BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Around 500 people, including diplomats and Jewish leaders, gathered at a Buenos Aires synagogue on Tuesday night to honor an Argentine victim of Hamas’ attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.
The somber religious gathering highlighted how Argentina’s sizable Jewish community has been deeply affected by the Oct. 7 attacks and their aftermath: Nine Argentines were killed and 20 were taken hostage by Hamas.
Abraham Gabriel “Abi” Korin, 56, a father of three who lived in Kibbutz Holit, was one of the more than 1,400 Israeli victims.
At the Amijai synagogue, a 30-year-old Conservative congregation in the city’s Belgrano neighborhood, most attendees were too sad to talk about Korin. But some of those who did from the pulpit emphasized that Korin died while defending his kibbutz.
Two of Korin’s brothers — a third one lives in Israel — and four of his nephews spoke.
“Dear Abi, we always will remember the kindness, the good person that you are,” said one nephew. “We always asked you how you are, alway you reply ‘everything is ok,’ always replying with a heart on WhatsApp. You are our hero.”
U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley, who is Jewish and said he often attends services at Amijai, came to pay his respects.
“My feeling with the situation happening in Israel is disgust,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency after the ceremony.
Korin’s family is well-known in Buenos Aires’ Jewish community. His father Moshe was a local leader and educator who directed the Ramat Shalom primary school and served as culture secretary for the AMIA Jewish center. His mother Sara was director of Scholem Aleijem Jewish school, an institution founded in 1934 that now has over 1,300 students.
AMIA — the site of the deadliest terror attack in Argentine history, which killed 85 people in 1994 — posted a tribute to Korin.
Eyal Sela, Israel’s ambassador to Argentina, also spoke on Tuesday night.
“One of the hardest tasks for an ambassador is to come to a family and tell the news… but I want to do so,” he said. “We didn’t know Abi, but … I know very well the values, the heart, the education of this family, and they are very committed to this community. So I know Abi… he fought. The tragedy would have been greater if it weren’t for people like Abi who fought defending his kibbutz.”
The president of the Jewish political umbrella group DAIA, Jorge Knoblovits, was also present.
An extensive security operation was deployed in the entrance of the synagogue, with police officers, cars and trucks.
Argentina is home to an estimated 180,000 Jews.