“Argentina is full of Jews,” so said a lot of people I met in my South American travels a year ago. Actually, there are about 200,000 Jews in Argentina, a country of about 38 million people. A community? Yes. A country full of Jews? No. However, there are more Jews in Argentina than in any other Latin American country, and Argentine Jews take a big role in the country’s media and politics.
Take for example Marcelo Birmajer, who wrote El Abrazo Partido, a critically acclaimed movie which came out in 2004. Birmajer is Jewish and has been dubbed Argentina’s answer to Woody Allen. El Abrazo Partido is an interesting movie set in El Once, Buenos Aires’ Jewish neighborhood, and is about a 20-something Jew trying to get a Polish passport so he can immigrate back to Europe. Here’s an interesting feature from Haaretz (a prominent Israeli newspaper) about Birmajer, his writing career, and the contradictions of being Jewish in Argentina.