Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Cholent with the Gauchos

Ari Greenspan and Ari Z. Zivotofsky

We knew there were large Jewish communities in the big cities of Argentina, but entire kehillos of Jewish ranchers on the vast South American pampas? Although today the town of Moises Ville is but a remnant of its Jewish heyday, we were able to meet the last of the Yiddishe gauchos, whose grandparents fled from pogroms and oppression to stake out their turf in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Although all of us have heard about fascinating or far-flung Jewish communities around the globe, it’s always hard to imagine something so different from how we live. Even seasoned travelers like ourselves who have become acquainted with a range of Jewish communities would not be quite prepared for what we were to find in the most unusual Jewish town of Moises Ville on the pampas of Argentina. Argentina, initially settled by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, is a huge country taking up most of the lower half of South America. For North American and European-centric Jews it might be difficult to imagine that Argentina has the sixth largest Jewish community in the world, with over 200,000 Jews. But it wasn’t the large and vibrant kehillah in Buenos Aires that piqued our interest. After driving close to 400 miles over dirt roads, with cows in every direction and open grassy, fertile plains as far as the eye could see, we finally passed the sign welcoming us intoMoisesVille, a hamlet with just over 2,000 people including about 200 Jews. Yet in the 1940s, nearly the whole town of about 5,000 was Jewish. How did an entire Jewish city come to be in these rural South American plains, and then practically disappear within the last 70 years?

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

When the Fog Lifts
Rabbi Moshe Grylak In retrospect, we will understand everything
Coming Full Circle
Yonoson Rosenblum A final goodbye to my special father-in-law
Right Turns Left
Eytan Kobre Conservatives can no longer speak their minds
Searching for Olam Haba at Disney World
Rabbi Elchonon Zohn A distorted and perverted view of life and the afterlife
10 Questions for Eli Samuel
Rachel Bachrach “SafeTelecom really is the refuah before the makkah”
Work/Life Solutions with Fran Jakubowicz
Moe Mernick “I turn to daas Torah whenever I encounter a gray area”
A Debt of Gratitude
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman If Ina Perlmuter believed in me, others would follow
Gemara Detective
Jacob L. Freedman “Tell me a bit about the bochur behind the medication”
Tidal Waves
Riki Goldstein “Holding Back the Tide” is comforting on so many levels
Ari's Picture of Redemption
Riki Goldstein Ari Fuld’s incredible photo gives a visual to this song
Not Just for Kids Who Love Music
Riki Goldstein “Every Yiddishe kid is essentially a part of Yingerlach”
Dream Duet
Riki Goldstein “He’s been my singing idol since I was a little kid”
Nix the Nickname
Faigy Peritzman Handing down concepts through family names
Do Your Homework
Sarah Chana Radcliffe What parents really want to teach during homework time
Day of Confinement
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz If Asarah B’Teves isn’t a day of destruction, why fast?