Jewish Tours

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Virtual Jewish History Tour


By Beth Weiss

Pre-World War II

Until World War I most Jewish immigrants were of East European descent from Argentina or Sephardi Jews from Monastir, Macedonia. The Sephardi Jews arrived in Temuco and started the Chilean Sephardi community. These early immigrants were sometimes connected with influential politicians. Naum Trumper was from Moiseville in Argentina was close with Chilean President Arturo Alessandri.

Chile became a refuge for Jews in the early part of the 20th century. Russians Jews fled to escape the Russian Revolution. Many fled Hitler in the 1930s and after Argentina limited the number of immigrants, Jews traveled further south to Chile. The Jews were treated well in Chile and actively participated in politics and other professions.

After the Balfour Declaration, Zionist activity in Chile increased. The Congress of Chilean Jewry met in 1919 as part of a movement to centralize the Jewish community. Local community matters were discussed at this meeting with representatives from 13 cities, including Caracuatin (home of the Indian Jewish sect). The Federacio Sionista de Chile, the central organization of Chilean Jewry was established at this meeting. Since this time a local Zionist congress meets in Chile every year. The Chilean community in the 1920s contributed generously to Zionist causes.

In 1920, the Ashkenazi population in Santiago united and formed the Ciculo Israelita, the main Jewish organization in Chile today. Today the Comite Representative de las Entidades Judias de Chile (Respresentative Committee of the Jewish Organizations in Chile, or the CREJ), is the organization responsible for community activities.

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