Memory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America

Memory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America

by Marjorie Agosín

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Latin America has been a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution from 1492, when Sepharad Jews were expelled from Spain, until well into the twentieth century, when European Jews sought sanctuary there from the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. Vibrant Jewish communities have deep roots in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, and Chile—though members of these communities have at times experienced the pain of being "the other," ostracized by Christian society and even tortured by military governments. While commonalities of religion and culture link these communities across time and national boundaries, the Jewish experience in Latin America is irreducible to a single perspective. Only a multitude of voices can express it.

This anthology gathers fifteen essays by historians, creative writers, artists, literary scholars, anthropologists, and social scientists who collectively tell the story of Jewish life in Latin America. Some of the pieces are personal tales of exile and survival; some explore Jewish humor and its role in amalgamating histories of past and present; and others look at serious episodes of political persecution and military dictatorship. As a whole, these challenging essays ask what Jewish identity is in Latin America and how it changes throughout history. They leave us to ponder the tantalizing question: Does being Jewish in the Americas speak to a transitory history or a more permanent one?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292784437
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 08/17/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

MARJORIE AGOSÍN, Professor of Spanish at Wellesley College, is an award-winning poet, memoirist, creative writer, and public speaker.

Table of Contents


Section I. Sephardim in Our Memory
Reyes Coll-Tellechea, Remembering Sepharad
Angelina Múñiz Huberman, The Sephardic Legacy

Section II. Journeys
David Brailovsky, Tuesday Is a Good Day
Murray Baumgarten, My Panama
Sandra McGee Deutsch, A Journey through My Life and Latin American Jewish Studies

Section III. The Paradox of Communities
Graeme Mount, Chile and the Nazis
Diana Anhalt, "Are You Sure They're Really Jewish?" A Selective History of Mexico City's Beth Israel Community Center
Adina Cimet, Dancing around the Political Divide: Between the "Legal" and the "Regal" in the Mexican Jewish Community

Section IV. A Literature of Transformation
Naomi Lindstrom, The Heterogeneous Jewish Wit of Margo Glantz
Rhonda Dahl Buchanan, Preserving the Family Album in Letargo by Perla Suez

Section V. Culture, History, and Representation
Stephen A. Sadow, Lamentations for the AMIA: Literary Responses to Communal Trauma
Raanan Rein, Nationalism, Education, and Identity: Argentine Jews and Catholic Religious Instruction, 1943-1955
Darrell B. Lockhart, From Gauchos judíos to Ídishe mames posmodernas: Popular Jewish Culture in Buenos Aires
David William Foster, Gabriel Valansi: Neoliberal Nights in Buenos Aires
Ruth Behar, While Waiting for the Ferry to Cuba: Afterthoughts about Adio Kerida


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