jewish organizations once they integrated into the much larger Askenazi community. Rather than assume that Sephardi identity was fixed and unchanging, Brodsky highlights the strategic nature of this identity, constructed both from within the various Sephardi groups and from the outside, and reveals that Jewish identity must be understood as part of the process of becoming Argentine.

Author Bio

Adriana M. Brodsky is Associate Professor of History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She is editor (with Raanan Rein) of The New Jewish Argentina: Facets of Jewish Experiences in the Southern Cone, winner of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association Best Book Award in 2013.


“By focusing on the lives of Sephardic Jews, male and female alike, both in Buenos Aires and the interior provinces, Adriana M. Brodsky is able to challenge many commonly held assumptions about Jewish lives in Argentina, home to the biggest Jewish community in Latin America.”
 — Raanan Rein, Tel Aviv University

“Historian Brodsky has written a much-needed monograph on the role of Sephardic Jews in Argentina, and her work is an important contribution to the study of Jews in Latin America overall. ”
 — Choice

“Overall, Brodsky’s analysis of the tensions between assimilation and the maintenance of Jewish identity among the Sephardim in Argentina is a significant contribution to the study of identity. It will be a valuable contribution to all Jewish studies collections.”
 — Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews

“Adriana M. Brodsky's work is a much-needed addition to the growing field of Latin American Jewish studies. ”
 — The Americas

“Brodsky has introduced a critical contribution to the study of Jewish Latin America, that highlights Sephardi history and that will continue to be valuable to the sub-discipline and to all scholars attempting to understand the complexity of competing migrant identities.”
 — Bulletin of Spanish Studies

“Brodsky's book is as rich in its sources as it is illuminating in its narrative. It is an excellent contribution to the field of Latin American Jewish studies but is also a necessary read for anyone engaged in diasporic, national, and ethnic studies. Brodsky's narrative is accessible, textured, and vivid, a work of solid scholarship vehemently rooted in both Argentine and Sephardi cultures.”
 — Hispanic American Historical Review

“Bodsky's fascinating study . . . focus[es] on how the Sephardic Jews in Argentina became Argentines, but also, perhaps more significantly, how they ‘became Jewish’ and came to play their own influential role in the history of Argentine Jewry.”
 — Bulletin of Latin American Research

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Table of Contents

Note about Translation and Transliteration
1. Burying the Dead: Cemeteries, Walls and Jewish Identity in Early-Twentieth-Century Argentina
2. Helping the Living: Philanthropy and the Boundaries of Sephardi Communities in Argentina
3. The Limits of Community: Unsuccessful Attempts at Creating Single Sephardi Organizations
4. Working for the Homeland: Zionism and the Creation of an "Argentine" Sephardi Community after 1920
5. Becoming Argentine, Becoming Jewish, Becoming and Remaining Sephardi: Jewish Women and Identity in Twentieth-Century Argentina
6. Marriages and Schools: Living within Multiple Borders