Tuesday, March 27, 2012


This past weekend I attended the Latin American Jewish Studies Association's Second Regional Conference in New York.  I didn't travel to NYC for that purpose but to celebrate my birthday.  But since we were there, David and I decided to see if we could sit in some of the lectures or panels.  Indeed we had no problem getting in.  First we had to go through the metal detectors and screenings typical of these times whenever going to a Jewish institution.  But once in, we sat in the room and listened to some fantastic presentations on Latin America's Jewish past and present.  Some of my favorites papers were about Buenos Aires (are you surprised?) and its quintessential Jewish neighborhood - Once.  I remember going to shop in Once with my mother in the late 50s and 60s.    Listening to the presentations and, later, the discussions about the neighborhood, reminded me of those long ago days when we'd take two buses - an over an hour ride - from our neighborhood - Villa Urquiza - to Once and the huge stores where hundreds and hundreds of socks or pants or underwear were displayed in wooden bins.  Each shop carried one thing only and therefore offered great bargains.  Mom and I would buy what we needed and then have a snack at one of the kosher cafes before returning home.  

Another presenter spoke about Miramar, the Summer town in the province of Buenos Aires, which was apparently a Jewish destination.  I never knew that when I was living there.  I do remember going there and to other such towns, all up and down the Atlantic coast south of the capital.  What a surprise to hear about Miramar and its people and places!  That talk reminded me of our holiday in another location that I recently saw mentioned in the New York Times Travel Section in an article about Evita and Buenos Aires.  One year in the mid-60s my parents and I were fortunate to spend two weeks in a resort called Colonia Chapadmalal, not far from Miramar.  I say fortunate because we had to apply and go through an interview process before being accepted to spend two weeks vacationing, all expenses paid.  You see - this is one of those Social Tourism kind of deals. Evita and her husband liked to do things like that for the working class.  Everyone deserves a two-week rest, doesn't everyone?  

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