By Adina Cimet
In a century filled with social desires and abhorrent calamities, the survival of a small cultural ethnic crew is not any small tale. Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews arrived in Mexico within the early years of this century. the majority of those 40,000 Jews dwell in Mexico urban and feature performed so for many of the 80 years of this communal test. Arriving with few assets, the Ashkenazi created a community of organisations to maintain their cultural survival in a rustic that had its personal complicated cultural context. This neighborhood selected its personal survival direction; whereas profitable in confronting a few concerns, it confronted difficulties of identification and social harmony that reflect modern dilemmas in every single place. the writer examines the actual exchanges that happened among minority and majority, and displays at the demanding situations for multicultural dwelling formed through pluralism, democracy, and socio-political tolerance.
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Additional info for Ashkenazi Jews in Mexico: Ideologies in the Structuring of a Community
The first traditional role of the rabbi-or chacham-was filled by Shlomo Lobat6n, one of the few knowledgeable Sephardic Jews in Mexico at the time. Versed in Hebrew and Jewish sources, he performed circumcisions, taught, and directed prayers. When the reality of death shook this incipient community, Rabbi Lobat6n helped establish the first Jewish cemetery in 1912. The Ashkenazi immigrants of the late 1920s were helped by the pioneering Sephardic Jews, whom they joined until differences (and the means to fight for them) separated them again as subcommunities.
Indeed it was only in 1994 that the Mexican Constitution recognized the fact of the indigenous population as a minority in its midst. The number of languages the different groups maintained wereand mostly are-unknown to the Mestizo population at large. Maya, Tarahumara, Aymara, Guarani, Tzoltzil, and Tzeltzal are all one undifferentiated mass. If communication was difficult/ 7 cohesion was then almost nonexistent. And, although language need not be a requisite for cohesion and nationalism (as the case of Switzerland shows), the diversity of languages in Mexico coincided with socioeconomic and political divisions.
Anita Brenner, an early observer of this community, concluded that, except to cultured Mexicans and foreigners, a Jew was either a "Judas toy" or an "evil spirit," but not a person. 42 Being limited in number, Jews could escape prejudice. They remained mostly unnoticed. However, they could also cope with discomfort by concealing their identity. Prejudice served them well, as Brenner suggests, and being a "monster" had its compensations. No one could identify them as Jews; horrid Jews were nowhere to be seen.