chapter  13
15 Pages

Argentine Culture and Jewish Identity

WithLeonardo Senkman

The prevailing anticlericalism in the political circles of the Argentine “Generations” of 1900 and 1910 was shared by atheists, agnostics, and lukewarm Catholics, who opposed sharing power with the Church, although they did not oppose Catholicism as the majority religion of Argentines. Positivist philosophy in Argentina, despite its constant invocation of universalistic rationalism and portrayal as being progressive and liberal, in practice developed into a distasteful xenophobia. The questions posed for the Jewish minority in the ideological context of Argentina during the period of immigration are clearly demonstrated in the life and work of Alberto Gerchunoff. Gerchunoff was the first Jewish intellectual to understand fully and accept with resignation the tacit taboos. The Argentine image of Jewry in the period under discussion is particularly highlighted by the positions taken by leading politicians of the Argentine Socialist Party.