Man holds shofar at Buenos Aires Rosh Hashana festival 370.
(photo credit: JDC)
Jewish communities around the world on Thursday were preparing for the Jewish
new year that starts on Sunday evening, each with its unique traditions and
In Buenos Aires, for instance, organizers of an annual fiesta
called Rosh Hashana Urbano were putting the final touches on their
“Rosh Hashana Urbano is an activity, a strategic program the
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee developed, that reaches out to
mostly non-affiliated Jews with holiday activities in an open place,” said Diego
Freedman, the man organizing the mix of concerts, stand-up performances and
lectures. “We consider it to be part of the Jewish community center without
The festival will be held in the neighborhood of Palermo for the
fifth year in a row and is expected to draw tens of thousands of people, Jews
and non-Jews alike. Its roster includes bands such as BarbaCoaJ, an act that
blends Sephardi and Ashkenazi sounds with reggaeton and rock similar to the
style popularized by Jewish-American singer Matisyahu; Jewish essayist and
thinker Santiago Kovaldoff, who will return a second time after delivering a
successful lecture last year; and Sergio Langer, a cartoonist whose work has
been featured in publications like La Nacion and Pagina/ 12.
from years past that will not take place this Rosh Hashana is the gefilte fish
contest. Freedman said locals were asked in 2011 to submit entries of the
homemade carp dish traditionally consumed over the holiday to a panel of
“They went over the different dishes that people brought from
home and selected a winner,” he said. “It was very amusing.”
success, organizers decided to drop the fish ball contest from the itinerary
this year, though Freedman said it might return in the future.
Rosh Hashana there is some room for optimism in the area. Jewish institutions in
Buenos Aires have been heavily fortified since the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the
Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center that left 114 dead, but festival
organizers said that from their experience there has been an improvement in the
local security situation.
“When it started five years ago people from
Bitachon,” a local Jewish security outfit, “called us and told us we will need
special security but we have full cooperation with police and we don’t provide
any Jewish security,” Greenberg said.
“We’re like any other public act
and the last six years we had no problems, which is a good signal.”