prenosimo sa BBC News websajta
Photo journal: Jewish gaucho
When Jews fleeing the 19th-Century pogroms in Eastern Europe came to Argentina
most of them went to the cities. But a few set up communities in the remote
countryside. These farmers became known as the Jewish gauchos or cowboys.
Arminio Seiferheld is one of the last remaining Jewish gauchos - tending his
cattle by day and officiating at the synagogue by night.
Moises Ville, in the northern Santa Fe province was, for a time, called the
It was founded in 1890 and was the first of several funded by the Jewish
philanthropist Baron Maurice Hirsh. At its peak, it boasted four synagogues,
Argentina's first Jewish cemetery, a theatre, a Hebrew school and a public
It was a town rich in cultural and religious life, and in harmony with
the rest of the country's rural society.
Now only about 10% of the population of Moises Ville is Jewish. But the
Kadima theatre is still running and the signs of integration are apparent,
with non-Jewish girls attending Israeli folk dancing classes and the town's
only bakery making and selling apple strudel, kamish and challa breads
alongside the more traditional Argentine breads and pastries.
Arminio's father arrived with the second wave of Jewish immigrants to
Argentina - those escaping Nazi Germany. He swapped three bicycles for three
cows and began his life as a Jewish gaucho. Arminio has continued the
tradition but his four children like so many young rural Argentines have
moved to the cities. One lives in Israel and all speak fluent Hebrew.
His daughter, Patricia, who lives in the city of Rosario, says she brings
her son, Eliel, to Moises Ville as often as she can.
One of the last of a disappearing breed, Arminio wears bombachas - the
baggy, hard-wearing trousers used by Argentine cowboys. And, he sips the
bitter mate tea drunk in these parts through a "bombilla" or metal straw out
of a wooden gourd clasped in his hand.
At the end of a long day on the farm, Arminio rushes home to shower and
change to officiate at the only synagogue that still functions in Moises
The Jewish congregation, like most in the other rural Jewish towns in
Argentina, is small and elderly and does not warrant its own rabbi.
The future is uncertain. But for now at least, the Hebrew prayers and
traditions brought from Eastern Europe more than 100 years ago still mix
with the sound of crickets on a starlit night on the Argentine pampas.
By Daniel Schweimler and Makarena Gagliardi