Nancy Wigston, Special to The CJN
Friday, August 2, 2013
Half a million Jews once lived in Argentina – less than half that
remain today – and those interested in the still-vibrant Jewish
Buenos Aires must meet Salito Gutt for one of his wonderful tours.
had been smitten with Salito’s tour on my first trip, and last
winter we met again, at a charming café steps from the Poetry
Building. We caught up on family news and discussed politics,
especially Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s
scheme to hold a “truth commission” into the 1994 AMIA bombing, in
– of all places – Tehran.
untreated wounds, the terrorist bombings in Buenos Aires (1992,
Israeli Embassy, 29 killed; 1994, AMIA Community Centre, 85 killed,
hundreds injured), still fester. Argentine prosecutors concluded the
second attack was financed by Iran and carried out by Hezbollah.
to the elegant streets outside our café, Salito says, “This is
fantasy.” He has a point. Yet, steps away, a large bronze plaque in
the sidewalk bears the name of filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer, who
“disappeared” in 1976, during the country’s long “dirty
war.” Its final words are “Memory and Justice.” Few seem to
forget this country’s rocky history; instead, past becomes woven
my husband meets Salito, they immediately hit it off, which is hardly
a surprise. No man could be prouder of Jewish Buenos Aires history, or
better able to communicate it. New stops have been added to the tour,
including a Sephardi temple, and we end our morning in the Oncé
district (“Like the Lower East Side” says Salito, who has lived in
New York) at a gigantic mall with a mezuzah at its entrance and a
kosher McDonald’s inside.
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