With the largest Jewish population in Latin America Buenos Aires has 50 Orthodox synagogues, five Conservative, and one Reform . Eighty percent of Argentine Jews live in the capital. The World Jewish Congress estimates that the current Jewish population in Buenos Aires is 200,000, down from 300,000 over the past 40 years. Those who left have gone mostly to Mexico City, Miami, Spain, and Israel.

The World Jewish Congress also provides interesting details into Argentina’s Jewish communities.

My interest in Jewish immigration to Argentina is partly personal. Ceci’s father’s family, Sorochin, is Jewish. Her father was born in Paraguay to a Russian father and a Romanian mother. The couple had previously lived in Argentina. When he was young child they moved to Buenos Aires.The specifics of their story is mostly lost but there’s a clear pattern to Jewish immigration to Argentina that is well documented.

The Jewish Colonizatin Association was founded in 1891 by Baron Maurice de Hirsch and his wife in memory of their son. The Argentine government of that age viewed immigration as a favorable way of improving the quality of the country. Baron Hirsch purchased land throughout the world including over a million acres in Argentina.

Violent persecutions, known as pogroms, of Jews in Russia was taking place in the late 1800s.

Russians were not the only Jewish settlers in Argentina. Jews from Morocco, Syria, and other Sephardic communities also came to Argentina. World War II also saw a large influx of Jews to Argentina.

The Jewish Encyclopedia provides an excellent overview of the Jewish agricultural colonies in Argentina.

The Virtual Jewish History Tour provides brief insights into the Jewish community of Buenos Aires.

Those wanting to research their Jewish heritage in Argentina should start with the Asociación de Genealogía Judía de Argentina.

The San Diego Jewish Journal published a charming article by a woman in the US whose aunt somehow ended up in Buenos Aires rather than Brooklyn.

This week AMIA, the Jewish Community Center is Buenos Aires, is commemorating the 11 year anniversary of the bombing of AMIA that killed 85 people. In memory of that tragedy I’m posting a series of blog entries this week about the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.