The Paris of South America

Buenos Aires, Argentina

December 7–15, 2020

El Caminito District Buenos Aires |

Traveling with You...

Scholar in Residence

Rabbi Ernesto Yattah is the Dean of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Rabbinical School at the Seminario Rabínico Lationoamericano Marshall T. Meyer. He received his BA in comparative religions at Columbia University and his master’s degree in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he also received his rabbinical ordination. Rabbi Yattah was assistant and associate rabbi at Congregation Beth Yeshurun of Houston, Texas, for nine years and president of the Houston Rabbinical Association from 1996 to 1997. Today, Rabbi Yattah also participates actively in the Interreligious Dialogue in the City of Buenos Aires.

Trip Leader

Andrew H. Banoff, MBA, a veteran Jewish Heritage Travel participant, brings his love of travel and Judiasim along with his deep commitment to the well-being of others to his role as trip leader. With a long and distinguished career in health care administration and, most recently, as the president and CEO of Jewish Senior Services, he will share his natural talents for bringing people together and for fostering community to ensure a memorable journey.

After a progressively responsible career in health care administration in New York and Connecticut Andrew transitioned in 2003 to focus on the state of senior living. He has led the way to significantly improved, community and family oriented nursing home models in both states. He a fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine and the American College of Healthcare Executives, and is a member of the board of directors of several organizations, including the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) and the Connecticut Alliance for Long Term Care (CALTC).

Andrew is also the executive producer of the film “Next Year Jerusalem,” which follows the journey of nursing home residents on a trip to Israel, shining a unique light on the meaning of life. He has led two such senior-focused missions to Israel.

Program Overview

Jewish presence in Argentina dates back to the early sixteenth century when Jews from Spain and Portugal fled the Inquisition and settled in what is now Argentina. While practicing their Judiaism in secret they became assimilated into Argentine society. Over the years, the population of Jews in Argentina soared, including a substantial influx of openly identified Jewish immigrants fleeing pogroms in Russia making it the largest Jewish population in Latin America and the sixth largest in the world. Today, the more than 150,000 Jews who live in Argentina play important roles in the business community, academia, and Argentine life in general.

Join us on an exotic trip to Argentina and learn firsthand about its vibrant past and its present situation, and what is projected to be the future of the Jews of Argentina, many of whom have recently migrated to Israel and the United States.

During our travels, we will visit with the Jewish community as well as explore the museums, plazas, and famous sidewalk cafés of Buenos Aires, still affectionately known as the “Paris of the South.” Additionally, for those interested, there will be a special, two-day add-on to Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, situated on the border of Brazil and Argentina. With more than 275 falls, it is so impressive that upon visiting it, Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have remarked, “Poor Niagara!”

Tentative Daily Itinerary*

Monday, December 7

Arrive in Buenos Aires; check in to a deluxe, five-star hotel; rest and relax from our journey.

Evening: Opening talk by Ernesto Yattah on “The History of Sephardic Crypto-Jews in Colonial Buenos Aires,” followed by Orientation (an opportunity to get to know one another) and opening dinner (included).

Tuesday, December 8

Following breakfast at our hotel, we will visit the Sinagoga de la calle Libertad, which also houses the Jewish Museum; El Museo del Holocausto (Holocaust Jewish Museum of Bunenos Aires); and AMIA (Israelite Mutual Association of Argentina – Center of the Jewish Community of Argentina). Here, we will see an impressive sculpture designed by the Israeli artist Agam in memory of the 1994 bombing victims, and meet with one of AMIA”s senior staff to help us understand more about their work and the Jewish community of Argentina.

Lunch on our own.

Evening free; dinner on our own.

Wednesday, December 9

Our day will begin with a stop at the Plaza Embajada de Israel (Israel Embassy Square) — a memorial to the victims of the 1992 Israel Embassy bombing — followed by a tour of the Recoleta Cemetery, the burial place of Evita Peron along with many of Argentina’s most famous figures. With its elaborately carved structures, it is considered one of the four most notable cemeteries of the world.

We will have lunch at the famous Café La Biela, one of Buenos Aires’ most historic, traditional cafes, followed by a visit to Plaza de Mayo (oldest public square in Buenos Aires); Casa Rosada (from whose balcony Evita exhorted the crowds); and the Catedral Metropolitana (containing within it a holocaust memorial, highly unusual for a church).

Evening presentation by Ernesto Yattah, “Juan Peron, Evita and the Jews,” followed by dinner on our own.

Thursday, December 10

We will start the day by visiting the ORT school In Buenos Aires, designed to serve the Jewish community in Argentina, followed by a visit to the Semianrio Rabinico (Seminar of the Conservative Movement) for lunch (included) and a talk by Ernesto, “The Argentine Jewish Community: Its Origins, Demography, Movements, and Challenges.” Afterward, we will return to our hotel with time to rest and relax before joining members of the Buenos Aires community for Chanukah candle lighting on this first night of Chanukah.

Dinner on our own.

Friday, December 11

In the morning, we will visit the visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes with its special collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art.

Afternoon can be free or you can enjoy a R backstage tour (optional) of Teatro Colón, considered one of the most impressive opera houses in the world.

Evening: Attend services at one of Buenos Aires’ grand synagogues, and a Shabbat dinner (included).

Saturday, December 12

Free day: attend services in the morning, and/or explore personal sites of interest.

Evening dinner (optional) and tango show.

Sunday, December 13

Visit Congregation Latina, one of Bueos Aires’ oldest synagogues, and stroll through the famous “bohemian” neighborhood of San Telmo, with its arts and crafts, antique shops, galleries, and tango on the street.

Lunch on our own in San Telmo followed by time in La Boca, including a visit to the Benito Quinquela Martin Museum – a lovely museum showing works by this local artist.

Evening free; dinner on our own.

Monday, December 14

Day trip (including lunch) to the scenic Tigre Delta area (via coastal train and boat).

Evening: Closing presentation by Ernesto, followed by a festive closing dinner.

Tuesday, December 15

Morning free for shopping or relaxing; check out of hotel at noon. For those
not continuing on to Iguazu Falls, late lunch in the Puerto Madero area en-route to airport.


*Please Note: Daily schedule may be modified subject to weather or unanticipated changes.


The Alvear Palace Hotel

The Alvear Palace Hotel is situated in the most elegant neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, La Recoleta. It is an area of extensive parks, wide avenues, and luxurious architecture in a classical style, where the best restaurants, cafes, antique shops and boutiques of Buenos Aires, are to be found.

Originally built as a luxury hotel to accommodate the increasing amount of European visitors arriving in Buenos Aires at the time, the Alvear Palace was transformed in 1932 into a model of the highest expression of refinement. The majestic rooms and suites, as well as the lobby and public areas, are reminiscent of the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, which are evident in the furniture, the crystal chandeliers, walls decorated with gold leaf and works of art of famous artists.

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Travel in comfort. We stay at deluxe hotels with fine amenities.

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Program Details

Program: $5,800 (plus $54 Museum of Jewish Heritage membership fee for nonmembers). Your trip includes:

  • Eight nights’ accommodations at the luxurious Alvear Palace, a five-star deluxe hotel*
  • Full breakfast daily; 3 lunches; 3 dinners
  • All ground transportation via superior coach
  • All lectures, presentations, guided tours, and site entrance fees

*Per-person, double occupancy; single supplement ($900) and gratuities ($165) additional

Please note: For details regarding special add-on to Iguazu Falls, please contact our office at 845-256-0197, or e-mail Jo Fisher at

Reserve your place with a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 per person: complete the online registration form or call our office. A second nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 is due on May 15, 2020. Balance in full is due by September 1, 2020.


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Registration Information

Participation Limited to 26 participants, the program will entail considerable walking, including uneven terrain. Participants need to be in active, good health, able to keep up with the group, and ready to travel and experience group and cultural differences with grace. If you have any questions, or need help with your travel plans, please call the Jewish Heritage Travel Office at 845.256.0197.


Participants are strongly urged to purchase travel insurance for losses necessitated by having to cancel participation due to health issues. For your convenience, insurance forms will be sent upon registration, or consult your own insurance agent. Please contact The Jewish Heritage Travel office at 845.256.0197 for more information.


Refunds and Insurance: All cancellations must be received by The Jewish Heritage Travel Program in writing. Cancellations received up to 120 days prior to departure: full refund less non-refundable deposits, per person; 119-90 days prior to departure: 50% refund per person after non-refundable deposits. No refunds after this date.


All rights are reserved by the Program Directors to make faculty substitutions and/or to modify the itinerary (including hotels) as needed.