Adriana Mariel Brodsky

Ph.D. Candidate
Duke University



Sephardi and Middle Eastern immigration to Latin America in the late 19th century and early 20th century; Sephardim and Zionism in Argentina; Sephardic women

Dissertation title:  “When Jews Were not Yet Jews:  Women and the crafting of Sephardic/Jewish identity in Argentina, 1880-1960”


This dissertation traces the history of the Sephardic community in Argentina from the end of last century- when Sephardim were thought to be “Turcos” by the Argentine society and “not quite” Jewish by the Ashkenazic Jewish majority- to a present marked by Sephardic leadership in national Jewish organizations and a clear Jewish identity within the country as a whole.  Within this broader context, the study situates itself at the intersection of religious and ethnic identities, and it reveals the role women played in the safekeeping and construction of both.  At a time when it was necessary to conform to the new ways of the land as well as to preserve the old traditions, and as the expression of Judaism increasingly moved into the ‘domestic’ realm, Sephardic women’s daily activities acquired clear ethnic and religious significance.  Using archival sources as well as oral history, photographs, and material culture, I focus on the actions of three generations of Sephardic women, not merely because their practices can reveal degrees of cultural continuity, adaptation, and creation, but, more importantly, because such practices often largely constituted Sephardic identity in this new environment.


“Sephardic Women in Argentina,” and “Women and Zionist Activity in Argentina,” Jewish Women:  A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, Paula E. Hyman and Dalia Ofer, eds., (Jerusalem: Shalvi Publishing Ltd., Forthcoming).

“Suspendidas entre la Tradición y la Modernidad: Recuperando las mujeres Sefaradíes,” Sefárdica 13, (April 2002): 99-113.

“Bailes, Tertulias, y Beneficencia: Las Sociedades de Damas y la reconstrucción de la identidad étnica,” Recreando la Cultura Judeo-Argentina.  1894-2001.  En el Umbral del Segundo Siglo, ed. Ricardo Feierstein, and Stephen Sadow, (Buenos Aires: Milá, 2002): 230-236.

Report of 1998 Latin American Labor History Conference, in International Labor and Working-Class History, No. 55, Spring 1999, 129-148.

Review of Adina Cimet, Ashkenazi Jews in Mexico:  Ideologies in the Structuring of a Community, in Contemporary Jewry, 18 (1997) 186-188.

Papers presented:

“Posing for the Camera:  Women, Community and Nation.” LASA, March 2003.

“Becoming Argentine, Becoming Jewish, Remaining Sephardic: Jewish Women, Consumer Culture, and Identity in Argentina, 1920-1960.” Association of Jewish Studies Conference, Los Angeles, December 2002.

“Dances, Social Gatherings, and Philanthropy:  Women’s Organizations and the Reconstruction of Ethnic Identity.” Latin American Jewish Studies Conference, Rio de Janeiro, June 2002.

“Suspendidas entre la Tradición y la Modernidad: Recuperando las mujeres Sefaradíes,” Simposio de Estudios Sefaradíes “Avances en la Investigación los últimos 25 años,” CIDiCSef, Buenos Aires, November 25, 2001.

“Bailes, Tertulias y Beneficencia: Las Sociedades de Damas y la reconstrucción de la Identidad Étnica.”  AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) Encuentro "En el Umbral del 2º Siglo, Buenos Aires, August 2001.

“Las Mujeres También Inmigraron a la Argentina o Cómo Salir del Presente Estancamiento Historiográfico.”  V Jornadas de Historia de las Mujeres y Estudios de Género, Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Setiembre 1998.

“Writing Clara Beter: Inventing an Argentine Jewish Socialist Prostitute.” Women’s Studies Graduate Research Conference, Duke University, February 1997.