with the productions of universal culture.
Foundation of the community.
To retain their identity and continuity for the coming generations, they founded a community very similar in its functions to what they had left behind them in Europe. It was called Nidjei Israel (1922).
The Jews in Mexico separated by sectors, according to their place of origin, such as the Ashkenazi, the Sephardic and the Arabic speakers, that is, Jews arriving from Syria and Lebanon. The latter eventually separated from those originally from Damascus into their Monte Sinaí Community and those from Aleppo into the Maguen David Community. Originally, everybody had been united in one sole community in 1912 which was called Alianza Beneficencia Monte Sinaí. They established a synagogue, a small school and bought land for a cemetery.
The Ashkenazi community was the first one to separate because of differences in praying and traditions. Then they began developing several welfare and assistance institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, the OSE clinic, the old people’s home in Cuernavaca called Eshel, as well as schools and synagogues. Its members had arrived with diverse ideologies like Zionism, Socialism or Communism and Bundism, which gave way to the creation of several cultural centers and the edition of various magazines and newspapers. Among the most important organizations there was the club called Young Men’s Hebrew Association founded by a group of US Jews who arrived in Mexico fleeing from the military draft in the years of the First World War. This club and its members were the basis for the creation of other institutions in the Ashkenazi sector as the center of community life.
Creation of the Center of Documentation.
Each organization was charged with safeguarding its files, documents and particularly its libraries. However, although the idea of forming a center of documentation had been considered since the 50s, it was only established towards the end of the 20th century. In 1993, beginning with the edition of the seven books that form part of Generaciones Judías en México (Jewish Generations in Mexico), the Ashkenazi Kehillah (1922-1992) decided to create a Center of Documentation and Investigation of the Ashkenazi Community in Mexico.
By that time it was deemed basic to rescue the Ashkenazi culture, its literary, religious, historic production as well as the life of those communities that had vanished. Thus, several libraries of former centers were rescued creating a valuable body in the field of letters and periodicals as well as the rescue of files of various institutions created in the country.
This way two urgent lines of preservation were presented: the first one, of the Ashkenazi culture and the second, of the history of the Jews in Mexico, which just like other non-national minorities that arrived in the country at the beginning of the 20th century are part of the multicultural and pluriethnic history of the country. It was of great importance to stress that this Jewish minority was part of Mexican history and the knowledge of its archives was fundamental to be aware of the local or regional history that contributed an important part to national history.
The Center or CDICA is made up by collections that date back to the 16th up to the 20th century. There is a library where the Fonds for Antique Hebrew Books, the Fonds Mexico and that of Translations into Yiddish and Hebrew are among the most significant, together with a Library of periodicals with the first newspapers edited in Yiddish in the country and an Archive that contains the collections of the various institutions of the Ashkenazi sector. Among these is that of the Comité Central Israelita (Jewish Central Committee) that became the representative organization of the community before the Mexican government along with that of the Chamber of Commerce, a Graphic File with 8000 photographs of the one hundred years of the establishment of the community and an oral history file that includes more than 200 interviews made to immigrants, intellectuals, community leaders, etc.
The CDICA is unique in its type; its collections are priceless because they are unique and irreplaceable; these documents of the cultural, religious or social institutions and organizations are unique because they are original, usually handwritten in Yiddish together with religious books or