Menu JTA Search

Argentina’s Jewish Community Faces Troubled Future

Argentina’s Jewish community is suffering from the detachment of its youth from Jewish life, according to Mrs. Rosa Perla Resnick, past director of the Jewish Leadership and Communal Service Training School, Buenos Aires. Mrs. Resnick is currently in the U.S. as a doctoral candidate at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, New York. “In Argentina,” Mrs. Resnick related in an interview conducted by Yeshiva University, “the half million members of the Jewish community are grappling with the problem of how to reach the youth, how to get them closer to Jewish life. A great number of youth remains detached from the community, not caring to participate in Jewish cultural activities.” According to Mrs. Resnick, the youths’ disinterest in the Jewish organized community is part of the “world phenomena of Jewish alienation from the established structures in communal life.” She said that about 20,000 students are enrolled in Jewish schools, with about 80 percent of the total attending schools in Buenos Aires and surrounding areas.

The great majority of school-age children, however, receive no education in spite of great efforts made by the Kehilla of Buenos Aires (Association Mutual Israelita Argentina), the central Ashkenazi communal body, and Vaad Hachinch (Board of Education) to promote Jewish education, Mrs. Resnick observed. Half of the budget of the Kehilla is used for this purpose at the elementary and high school levels and for support of rabbinical seminaries, a seminary for Hebrew teachers and Midrasha Haivrit. the only institute for higher Jewish studies in the community. “Despite this detachment,” Mrs. Resnick said, “there are signs of encouragement in that there is an important segment of the new generation of Argentinean Jews who do belong to Jewish youth centers and Zionist movements, all of which are affiliated with the Argentinean Jewish Youth Confederation.”

NEXT STORY