The Reliance of Syrian Jewish Immigrants to Argentina on the Rabbis of their Communities of Origin

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Modern Jewish immigration from Syria to Argentina was part of a much larger immigration movement, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims took part—from the Ottoman Empire and from Mandatory Syria to North and South America in 1880–1930. Although the Jewish immigrants to Argentina fit into the modern world from an economic standpoint, in sociocultural terms, they chose the old world. In the absence of an established community setting, they voluntarily established frameworks very similar to those in their cities of origin because only thus did most of them know how to be Jews. While their immigration physically distanced them from Aleppo and Damascus, it did not nullify their connection with their hometowns. The borders of these cities seemed to stretch beyond their geographical location to embrace all Jewish immigrants from the same city in every corner of the world. This article, based on the Halakhic literature from the first half of the twentieth century, examines two aspects of the integration of Jewish immigrants from Syria in Argentina: the Halakhic issues that vexed them from the beginning of their settlement in Argentina and their reliance on rabbis who came from their communities of origin. The Jewish immigrants’ connection with these sages delayed their acclimation for many years and in numerous cases somewhat prevented the blurring of their pre-immigration identity. It also promoted the preservation of the original identity among their second- and third-generation offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-412
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Latin American Religions
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Aleppo
  • Argentina
  • Buenos Aires
  • Damascus
  • Diaspora
  • Halakhic Literature
  • Immigration
  • Jews
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Rabbinate
  • Rabbis
  • Syria
  • Syrian Jewry


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