Sun and Shuls Make Uruguay Beach Town Jewish Hot Spot

Punta Del Este Lures Latin Jewry in Southern Summer

Sun and Shuls: Punta del Este has long been a magnet for South America’s glitterati. Now it’s attracting Jews from all over the region as well.
getty images
Sun and Shuls: Punta del Este has long been a magnet for South America’s glitterati. Now it’s attracting Jews from all over the region as well.

By JTA

Published February 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

In the 1960s, Jewish developers and architects began to build here. Weiss-Sztryk-Weiss, a Jewish construction firm, started in the 1970s. The Atijas family, also Jewish, split from Weiss and started its own firm. Both companies had a huge influence on the city’s development. In the 1980s and ’90s, middle-class Argentinians began vacationing here.

“The city is a profitable investment and many people from the Jewish community throughout the region who have great abilities to analyze different investment scenarios have opted for this city,” said Nestor Sztryk, the director of Weiss-Sztryk-Weiss, which is developing eight residential buildings in the city. “It is also a place that offers quality of life, quietness and freedom with which those in Argentina or Brazil who live with insecurity can enjoy here, without fear for their children and belongings.”

Punta del Este, which has a year-round population of just over 9,000, has four synagogues. Estimates of the Jewish influx during the summer range from 25,000 to 50,000 in a country with a population of 3.3 million, including approximately 17,000 Jews.

As the summer season began in early January, so did the cultural offerings targeting Jewish visitors. Despite the allure of a beautiful, sunny day, more than 650 chose to attend a discussion at the Conrad Hotel about challenges facing Israel. And a book launch for Sergio Bergman, the first rabbi to be elected to public office in Argentina, attracted 900 participants interested in his writings about kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performed on Jan. 18, and Israeli universities and philanthropies routinely organize events here. In February, the 10th annual Jewish Film Festival will open with support from Jewish groups from Argentina, Brazil and Chile, as well as the Uruguayan government.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.