Thursday, June 25, 2015

Daniel Barenboim se presentará en el Teatro Colón en 2015

Daniel Barenboim se presentará en el Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires en julio y agosto de 2015 en el marco del Festival de Música y Reflexión, protagonizado por los músicos argentinos y la West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Las entradas se encuentran a la venta en el teatro.


















Cronograma de conciertos

Viernes 24 y Sábado 25 de julio – 20h

Orquesta West-Eastern Divan, dirigida por Daniel Barenboim

Obras de Wagner, Schonberg y Boulez


Domingo 26 de julio – 17h

Martha Argerich y Daniel Barenboim

Dúo de pianos

Obras de Bela Bartok


Miércoles 29 y Jueves 30 de julio – 20h

Orquesta West-Eastern Divan, dirigida por Daniel Barenboim.

Solista: Martha Argerich


Martes 4 de agosto – 20h

Solistas de las Orquesta West-Eastern Divan

Concierto de cámara, música iraní y árabe


Viernes 7 y sábado 8 de agosto – 20h

Orquesta West-Eastern Divan, dirigida por Daniel Barenboim.

Obras de Wagner, Beethoven y Schonberg

Las entradas se encontrarán a la venta en la boletería del Teatro Colón, Tucumán 1171, (4378-7109), de lunes a sábado de 10:00 a 20:00 horas y los domingos de 10:00 a 17:00 horas. También se pueden adquirir vía telefónica al 5254-9100. O por Internet ingresando a www.teatrocolon.org.ar.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Argentinean songs by Victor Torres. Review

SONG-OF-THE-DAY: a tribute to Victor Torres.

Today, a singer who serendipitously dropped into my life from two directions. First, my downstairs neighbor gave me a CD she’d picked up in Buenos Aires—Argentine Songs sung by a guy named Victor Torres. She knew I was interested in that repertoire, but she just wasn’t into him, or the material, or something. I listened to the recording and had one of those electrifying musical awakenings. At first I couldn’t figure out if I liked Victor’s voice or not (I admit that my neighbor’s dismissal weighed on me), but after a while I couldn’t help noticing that I was playing the CD over and over again obsessively. That’s not “liking.” That’s “love.” Step two: about a year later, a colleague recommended that I have a coaching session with a young Latin American tenor he’d heard. I squeezed him into my schedule and had a very pleasant hour working with him--a sweet guy and a promising singer. As he was packing up his stuff, he mentioned that his teacher from Buenos Aires was going to be in town soon, would I perhaps like to meet him. “What’s his name?” “Victor Torres.” Thunderbolt!
And that is how I met Victor—first for lunch at Sushi-a-Go-Go (that’ll tell New Yorkers how long ago this was), and then at my place for lunch and music. For one blessed hour I got to accompany this uniquely gifted man, a superb musician with phrasing that reminds me at once of John Coltrane and the young Gérard Souzay. Victor gave me his blessings on the way I played Argentinean song. And then he asked if I’d play some Gershwin with him. He sang some standards and even sight-read—perfectly!—my favorite song, “Ask Me Again.” His Gershwin blended the suavity of Sinatra and the musicianship of Fischer-Dieskau—along with just a whiff of tango-master Carlos Gardel.
Victor doesn’t have a lot posted on YouTube, but here are three songs from that album. There are a few of his CDs on Spotify (but alas not the one I first heard, still my favorite). Victor, ¡regresa a Nueva York!

Steven Blier from NY



Posted by Kosherlat Valeria Duek Jewish Heritage trips to Argentina

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shuk de Moldes 2015


El Shuk de Moldes 2015 está totalmente renovado para que puedas aprovechar los descuentos de hasta el 70% del precio de mercado.

2 pisos completos de exposición.
Nuevo sistema pago express con más de 10 cajas habilitadas.
Tarjetas de crédito y débito.

Y como siempre las primeras marcas de ropa (mujer, hombre, niño) blanco, productos kosher, bazar, regalería y más.

Agendate: El jueves 9 de Julio de 2015 de 9 a 16hs en Moldes 2440, Buenos Aires.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

La estación Pasteur de la línea B tendrá un espacio de arte en honor a las víctimas de AMIA


La Estación Pasteur de la línea B de Subterráneos se convierte en un espacio permanente de homenaje a las víctimas del atentado y un inclaudicable reclamo de justicia, dada su proximidad al edificio de la AMIA y también por el simbolismo que tiene en el barrio de Once.

Con obras originales, reproducciones, fotografías e instalaciones emplazadas en las paredes de los andenes, la estación, realizada en conjunto por AMIA y SBASE, se propone generar un hecho artístico que invite a reflexionar sobre el rol fundamental de la memoria como herramienta estructural de futuro.

Los artistas que con sus obras hicieron posible transformar la estación en un lugar de recordación e interpelación son: Sergio Izquierdo Brown, Caloi, Luis Campos, Pito Campos, CEO, Corne, Crist, Fontanarrosa, León Gieco, Grondona White, Jorh, Langer, Liniers, Maitena, Emiliano Miliyo, Napo, Pati, Daniel Paz, Miguel Rep, Rocambole, Rudy, Sábat, Sendra, Buenos Aires Stencil, y Tute.

A un mes de cumplirse 21 años del atentado, que dejó el doloroso saldo de 85 víctimas fatales y más de 300 heridos, la estación ya puede ser visitada y recorrida por los millones de usuarios que diariamente pasan por el lugar.



Facundo Arana se presenta en Israel en octubre de 2015


Publicado por Kosherlat Valeria Kosherlat Jewish tours in Argentina 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vida y memoria de la experiencia judía durante la última dictadura militar en Argentina

Hay recuerdos que mienten. Un poco.
Emmanuel Kahan escribe para Nueva Sión sobre su reciente libro, “Recuerdos que mienten un poco. Vida y memoria de la experiencia judía durante la última dictadura militar”, publicado por Editorial Prometeo.

Por Emmanuel Kahan *

Vamos a hablar de un libro comenzando por otro. O, mejor dicho, vamos a hablar de los dos. En su reciente novela de no ficción El impostor, Javier Cercas, aborda la trayectoria de Enric Marco, un hombre como cualquier otro que promediando sus cincuenta años se inventó un pasado. A Marco se lo consagró públicamente como un sobreviviente de los campos de exterminio del nazismo, joven combatiente anarquista durante la Guerra Civil Española y miembro de la resistencia al franquismo tras su regreso de Alemania. Recibió premios, presidió la Amical de Mauthausen y ofreció conferencias en los más diversos ámbitos. En los tiempos en que se debatía y ponderaba la Memoria Histórica en España, Marco era un superstar.
Fue la sospecha y el trabajo de un historiador de oficio, Benito Bermejo, el que descubre la impostura de Marco. Su testimonio era mentira. Marco había estado en Alemania durante aquellos años, incluso preso; pero su derrotero era distinto al de las víctimas raciales y políticas del nazismo. Lo mismo pasó con su trayectoria republicana y su militancia antifascista. El escándalo- y el escarnio- fueron inmediatos: a Marco se lo condenó públicamente por su farsa.
Cercas- que no es condescendiente con Marco- tiene el buen tino de advertirnos que el impostor es en verdad como cualquier español promedio. Que así como Marco se inventó un pasado heroico, España también lo hizo: todos tras la muerte de Franco tuvieron algún testimonio de resistencia que contar y sin embargo fueron pocos los que enfrentaron al franquismo. La mentira de Marco era creíble porque toda España mintió un poco. Y, como señala Cercas, la credibilidad de esas mentiras se sostuvo porque se amasó en verdades: el nazismo y sus campos de la muerte existieron, los anarquistas confrontaron con los falangistas españoles, algunos resistieron al franquismo.
Entonces, ¿por qué desconfiar del testimonio de una presunta víctima en tiempos que consagraron el lugar de las víctimas como testigos privilegiados de la historia? ¿Acaso no sostenemos nosotros también a la figura del “testigo” o la “víctima” como depositario de la “verdad histórica” de una experiencia sensible- llámese nazismo o terrorismo de Estado? Cercas escribió en El País una columna cuyos fragmentos quisiera replicar aquí:
“No falla: cada vez que en una discusión sobre historia reciente, se produce una discrepancia entre la versión del historiador y la versión del testigo, algún testigo esgrime el argumento imbatible: ¿Y usted que sabe de aquellos, si no estaba allí? Quien estuvo allí, el testigo, posee la verdad de los hechos, quien llegó después- el historiador- posee apenas fragmentos, ecos y sombras de la verdad. Elie Wiesel, superviviente de Auschwitz y Buchenwald, lo ha dicho con un ejemplo: para él, los supervivientes de los campos de concentración nazis tiene que decir sobre lo que allí pasó más que todos los historiadores juntos”, porque “solo los que estuvieron allí saben lo que fue aquello; los demás nunca lo sabrán”. Esto, me parece, no es un argumento: es el chantaje del testigo. […] Este no siempre tiene razón; la razón del testigo es su memoria, y la memoria es frágil y, a menudo, interesada: no siempre se recuerda bien, no siempre se acierta a separar el recuerdo de la invención; no siempre se recuerda lo que ocurrió sino lo que ya otras veces recordamos que ocurrió, o lo que otros testigos han dicho que ocurrió, o simplemente los que nos conviene recordar que ocurrió. De esto, desde luego, el testigo no tiene la culpa (o no siempre): al fin y al cabo, él sólo responde ante sus recuerdos; el historiador, en cambio, responde ante la verdad. Y, como responde ante la verdad, no puede aceptar el chantaje del testigo; llegado el caso, debe tener el coraje de negarle la razón. En tiempo de memoria, la historia para los historiadores”.

Como en España, en Argentina son tiempos de preponderancia de la memoria histórica. Y no está mal; pero como en el caso de Marco, ese retorno al pasado tiene menos fidelidad a la verdad histórica que a los modos en que diversos actores elaboraron su trayectoria en relación a ese pasado. En estos tiempos proponerse bajo la condición de “víctima”, “testigo” o “afectado” actúa como un “paraguas” que brinda legitimidad tanto en el escenario político como en la ejecución de una condena moral sobre lo actuado durante la dictadura militar. Como se sabe al respecto, en la comunidad judía argentina las cartas están echadas: la DAIA fue “colaboracionista”, otras instituciones fueron “víctimas” y algunos otros “resistieron” a la dictadura militar. Eso en la voz de la “víctimas” y los “testigos”.

Algunas declaraciones públicas de sus dirigentes durante aquellos años y la poca acción o eficacia en el “salvataje” de quienes caían en los Centros Clandestinos de Detención fueron los pilares de una acusación que se ha sostenido desde el final de los tiempos dictatoriales. Y, en parte, es cierto. Ahora bien, ¿estarían dispuestos otros actores del espectro comunitario a revisar sus posiciones durante aquellos tiempos y ver qué dijeron sobre el gobierno militar- al que ninguno llamó “dictadura” hasta la derrota en Malvinas? ¿Podrían señalar qué acciones desplegaron para salvar a jóvenes de las fauces de la represión dictatorial?
Recuerdos que mienten un poco. Vida y memoria de la experiencia judía durante la última dictadura militar aborda un conjunto amplio de actores, publicaciones e instituciones durante los años del terrorismo de Estado con el objeto de reponer un horizonte más vasto de los posicionamientos fraguados durante el período. Y lo que allí descubre es que aquellos que “acusan” no tuvieron posiciones muy distantes de quienes son acusados. E incluso, que hubo muestras públicas de apoyo a la dictadura militar que ni la propia DAIA se hubiera atrevido a manifestar.

El “Saludo del ICUF al presidente Videla” realizado en agosto de 1978- si, tras la finalización del Mundial de Futbol que hoy consideramos como una estrategia publicitaria del régimen para acallar las denuncias en el exterior- era para felicitar su reelección en el cargo de presidente y le auguraba “los más fervientes votos de que su manifiesto propósito de propender a la instauración de una democracia renovada, republicana y pluralista que garantice el pleno ejercicio de los derechos y posibilite el cumplimiento de los deberes ciudadanos, se vea coronado por el éxito con el apoyo del el pueblo argentino todo”.

El libro, a su vez, permite poner en suspenso algunos juicios sobre los acusados. El director de la revista La Luz, Nissim Elnecave, fue acusado como “delator” en las postrimerías del régimen y fue, sin embargo, su publicación la primera en abordar el tema de la desaparición de jóvenes judíos -sí, antes que Nueva Presencia- a través de la publicación de unos artículos de Marcel Zohar desde diciembre de 1977.
El libro que estas palabras presentan, se hizo bajo la siguiente premisa: las investigaciones sobre la comunidad judía durante la dictadura militar deberán recuperar un cúmulo de experiencias y trayectorias que estarán en tensión con la memoria de esa misma experiencia. Y no es un problema menor, porque entonces también tendremos que poner en suspenso algunas nociones sobre la responsabilidad, la complicidad y la resistencia de diversos sectores del amplio marco comunitario judío frente a la dictadura militar.
Hay recuerdos que mienten. Un poco.



* Doctor en Historia por la Universidad Nacional de La Plata - Coordinador del Núcleo de Estudios Judíos (IDES).

Tributo al Rebe: 15 de junio de 2015 en La Rural

RSVP www.tributoalrebe.com
15 de junio de 2015 en La Rural, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Publicado por Kosherlat Valeria Duek Jewish toùrs in Argentina

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A los 82 años, murió el actor y director Sergio Renán

El actor, director de cine, teatro y ópera falleció tras estar internado desde hace tres semanas por una infección.


Sergio Renán, dueño de una extensa carrera en el cine y teatro, murió a los 82 años. Estaba internado desde hace más de tres semanas por una infección y no pudo recuperarse. Trabajó como actor y director de cine, teatro y ópera. Entre sus diferentes trabajos, se destacó por dirigir en 1974 La tregua, la primera película argentina nominada a los premios Oscar.

Nació el 30 de enero de 1933 y su verdadero nombre era Samuel Kohan. Fue hijo de inmigrantes judíos asentados originariamente en las colonias agrícolas de la provincia de Entre Ríos, de donde era oriundo. En la infancia, Sergio se interesó por la literatura y asistió al colegio Mariano Moreno. En la adolescencia, tomó clases de violín y realizó algunas presentaciones en el teatro Colón, pero años más tarde abandonó. Con su padre, frecuentaba reuniones del Partido Socialista y solía ir a la cancha a ver a Racing, club del que era muy fanático. Comenzó a dar sus primeros pasos en la actuación de la mano del productor y director David Stivel.

A los 18 años se casó y tuvo una hija (Nora), pero el matrimonio duró dos años y medio. En esa etapa de su vida, se dedicó a la actuación y participó en películas como La cifra impar (1962), Circe (1964) y El perseguidor (1965). En la década de los 70, dirigió en la pantalla chica Grandes novelas y debutó como director de teatro con Las criadas. Además, realizó obras como Drácula (1980), Madame Butterfly, Ha llegado un inspector (1998) y Un enemigo del pueblo (2007).

En la pantalla grande, actuó en diversos filmes como El poder de las tinieblas (1979) y Los siete locos (1973), en la que interpretó a Roberto Arlt. Como director de ópera presentó Manon, Rigoletto (1985), Otello (1987) y Cosi fan tutte (1990) en el Teatro Colón.

El artista estuvo al borde de la muerte cuando en 1997 sufrió una pancreatitis aguda que lo llevó a estar 64 días en coma. Pudo salir adelante, pero le quedaron varias secuelas tras esa grave enfermedad, como la diabetes. También debió dar batalla contra un cáncer de laringe, del que pudo recuperarse.

En 1989, Renán asume como director del Teatro Colón, tras ser nombrado por Carlos Grosso, quien en ese momento era intendente de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Siguió en ese cargo hasta 1996 y volvió brevemente en 2000, logrando una muy buena gestión. También fue director del Fondo Nacional de las Artes de la República Argentina. Este sábado sus restos están siendo velados desde las 12 hasta las 20 en el Colón, que suspendió todas sus actividades por duelo.

Publicado por Kosherlat Valeria Duek Jewish tours in Argentina

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jorge Luis Borges in Jerusalem

Memories of the Argentine literary mystic’s visit to the Holy Land, and of his nuanced Zionism


In his 1969 Jerusalem lecture Borges made clear his enthusiasm for both the idea and the reality of a Jewish state.

In 1969 I was living in Jerusalem, waiting to be inducted into the Israeli army, for which I had volunteered a few months earlier. From friends at the Hebrew University I learned that Jorge Luis Borges was visiting Jerusalem and that he would be speaking that evening at the university. I arrived at a packed lecture hall at the university’s Givat Ram campus, where Borges spoke in slightly accented English, softly but very clearly. There was the aura of the blind seer about him, and his audience was clearly entranced. In his opening remarks he made it clear that he felt privileged to be in Jerusalem, a city on which so much attention had been focused over the millennia. He was particularly fascinated by Israel’s mixture of the old and the new. On that 1969 visit, Borges spent 10 days in Israel. He returned for a second visit, of shorter duration, two years later, and he often reflected on these Jerusalem journeys in subsequent poems, stories, and essays.

The audience at Borges’ 1969 lecture that evening in Jerusalem was international and included quite a few Argentinean Israelis. Argentinean Jews came in large numbers to Israel in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Some of them joined kibbutzim. Many in the audience had read Borges—either in Hebrew, Spanish, or English—and were eager to hear him. There was something oracular about his speech, and he had an uncanny ability to quote long selections of poetry and prose from memory. His smile was warm and at times joyful. He took questions from the audience, and he made us laugh. It surely wasn’t a “lecture” as we knew them at the Hebrew University, an institution often dubbed “the last 19th-century German university.” Most Hebrew University lectures were Germanic in style and delivered with considerable academic reserve. Borges’ talk was a nuanced performance delivered with a light touch. It was more like a lively poetry reading than a lecture, and the audience that evening was reluctant to let the author leave the stage.

We had hoped that Borges would speak of his interest in the Kabbalah, and he did not disappoint us. We thought of Borges as a literary mystic. Among the questions addressed to him were: Did he see affinities between his speculative, questioning stories and the tales of the Hasidism? Did he feel a kinship with Kafka? Were his ficciones influenced by the mystical tales of the Jewish tradition? He answered these queries in the affirmative. He said that Kabbalah formed a “technique” in his art, an idea at which he had hinted in his 1931 essay “Vindication of the Cabala.” Hearing him that night in 1969 was a turning point in my own intellectual development. For the five years before coming to Israel in 1968 at the age of 21, I had read widely in world literature, hungry for a wider view of culture after total immersion in the world of rabbinic texts. Reading and hearing Borges introduced me to the presence of the Hebraic in world literature, a presence that I was barely aware of. Listening to his lecture, I realized that the writer’s view of Jerusalem was related to his literary ideas on eternity and time. This mixing of the ancient and the modern, the concrete and the metaphysical, was at the center of Borges’ technique as a storyteller.

On the Jerusalem evening in 1969, Borges was still in the middle of his journey through the Hebraic, the Kabbalistic, and the mystical, a journey that would continue until his death 29 years ago this weekend, in 1986. In his lecture he returned again and again to the figure of the golem, the artificial being brought to life by wonder-working rabbis of Jewish folklore. The power to create a golem was God-like; it was a power that adepts both coveted and feared. Borges had read widely in the golem material, and on his first visit he discussed these tales with Professor Gershom Scholem of the Hebrew University. On his second visit, in 1971, he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize.

***

For Borges, “the Bible was one of the first things I read or heard about. And the Bible is a Jewish book” and the root of all that is valuable in Western culture. This attitude was the legacy of his greatest childhood influences, his father and his maternal grandmother. With the rise of Fascism in Europe and Argentina, the Bible assumed even greater importance in his mind. The Bible stood for morality, justice, and the prophetic voice. Fascism, with its hostility toward the religion and the people of the Bible, was the enemy of culture and personal morality. This “biblical” antifascist cultural attitude was exemplified in a well-known literary project, the 1944 publication of The Ten Commandments: Ten Short Novels of Hitler’s War Against the Moral Code. Among the writers who contributed to the volume were many Borges greatly admired: Thomas Mann, Rebecca West, Franz Werfel, and Sigrid Undset. The book was published in Spanish and other European languages and had wide distribution through the Americas.

Borges was in his thirties when Argentinean politics turned to the right. That political shift was preceded by decades of anti-Semitic agitation and legislation, including restrictive immigration laws aimed at Jews. In Buenos Aires newspaper articles of the 1930s and 1940s, Borges relentlessly attacked the Nazis and their many Argentinean sympathizers, and he did this with an edge of sadness that only a lover of the German language and German culture could manifest. In 1937 Borges reviewed a new German book for children, Don’t Trust Any Fox From a Heath or Any Jew on His Oath: “Its goal is to instill in the children of the Third Reich a distrust and animosity toward Jews. … What can I say about such a book. Personally I am outraged, less for Israel’s sake than for Germany’s, less for the offended community than for the offensive nation. I don’t know if the world can do without German civilization, but I do know that its corruption by the teachings of hatred is a crime.”

In Argentina, as in Germany, pro-Nazi political sentiment was intimately linked to anti-Semitism. In a 1940 Buenos Aires newspaper editorial, Borges mocked Argentinean pro-German sentiment: “The Germanophile is anti-Semitic as well: He wishes to expel from our country a Slavo-Germanic community in which names of German origin predominate (Rosenblatt, Gruenberg …) and which speaks a German dialect, Yiddish.”

In the Buenos Aires of the 1930s, Borges was a member of the “Committee Against Racism and Anti-Semitism,” and his antifascist and philo-Semitic stance generated accusations that he was of Jewish origin. In 1934 the right-wing journal Crisol made the accusation. In the context of the magazine’s anti-immigration and anti-Semitic stance the article spoke of Borges’ “Jewish ancestry maliciously hidden.” Borges countered with the brilliant satire “I, a Jew” (“Yo, Judío”), published in the literary journal Megáfono. He mentions some ancestors who have come from “Judaeo-Portugese roots,” but he had not found any evidence to support the assertion:

Two hundred years without being able to discover the Israelite, two hundred years without managing to set my hands on this ancestor. I am grateful to Crisol for having impelled me to pursue these investigations, but I have less and less hope of ever ascending to the Altar of the Temple, to the Bronze Sea, to Heine, to Gleizer [the Argentine publisher], and to the Ten Righteous Men, to Ecclesiastes, and Charlie Chaplin. … Who has not one day played at searching for his ancestors, imagining the prehistory of his race and blood? I have often played at that myself, and it has not displeased me to imagine myself often as a Jew. It is a matter of a simple hypothesis, a sedentary and modest adventure that can harm no one—not even the good repute of Israel—in view of the fact that my Judaism, like the songs of Mendelssohn, is without words.

While indulging in a fantasy of Jewish origins Borges also satirizes it. He is aware of how persistent and common a Christian fantasy it is, and he is also aware of how Jews are singled out for persecution. “Statistically speaking,” he wrote, “the Jews are very few. What would we think of someone in the year 4000 who discovers everywhere descendants of the inhabitants of the San Juan province [one of the least populated in Argentina]? Our inquisitors are seeking Hebrews, never Phoenicians, Numidians, Scythians, Babylonians, Huns, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Ethiopians, Illyrians, Paphlagonians, Sarmations, Medes, Ottomans, Berbers, Britons, Libyans, Cyclops, or Lapps. The nights of Alexandria, Babylon, Carthage, Memphis have never succeeded in engendering one single grandfather; it was only to the tribes of the bituminous Dead Sea that such power was granted.”

***

Thirty-five years after he wrote these words Borges came to Jerusalem and continued his admiring and somewhat playful relationship with the Jewish texts and the Jewish people. In his 1969 Jerusalem lecture Borges made clear his enthusiasm for both the idea and the reality of a Jewish state. Yes, he was blind, but he could “see” Jerusalem and was deeply moved by it. He spoke of his deep personal interest in Jewish texts in general and in the Kabbalah in particular. He then presented his meditations on Kabbalah, a system he thought relevant to the spiritual and literary concerns of modern life. “I am not dealing with a museum piece from the history of philosophy,” he said. “I believe the system has an application: It can serve as a means of thinking, of trying to understand the universe.”

Although Borges’ lecture expressed unqualified admiration for the Jewish state, in his writings he was less celebratory and somewhat more ambivalent. Critic Edna Aizenberg spoke of Borges’ “mixture of excitement and misgiving about the Jewish homeland.” This ambivalence sprang from his sense that the Jewish function in society was to be a catalyst for innovation, change, and conscience. He feared that if the Jews were gathered in one land they would lose that universal function. As Borges saw it, the Jewish role was to act as “the conscience of humanity” and “a light unto the nations,” and they had filled that role for centuries. But then came the moment in European history, the mid-1930s, when Jewish life in Europe was endangered. Like many other European Christian liberal intellectuals, Borges, when confronted with the perilous situation of European Jewry in the 1930s and their murder by the Nazis in the 1940s, supported postwar Zionist aspirations, as he questioned what the new state might mean.

In this new Zionist situation, how can one understand the catalyzing function of the Jews among the gentiles? Was it to be lost? Or could it be preserved in a Jewish state? Borges had given considerable thought to this question, one that concerned many Jewish thinkers of the time as well. Thus, when Borges visited Jerusalem in 1969, he had behind him a half century of engagement with Jewish themes. He was enthusiastic about the State of Israel, but the Judaism that interested him was the culture of the Diaspora. For Borges, the Jew in European culture was an intellectual; he was multilingual; he was an outsider and a persistent critical voice. But despite his initial ambivalence about Zionism, Borges supported the Israeli cause, especially when international opinion began to turn against Israel in the late 1960s.

In “An Autobiographical Essay,” written in the mid-1970s, Borges recalled his visits to Jerusalem:

Early in 1969, invited by the Israeli government, I spent ten very exciting days in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. I brought home with me the conviction of having been in the oldest and the youngest of nations, of having come from a very living, vigilant land back to a half-asleep nook of the world. Since my Genevan days, I had always been interested in Jewish culture, thinking of it as an integral element of our so-called Western civilization, and during the Israeli-Arab war of a few years back I found myself taking immediate sides. While the outcome was still uncertain, I wrote a poem on the battle. A week after, I wrote another on the victory. Israel was, of course, still an armed camp at the time of my visit. There, along the shores of Galilee, I kept recalling these lines from Shakespeare: “Over whose acres walk’d those blessed feet, / Which, fourteen hundred years ago, were nail’d, / For our advantage, on the bitter cross.”

For Borges, Jesus’ story was Jewish, and the New Testament is a Jewish text. “Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism” was an aphorism he often affirmed. In the tradition that imbibed from his English grandmother Fanny Haslam, both the Old and New Testaments were “Jewish books.” Borges imagined Jesus as a Jew—as did Robert Graves in King Jesus and in The Nazarene Gospel written with Joshua Podro. Both writers were working against the “Aryan Christ” view of Jesus, which sought to divorce Christianity from its Jewish background. Borges, Graves, Edmund Wilson, and other Christian writers thus constructed a “Jewish Jesus.”

In the same period, the mid-20th century, we see a parallel move in Israeli scholarship and fiction to reexamine Jesus’ Jewish background. In Borges last book of poems, he penned these lines:

Christ on the Cross. His feet touch the earth.
The three beams are the same height.
Christ is not in the middle. He’s the third one.
His black beard hangs over his chest.
His face is not the face of engravings.
He is harsh and Jewish.

Jesus, for Borges, was “harsh and Jewish”—not the blond, gentle Jesus of European art. He rejected the “Aryan Christ” in favor of a more “authentic” Semitic Jesus.

Borges’ philo-Semitism and familiarity with Jewish texts led him to examine Christianity’s Jewish roots and to emphasize the similarities and differences between the two religious systems. Borges thus emerges as a late figure in the long history of Christian Hebraism and Christian Kabbalism who viewed both the Old Testament and the New Testament as “Jewish Literature.” The “Old Testament,” for Borges, was not subsumed into either Jewish or Christian categories, but rather, the Bible in its entirety was a Jewish document. He saw both a mystical and a historical connection between Western culture and Hebrew texts.

***

Although he mastered French, German, and Latin, Borges did not study Hebrew or Aramaic; his introduction to the Bible was through English, and his introduction to rabbinic Jewish literature was through German. “Borges approached Judaism as a creative writer,” says writer Alberto Manguel, “not as a professor of Semitics. If the Jewish material he required for his purposes was available in a form already accessible, there was no urgency to acquire the original linguistic codes.” A gifted multilingual reader in his teens, Borges continued to master new languages in adulthood. In this he was like Vladimir Nabokov, who became a master of American prose in his fifties after moving to the United Sates, and Robert Graves, the aforementioned master of the Greek and Latin classics. Borges began to study Old English in his fifties and Old Norse in his sixties.

For Borges, the tradition of reading and rereading was a mainstay of his life; in a sense, reading became his life: “Reading books, writing about books, talking about books: In a profound manner, Borges was conscious of continuing a dialogue begun thousands of years ago and which, he believed, would never end.” A pivotal aspect of this cultural dialogue across time was his affinity with the Bible and postbiblical Jewish literature. Borges’ sense of literature as a dialogue across time—which for him started in his father’s library—mirrors the concept of Kabbalah, “tradition” in both its exoteric and esoteric senses. His seven-year sojourn in Europe, particularly his time in Geneva, brought him into contact with living Jewish intellectuals; two of these associates remained lifelong friends.

Borges eyesight, weak in his youth, diminished over the subsequent decades and failed him in his mid-fifties. “My eyesight left me for reading purposes in 1955,” said Borges, “and since then I have attempted no contemporary reading.” Borges’eyes failed as the result of a rare hereditary disease from the English side of the family. His father, too, lost his eyesight. The fact that he could no longer read or write was a cruel blow for a man whose entire life had been devoted to books. According to translator Eliot Weinberger, after Borges lost his sight, he wrote no more essays and few stories and devoted himself largely to poetry. In an essay titled “On Blindness” in his collection “Seven Nights,” Borges compares his situation to those of Samson and Milton. Blindness reinforced his mystical tendencies. According to Borges, the blind poet often “sees” more than those with sight.

It is striking that from his English ancestors, Borges inherited his eye disease, his love of English literature, and his familiarity with the Bible in English. “The world of the blind is not the night that people imagine,” Borges commented. “I should say that I am speaking for myself, and for my father and my grandmother, who both died blind—blind, laughing, and brave, as I also hope to die.”

From Borges’ “Poem of the Gifts”:

No one should read self-pity or reproach
into this statement of the majesty
of God; who with such splendid irony
granted me books and blindness at one touch.

***

This essay is adapted from Shalom Goldman’s Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the the Promised Land, recently reissued in paperback.

Shalom Goldman is a professor of Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University,and the author of, among other books, the forthcoming Jewish–Christian Difference and Modern Jewish Identity: Seven Twentieth-Century Converts.

Source: Tablemag

Argentina's Jewish Colonies Keep Traditions Alive

By Juan Forero
In the 1890s, Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitic violence and discrimination arrived by the thousands to a remote corner of the Argentine Pampas. They founded hamlets similar to the shtetls they left behind. They spoke Yiddish, built synagogues and traditional Jewish schools — and became farmers and gauchos, the mythical Argentine cowboys.
Now, only a dwindling number of their descendants remain, but they're intent on saving the Jewish culture that flourished for decades. In Entre Rios province, the center of Argentina's rural Jewish communities, there are still gauchos, Hebrew lessons and sacred scrolls to be found.
Jaime Jruz is among those who consider keeping the old traditions alive a debt owed to those who first settled the region. He roams his ranch on horseback, rounding up cattle and keeping track of his goats. His farm, on the outskirts of Carmel, goes back more than a century.
It was bought on a payment plan by his grandfather, who had arrived in Argentina aboard the Bismarck, a ship carrying Jews seeking a new life in the New World. Now 65, Jruz says he has lost a step or two and is one of the last Jewish gauchos around.
Jaime Jruz, son of Russian immigrants and leader of the Jewish community of Villa Dominguez, still works on the farm where he was born and grew up.i
Jaime Jruz, son of Russian immigrants and leader of the Jewish community of Villa Dominguez, still works on the farm where he was born and grew up.
Silvina Frydlewsky/for NPR
Many of his friends have given up the backbreaking work, and his three daughters, like most young Argentine Jews, live in the cities. But Jruz says the past and the work his ancestors put into the farms of Entre Rios weigh heavily on him.
"I couldn't abandon this," Jruz said, "I know the sacrifices they made to make it here."
A Jewish Homeland In The Americas 
In the late 19th century, entire Jewish towns packed up and fled czarist pogroms. In what's now a footnote of history, a German-Jewish philanthropist, the Baron Maurice de Hirsch, envisioned a Jewish homeland not in the Middle East but in the Americas.
He recruited would-be pioneers from the so-called Pale of Settlement, a region of Imperial Russia that today forms parts of Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and other countries. Back then, though, it was where the czar permitted Jews to live.
Through his Jewish Colonization Association, Hirsch bought up vast tracts of farmland in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina, leasing them out to Jewish arrivals.
"He felt that the future of the Jewish people was in America," says Osvaldo Dominguez, a Catholic who runs the Jewish Colonies Museum in Villa Dominguez and is considered a local expert on the Jewish history of rural Argentina. "But he had his greatest success here in Argentina."


Indeed, some 50,000 Jews came to Entre Rios and other rural provinces. They built up dozens of towns — communities with names like Sajaroff, Sonnenfeld and Moises Ville.
Some towns had two or three synagogues, farming cooperatives like the ones in Russia and schools that taught in Yiddish and Hebrew
Remnants of that vibrant past remain. In the nearby town of Villa Clara, Patricia Acst still teaches in Hebrew. Her young charges pay close attention — both of them. This school has one of the few Hebrew schools left. When she started teaching in 1983, things were very different.
"There was class every day, from 1 to 5," Acst said, "and 18 students showed up." It was all in Hebrew, from geography to history to Talmudic studies.
Keepers Of The Flame
A couple of blocks away is the town synagogue, lovingly restored after Jewish leaders were able to drum up enough in donations.
Abraham Kreiserman, a butcher who helped spearhead the renovations, shows off the temple's scrolls, some dating back to the early 19th century, as well as artifacts such as a shofar, or ram's horn. He blows the shofar for a foreign visitor, smiling and explaining it is the first time he has done so.
Abraham Kreiserman, the president of the Jewish community of Villa Clara, shows a portion of a Torah scroll at Beth Iacob Synagogue in Villa Clara.i
Abraham Kreiserman, the president of the Jewish community of Villa Clara, shows a portion of a Torah scroll at Beth Iacob Synagogue in Villa Clara.
Silvina Frydlewsky/for NPR
"Just a few of us are at the forefront of this," he said, referring to efforts to keep the synagogue going. "But despite the obstacles, we think we are doing a good job in the face of limited resources."
At the Jewish cultural center in the town of Basovilbaso, Enrique Salomon and Jose "Tito" Roimiser, 78 and 84 respectively, rummage through knickknacks once owned by their ancestors.
They're in a musty storeroom filled with old framed photographs of men in black hats and long beards; wooden clocks; heavy metal typewriters; old deeds and titles. There's also a battered baby tub, once owned by Ezadik Shlomo Ezra Jalvinitz.
"All of it is important; all of it has a history; all of it has a reason; all of it has an origin," Salomon says.
Keys in hand, Salomon and "Tito" Roimiser then unlock the Torah ark at the Tefila L'Moises synagogue.
"Here are four, six, seven sacred scrolls," Salomon said, "which we take out on the holiest holidays, read and then put back." They came from Russia, the two men note, and must receive the utmost care.
Salomon and Roimiser describe themselves as keepers of the flame; they want to do all they can to preserve what's left of the town's Jewish culture. They also are under no illusions.
"We try to maintain," said Roimiser, "but we are so few, so few, at least from my era."
Still, they have fresh ideas, such as a museum that would go in an old synagogue, now abandoned. For the moment, though, there seems to still be enough Jewish life — just enough — to make it feel like it once was.
On a Friday night, the old Jewish residents arrived at the Tefila L'Moises synagogue. They had a minyan — the quorum of 10 adults required for Sabbath services. As a rabbinical student sang, the congregation joined along.
And for a moment, it seemed like old times again out on Argentina's Pampas.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Treasure hunting in the antiques market of Buenos Aires

By Cheree Phillips


Once upon a time, on the north side of Buenos Aires, lived a collection of very wealthy families. Families who made their fortunes in smuggling and shipping, who travelled the world and brought back creme de la creme of European design back to the Argentinian capital - from stone-heavy jewellery to ornate clocks, polished silverware to tastefully upholstered furniture.

They also returned with renowned architects, commissioned to replicate the grand palaces of France in copycat mansions in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, grand mansions come with grand cleaning bills and many fell into disrepair. The silverware slowly dwindled and prized possessions returned to Europe with keen-eyed, quick collectors. The rest found their way to San Telmo.



The San Telmo Antiques Market began in the 1970's and today, sprawls across 15 blocks of one of Buenos Aires oldest neighbourhoods. The hub of the market is nestled within Plaza Dorrego, where stalls are pushed together in a kaleidoscopic maze of jewellery, art, comics, clothing and crystal - if you can imagine it, it's here somewhere.

There are around six outdoor markets in Buenos Aires, but San Telmo is known mainly for the variety of antiques. These vintage signs once belonged to a flight school, accordion teacher and someone who asks that their mail is not delivered on rainy days.



The market is where Grandmother's prized china collection ends up once passed onto the uninterested and where those who have watched several seasons of Antiques Roadshow will lose their wits (and their wallets) with excitement.

Good luck to those who venture into the heart of the markets but beware - time will disappear faster than that hard-earned wad of pesos. English is hard to come by but with some Spanglish and a small game of charades, there is plenty of fun to have while treasure hunting.

What NOT to do in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a city where there is always something to do. There are parks, museums, plazas, bars, pubs, clubs, exhibitions, shows, tours in each neighborhood and many restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy the best that Argentina has to offer. Finding something to do is easy.

But let’s look at what NOT to do in Buenos Aires.

After all, your time is valuable and we want you to make the most of your time in Argentina’s captivating capital!



Don’t take just any taxi from the airport

So you just arrived in Buenos Aires and need to get to your hotel or accommodation. Don’t hail just any cab. When you leave the airport you will see there are official airport taxis, which operate from booths inside the terminal, and regular cabs outside the terminal. These regular taxis are notorious for taking advantage of tourists by overcharging, driving longer routes, or exchanging real pesos for fake notes, a common taxi scam in Buenos Aires. We recommend that you order a pre-paid taxi from the booths inside the airport, or even better, book an airport transfer in advance.

When you arrive at International Airport Ezeiza, don’t just hop in the first cab you see!


Don’t forget cash
Using a credit card is not that common in Buenos Aires, most people pay with cash because many places do not take credit cards. Convert your cash to pesos, as only a few places will accept foreign currencies, and usually not at a good rate. If you’re looking to make a larger purchase such as a leather jacket, ask if they have a different price for credit card or cash. There are occasionally discounts, depending on the store’s preference of payment. If you pay with credit card, you will need to show some form of ID (passport or driver’s license).

Bring your credit card to Buenos Aires, but use it just for big purchases.

Don’t go out too early

Whether you’re going to a restaurant or a club, everything starts later in Buenos Aires. Most Porteños don’t eat before 9pm, with the typical dinner rush at a restaurant happening around 10pm. And don’t even try getting to the club before midnight, it won’t be open yet. People typically start arriving at 2am, with things picking up after 3am and going on until sunrise.

The bars and restaurants of Buenos Aires stay open late.

Safety

Buenos Aires is considered a safe city, but as any big city, tourists can be an easy target for pickpockets. It is recommended not to bring expensive wrist watches or any jewelry. And by any jewelry we mean also that chain you got from your Bobe at your Bar-Mitzvah and you never take it off. Take it off prior to your arrival to Argentina.

Zip your zippers. Pay attention and you will be fine. Pickpockets do not take chances.

Do not take any taxi on the streets. Take a Radio Taxi, or ask for help at restaurants or stores when buying. Ask them to call a radio taxi.

Do not exchange money on taxis. Tourists often get fake pesos.
If you are taking a taxi, make sure you have change.


Maybe you’ve heard that tango shows can be cheesy or it doesn’t sound like your style. Don’t judge so quickly. There are a huge variety of tango shows in Buenos Aires, and the trick ispicking the right tango house for your taste. There are small, traditional tango houses set in authentic neighbourhoods, and there are larger broadway-style tango shows that are more modern and flashy. As long as you choose the right show for you, it is definitely worth going for a truly special night out celebrating Argentine tango and enjoying a delicious three-course meal.

Don’t miss out on a night of passionate tango!

Enough of what you must not do in Buenos Aires; what you definitely should do is take advantage of your time in Argentina to see and do as much as possible.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Camino a Auschwitz y otras historias de resistencia"


Libro de Julián Gorodischer y Marcos Vergara

Por Gabriel Zárate

Planeta Editorial (Argentina) por medio de su sello EMECÉ, anuncia, como novedad de junio, la publicación del libro de crónicas en historietas: "Camino a Auschwitz y otras historias de resistencia", obra argentina con guión del narrador y periodista Julián Gorodischer (1973) y dibujos del historietista Marcos Vergara (1973) dibujante de las novelas gráficas “Cena con Amigos” (2009) y “Valizas” (2010). “Tres historias que plasman vívidamente la memoria trágica reciente del pueblo judío y apuestan al género del periodismo en cómic”."Camino a Auschwitz y otras historias de resistencia" es un libro de 112 páginas en blanco y negro. Novedad de junio.

“Camino a Auschwitz y otras historias de resistencia" nos transporta a una épica en extinción, la de los partisanos, mártires y sobrevivientes del Holocausto, a través de una narración que se desliza entre la pesadilla de los campos y la hazaña del levantamiento del gueto de Varsovia, para viajar luego hasta el operativo que, en 1960, capturó en Buenos Aires al ex jerarca nazi Adolf Eichmann. En estas tres historias, los autores plasman vívidamente la memoria trágica reciente del pueblo judío y apuestan al género del periodismo en cómic, que renueva la tradición del llamado Nuevo Periodismo”. (Nota de Prensa).

“En este libro, contando lo que parece ser real, se describe una perfecta metáfora sobre la culpa y la dificultad –¿imposibilidad?– de restañarla. Esa culpa que –y ésa es la universal victoria del sadismo– no tiene primordial direccionalidad exógena hacia el nazismo, sino endógena, hacia los propios. Es el dramático tema de la supervivencia, tan vigente en los secuestrados y los desaparecidos de nuestra ominosa dictadura. Vergara y Gorodischer colaboran con la célebre cita de Primo Levi: la escritura como bendición que permite despegar los pies del piso.” (Pacho O’Donnell).

“Julián Gorodischer y Marcos Vergara han encontrado el modo de firmar un discurso muy personal, en que confluyen las enseñanzas de tres grandes maestros: cómo hablar del trauma familiar, con el exterminio nazi en su epicentro (Art Spiegelman); cómo llevar el periodismo a las viñetas (Joe Sacco); cómo narrar lo queer (Alison Bechdel). El resultado es un cómic original y valiente, que escapa del paradigma del siglo XX sobre qué se puede o no mostrar cuando se trata de contar el horror.” (Jordi Carrión).