Sunday, August 5, 2012
The Abasto de Buenos Aires was the central wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1893 to 1984. Since 1999, it has served as a shopping mall.
In June, shoppers in the Abasto Mall were treated to a spontaneous outpouring of Jewish song and dance to the music of Hava Nagila by a flash mob brought in by YOK, a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The dance was in celebration of Dia de la Bandera, an annual holiday to celebrate the Argentinian national flag. Because it was performed in Argentina, the dancers couldn't resist incorporating elements of the tango, and while they were at it, also included a few measures of To Life, L'Chayim!
Today a vibrant Jewish population is integrated into the towns and business of Buenos Aires. The neighborhoods of Once, Villa Crespo and Belgrano have the highest concentration of Jewish businesses and families, and Abasto even holds the only kosher McDonald’s outside Israel.
There are city fairs for Jewish holidays, hosted by YOK Time, a non-profit organization that encourages approaching Judaism “in your own way”. YOK’s Rosh Hashana fair offers attendees free apples and honey to celebrate the New Year and goods from local Jewish artists, and on Passover you can participate in a gefilte fish contest and listen to Klezmer music, all in the barrio of Palermo.
YOK, which stands for ‘Yo OK’ or ‘I am OK,’ creates these urban festivals to “establish a space where people can gather to share their Jewish culture and traditions with the whole community,” according to Dana Jones of Project YOK.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)