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Interest in Religion Reported Mounting Among Jews in Argentina

August 13, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The mounting interest in traditional Judaism among the 450,000 Jews of Argentina perceptibly offsets the anxiety created by the recent anti-Semitic outbreaks, according to Rabbi Seymour Siegel who has returned here from a ten-week visit to Buenos Aires under the auspices of the World Council of Synagogues.

Rabbi Siegel, assistant professor of theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America here, taught Talmud and theology at the new Latin American Rabbinical Seminary. He reported that a significant indication of the re-awakened interest in traditional Judaism was the opening last March of South America’s first rabbinical seminary. The first class, he said, is following a curriculum patterned after the Jewish Theological Seminary’s School of Judaica in New York.

“By American 1962 standards this first class, with four students, is tiny; but it is larger than the Jewish Theological Seminary’s first class was in 1886, ” he stressed. “Next year’s freshman class is in formation and enrollment is already larger than the present first-year class.” Until recently. Rabbi Siegel said, the synagogue as a factor in Jewish life in Argentina was very weak.

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