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April 27, 2009

Comments

Robyn

Oh this is great that you writing up some info on Jews in Brazil -- there seems to be a lack of knowledge and a lot of misconceptions about Judaism among people Brazil - at least many that I've talked too. And also about Brazil among some American Jews...

Back in 2002 broke and unemployed I started working for this company that was the first to import frozen acai from Brazil to the States. Back then no one knew what it was (unlike the explosion in its popularity now) so I was hired to do those annoying samplings in upscale grocery stores. I was doing one in Brooklyn Heights (heavily Jewish neighborhood) and an older woman came over and asked about it and I explained what it was and that it was from Brazil. And she started freaking out on me. "I'll never eat anything from Brazil! I know what Brazil did after WWII. I SAW "Boys from Brazil."" Then she carried on giving me a lecture for a while about Brazilians being Nazi sympathizers... I wanted to scream "Just try some juice lady!"

But, on the flipside, I have experienced some weird reactions about Jews on the part of Brazilians. When we were preparing our documents to come to Brazil with the Brazilian consulate - the paperwork for my husband to repatriate with belongings w/o paying taxes on them - the woman in the consulate in New York looked at our paper work and saw my last name and asked "But is your wife Jewish?" Carlos was floored and didn't know how to answer. The truth is no, I wasn't raised Jewish, but a large part of my family is. (Grandfather married a gentile, broke the line, and my dad was Irish Catholic- so I'm a mutt.) Anyway, the question was totally inappropriate. I wish he had demanded to know "Why does it matter?" But we were both so flustered he just said no. I was fuming and really wanted to call her in. But Carlos was all paranoid about us not getting our paperwork approved. (I already had a visa, it wasn't like they weren't going to let me into the country.). Anyway, it was certainly weird...

Look forward to the rest of the series!

Elizabete

I guess lot of people do not have the correct information about Jews in Brazil, they say base on what they heard and they do not go looking for the correct information. Because if the comment above is true, how is possible jews in Sao Paulo have a huge community specially in Bom Retiro (old place) and now in Higienopolis where the town have about 85% jews and in the past Bom Retiro was kind of 95% only jews, they have jews schools etc...
Brazil open the door for lots of jews was in need at the time where hitler close that door.

About the lady in Consulate maybe she just ask because in Brazil we know a lot about last names, so is very common when you see last names ending in INI,LLI, LLA, TINI, ATTA etc example we know is italian, and FERREIRA and CASTRO can be Portuguese and lots of names ending GOLD, STEIN, etc is jews , so you ask. Is normal for us. And I do not believe that Brazil would denied any visa because of religion or race this is not even possible because is against our law.

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