chapter  15
12 Pages

Culture, Identity, and Community

WithDavid Schers

This chapter presents critical reflections on the experience of Jewish communities of the Southern Cone, particularly the largest of these communities, that of the Argentine Republic. The characteristics of the larger society that have decisive influence on the Jewish community have been noted repeatedly in the literature. The course of political development in the Southern Cone of Latin America has created a situation in which instability, violence, and repression motivate Jews to fall back upon their own institutions and groups. The preponderant influence on the Jewish community of national and international factors also reflects the weakness of the community and its institutions, as well as the absence of a critical analysis of reality and a frame of reference to guide Jewish action. The experience that has been accumulated in working with Jewish study and action groups shows that a process in fact exists and is significant.