Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reviews about KosherLat Valeria Duek 2015

Hi Valeria,

Now that we are back home, we wanted to take a moment to thank you so very much for the lovely tour you provided us in Buenos Aires.  It was a pleasure meeting you and seeing your mother once again.

We wish you a very Happy New Year and hope you will travel to Los Angeles in the near future so that we can meet again.

Thank you once again.

Best Regards,

Betty Zonshine and Bob Zonshine, California, USA

We are so grateful you were available to provide us with a genuine tour of Buenos Aires. We found both the city and Jewish tours packed full of important facts yet very entertaining. 

 Additionally, we appreciate your assistance in planning our itinerary, prior to our trip, and arranging safe transportation around town. 

We look forward to recommending you to our friends and family! 

Anna Strauss and Jacob Schiff - Los Angeles, California 


I just wanted to thank you for giving us a wonderful tour. We were thrilled that your mother decided to join us. It was so nice to see her again.

Thank you thank you thank you

Sheri Schoenwald, California, USA

Dear Valeria

Now that we are safely back in London we write to express our thanks to you for all the assistance you gave us both before and during our visit.
We were delighted to have been able to return to Buenos Aires this December, after having had to cancel everything at very short notice some months back, and you were extremely helpful and understanding of our situation.
We thoroughly enjoyed your very informative Jewish tour of the city and the tango evening was a great success.  We don’t yet feel sufficiently qualified to tango the night away, but the lesson was good fun!
Thank you also for helping with restaurant bookings and other services which made our experience of your city so much easier.
With every good wish and many thanks

Sandra & David Kibel, England

Hello Valeria

We had a wonderful day going around the city and learning all about Buenos Aires with you.  You were so helpful in getting us acquainted with the transportation and some of the different barrios.  

Most of all, your warmth was very welcoming.  I guess it runs in the family.

Kevin Axelrad, California, USA

Hi, Valeria,

You are a natural at your "job"...your love of showing your city. You are very engaging and relaxed. You keep things interesting with facts, but it's not dull. You have a warmth confidence that is admirable. 

Debora Rowe, California, USA
Hi, Valeria,

My clients loved being with you....they had such a wonderful time. Delighted everyone got along so well.  I will recommend you to my fellow agents.

Happy Purim!!

Fond regards,

Rosalie Hersh, Travel100Group, USA
We are back from our South America/Antarctica cruise. We had a wonderful time. The highlight of the trip was our private tour of Buenos Aires with Valeria Duek of Kosherlat.

Valeria was friendly, knowledgeable, well-connected and assisted by a couple of excellent drivers. They provided our airport transfers and a very special tour of both Jewish BA and most of the other major sites in the city. They were very responsive to all of our requests and a delight to be around. I highly recommend Valeria and her team. 

Valeria's pricing is also quite reasonable. 

David and Bea Kaye, California, USA
Hello Valeria,

Hope that you and your family are all well. We had a wonderful time in Buenos Aires and wanted to thank you for enlightening us on the Jewish Heritage of Buenos Aires. You were very knowledgeable about the history and culture of Buenos Aires. We thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with you and would also like to thank you for going over and above by sending us further information to our hotel.
We would highly recommend you to others.

All the best

Cheryl and Stephen Quitt, Canada
Hello, Valeria,

Thank you for the tour of 'Jewish BA'. Visiting a city that is prominently Catholic, it was wonderful learning about our heritage. That isn't included in the BA standard tours. The synagogues we visited were beautiful, and learning about the Sephardic and Ashkenazi influences helped me see the rich Jewish Argentinian history. Your tour was a highlight of our trip.  

Thank you! Nancy Barnett, USA

More testimonials about Kosherlat Valeria Duek

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fútbol, Jews, and the Making of Argentina

Fútbol, Jews, and the Making of Argentina, book by Raanan Rein

If you attend a soccer match in Buenos Aires of the local Atlanta Athletic Club, you will likely hear the rival teams chanting anti-Semitic slogans. This is because the neighborhood of Villa Crespo has long been considered a Jewish district, and its soccer team, Club Atlético Atlanta, has served as an avenue of integration into Argentine culture. Through the lens of this neighborhood institution, Raanan Rein offers an absorbing social history of Jews in Latin America.

Since the Second World War, there has been a conspicuous Jewish presence among the fans, administrators and presidents of the Atlanta soccer club. For the first immigrant generation, belonging to this club was a way of becoming Argentines. For the next generation, it was a way of maintaining ethnic Jewish identity. Now, it is nothing less than family tradition for third generation Jewish Argentines to support Atlanta. The soccer club has also constituted one of the few spaces where both Jews and non-Jews, affiliated Jews and non-affiliated Jews, Zionists and non-Zionists, have interacted. The result has been an active shaping of the local culture by Jewish Latin Americans to their own purposes.

Offering a rare window into the rich culture of everyday life in the city of Buenos Aires created by Jewish immigrants and their descendants, Fútbol, Jews, and the Making of Argentina represents a pioneering study of the intersection between soccer, ethnicity, and identity in Latin America and makes a major contribution to Jewish History, Latin American History, and Sports History.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jornada “Voces de Auschwitz” 27 de enero de 2015

Al conmemorarse el 70º aniversario de la liberación del campo de concentración Auschwitz – Birkenau, el Ministerio de Cultura porteño invita a participar de un encuentro especial el 27 de enero.

El cronograma de actividades, organizado por la Dirección General de Patrimonio e Instituto Histórico (DGPeIH), comenzará a las 15 hs. con un  Taller de Memoria.

A las 16 hs. se proyectará el documental “Del Holocausto a Buenos Aires…un lugar en el mundo. Testimonio de David Galante”.

A las 17 hs. habrá un panel con la participación de Ana Weinstein (AMIA); Silvia Hansman (IWO); Víctor Garelik (DAIA); Jorge Knoblovits (DAIA); Sergio Pedernera, (DGPeIH); Liliana Barela (DGPeIH); Claudio Avruj (Derechos Humanos y Pluralismo Cultural GCABA – Museo del Holocausto).

El cierre musical estará a cargo de Santiago Pedernera (clarinete).

El evento será en el Espacio Virrey Liniers, Venezuela 469 (CABA). Consultas al 4339-1900 interno 136, de 13 a 19 hs. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Muerte de Nisman: Acto por la Verdad y la Justicia 21 de enero de 2015

Alberto Nisman Dies After Israel Attacks Hezbollah Nemesis

What's Behind Mystery 'Suicide' of Argentina Prosecutor in Terror Probe?

By J.J. Goldberg Forward

It’s undoubtedly just coincidence. Then again, once you enter the shadowy world of international skullduggery, few things are coincidence and nothing is what it seems. So let’s just look at the known facts in these two simultaneously unfolding stories and see if we can’t spot any points of intersection. It’s probably all just coincidence.
Consider first the mysterious death on January 18 of Argentinian federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman. For the last decade he headed the investigation into the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA center, headquarters of the country’s main Jewish organizations. With 85 dead and nearly 300 wounded, it was the worst attack in modern Argentine history and the deadliest anti-Jewish attack since World War II.
Investigators long ago pinned the AMIA bombing on operatives of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia and its patrons, Iranian intelligence and the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. But after two decades of botched investigations and alleged cover-ups, nobody has yet been brought to justice.
Four days before his death, Nisman announced that he had hard evidence implicating Argentina’s president Cristina Kirchner and foreign minister Hector Timerman in a cover-up. He claimed they offered the Iranians immunity in return for oil. A day later Nisman said he might end up dead because of his allegations. He was scheduled to appear before a closed session of Argentina’s Congress January 19 to explain his explosive claims.
His body was found the night before in a pool of blood on his bathroom floor, with a .22 caliber pistol nearby and a single bullet wound to the head. Argentine police officials said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Now consider the only slightly less mysterious deaths earlier that same day, January 18, of a dozen Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights. They were bombed in their jeeps by what most observers say was an Israeli helicopter gunship.

The highest-ranking victim in the Golan attack was an Iranian general, Ali Mohammad Allah-Dadi. He was reportedly second-in-command of the Quds Force, the foreign operations division of the Revolutionary Guard. He’d been posted to Syria as senior adviser to the Assad government forces in the civil war.
The most prominent victim of the raid, though, was a Hezbollah operative, Jihad Mughniyeh, 25, the baby-faced commander of the Shi’ite militia’s forces along the Syrian-Israeli frontier. A rising star in the Hezbollah apparatus, he was best known as the son of Imad Mughniyeh, the assassinated Hezbollah security chief held responsible for a string of deadly terrorist attacks — including the AMIA bombing in Argentina.

Israel hasn’t publicly commented on the Golan helicopter raid, but security sources have been quoted saying Jihad Mughniyeh was planning “deadly attacks” on Israeli civilians. Retired Israeli General Yoav Galant, a loose cannon who’s now running for Knesset with former Likudnik Moshe Kahlon, said on television that the raid’s timing, so close to the election, was suspicious. The comment drew fierce criticism from both government and opposition Labor sources.
Both Iran and Hezbollah vowed revenge for the deaths. Was Nisman’s death the result? Journalist Yossi Melman, one of Israel’s top intelligence experts, hints that it might have been.
Mughniyeh’s father Imad was assassinated by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008, either by Israel’s Mossad or — as alleged by his widow and some prominent Lebanese politicians — by a rival faction in Syria. At the time he was considered the second-most wanted terrorist in the world after Osama bin Laden.
Terror attacks attributed to Imad Mughniyeh include the 1983 Beirut bombings of the U.S. embassy, killing 63 people, and the U.S. Marine barracks, killing 241, as well as the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, in which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was tortured and killed. Mughniyeh was also credited with numerous kidnap-murders in Lebanon, most notoriously the kidnapping, prolonged torture and murder in 1985 of CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley. Buckley’s gruesome fate is said to have prompted the Reagan administration to launch its arms-for-hostages deal with Iran, which evolved into the Iran-contra affair.
In March 1992, according to Israeli, U.S. and Argentine authorities, Mughniyeh planned and led the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. Israeli intelligence officials believe that attack was in retaliation for the assassination in February by Israeli helicopter gunships of Hezbollah secretary-general Abbas Musawi, along with his wife and toddler son.
Not long afterward, Iranian agents impressed by Mughniyeh’s operation began scouting for another Argentine target. Iran was looking for a way to punish Argentina for its recent decision, under U.S. pressure, to halt nuclear cooperation with Iran. They settled on AMIA.
In August 1993, a group of top Iranian leaders was convened in the city of Mashhad (MOSH-hod) by then-president Hashemi Rafsanjani to approve the AMIA bombing. Also present at the meeting were Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati and intelligence minister Ali Fallahian.

Command of the attack was assigned jointly to the intelligence ministry and the Quds Force, with Mughniyeh to head the operation itself. The following July 1, Mughniyeh arrived in Buenos Aires with a small Hezbollah team and connected with the Iranians. The bombing took place July 18.

Those details were first disclosed to German intelligence in 1996 by a ranking Iranian defector, Abolghassem Mesbahi. Over the next four years he met several times with Argentinian investigators. A warrant for Mughniyeh’s arrest was issued in 1999. But the investigation went around in circles. Among other things, Mesbahi claimed that Argentina’s then-president Carlos Menem had been paid $10 million by Iran to thwart the investigation. And a detailed 2009 report on the bombing by an Iranian human-rights group claims that Menem had his own reasons for hindering the probe: a son of Syrian immigrants, he had close ties to some shady Syrian business figures that he feared would come out.
The chief AMIA investigating magistrate, Juan Jose Galeano, told the Forward’s Marc Perelman in 2003 that he didn’t trust Mesbahi as a source. He was also feuding with the Argentine intelligence agency SIDE, which was conducting its own investigation. A few months after that, though, Galeano himself was removed from the investigation, impeached and disbarred after it was learned he’d paid a witness $400,000 to implicate Argentinian police in the bombing.
Nisman was named to replace Galeano in 2005 by President Nestor Kirchner, who declared that the mishandling of the AMIA case was a “national disgrace.” In 2006 arrest warrants were issued for the implicated Iranian leaders. Nisman even got Interpol in 2007 to circulate the warrants internationally.
But then things stalled again. Kirchner was succeeded in 2007 by his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. According to numerous reports, she began dialing down the investigation. In 2010 she appointed Timerman, a prominent human rights activist then serving as Argentinian ambassador in Washington — and son of the late, renowned Argentinian-Israeli human rights activist Jacobo Timerman — as foreign minister.

In 2013, Kirchner and Timerman negotiated an agreement with Iran to set up a joint “truth commission” that would put the AMIA case to rest by establishing the facts. The commission plan fell through, but Nisman claimed he had proof from wiretaps that the pair were in fact planning to dismiss the charges in return for commercial deals with Tehran. He was said to have been particularly incensed at wiretapped conversations in the president’s office in which he personally was referred to as “that dirty Jew.”
Which raises another mystery: Why would Timerman have taken part in such a sordid scheme with apparently open anti-Semites? What is his real relationship with Kirchner — and with his father’s legacy?
And, of course, the greatest mystery of all: Who killed Alberto Nisman? Was it suicide? More dirty dealing from the heirs of the notorious Argentinian Peronist movement? Yet another Iran-Hezbollah attack against a Jewish target in Argentina? And if it was the latter, was it — like the earlier ones — retaliation for a poorly thought-out Israeli assassination? And finally, will we ever get to the bottom of it all?

Contact J.J. Goldberg on Twitter @jj_goldberg

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Buenos Aires: la cocina judía se moderniza

Por Ariel Duer para Planeta Joy

Buena comida judía en Buenos Aires se consiguió siempre. Sin embargo, las opciones solían limitarse a espacios más bien informales entre cuyas prioridades no figuraban aspectos como la presentación de los platos, el servicio o la ambientación. Hablamos de esos bolichitos aceitosos del Once que despachan kippes y lajmayin; buffets de instituciones comunitarias (el recomendadísimo comedor del Club Guesher, por ejemplo); restaurantes kosher frecuentados por un acotado círculo de ortodoxos, como el ya desaparecido Sucath David, delis noventosos como Big Mamma o fieles reproducciones de las “cocinas de la bobe” como Mis Raíces, en Belgrano, que también bajó la persiana.

Lo que faltaba es lo que sobra, por ejemplo, entre la oferta porteña de cocina peruana: una diversidad de propuestas que incluyera opciones simples, populares y fieles a las recetas originales; pero también otras más modernas, dispuestas a fusionar sabores y técnicas, e interesadas en seducir al público extracomunitario.
Ese casillero vacante empezó a llenarse hace unos años con la aparición de La Crespo (Thames 612), el deli villacrespense que hizo de su célebre pastrami un bocado de culto para la tribu foodie. El pequeño y concurrido local de Thames 612 es el exponente vernáculo de una tendencia que pisa fuerte afuera, sobre todo en Estados Unidos, donde en el New York Times publico en marzo una nota titulada The new golden age of jewish-american deli food (la nueva edad dorada de la comida delicatesen judeo-americana). Pero fue recién durante este 2014, con las aperturas de Mishiguene y Hola Jacoba, cuando la escena que podríamos llamar “moishe cool” se consolidó como una tendencia.

El artículo del NYT expone el auge de nuevos delis artesanales y emprendimientos como Gefiltería (con sede en Brooklyn, elabora distintas versiones de gefilte fish, el típico pescado relleno), proyectos que apuestan a recuperar íconos de la cocina judía centroeuropea y, por lo general, remixarlos incorporando toques de autor. El caso de La Crespo podría encuadrarse dentro de una movida similar: introdujo la pastramimanía en Baires, revalorizando al sándwich de pastrón al estilo NY. Clarisa Krivopisk es el alma máter del lugar, se autodefine como “una bobe que cocina” y, si bien jura fidelidad a las recetas de antaño, ensaya ciertas transgresiones como el knishe de queso azul. El equivalente al “te sigo desde Cemento” sería, en su caso, “te sigo desde el buffet de Hacoaj”. Es que Clarisa mutó de cocinera amateur a profesional empujada por una crisis, la de 2001, que supo convertir en oportunidad: la empresa familiar quebró y ella encontró, en lo que hasta entonces había sido un hobbie y una necesidad doméstica, una salida laboral. Tuvo un pequeño catering y la concesión del bar de Hacoaj, el club judío ubicado en Tigre.
Lo cierto es que ahora desde hipsters y turistas hasta chefs consagrados quieren probar el pastrami de la casa. Y los habitués se animan a platos de raíz ashkenazi menos conocidos y “fuera de carta” que demandan un largo tiempo de preparación y que aparecen de vez en cuando, como cholent (un guiso de carne y legumbres en cocción lenta) o yarkoie (tira de asado con cebollas y arroz, cabellos de ángel fritos y almendras).

En paralelo a este renacer de los delis transcurre otra tendencia global que tiene como protagonista a la cocina judía. Más precisamente a la nueva cocina israelí, que se perfila como la tendencia del momento en las capitales gastronómicas del mundo, de la mano de una flamante generación de jóvenes chefs que vienen dando que hablar tanto en Tel Aviv y Jerusalén como en NY, Londres y París.
Michael Solomonov, Ron Ben-Israel y Yonatan Roshfeld son algunos nombres de esta camada que vale la pena apuntar. También el de Janna Gur, para quien el interés por la cocina de Israel se debe a que “captura a la perfección el espíritu de la época, que es ligero, vivo y fresco, lleno de sabor y muy informal”. Nuevos restaurantes como el parisino Miznon, a cargo de Eyal Shani; el bar Bolonat, en el West Village de Manhattan; o The Palomar, “la” apertura del año en el Soho londinense, comparten una cierta idea orientada a fusionar, con desparpajo y creatividad, ingredientes de las múltiples corrientes migratorias que conforman la población del estado hebreo, reivindicando a la vez sus comidas callejeras típicas. Y en el caso de Miznon sumando un toque francés al combo para obtener híbridos originales como ratatouille con humus o boeuf bourguignon con berenjenas fritas.
En esta movida se inspiró Tomás Kalika para crear Mishiguene, una de las novedades de visita obligada en 2014. Su socio en la aventura es Javier Ickowicz, dueño de Nucha, cadena que, dicho sea de paso, desde 2013 también cuenta con algunas propuestas interesantes de inspiración judía (kippes, sándwich laffa de pollo, humus y vegetales en pan de pita) en su carta de almuerzo, diseñada, justamente, con el asesoramiento del propio Kalika.

Pero volviendo a Mishiguene (Lafinur 3368, Palermo), hay que decir que Kalika, formado profesionalmente en Israel, cumple con creces su promesa de instalar un concepto novedoso que evita los clichés de la cocina judía (“es imposible competir con la memoria emotiva de la gente”, afirma) y abre el juego a un abanico de ingeniosos platos y platitos pensados para probar un poco de todo.
En un ambiente sofisticado y festivo a la vez, como una suerte de cantina premium donde suena música klezmer y la solemnidad queda de lado, su “cocina de inmigrantes” –así la llama– reinterpreta platos clásicos con un estándar de calidad y talento que cautiva a quienes descubren, en estas logradas reversiones, el recuerdo de un sabor de la infancia, aunque también a los novatos en el asunto.
Por último, a mitad de camino entre la propuesta minimalista de La Crespo y la (en el mejor sentido) pretenciosa de Mishiguene, aparecen Andrea Armoza, Cynthia Helueni y el chef Samuel Breitman (también de larga experiencia en suelo israelí) con Hola Jacoba, que se autodefine como el primer restaurante en BA de cocina judía de autor. En pleno Palermo Soho (Thames 1801), apunta en especial a los no iniciados en estos sabores, acercándoles un pantallazo amplio y variado a través de picadas que combinan lo mejor de las vertientes sefaradí y ashkenazí: boios, knishes, latkes, y más. La impronta palermitana se advierte en la decoración colorida, una carta de tragos breve pero efectiva y una terracita que luce, en la antesala del verano, tan tentadora como las delicias que llegan de la cocina, ya sea en formatos más clásicos (farfalaj con pollo, borsch) como en versiones más jugadas: los kreplaj, habitualmente rellenos de hígado y carne, acá salen con queso brie; y el leicaj (torta de miel), en migas sobre helado de pistacho.

No toda la comida judía es kosher y, a la inversa, no toda la comida kosher remite a la gastronomía judía. El kashrut es, más bien, un conjunto de reglas que indican a los observantes más rigurosos de la religión qué pueden comer y qué no, qué alimentos no deben mezclarse y cómo hay que matar a los animales para que su carne resulte “apta” para consumo. A priori, nadie que no siga al pie de la letra los preceptos bíblicos tendría interés en comprar artículos kosher. Sin embargo, han proliferado últimamente un par de dignas propuestas frecuentadas no solo por hombres de barba y kipá. Rincones atractivos cuyo secreto radica en “no parecer” kosher. Luba Café, por ejemplo, queda en Ayacucho 1412, en la planta baja de la sede en Recoleta de Jabad (uno de los movimientos ultraortodoxos más conocidos dentro del judaísmo) y sorprende por su destacada pastelería (scons, budines, tortas) y platos gourmet como salmón rosado sobre hinojos glaseados y burgol. En la misma línea, Munieka lleva un año en la zona de Plaza Italia (Charcas 4480) sirviendo ensaladas, pescados, chivitos y contundentes parrilladas a un público heterogéneo (muchos de ellos ni siquiera registran que están entrando a un establecimiento de estas características).

En el mercado estadounidense, las ventas del segmento kosher no paran de crecer y la oferta de productos pasó de 3000 en 1970 a 70.000 en la actualidad. Meses atrás, la revista Forbes se preguntaba si estamos ante la próxima gran tendencia gastronómica en una nota titulada: “Is kosher the next big food trend?”. Según estadísticas de la consultora Mintel, solo el 15% de quienes compran productos kosher en EE.UU. lo hace por motivos religiosos: la “clientela” abarca desde veganos hasta alérgicos a la leche que consumen alimentos con el sello “parve” (libres de carne y lácteos), a lo que se suma una percepción generalizada –y no siempre corroborada en la práctica– de que lo kosher es “mejor, más puro y saludable”, tal como comenta Larissa Faw en su columna de Forbes. De hecho, el gigante de la industria kosher yanqui Manischewitz acaba de ser adquirido por un fondo de inversión que aspira a expandir sus ventas por fuera del nicho tradicional.