ROSARIO

ROSARIO, second-largest city in Argentina, comprises the second-largest Jewish community in the country: according to data of Vaad Hakehilot, there were some 1,600 Jewish families out of a total population of about 1,012,000 (2000). The first Jewish families settled in Rosario in 1887. Several years later their number was increased by the arrival of immigrants who had failed to adapt to the conditions in the Jewish agricultural settlement Moiseville, as well as by new immigrants, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. A group of 28 persons established the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia on Sept. 6, 1903, to attend to religious and welfare needs. Acquiring the first Jewish cemetery in 1909, the Asociación Israelita gradually became the central organization for both Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Rosario. In 1909 the total number of Jews in Rosario was 3,059. By that time the community already had a Zionist center (founded 1904) as well as a Talmud Torah which served as the foundation for the large Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik School. Both the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim established their own synagogues apart from the one belonging to the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia. A socialist workers' organization, founded in 1909, opened the Yiddishe Arbeter Bibliotek in the same year. In 1919, during the pogroms in buenos aires (the "Tragic Week," January 7–13; see also argentina ), the Jews in Rosario were identified with "Russians" and "Bolsheviks," and popular incitement against them reached such intensity that only the timely intervention of the authorities averted serious damage and disorder. Between the two world wars, Rosario's Jewish community increased in number; in 1943 its population was estimated at 10,000. As a consequence of this growth, new community organizations were formed and the older ones were enlarged; the Po'alei Zion party was founded (1919), as were WIZO (1926) and committees for Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund, while the Zionist movement grew more influential. Welfare organizations and activities also became more diversified. The first women's welfare organization, founded in 1909, was augmented by Hakhnasat Orḥim and Bikkur Ḥolim, which assisted poor immigrants and organized medical services for the needy. In 1924 the library maintained by the left-wing workers, whose organization had become communist, was supplemented by the facilities of the Ateneo Juventud Israelita, an organization for Spanish-speaking youth, and by the athletic facilities of the Maccabi sports club. As a result of Aaron Schallman's initiative, the Yiddish weekly Rosarier Lebn began publication in 1924, and it continued to be published in Spanish and Yiddish at least until 1968. It was the only Jewish newspaper in all the cities of the Argentine interior which was published periodically. During the inter-war period, the Jews were engaged principally as peddlers and businessmen. The Jewish community's tendency toward cooperative organization created important financial institutions, some of them continued to function until the end of 20th century, including the Banco Cooperativo (founded 1926); the Cooperativa Mutual Fraternal (founded 1927), a business cooperative for peddlers; and the Banco Comercial Israelita (founded 1921), which was owned by central community institutions and has become an authorized bank. Amid this institutional diversity, the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia continued to serve as the central Jewish organization. Although the Sephardim established separately such communal institutions as Eẓ Ḥayyim (1916), for Spanish-speaking Jews from Turkey; Shevet Aḥim (1924), for Syrian Jews; and the Confraternidad Israelita Latina (1924), for Moroccan immigrants, they continued to share the cemetery and the educational facilities with the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Asociación expanded, built a large central building, and developed communal services with special emphasis on education, but refused to support leftist, anti-religious schools. In 1971 the Asociación comprised 2,585 families of which only 168 were Sephardim. Its building houses both a large synagogue and the Bialik School. The latter contains a preschool class, a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a secondary school offering both the general curriculum and Hebrew courses. As part of its cultural program, the Asociación maintains a full schedule of conferences, concerts, plays, and celebrations of Jewish holidays. In addition, it supports the activities of youth groups, administers the cemetery, and takes part in such community matters as the fight against antisemitism. Like the kehillah in Buenos Aires (amia ), but on a much more modest scale, the Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia serves as the central organization of the Jews of Rosario. Nevertheless, there are various other social-cultural organizations such as the Círculo Sefaradí, Hebraica, political organizations, youth movements, and welfare organizations. Social life is also enriched by the Aḥad Ha-Am Library and the Sociedad Hebraica. Many Jewish students attend the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, whose main faculties are located in Rosario. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jewish Colonization Association, Rapport (1909); Boletín de la Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia, no. 49 (1966); Idishe Tzaytung Spetsyeler Khanukas ha-Bayit (Apr. 1928). WEBSITE: <http://www.kehilarosario.com.ar> (Lazaro Schallman)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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