Jewish Education in Latin America
This chapter focuses on two theses, or central tensions, of interest to both Latin Americanists and Judaic specialists. These themes are important not only in order to relate Latin America’s Jewish education to broader issues, but also to provide contexts within which to evaluate that education. One thematic question is the degree of Jewish autonomy within the political constraints imposed by dominant groups and the state. The second thematic tension is more sociologically concerned with group identity and assimilation. Evidence gathered from many Latin American nations strongly suggests a substantial degree of school autonomy from the state as well as other political actors outside the Jewish community. A major concern at the 1972 conference on “Latin America and the Future of Its Jewish Communities” was that Jewish institutions would be in for hard times under spreading leftist or populist regimes. There are of course limits on Latin America’s Jewish school autonomy under rightist military regimes.