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Argentina: Rio Negro Jews planning celebrations

 Celebration to mark 100th anniversary of Jewish agricultural settlements in area
Reuven Leib

 The Jewish community of Rio Negro the most beautiful landscape in South Argentina's Patagonia is about to complete it preparations for a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Jewish agricultural settlements in the area. 

The planned celebration is set to take place in the coming October, when preparations, led by the region's agronomist Serjio Riskin, will be done. 

The main party will take place in Roca, a city named after a famous general that fought with the Native Americans at the 19th century. Today the city is populated by wide a Jewish community, which operates a humble synagogue and a cemetery that contains hundreds of graves. 

Among the graves in the cemetery one can notice the gravestone of Manuel Mendel Zilberstein, who emigrated from Poland to Argentina at the end of the 19th century. Zilberstein was the first Jew to settle in Rio Negro, opening the door to many Russian Jews who were enthusiastic to see the ever-green fields of Patagonia. 

Another high-ranked gravestone belongs to the late Israel Vierny, a Jew from Ukraine who was the first to be buried in the local cemetery. Sadly, throughout the years anonymous vandals stole the silver ornaments that were placed on the gravestones. 

Many visitors, among them siblings of locals who immigrated to Israel, are about to join the celebration. Five-star hotel Llao Llao is expecting them. The hotel's owner, a generous Jew, donates the place to Chabad each Passover, in order to host a Seder for hundreds of Jewish tourists

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