Argentina and Brazil are the two Latin American countries with the largest Jewish populations (Argentina – 200,000; Brazil- 120,000 – 140,000). It is these two Latin American countries that are the primary focus of the book, Rethinking Jewish-Latin Americans, edited by Jeffrey Lesser and Raanan Rein. The authors intend the book to spark “new ways of thinking about ethnicity in Latin America through a focus on Jews.” It is a compilation of twelve short academic articles on a wide range of aspects of the Jewish experience in Latin America such as the role of Zionism in Argentina and Brazil; Uruguay’s Holocaust memorial; the similarity of the immigrant experiences of Arabs, Japanese, and Jews in Latin America; the role of women’s organizations in Buenos Aires; stereotypes of Jews; Jews in politics and political activity; — plus more.
The book is a goldmine of readings for the “Latin Americanist.” It also offers an interesting journey into the world of Latin America for the average reader who enjoys wellresearched social and economic histories exploring the breadth of the Jewish experience. Endnotes, index, suggested reading list.
Carol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sciences Department and Professor of Sociology at the Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York. Her areas of interest include the sociology of race and ethnic relations, the sociology of marriage, family and gender roles and the sociology of Jews.