Through the years, they’ve seen Jewish schools and synagogues close and said tearful goodbyes to the young who migrated to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.
But in hamlets with names like Sajaroff and Sonnenfeld, a tight-knit community of Jewish elders, some in their late 80s, fight to hold back time. On Argentina’s endless plains only a few Jewish cowboys still ride. Synagogues once filled with pious congregants now stand empty and forlorn on the edge of soybean fields.
Yet the collective memory of Jewish leaders here — of the stories their grandparents told of arriving in this remote land to build a vibrant Jewish enclave — remains fresh. And the ones who feel the links to the past deep in their bones, as Jaime Jruz, 65, passionately puts it, say they owe a debt to their ancestors to keep the old traditions alive.