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The Latin American Jewish Odyssey

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  • Ramón Tossas Escalera, alcalde de Juana Díaz (1870 - 1957)
    Ramón Mateo Tossas Escalera, alcalde de Juana Díaz, 1903 - 1905 The First Democratically Elected Mayor of Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. Was a Rabbi. ***************************************************...

The Latin American Jewish Odyssey

History of the Jews in Latin America The history of the Jews in Latin America dates, according to some interpretations, back to Christopher Columbus and his first cross-Atlantic voyage on August 3, 1492, when he left Spain and eventually discovered the New World. His date of departure was also the day on which the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon decreed that the Jews of Spain either had to convert to Catholicism, depart from the country, or face death.

Portuguese-Spanish Jews first landed in Jamaica in 1530. By the 16th century, fully functioning Jewish communities had spread and organised to Brazil. Several Jewish communities in Central and South America flourished, particularly in those areas under Dutch and English control.


Notable Inviduals.

  • Edmond J. Safra ادموند يعقوب صفرا August 6, 1932 – December 3, 1999) was a Jewish Brazilian-naturalized, Lebanese banker who continued the family tradition of banking in Lebanon, Brazil and Switzerland.
  • Mario Blejer is an internationally renown Argentine economist trained at the University of Chicago who has held senior positions in the IMF and World Bank, was the President of the Central Bank of Argentina, and was Director of the Bank of England's Centre for Central Banking Studies.
  • David Blejer was the first Argentine Jew to serve in the cabinet, becoming Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in Argentina during the presidency of Arturo Frondizi in February 1959.
  • José Bleger, another descendant of the Blejer/Bleger/Blecher families who immigrated to Argentina in the early twentieth century to be agriculturalists, brought from the Southern Ukraine by Baron Hirsch, was an eminent Argentine psychologist.
  • Lalo Schifrin is an Argentine pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. He is best known for his film and TV scores, such as the "Theme from Mission: Impossible". He has received four Grammy Awards and six Oscar nominations.



A documentary by Jonathan Jakubowicz about the experience of mostly Viennese Austrian Jews, refugees on the Caribia and Koneigstein ships in 1939 and their ultimate acceptance into Venezuela. In Spanish.


This project is just beginning. Please feel free to edit and add to project.


  1. Jewish Argentina
  2. Argentina: Blejer Bleger Blecher Family
  3. Vienna to Venezuela
  4. Jews of Puerto Rico
  5. Crypto Jews Conversos Anusim
  6. Jewish Immigrants to the Caribbean
  7. Portuguese Spanish Jewish Journey to Jamaica
  8. Secret Swiss Holocaust-era Lifesaving El Salvador Citizenship Certificates