In Taking Root, Latin American women of Jewish descent, from Mexico to Uruguay, recall their coming of age with Sabbath candles and Hebrew prayers, Ladino songs and merengue music, Queen Esther and the Virgin of Guadalupe. Rich and poor, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, Jewish immigrant families searched for a new home and identity in predominantly Catholic societies. The essays included here examine the religious, economic, social, and political choices these families have made and continue to make as they forge Jewish identities in the New World.
Marjorie Agosin has gathered narratives and testimonies that reveal the immense diversity of Latin American Jewish experience. These essays, based on first- and second-generation immigrant experience, describe differing points of view and levels of involvement in Jewish tradition. In Taking Root, Agosin presents us with a contemporary and vivid account of the Jewish experience in Latin America.
Taking Root documents the sadness of exile and loss but also a fierce determination to maintain Jewish traditions. This is Jewish history but it is also part of the untold history of Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, and all of Latin America.
Marjorie Agosin is the author of A Map of Hope and The Alphabet in My Hands and the editor of Taking Root: Narratives of Jewish Women in Latin America. She is a member of the Spanish Academy of Letters and winner of the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor. She is a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College.