Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Teresa Meade




Argentina, Jews, social movements, traditions, values


The Jews of Buenos Aires form the second largest community of Jews outside of the US and Israel. Because the Argentine Jewish community has become increasingly secular over the past century, their activism pertains to economic, political, and social issues, rather than to religion. Importantly, conflicts of interest between Jews and the traditions of the Argentine society and government have helped the country demarcate its own values and the values of the Jewish community. This thesis considers the Jewish community of Argentina, specifically within Buenos Aires from 1890 to the Present. It examines Jewish involvement in social movements and the community’s identity as Argentines in a society dominated by Christians. Secular factors such as class, age, political affiliation, and nation of origin are essential reasons for the involvement of the Jewish community of Buenos Aires in social movements throughout the history of Argentina. In a country where both government and broader culture is Catholic, Jews have been restricted from positions in government or high levels of society. They have, therefore, taken to political and social activism to gain representation. This thesis focuses on the role of Jews in facilitating political change in response to anti-Semitism. Major historical events that are considered include the anti-Semitism of the 1890s, the workers movement during the era of Perónism (1943-1955), and the period of state terror from 1976-1983, also known as the “Dirty War”. It concludes with the modern experiences of the Jewish community in the wake of the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires on July 18th 1994. These specific events were chosen because they mirror the waves of Jewish immigration. The research is based on secondary analysis of Jewish society within Argentina and also on primary sources, including interviews with individuals involved in social movements and with members of influential organizations. Data is used to study the establishment of Jewish communities within the country during different periods of immigration from Europe and to trace Jews changes in status and demographics over the history of the country. Finally, this evidence is then used to consider the impact that anti-Semitism has had in facilitating the community’s participation in social movements and to evaluate the repercussions of their activism.