The Many Faces of Mexican Jews

Last Updated: December 1, 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

Jewish MonumentA word used again and again by both Jews and non-Jews to describe the Jewish community in Mexico to me as I researched this story was cerrada--closed. "Wealthy" was another. "They live in Polanco," one taxi driver told me knowingly, speaking of the swanky Mexico City neighborhood where Orthodox Jews in black hats share park space with manicured Mexican mommies and synagogues share blocks with high-rise hotels and Hummer dealerships. "They help each other out," was another lay opinion. As with most stereotypes, I found elements of truth in all of the above. What I wanted to know was whether Jews have integrated into Mexican culture, or are just another group who happen to live here. More explicitly, what makes Mexican Jews different from Jews anywhere else in the world?

Mexico's 40,000-strong Jewish community is unique and varied, and made up of several communities, each with distinct flavors and traditions. They were also incredibly welcoming to me.

Click here to read more about the Jewish-Mexican culture