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July 17, 2009


mallory elise

rachel congratulations on getting married, you two look great, even if it isnt a big fancy pants wedding....yet, voce esta linda em seu vestido :) but im definitely not showing this post to my mom :P


I don't claim to know the answer to your question, but on a related note, isn't it common for a lot of Israelis to travel in South America after they finish their obligatory military service and before they start college?

Israelis definitely have a huge presence in Rio at the hostels, tourist locations, etc. At some hostels they consistently make up at least half of the residents at any given time. I know there is an Israeli hostel in Copacabana too but I've forgotten where exactly it is.

I enjoyed socializing with many of them when I lived in Rio. They had a fun, adventurous spirit that matched the city well.

Marcio Goncalves

"Why do Jews love Latin America?"

Well, what about the fact that a love of them are or have latin background?

I suppose you're Ashkenazi, but most Sephardi Jews can trace their origin to Spain, Portugal or even Brazil (lots of them moved from Brazil to USA).

I'd guess that the fact that they can integrate better in Latin America could be a big drawn.

Ernest Barteldes

First and foremost, congrats on the casamento.

Now on your question - I once saw an interview with Paul McCartney and he said that he noticed that playing in countries south of the Equator, things tend to
be crazier, with more entusiastic audiences. I think he has something there, having performed around the world his entire life. I believe that this difference has something to do with it - and Brazilian and American Catholics
are very different as well. I play at the Church of Our Lady of Pompeii with a Brazilian group, and I usually get there as the English mass is ending. While "their" music is full of lamenting (even the Himn of Glory sounds sad), we do a big party every time, even playing funk

Check us out someday http://www.catolicosny.org


When I lived in Rio for 6 months, more than half of the gringas I knew were Jews from the New York area. Part of me wonders if I subconsciously sought out other people with similar values. I know for latin america loving jews from the southern california (myself included), the appeal has something to do with feeling a strong affinity toward the groups where community values are at the forefront. But really, I suppose there is no single explanation.
I really need to read Jeff Lesser's book on Jews in Brazil...

Chikodi Chima

I think you really hit the nail on the head. Celebration is much more a part of the Latin American spirit than it is for those of us in North America. Perhaps it's a mix of Catholicism and weather and a little something else. As a Jew who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, my outlook has been shaped by gloomy weather, and a religious outlook that is dominated by near extermination attempts. How many holidays on the Jewish calendar commemorate getting out of a jam or surviving a genocide? Rhetorical question.

Although we have separation of church and state, as Americans, our culture is a puritanical one with roots in Northern and Western Europe that doesn't place much value on having a good time. However, North America's two big Catholic cities, Montreal and New Orleans, are some of the funnest places to in the hemisphere.

It just seems that folks down here know how life is supposed to be lived.

I'm here working on a personal blogging project www.techtrotter.org, but also reporting about street culture and other odds and ends of life in Brazil. Drop a line some time.




Well I am certainly another Jew who just loves Latin America, particularly Brazil. I came across your blog while trying to find Jewish groups in Rio – proving difficult as I don’t speak Portuguese. I am going there soon, August 09 and want to try tap into the Jewish community there.
My love affair with Latin America – well for me, starts with Cappoeira - the Brazilian martial arts which I am passionate about and practice on a regular basis. I am going to Cappoeira boot camp in Brazil in one of the small beach towns and I would like to spend a bit of time also in Rio and get to know some of the locals. And thought it would be really fab to tap into the Jewish community there. I am completely NOT religious - But in saying that, I do love meeting other Jews from around the world and identify with that instant connection it brings. I am Australian, so Brazil is pretty far away. But I have managed to get there a few times already – so this connection certainly is widespread.
I am debating on exploring any work opportunities also there. So if anyone has any contacts for me for work or just to meet - it would be great. Even to join a Jewish family for a lively Shabbat dinner would be good fun. Also keep in mind, I do not speak any Portuguese.

Alejandro Garcia

Well, one of the reasons is that during the WWII, Brazil was one of the few countries that was willing to take in large numbers of Jewish refugees, along with countries like Cuba, Honduras, Argentina, and Mexico (too name a few). This was a marked contrast from other Western countries, which set stict quotas on the number of emigres. Add to that the fact that Brazilian culture is very tolerant of religious diversity and you can see why it was such a popular destination. Sadly, the image most people have of Brazil is as a hiding place for Nazi fugitives, though only a few ever hid there. In fact, statistically, more former Nazi's hid in the U.S. and Europe than ever fled to South America.


I'm from Peru, studying and living in the U.S. My host mother is jewish, my best friend jewish, my ex-boyfriend jewish and my closest friends jewish, I brought a neighbor-in usa- who is paintor to Peru- Cuzco last year, we saw all the hebrew signs all over Cuzco!! and my neigbor-friend recognized them... oh' she is jewish too!!. When apply for a host family, met my best friend, my ex-boyfriend, closest friends, neighbor. I did not KNOW they were Jewish.... I take zumba classes at the gym.. I will say more than 70 percent are Jewish, It is so interesting that Im around Jewish so much, that now, I can recognize some without asking if they are Jewish,even in school, when I just click with someone in class or randomly on campus, they end up being Jewish. I feel like I live in SeudoIsrael here in the States.

but, thanks to this people who seems to be connecting with me, I've been having the best experience out of my home country. I love Jewish, they are sometimes too natural, sometimes too simple or thinking too much... but at the end I never met the most grounded,intelligent,and wonderful people ever. I also discover that there are many many Jewish all over Peru, and famous Jewsih people in Peru, and lots of Peruvian-Jewish families, even private schools for hebrew learners, and more.... I just wanted to say I lived in a Jewish comunity all my life, in Peru and here in USA, I just did not see that until now!
I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you guys!!... but dont think too much ;)!

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